How to Minister to Someone Struggling with Same Sex Attraction
by David Kyle Foster
Begin by taking an assessment of your own heart. Ask God to show you what is motivating you to “help” them. Is it embarrassment over how it looks to others, or your reputation as a parent or pastor? Are you revulsed by their attractions and want to make them disappear? Are you expecting a divine magic wand in response to your prayers that will zap the problem without any commitment to them as persons? The list of possible motivational impurities is legion.
Next, assess your dependence on God in the matter. Are you trying to use your experience and expertize to solve the problem or are you genuinely in touch with the fact that you need God’s power and revelation to see lasting results? (2 Corinthians 1:9)
There are plenty of methods and programs out there that purport to have success rates for homosexuals that are as good or better than success rates for alcoholics, drug addicts and other broken conditions. But if you are committed to those models as your source of hope, or any other man-‐based solution, you may be able to help them “maintain their sobriety” but they will never experience the interior transformation that only full and complete dependence on God can bring. For some, God may use one of those methods or models along the way, but they do not have the power to create the interior transformation that gives birth to lasting change.
Next, assess their willingness to repent and to change. Ask them: “Are you willing to do whatever it takes to follow and obey Jesus Christ in this matter, (Matthew 7:21-‐ 23), even if He never takes away your same-‐sex attractions?” A commitment grounded in a love and respect for God and His character rather than “what’s in it for me” is what unleashes the power, favor and grace of God to transform a person’s life.
They need to know and express sorrow over the fact that homosexual behavior is a sin (Romans 1:24-‐27) and truly repent (turn from) that sin (Matthew 4:17; Luke 13:3; 1 Corinthians 6:9-‐11; 1 John 1:9-‐10). Otherwise, they cannot be born again, which is a prerequisite for receiving the wisdom, counsel and power of the Holy Spirit to resist sin, and over time, to change.
If someone remains unwilling to repent of homosexual practice, your fallback position is spiritual warfare prayer for their soul. That is the greater need and the one that makes possible any healing or deliverance that they might need. In your prayer for them, ask God to send His warring angels to fight for their soul (Psalm 91:11; Hebrews 1:14) – to remove the chains that bind them and the veil that blinds them (2 Corinthians 3:16; 4:4). Boldly go before the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16) on a regular basis and plead for their soul with confidence that God is hearing your prayer and that it will be answered with perfect timing. While it is true that God will not force them to repent and surrender to Christ as Lord, He knows exactly what it will take to enable them to say “Yes” (John 6:44-‐45,65). They can refuse Him, but that battle is never over until they draw their final breath.
If you are ministering to someone who has genuinely repented, surrendered their life to Christ as Lord and asked for empowerment by the Holy Spirit to resist sin by God’s power (rather than their own), you can start addressing the broken places that gave rise to their homosexual attractions.
Critical Assessments in Ministry
Same-‐sex attractions develop for many reasons. Everyone is different, so the causes in one person can differ dramatically from those in another. People also have different personalities, temperaments, experiences and life situations that can temper or exacerbate the impact of what happens to them. The timing and the severity of events is sometimes another critical factor.
In the majority of cases, homosexual confusion is a response to a complex and unpredictable mix of elements such as envy, idolatry, lust, trauma, abuse, neglect, father/mother wounds, and rejection by (or negative experiences with) the opposite sex that causes them to develop an unhealthy view of that gender, to fear or in extreme cases, to even hate them (consciously or subconsciously).
So your first act in a ministry session is to ask the Holy Spirit to unveil the hidden matrix behind the person’s same-‐sex attractions (Job 12:22; Daniel 2:22,28; 1 Corinthians 12:4-‐11). God won’t unveil the entire matrix at once, however, because it would be too much to handle and become a discouragement. So He unveils the most important issue of the moment – the one that He knows they are ready to deal with, be it unforgiveness, unbelief, inner vows, self-‐hatred, anger, judgments, curses, fear, idolatry, lust, demonic strongholds and their causes, lies believed about themselves, God or others, memories of abuse -‐ the list of potential elements could go on and on. But God knows exactly what they are in each and every person!
The Holy Spirit will sometimes reveal something to you, and other times He will reveal it to them. With the revelation will come an understanding of what to do about it. Pray according to what the Holy Spirit has shown you and if appropriate, ask them to continue interacting with the Lord on that issue beyond the session until they sense full resolution from the Lord.
Outside assignments can be a key part of their healing process, whether it be asking them to attend a conference, perform various scripture readings, develop a lifestyle of worship, make amends to someone they’ve hurt, destroy pornography and their access to it, read certain books, watch various videos, attend a class or support group whatever the Lord makes available. The free videos at www.PurePassion.us are a perfect place to start, as is our new documentary of ex-gay testimonies that can be obtained atwww.SuchWereSomeOfYou.org.
