Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Narrowing the Homosexual Problem
by Alan Medinger (+)
Our ministry’s first calling is to help people overcome homosexuality. But, if you have read my articles over the years, you know that few of them have come right at the problem—helping people change their sexual attractions from same-sex to opposite-sex. There is a reason for this that will become clear later. But I am going to be very direct in this article, offering a way to significantly alter sexual attractions from homosexual to heterosexual. If you yourself struggle with homosexuality, let me begin by asking you to go through a simple five step exercise aimed at helping you narrow down your homosexual problem. (I would recommend taking some time to move through these.) Here are the steps:
1. Accept the fact that the term “homosexuality” refers to a problem you have, not to who you are. Prayerfully meditate on this for a few minutes.
2. Now take some time to make a list of all your internal problems. By internal I mean those that are rooted in yourself—your heart, your mind, your emotions—rather than those rooted in external circumstances.
3. Now read the following definition of homosexuality, and see if you can agree with it:
Homosexuality is the condition wherein a person’s primary or exclusive sexual &/or romantic attractions are towards people of the same sex rather than towards people of the opposite sex.
I challenge anyone to make a case for homosexuality being anything more or less than this.If you can agree with the definition, read on. If you can’t, read on anyway. Some of what follows can still help.
4. On the basis of this definition, take the list that you have made and check off those that are truly homosexual problems. I suspect you will have checked off no more than three, and they will be something like these:
· I am engaging in homosexual sex
· I am sexually attracted to people of the same sex
· I have no sexual attractions to people of the opposite sex
5. Now look at the unchecked problems, and see if you can’t legitimately disassociate them from homosexuality. You can do this by asking: (1) Do all same-sex attracted (SSA) people have this problem? and (2) Do lots of heterosexually attracted people have the same problem? At this point you have narrowed down your homosexual problem, and having done so, you are in a better place to deal with it...and overcome it.
Putting the Homosexual Problem in Perspective
Even narrowing the homosexual problem down to having same-sex attractions, one has to admit that it is still a pretty significant problem. Left alone, it can be a major determinant in how you lead the rest of your life. For instance, one of the greatest impacts it has on most men and women is that it hinders their ability to marry and have children. If you are at an age and in circumstances where marriage and parenting are a real possibility, prevailing SSA can be a huge limiting factor in your life. In other ways, however, SSA need not be a great hindrance. You can pursue a career, develop your gifts, find purpose in life, make friends, serve others, and on and on. Unresolved homosexuality is a handicap, but others with far worse handicaps get on with productive lives.
Dealing with the "Other" Problems
In 1975, soon after I came out of homosexuality, if I were to have made a list like the one I suggested you make above, it would have included (among many other things) such problems as:
· Being a people pleaser
· Envy of strong and confident men
· Feeling intimidated by strong and confident men
· Feeling unable to adequately fulfill my role as a head of my family
You may have noticed from your list or from this one, that many of the problems are common among men dealing with SSA. But they are not homosexuality. Other men deal with them, and not all SSA men deal with these. Women dealing with lesbianism would have different lists, and they too would find certain specific problems often correlating with homosexuality but not homosexuality itself.
The fact that SSA people share many common “other” problems might lead us to think that there is a linkage between these problems and homosexuality. There is. My “other “ problems come out of unmet needs in my early life, out of my failure to grow up as man, and out of wrong ways I chose to cope with the pains of life. These were the ingredients that gave rise to my homosexuality, as early on in my life I sexualized these needs and longings, and I used sex to fill the empty places in me and to provide escape from the pain I felt.
Problems like these not only contribute to the development of homosexuality, left undealt with, they will continue to fuel the homosexual drive. Over the years, with God’s help—or in some situations, divine intervention—I have dealt fairly well with most of my “other” problems, and so they no longer fuel homosexual urges in me. If you made a fairly long list, there are surely some problems you can do little or nothing about. Maybe your eye and hand coordination is really terrible, and you will never make a good athlete. Maybe you are a woman who is very analytical, and not very intuitive or sensitive. Accept these parts of yourself. God has given different
gifts to different people, and each of us is off in one way or another from the median of male masculinity and female femininity. These differences are a part of God’s wonderful diversity.
But look at the other problems—those that (1) could be changeable and (2) could be fueling homosexual drives in you. Start to deal with them. This leads us to how we overcome homosexuality.
Homosexuality, the condition of having SSA, is not something we can do much about directly. This is why few of my articles have a “how to overcome” quality. As a man, you cannot decide to suddenly start lusting after women—even if that were okay with God, which of course it is not. As a woman, you cannot decide today that you are no longer going to feel sexual attractions to women. Occasionally, a significant and sudden change in sexual attractions comes in response to a specific prayer or act of surrender, but this is the exception, and it is in God’s realm— not yours—to make this kind of thing happen. For most, change is a process.
Before describing the process, I would like to describe what I believe “overcoming homosexuality” means. Dr. Jeffrey Satinover says that early in life we form certain network patterns in our brains, like electrical circuits, in which certain stimuli become linked to certain responses. When we sexualize our needs or deficits or when we start using sexual fantasies to escape pain, these connections can be formed and fortified. Dr. Satinover says that, once made and established, connections like these can never be totally obliterated. But he also says that in the process of overcoming homosexuality, we can greatly diminish the strength of the old connections and we can form new ones that overlay the old ones—overlay them with heterosexual responses. This makes sense to me as I have observed that for most “overcomers” I have known, even those in wonderfully successful marriages, some same-sex attractions remain. Not in all, but in most.
So we overcome homosexuality by diminishing the power of old drives and by developing new heterosexual feelings and drives. I believe that we do this in three ways:
1. We deal with the “other” problems we have identified. We seek healing for our brokenness. We look for legitimate ways to fill the empty places inside us. We
work through—not escape from—certain pains. We find environments in which we can grow as men or women. Life in the church, Christian ministries, professional
help—all of these can help bring the healing and growth that will diminish the homosexual drive and develop our inherent heterosexuality.
2. We seek to abstain from homosexual behaviors. Homosexual acting out and fantasies
reinforce old patterns. Through support groups, accountability, regular confession, and never giving up, substantial victory can come. Old responses become weakened, and new feelings of personal strength and wholeness develop.
3. We establish a vital, personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We always come back to this. Jesus is the healer. He is the master affirmer. He is the true lover of our souls. In Him we find the power to say no to sin and yes to God the Father. Through Him emerges our true identity as men and women created in the image of God.
Often the only way to fix something is to take it apart, find out what specific elements are broken, fix them, and then put the object back together again. Many are broken in our sexuality—our behaviors, our feelings, our identity. We need to find the component parts inside ourselves that went wrong, bring them before the Lord so that He, through the power of His Sprit, may make the repairs that will make us whole. When we came to Christ, He gave us a new heart. This new heart is ready and able to bring new life to all of the old parts that went wrong in the past.
Same sex attractions can diminish and opposite sex attractions can develop to the extent that our primary sexual attractions are no longer homosexual. We may not be able to erase every last vestige of same-sex attractions, but we can overcome homosexuality.
(Source: Regeneration Ministry)