Reaching those battling homosexuality in the church

Reaching those battling homosexuality in the church

Many feel ill-equipped to help others with sexuality conflict.

The truth is, the gospel is good seed and it has the inherent power to deliver and heal. Transformation is a rock solid promise from God’s word. However, what that change looks like can differ from what we expect.

Relentless Encouragement
The road to freedom can be long and difficult. There is no magic wand to change a persons attractions, but one thing you can bank on, Jesus is enough. What people need is a loving and truthful environment to grow in. Those who struggle with their sexuality need relentless encouragement. Sexuality is at the core of a persons humanity. There is something about the shame connected with sexual sin that can strip a soul of the necessary faith to persevere into wholeness. When was the last time gossiping or a fit of anger plunged you into isolation, depression and self-loathing? Well, a visit to the issues surrounding a persons sexuality has such power. These are the “weak knees” and “feeble hands” that our Lord admonishes us to strengthen in Isaiah 35:3. Purpose to become an encourage-er. Learn how to inspire people to try again. Become their biggest cheerleader. We do this by focusing on progress, not perfection. Look for the smallest victory and praise them for it. It’s not that we excuse sin by any means, but most people struggling with their sexuality are drowning in feelings of failure. They need a lifeline, not another weight.

You already have what you need.
True belonging is the hearts cry of every prodigal that has strayed into the far country of perversion.

The church is, by design, a family, endowed by the holy spirit with the fruit of love and thereby masterfully equipped for the task of reaching those with sexual or relational brokeness.

Belonging can be communicated by including others in your plans, inviting them to be part of a group, activity or outing. Belonging can be communicated with the offer to mentor them or hold them accountable. Love can be communicated with a warm smile, a tender hug or even a simple wave hello. Love is the universal language, but it must be demonstrated to be communicated. The slightest hint of prejudice, fear, or homo-phobia will be keenly detected. Love must be real.

Deep internal conflict takes time to resolve.
Identity conflicts rage within those battling for purity. How can a treaty of peace be signed between affection for the same sex and affection for the Lord? “How can I love the Lord when I can’t stop my attractions?” Many are tempted to give up, give in and just let the tide sweep them away. The vicious cycle of falling and getting back up can make strugglers lose hope. The Lord seeks those who would stand in the gap, make up the hedge and be the lifeline to those loosing their footing in Christ.

A personal story
I knew one such man many years ago, plucked from the teeth of hell. He was a cross dressing, crack smoking street whore. He got radically saved reading a random gospel track. He came back to home to New England from the mean streets of Miami. He landed at my home church.

We knew each other from childhood Sunday School days, and being both new believers we had a lot in common. We hit it off immediately and spent hours fellowshipping in all things Jesus. I could hardly believe his street stories because the life force of Jesus was so strong within him. I knew he had AIDS and was slowly dying. It was the early 90’s and many were dying with AIDS back then. Our paths drifted apart as I was off to Bible school and he was getting involved in ministry to others like himself.

Seduced to the dark side
While home on break from Bible school, I learned one of his lovers had come back into his life. They said he had been seduced back into his old lifestyle and they were living together in a camp on an island nearby. It just so happened that my father invited me to go sea duck hunting while I was home.

Swept away in the tide
The spot we were hunting was on a long tidal bar that goes out to an Island, the same island my beloved brother in Christ was on. At the end of the bar was a narrow channel that was shallow enough to wade across at low tide. As the tide began to come in, my father and I began to retreat to the mainland. About that time, a man, who I suspected was my friends lover, came wading across the channel. He asked us if he had time to make a beer run and make it back across. “Doubtful”, my father grunted. As we were driving home a car streaked past us. We knew it was the same man racing to get back across to the island. “Better say a prayer for him”, my father said glancing over at me. The next day, the news channels were a buzz, a search was underway for a man swept away in the tide. The man never made it across. He was lost at sea. My old friend was swept away by AIDS not long after.

Falling through the cracks of our neglect
Have you a lonely prodigal in your church? Have you identified the outcast who doesn’t quite seem to fit? Now is the time to seek them out and be their Barnabas, their son of encouragement. Regret is a lingering pain we can do without. Regret is something I live with to this day. If I only knew then what I knew now. I would have reached a little further, I would have prayed a little longer, I would have encouraged an little more earnestly. I would have not let him off the hook with shallow confessions and superficial relationships. I would have gotten into his stuff and helped him shoulder the load. I would have lavished his insecurities with brotherly love and encouraged him into true change.

Taking Back Ground
Free Indeed has a fifteen month intensive program called Taking Back Ground for those battling same sex attraction and homosexual behavior. The first five months we focus on the addiction aspect of the problem. Once the addiction is broken, the following ten months focus on identity issues. If you or someone you know is in conflict with their sexuality, prayerfully reach out to them. Recommend Free Indeed and point them to our website. Our coaches will work one on one with them until they are set free.

Ted Robinson
Executive Director
Free Indeed