“To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24
I have heard a lot of Christians argue that same sex attractions (along with other temptations designed as snares from the enemy) are tendencies people are born with that they have no power or control over. In part and without addressing science directly, I suppose that can somewhat be considered as true. We are all previously and genetically hard wired to have different strengths and different weaknesses. And, depending on the environment we grow up in and our life experiences, we each have different battles we all face. But to say Christians have no power over same sex attractions when the power of Christ lives on the inside of us, will never be true. On more than one occasion (and without even really trying), I have had the unique opportunity to counsel homeless veterans who opened up and shared their struggles with this. One veteran in particular, for the purpose of anonymity we’ll call him Dave, gave me permission to share his story and how his story also changed me.
Dave was a very loyal marine who continuously put the needs of his veteran brothers and sisters before his. If he identified a need, he didn’t ask questions, he just filled it. But Dave lived a very lonely and isolated life. He had a tendency to push his veteran brothers away. He had this “here let me help you now go away” routine that he had made a pattern of unknowingly repeating when it came to the other male veterans. He did not have this issue with female comrades. After a while of observing this and praying, one day it became a problem as he got into a pretty good sized scuffle with one of his male bunk mates that required me, as the Program Manager, to personally address. After Dave calmed down, I mentioned to him privately about the pattern of behavior I had noticed. Not fully knowing what I was dealing with, I figured he had a deep seated wound surrounding men and I was hoping he would allow me to direct him to another male veteran who might be able to help and encourage him. But what I didn’t expect is that, because I was a female and a spouse of a veteran, Dave began pouring his heart out to the “mom” in me. He tearfully confessed that he was struggling with same sex attraction. He bravely admitted that he had been sexually abused as a child and that his mother had been physically abused by his later estranged father. He went on to say that he had grown a hatred towards men and, given this, he couldn’t understand why he was attracted to them. He also revealed that he had already had numerous sexual encounters with other men that he felt drawn to be with at the time, but the memories of these encounters felt haunting to him. The guilt of these relationships kept him awake on many sleepless nights. And, because of his inner struggle, he was confused and just didn’t know what to think or believe anymore. He was raised catholic and at some point had received Christ as his personal savior. He was a highly intelligent, well learned, and analytical man that could debate with the best and ace the most comprehensive of tests. But when it came to common sense, he often appeared to be severely lacking at being able to see what others would consider as obvious. He had walked away from his faith and adopted somewhat of a genius mixture of several theologies and philosophies all incorporated into one. As he knew I was a Pastor, he asked what I believed on the topic of homosexuality in general and if I thought that his struggle with this was his fate he needed to just “learn to accept”.
Since I had no experience dealing with the struggle of same sex attraction in my personal life, I was kinda shocked at first that he had chosen to dump all of this on me and that the Lord thought I was the one who somehow knew how to handle it. I remember asking God in my mind “Lord, really? Why? You know I have no real understanding of this.” As if the Lord answered me, and I believe He did, I quickly realized that, though I didn’t have this same struggle, I had learned to overcome different struggles and the same scriptures would apply. Naturally I answered his question about homosexuality by giving him the typical Genesis 1:27 verse about how God created us in his image, male and female, and went on to tell him about how God had created us for companionship and about the beauty of being in heterosexual relationships. I told him that I didn’t really believe that God wanted him to suffer like this. I shared with him my own victories in overcoming darkness with the help of Jesus that came through making a conscious decision to “put off the former man” and by making a firm choice to allow God to, with my active participation, renew my mind and put on the new person the Holy Spirit revealed to me that he had created me to be. I told him that I believed that God could change him into that person but he would have to make a conscious decision as to whether or not he really wanted it. I remember the Holy Spirit speaking to me asking me to pray “The Blood of Christ over his mind”. With his permission I prayed for him and I gave him a Bible. I suggested he pray and read it, and sent him on his way. I’ll be honest, I was relieved that the meeting had ended as it was not something I expected to encounter in that setting.
