By Larry Ray Hafley
From (Place Withheld): “To be specific, so you will not wonder, I am a Christian, a member of the church of Christ, but I also have homosexual tendencies … I have been reading a lot on the subject of homosexuality in church bulletins and even in magazines like Truth. Recently, one author wrote to the effect that it would be difficult, if not impossible, fora homosexual to be saved . . .
“Personally, I try my best to curb my desires. Unlike most gays, I think the condition is abnormal, and the actions are sinful. However, I am so plagued with desire that at times I ‘lust’ after other males. I do not care to marry and doubt that any situation would arise in which I would. I have had relations with other gays, all of whom were members of the church, except one. I have repented of these acts. The question is, then since my desire is such, should I consider the afore mentioned brother to be right? Will it be impossible for me, the way I am, to find salvation? If so, I might as well give up and live with that knowledge and quit tormenting myself by trying to fight my strong desire.
“Don’t comment, ‘Marry anyway and fulfill your desires.’ Marriage would not fulfill MY desires. This would be doing harm to a fine girl, and it would be mental torment for me.
“If I seek mental help, I face the statistics that no form of help has cured homosexuals, yet. Also, if brethren discover my vice from my seeking such help, they will never forgive me. I have seen my brethren hold other sins against brethren for the rest of their lives.
“I have written this question in all sincerity. I know the error involved, but all those who write about it offer little hope. They condemn homosexuality easily, but they cannot truly comprehend the predicament we gays are in. It is deeply rooted inside of us. It might be possible to stop smoking, drinking. cursing, etc. (none of which I do), but they are not parallel to homosexuality.
“I cannot sign this. You would not know me, but others may learn of this. I have taken this chance, hoping that in Truth Magazine you would deal with this subject, If you feel it is too ‘hot’ to handle, or not proper, then, thank you anyway.
The letter above is sad. It wrings and rends the heart. True Christians have compassion for a fellow heir who is troubled by sin. Sin must be condemned. The sinner must be helped. The author’s sincerity is accepted, and sympathy for his plight is extended. However, he recognizes that his “condition is abnormal and the actions are sinful.” Agreement with his conclusions in regard to these facts does not mean that our attitude toward him is devoid of charity.
This column cannot review unidentified articles to which our inquirer refers, but to condemn the sin of drunkenness does not mean that one has no concern for the individual, drunkard. Likewise, to condemn the sin of homosexuality does not mean that one has no pity for the person who is a homosexual.
It is regrettable that our brother does not feel free to seek help. He fears the eternal, unforgiving scorn of brethren. We cannot dismiss his fear as foundless and groundless. More loving consideration ought to be shown toward prodigals who return. If this were done, perhaps this person would not feel afraid or ashamed to confront his brethren for counsel.
What Is Homosexuality?
Homosexuality is the sexual desire which leads one to seek sexual satisfaction with another of the same sex. In women, it is termed, “lesbianism.” Homosexuality is a sin. It will keep one from the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-11). See Lev. 18:22; 20:13, Deut. 23:17; Jude 7. In Romans 1, Paul describes homosexuality as: (1) “uncleanness;” (2) dishonoring of one’s body; (3) “vile affection;” (4) “against nature;” (5) “unseemly.” Plainly, it is a grievous sin. The attitude of generations and civilizations ebbs and flows between abhorrence and acceptance of homosexuality, but those regulated by the word of God do not have their moral behavior dictated by the whims and winds of societal standards.
What About This Brother?
James teaches that lust is not necessarily sin. “Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (Jas. 1: 14, 15). One may desire or lust but not be drawn away and enticed. Lust, if not allowed to conceive, cannot bring forth sin. Our brother must continue to fight his “strong desire.” It will not be easy, but he can, as he himself states, fight it, and if he abstains from being led away and enticed, he can be saved.
Our brother must understand that those who are sexually normal have lusts or desires for those whom they have no right to have. These must be quelled and quenched as surely as his own abnormal desires. Does this mean that because one is susceptible to temptation that he cannot be saved? No, but if it does, then most of us had better surrender, for damnation is certain. A repentant drunk may occasionally long for a cold beer on a hot day, but he must starve the desire, not feed it. Our brother says, ‘I try to curb my desires.” Well, he is not alone in that. Do we not all do the same in other areas of life? He must continue to check his desires (1 Cor. 10:6; Titus 2:12; 1 Pet. 1:14). Some of the Corinthians had been homosexuals, but they quit it and were forgiven (1 Cor. 6:9-11). It is a matter of the will. One’s will to serve God must be stronger than lusts which would combine with his will and lead him away from God.
Does No One Understand?
Our brother seems to feel that his problem is somehow different. Obviously, it is in particular points, but every sin has its own singular, acute areas. He speaks of homosexual tendencies being “deeply rooted.” Surely, they are, but many urgings to sin are “deeply rooted” in one’s mind and body. He is not alone in this. Homosexuals are not the only ones who face the searing torment of “deeply rooted” desires. All “strong desire” must be withstood to the face, not embraced in the bosom. Homosexual tendencies or longings do not have the corner on the market when it comes to being difficult to withstand. “No one is born exclusively homosexual. Conditioning factors of many kinds create reactions and . . . channel normal drives into para phusin (“against nature”-LRH) expressions. But drives do not exchange natural functions for unnatural ones; people do, No matter what he may tell you, every exclusive homosexual at one time or another chose to conform his behavior to his desires” Sentry Magazine, January 31, 1976, as quoted from Christianity Today by Lyle Ensminger).
No, marriage is definitely not the answer for our brother. No one should marry to solve a problem of this nature. It will not work. Our brother needs a study of the word of God, prayer, competent, encouraging counsel, and a renewing of his mind (Col. 3:16; Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:22-24; Gal. 6: 1; 1 Thess. 5:11). It is hoped that this brief reply will supply some of these ingredients. Write again, brother, if we may be of further help or encouragement to you.
Truth Magazine XX: 47, pp. 742-743
November 25, 1976