You will find that most challenges for the homosexual have nothing to do with sex. Rather, God will take them to the underlying roots of their problems and challenge them to do those things that create healthy emotional growth in those areas. In that sense, the healing of homosexuality is very much a matter of doing those things (or receiving those things) that re-‐start arrested emotional development.
Sometimes this involves supernatural help, such as when a father wound is an issue. Developmentally, it will likely be too late to fix such a problem in the natural, but God the Father can show Himself present in dreams, visions, His Word and in the affirmations of others in the Body of Christ, to supernaturally impart the missing pieces and to heal the damaged ones. The key point is for them to pursue Him, listen to Him and then do what He says. As Philip said to Jesus: “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” (John 14:8)
The Most Important Thing
Developing intimacy with God the Father is THE necessary foundation not only for a healing process such as this, but for all of life (2 Peter 1:3-‐11). In fact, it is the purpose of life (John 17:3). It is the reason that we were born. And it is from that settled place that all the revelation, grace and power flows that transforms us into His image (Colossians 3:10; 2 Corinthians 3:18).
It is a fact demonstrated by countless thousands, that many who start early and who commit to doing whatever God tells them experience real and lasting change in their sexual attractions and identity. In fact, most of the “ex-‐gay” leaders that I know are now married and have children – something they never dreamed was possible when they began their journey of healing through Christ. Although they still have memories of past pleasures, (God doesn’t erase our memories, no matter what the attraction has been), those feelings and memories no longer define them or drive them. They are instead sober reminders of what they’ve been saved from and of their ongoing and absolute dependence on the power of God to keep them from falling (Psalm 37:23-‐24; 55:22; Philippians 2:13; Jude 24) in every area of life.
It is also true that for those who come to Christ later in life -‐ who have been in the lifestyle for decades or active in some of the darker and more perverse behaviors, or who have a myriad of serious wounds to work through, or who do not have competent guidance around them, or who have not been taught how to pursue God for their healing, or who are simply not fully committed to doing whatever it takes – they may not see a full and complete turnaround of their sexual desires in their lifetime. Others are left with a “thorn in their flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7-‐10) to remind them of their source of righteousness and the power to remain holy. These are not “gay Christians”. They are believers who were created in the image of God to reflect His glory and His holiness. To define themselves by their sinful tendencies and the distortions of healthy sexuality wrought by the devil on this earth is tragic and an affront to the design and intention of God for His children.
Becoming completely possessed by our heterosexuality and unmoved by aberrant sexual desires is not really the immediate goal anyway. Such things will gradually manifest as the fruit of a much greater goal, however. That goal is to surrender our lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, to live obediently out of His grace by calling forth the power of the Holy Spirit, to pursue an intimate relationship with God the Father, and to be transformed into His image while we gaze upon His glory in worship (2 Corinthians 3:18).
For the person seeking such things, change in this life is likely, although the degree of change is never guaranteed, but eternity with God is! And that eternal life begins to manifest its transforming power the moment we say “Yes” to Jesus (John 17:3) and pursue relationship with Him with all our hearts (Deuteronomy 4:29; 1 Chronicles 28:9; Jeremiah 29:11-‐14; Hebrews 11:6). When He becomes the greater love, the greater desire, and His will our daily bread, He will manifest His power and glory in our lives, showing our sinful tendencies to be ridiculous in comparison.
So at the most foundational level, “How do you minister to the homosexual?” With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and by the way made clear by their faith in and surrender to Jesus Christ, lead them into the presence of God the Father; pray with them for revelation and minister to them as God leads; see that they are held accountable for moral compromise, (whether mental or physical), but in a grace-‐ filled way that affirms them as persons. Remind them of God’s unwavering affection for them, that their citizenship is now in heaven (Philippians 3:20) and that God has a call on their lives to press toward the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:7-‐14). Teach them about God’s power that will keep them from falling as long as they want Him to and His grace for those moments when they fall short (1 John 1:9). Affirm them in their masculinity or femininity and model for them healthy sexuality. And here’s the most incredible part: if all you know how to do is to show them how to be intimate with God, you have done the most important thing, because God will do the rest.
Dr. David Kyle Foster is a graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (M-Div) and Trinity School for Ministry (D-Min) and the author of Love Hunger: A Harrowing Journey from Sexual Addiction to True Fulfillment. He is also the author of Sexual Healing and Transformed Into His Image and is the producer/director of www.SuchWereSomeOfYou.org.