I had been studying about the Blood of Christ and the power of transformation associated with it. And, though I didn’t fully understand same sex attractions myself, I was excited to see what God had planned for me through this experience. Since I had a few family members who had come out of the closet with their own homosexuality (that I did not react as lovingly to) I was left realizing that I myself had a lot of unanswered questions and needed to seek the healing power of Christ myself. This prompted me to begin studying the spiritual, scriptural, and scientific side of homosexuality. Over the course of the next several months, I met with Dave weekly to discuss his homelessness and to help him develop strategies that would help him climb out of it. Naturally, I avoided the topic of same sex attraction and focused on what I considered to be the direct details of his case management. Little by little, I watched the Lord change Dave as he was growing in his relationship with Jesus and his understanding of scripture. Though he still had a few rough patches here and there, he was starting to work better with the other men in the program and form solid and appropriate relationships with them. When it came time for him to leave the program and move into his own place, I asked him the usual question regarding what experiences in the program he felt had the most impact in bringing about any permanent change to his previous homelessness status. He shared with me how his relationship with men in the past had always led to them abruptly parting ways and that the scripture of putting off the old man prompted him to see that his struggles with sexual identity had unknowingly impacted every area of his life to include his former marriage, his relationships with his children, and even his work relationships because he was so prone to pushing men away for fear of being attracted to them when in reality he actually wasn’t attracted to them individually. He went on to say that, through a private discussion he had with another male veteran, he was able to see how his wounds from sexual abuse coupled by his mother’s abuse was what led to his promiscuity with his sexual behavior and his fears and guilt about this directly led to his homelessness. This pretty much changed the trajectory for me in my homeless ministry because we are taught to deal with the symptoms of homelessness rather than looking at the root of it. Though I was aware of this norm, I worked to bring about more awareness to the need of healing of inner wounds in homeless program circles. In turn, trying to always help people find and work through their root problem. It just never really occurred to me that homosexuality in itself could be one of those outward symptoms to a deeper wound that no one was really looking at or even thinking about treating. After Dave left the program I stayed in touch with him. After he graduated I was able to teach him about praying in his authority and deliverance from forces of darkness. God slowly transformed him from a US Marine Veteran into a fierce and highly effective prayer warrior. A few years later he called me to share his testimony with me about how Jesus had healed him of same sex attraction, how God had been using him to bring healing to others in his life, and was even praising Jesus for bringing a new woman who was also a Christian into his life. I later learned that it is common for males who experience this to identify with women and to have somewhat of an unnatural fascination with those who operate in motherly roles and, though it was unhealthy, God used it for good as his fascination alone was the only reason I was able to get through to him. Now that I myself understand more, I am accountable to God and others in ministry to only directly help women who are ready and willing to take the steps in their lives needed to overcome this.
I guess I have a few points to make in sharing this. First, those suffering with unwanted same sex attraction have their own set of circumstances they face, the same scriptures and need for our own deliverance from darkness applies to the struggles we all face in life. Second, none of have all of the answers to this complex problem, we all have our ignorance, and we all need each other if we as a church have any notions of tackling this. Third, if any of us wants God to change us, He is ready, more than willing, and has already lovingly provided the resources for us to pursue doing just that. Fourth, our genetics, family lineage, traumas, upbringing, cultures, and heritage can all factor into our sexual attractions as well as how we relate to others in all of our relationships. And, most importantly, just because behavioral tendencies run in our family’s “bloodline” doesn’t mean it has to be our outcome when we have the Blood of Jesus Christ operating in us and always working on our side. To answer the question “Can God really heal unwanted same sex attraction?” The answer is an undeniable yes. Healing is found in the Blood of Jesus Christ. God is busy about healing our struggles and heart conditions every single day and He has raised up many ministries who have already been equipped to help on that journey. If you struggle with unwanted same sex attraction (or homosexuality) yourself, Journey of Hope Ministries is an excellent resource for you and a perfect place to start. Even if you are in another location, they will be happy to refer you to another organization and ensure you get connected to the appropriate kingdom resource. To view their founder Duncan Heinly’s testimony, please visit the following site:
The Testimony of Duncan Heinly
To connect to Journey of Hope directly, go to
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