To Change or Not to Change
A few very points need to be emphasized.
It would be misguided and harmful to try to convince someone to try to change his gay orientation if he was incapable of change. I have spoken with or heard from hundreds of men, Christian and otherwise, who have sincerely tried to change their gay orientation without satisfying, long-term results.
On the other hand it would be misguided and harmful to attempt to persuade someone from attempting to change his orientation if he, in fact, could change. I have spoken with or heard from a number of formerly gay men who claim to now have real, long-term heterosexual feelings along with the elimination of gay feelings. I am convinced some have changed. I am personally acquainted with many men with SSA (same-sex attraction) who are now married or celibate and have achieved varying degrees of success in their attempt to change.
I recommend not giving advice to gay men about seeking change. In my opinion only the individual with homosexual feelings can make this decision. The best thing you can do for sexually active gay relatives and friends is to pray for them. As for gay men, the only way to know what action we should take is to pray the Lord guide us through His Holy Spirit to make the right decision.
Homosexuality a Sin?
While homosexual sex is a sin, I have not found any reference in the Bible indicating that a homosexual orientation is a sin. I advise all to study this. It is extremely important to be able to differentiate between homosexual sex and a homosexual orientation. Gay-oriented Christians who are married to women or celibate are not living in a state of sin.
We are not someone to shun. We did not choose our orientation.
It is sad that even now we rarely come forward identifying ourselves as having SSA, even though we are among you in church. In my case, only my pastor knows that I am attracted to men. One way to understand homosexuality would be to invite a celibate gay Christian or married person with SSA into your church. Nothing beats a face-to-face encounter. You may think you know all about us and understand us, but you don’t. We hardly know and understand ourselves! On the other hand, no one can explain our gay life experience better than we can. I guess the real question is, Does your congregation care enough about gays to want to know us better?
Love Gays Into the Church!
If you have a gay or lesbian relative or friend, keep in mind that they are dealing with a special condition. It is sin only when acted out. If someone is ensnared with homosexual behavior, remember how difficult it is to turn away. Prayer is crucial.
God knows about those of us who long for healing. He knows all about our blood struggle to turn away from homosexual behavior. He does not require that we be anything other than what we are when we turn to Him. God does not condemn; He forgives. He opens His arms wide in loving acceptance to anyone who will come to Him. Every one of us should do no less.
The love and grace of God and His power to heal is the only hope any sinner has. Try to always remember this. I know it is quite possible to love sexually active gays right into the church. God did it for me. Could you do it for someone else? For almost any other type of sin Seventh-day Adventists seem to understand that God does not require they be freed from that problem before He welcomes them into fellowship and worship. For those who think this is somehow different for gays I entreat you to lay down your stones. Do not point out the sin of others; confess your own sins. Be like Jesus and draw even sexually active gays into your fellowship with loving acceptance. Therein lies true Christian power and influence. My dream is that Seventh-day Adventists, and all Christians, will accept gays into the church just as they are. Love them in. This is a good place to run John 3: 16 through your mind. Leave the convicting about homosexual sin to the Holy Spirit. Maybe then our church could really be a hospital for sinners. And maybe then we could grow our church by making new forever friends, even gay friends, for Jesus.
Original essay first published on the GLOW site in 1998. Slightly revised 2010. Permission to copy granted, providing a link back to this post is included. It would also be courteous to notify the author.