Am I gay?

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Am I gay?

Apr 11, 2002 |J. Budziszewski
Question

I have grown up in the eyes of the church as a son of a pastor. I never felt accepted, but tried to be the perfect son. I can honestly say that my father and I have more a business relationship than an emotional one. Life has been lonely, and I have never felt accepted by another male or had a close relationship of any value with another man. I have a deep longing of closeness which has never been filled, and have been attracted to men.

Lust is present, but it's mostly a longing of fulfillment of being held, or to know I have value. The Scriptures and the promises of God should fill this void, but they do not. I have felt empty for 20 years, and ever since I was little I have yearned to be with a man. I have had two girlfriends and have been equally attracted to them, but I don't feel I'm straight, bisexual or homosexual. I'm a person longing to be loved and willing to fill my loneliness. Once I had some sexual activity with a coworker of mine, and when he held me and made me feel important, I felt walls of sorrow come crashing down. I felt complete for the first time and loved.

I hate feeling guilty and sad. I have to keep this a secret because it would ruin my Christian reputation. I'm overcome with sadness because I want to be loved by a man, but in the eyes of Christians and God, I can't. I want to do what is right in God's eyes, but does He understand me? Am I gay? Why would God allow me to have these feelings?

Answer

My heart goes out to you. Yes, God understands. I'll try to offer some practical advice.

One of your questions is how you should think of yourself. Think of yourself simply as a man, because God did not create us "gay" and "straight," but men and women. Even though your earthly father did not affirm your growing manhood, you are in fact a man, as well as an adopted son of the Father, a brother of Christ, and a brother of Christ's other sons and daughters. The fact that you sometimes suffer attractions for people of the same sex — because you did not receive the affirmation which every son needs from his earthly father — does not change this.

I am impressed with how well you understand this already. Add one more item to your stock of insight: It is important not to give in to those feelings of sexual attraction for other men, because although giving in may make you feel better temporarily, it cannot heal the underlying problem — the longing for fatherly affirmation — and will only cause you much greater pain. That is part of the reason why God forbids it. I know you understand me, because even though you wrote "when he held me and made me feel important. . . . I felt complete for the first time and loved," just a few lines earlier you admitted "I have never felt accepted by another male or had a close relationship of any value with another man." Your loneliness is seeking a false satisfaction.

The same thing happens to heterosexuals, by the way. A lonely girl may feel her walls of sorrow come crashing down — for an instant — in the arms of a man who wants to use her. But before long her sorrow has doubled, and her walls are twice as high. Do not be deceived: You cannot heal loneliness by sin, neither with the same sex nor with the other.

What can you do? With help from God and other Christians, many people who suffer same-sex desires do escape from them, and even those who do not escape from them entirely can experience great relief. For those who do continue to suffer from them to some degree, God also promises help against temptation. This side of heaven, He does not promise to all men complete freedom from attractions to other men — any more than he promises all men complete freedom from attractions to women who are not their wives. Everyone suffers some kind of temptation, and some of us suffer different kinds than others.

I do have several friends, of both sexes, who have been completely freed from same-sex attractions. I don't have any who were able to achieve such freedom by themselves; besides the grace of God, they all needed the support of other believers. This help may come from an understanding local church — not a congregation that lets biblical standards slide, but one that practices compassion. That's where my friends found help. Or it may come from a self-help group of Christians who are all struggling with this problem and encouraging each other in the effort to overcome it; you can find out whether any such groups meet in your area by contacting the organization Exodus International. Some people have also received help from what is called "reparative" therapy. You can find out whether anyone in your area offers reparative therapy by contacting NARTH, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. Unlike Exodus, NARTH is not a Christian organization, but it includes Christian therapists, among others.

One of the things that support from other Christians will help you to do is learn to form normal, non-sexual friendships with other men. Learning to do this takes time, but you'll find that it helps enormously. After all, that's what you really want and need. You may also gain some insight into whether your relationship with your earthly father can be improved; if this is possible, it will be a great relief to you too. I also suggest that you make a focus of your prayer life the cultivation of the Father-son relationship between God, the Father, and you, His adopted son, mediated through your divine brother, Jesus Christ.

I'll pray that God sends you strength and insight, and helps you find the other Christians who can support you in your effort to rebuild your male relationships and to walk in sexual purity. Blessings to you, brother.

Grace and peace,
PROFESSOR THEOPHILUS

Copyright 2002 Professor Theophilus. All rights reserved.

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