LGBTQ & Heart Issues
This is part two of a series on sex and sexuality. Be sure to view part one.
The Word of God tells us that any kind of sexual identity or activity outside of one man and one woman united in marriage is wrong. While this is true, we would be remiss if we did not probe into the deeper realities behind these misbehaviors.
We could easily write such people off as "desperately lost" or "perverts." Indeed, much of the world today is guilty of doing this very thing. Many Christians have taken such a stance and, as a result, have had a condemning posture which shuts down opportunities that God would otherwise open.
To be sure, the vileness of these acts is most concerning and Scripture does apply a greater degree of wickedness to them. We do not wish to soften the nature of these sins or make light of what God takes seriously.
Nevertheless, we want to examine the heart. It is important to see that there are genuine internal realities that give rise to the outward failure.
More importantly, when we consider these heart realities, someone who may be caught up in the LGBTQ lifestyle will likely become more human to us. They will not be a meme stereotype. Rather they may be seen as a fellow sinner who is ultimately searching for the Lord (whether they realize it or not).
Pastor and college/seminary professor, Kevin Carson, has counseled people through their sexual deviancy and helped them to gain the newness of life that the Lord gives. His teaching has provided a spiritual x-ray which gives us some clarity on the common heart issues pertaining to such people. When we consider them, we understand that we as Christians do have what the world needs.
1. A longing for relationship:
We must remember that issues pertaining to sex and sexuality stem from our desire to have meaningful companionship. God created us to relate to one another and companionship is the heart of what God designed marriage and family to be. After all, it was "not good for man to be alone." Adam was created in such a way that he needed a friendship that the animals could not afford and the woman was created to fill that need.
Those who have aberrant sexual proclivities can often be seeking that greater and more meaningful companionship. Perhaps early in life they had connections that fostered those types of bonds. Maybe a same sex interest developed because they gained that sense of belonging through a close friendship that filled that "need."
The way it developed may differ from person to person, but this interest in deep connection is often one of the prime factors leading to sexual brokenness, just in the case of Rosaria Butterfield. Her story not only points to the tight friendships that helped to foster her entrance into a homosexual lifestyle, but she testifies to how these relationships are fostered within the gay community itself. It also points out that a solid Christian friend may be the very lifeline this person needs.
2. The Love of Pleasure:
Closely associated with the longing for relationships is a penchant for pleasure. This, of course, is an idol common to us all. One who fantasizes and indulges his mind in lust for a woman bows at the same alter of someone who will not subdue his heart regarding his gay inclinations.
This love of pleasure is often why some who grow up in Christian families and in the church fall into this lifestyle. They may think that God "wants them to be happy" (don't many churches preach this kind of message?). Or, they may draw back from the church because the happiness that they are pursuing is in conflict with the feelings of guilt that they get when under Scriptural teaching on sexuality.
The truth is, however, that our happiness is not God's primary interest. He is most concerned with our holiness. The Apostle Paul characterized his spiritual life as a fight and a war against the flesh.
While happiness can coexist with the Christian life, the only time it is truly guaranteed is in the world to come. Until then, we are to pursue God's glory as the first and highest good in our lives.
3. Craving Attention:
This category is akin to the first as well, but it does have a different slant. Some people crave a relationship, where they have meaningful connection with others. Others merely have a longing for attention.
In this respect, it is more of a selfish gratification. They may like the attention of a same sex person or it may be that they claim to be bisexual because it gets them noticed by their circle of peers. This later is common among young people, who are longing to fit in or are wanting to gain some kind of recognition.
This too, is a common condition of the human heart. It is the same sinful mentality that lies behind immodesty, people pleasing, and a host of other behaviors that are merely attempting to attract the ever fleeting spotlight.
Yet this yearning is most fittingly satisfied in Christ alone, who has given us all the recognition we should ever desire. He listens to us in prayer, speaks to us in his Word, and (most of all) died for us so that we might forever be in his loving presence.
4. A "Feelings-based" Orientation:
The story is common among LGBTQ affiliates that they had certain same sex feelings early on in life. It may be as early as 5 or 6 years old, when (not surprisingly) we naturally begin thinking about relationships. Later in childhood they have more feelings, perhaps pertaining to that companionship mentioned above.
What is evident is that the person lives more by feelings rather than by faith. Instead of having the determination to formulate his/her life according to the pattern of life God has laid down in Scripture, he/she allows his/her feelings to be the guide of life. This is not overly surprising, of course, because all of our culture tells us to "follow our heart."
Rather than saying, "No, my feelings are wrong, I should do/think/feel this way," one allows their feelings to become habituated. Thus they can say, "I've felt this way all my life." Maybe they can even go so far as to say that they feel they were born this way.
What we need to understand is that we are not the composite of our feelings. Our sexual feelings need to be disciplined and subjected to Christ, just as much as our feelings of anger, worry, or sadness. Every aspect of our lives must conform to his Lordship.
We all can identify with how powerful the "I don't like that; I want this" mentality can be. It makes us push away from certain things and we determine to track down the item of our desire with fervor.
Discontent is quite prevalent among those struggling with sexual identity. Chief among them is the dissatisfaction with God's design for relationships. However, other dissatisfactions typically build towards that one, such as discontent with the level of companionship that the opposite sex has provided, discontent with the way one looks or feels, etc.
The little nudges of discontent can eventually push one away from heterosexuality and be the lure that brings him/her into homosexuality.
These are by no means the only heart issues for those dealing with unbiblical sexual issues. However, they are some of the most ubiquitous. What's more, they show us that the LGBTQ community is dealing with many of the same issues that we are. Their outward workings of them may simply look quite different.
Of course, no one should be stereotyped. We should never use these issues as a template to press someone into. Rather, we should be aware that these may be some of the innerworkings of someone who we meet.
What is important to learn is that the Lord is the answer that they are looking for. Each of their heart's longings, just like ours, is filled in Him.
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A Reformed and family integrated Church in Ashland, Ohio.
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