The issue of “change” is as complex as every other question concerning homosexuality. Many say that one cannot “change” their sexuality (sexual attractions); so therefore, “change” is pointless to consider. And furthermore, they say, it is harmful to try and change their sexuality. There are others who insist that presenting the idea of “change” to a gay or lesbian suggests that one is trying to push heterosexuality and therefore, suggesting that heterosexuality is superior to homosexuality. The third camp, on the other side of this argument, says that since some have changed, anyone and everyone can “change”. Are you in one of these three camps? All three of these are really misconceptions about change. The thinking behind these statements is not correct.
We must define change… biblical change. The people that surround this debate, for the most part, misunderstand the idea of “change”. Here in lies the problem: both sides falsely assume that “change” means a person being restored to full-heterosexuality. This was my thinking for a time. This means that a person never struggles with or is tempted by same-sex attractions again, and they eventually get married. Both sides state that if these things do not occur then the person is not “changed”.
Well, this assumption fails on so many levels and keeps many people from experiencing the abundant life that God offers us through Jesus Christ (John 10:10b).
I have read or heard the testimonies of “ex-gay” men and women who were born again, but did not think they were experiencing biblical change because they were still experiencing and/or struggling with same-sex attractions. Some were convinced they will never experience “change” and even concluded it was because God was punishing them… and at times they thought He even hated them. Some of the thoughts they would entertain were the following: If He really loved me, He would take these feelings away. Why doesn’t He make me straight like my friends? Why couldn’t I struggle with the lust for the opposite-sex, instead of the same-sex?
Here’s the problem. When we make the goal of “change” heterosexuality and/or marriage, our thinking is faulty. The end result of one’s journey out of homosexuality is not marriage, nor is it to become “straight thinking”. Think about it. Is it really biblical to trade one lust for another? All lust is bad.
So, if this isn’t the goal of change, what should it be? Well, all true believers in Jesus Christ experience change. This change is not about making all believers heterosexual, is it? No, the true change is about being made new in the image of Christ. (2 Cor. 5:17, Eph. 5:1)
Think with me for a minute. Believers often quote Romans 8:28… “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose”… then we stop. But our question should be, what is the good that God promises to bring about in our lives? The answer: Christ-likeness. The next verse declares, “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29). God predestined, or marked out before, that we (believers) be conformed to the image of His Son. That’s the goal of change. God not only saves us; He also begins to transform us into the His image.
How is this accomplished in you and me, all sinners saved by grace? It begins at salvation with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and it continues to be achieved through three things: our proper relationship to God, our response to the Word of God, and the suffering that attends the life of every child of God. And for the one coming out of homosexuality, suffering or trial may be dealing with same-sex attractions, not allowing them to derail your new life in Christ, while God continues His work in your life to make you more like Jesus. “Change” happens for everyone, but how much or how little, depends on the person. Many who make these three things a priority in their lives, are able to leave their same-sex attractions behind,, 100%, and marry. Others are able to deal with their attractions, and not succumb to them, and either get married or live a life of celibacy. It’s about changing how one lives their life.
Yes, marriage is a wonderful thing; and I hope many people who deal with same-sex attractions can experience it (with the opposite sex). But marriage does not make you a “man” or “woman”. We, the church of Jesus Christ, must take this expectation and burden off of our brothers and sisters who deal with same-sex attractions-especially those who truly have no desire to date, or marry the opposite sex.
The “change” process involves cleansing one’s heart of the past (we all had one, not just the homosexual), and seeing and doing things God’s way (1John 1:8-10, 1Cor. 6:11). We must view life as God views it. True “change” involves embracing the Father’s unconditional love; and loving Him right back, by taking hold of His promises and claiming them as our own (Rom. 5:5, 8; John 14:21). It’s about walking in the truth of God’s Word by the power of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16-18), and living life from God’s perspective, focused on Him and His perfect will for our lives!
If you can only get one thing from this post, may it be the following: For the born again believer coming out of homosexuality, the goal for change is not heterosexuality and/or marriage. It is to be made more and more into the image of Jesus. Every true Christian undergoes this transformation process (sanctification). The Christian faith is about making disciples who live in their identity as God’s child, and who walk in His power and for His glory. It’s about people who have been captured by God’s incredible love and abounding grace, desiring above all else to live for Him. And may we all be “confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work will be faithful to complete it…” (Phil 1:6). So be it!
Next time, I’ll share how having the proper goal for change played out in my life and how it helped me deal with the same-sex attractions that did not go away as soon as I was born again. To God be the glory!