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Learning to Love Homosexuals

Barrington H. Brennen, 2004, Updated March 2018


Question: Dear Sir: I am really concerned about the growing trend among some Christians to hate homosexual. I thought were told in the Bible to love everyone, in spite of their sinful ways. I also know of family members who ostracize their sons and daughters when they learn that they are gay or lesbian. Do you think we can truly learn to love gays and lesbians?

Answer: Dear Friend, you are right. We are encouraged as Christians to love one another, simply because each one of us is a person of inestimable worth in the eyes of God. That includes the male or female homosexual, the prostitute, or the rebellious teenager. "The painful truth is that finding out that a child, spouse, relative or friend is a homosexual can be an unwelcome surprise (devastating). Often "you are hit with a complex combination of emotions–grief, shame, fear, and guilt. You are flooded with questions ranging from why to what’s next" (Someone I love is Gay, Anita Worthen).

This article is a compassionate appeal for us to take another look at our attitude toward those who do not live the way we expect them to. I do believe that any same sex activity is wrong. I believe that God designed sex to be a component of the life-long bond between one man and one woman. However, I deplore the attitude that gay sexual activity is somehow worse than heterosexual activity outside of God's plan. It appears to me that heterosexual promiscuity is doing much greater damage to the fabric of our society. I also believe that persons involved in gay sexual activity should be treated with love and compassion as we do the promiscuous heterosexual. This is our God-given duty as loving, born-again Christians. Many of us find it easier to accept the "lover-boy" male pervert who is messing up the lives of countless family members, or the "sex-craved" street female who neglects her children. Why do we do this? Is this form of selective "righteous indignation" towards homosexuals a wholesome Christian attitude? Certainly not.

There are at least three reasons why some people are angry toward homosexuals. Firstly, many do not really understand the true meaning of unconditional love. In reality many do not understand love. One author defines loving this way:

"Loving is using one’s God-given power of choice to do that which is in the best interest of another person, regardless of our feelings."

Love has at least four components. Love is forgiving, accepting, sharing, and is a force. Many cannot forgive because they misunderstand forgiveness. Forgiving is more important to the one who is forgiving than the one who is being forgiven. Forgiving is releasing from our judgment entirely one who has hurt us. Forgiving is not amnesia. We are not required to forget our pain or what caused the pain when we forgive the one who is hurting us or who makes us feel shameful because of their lifestyle. Forgiving is simply refusing to dwell on the event or to talk about it every chance we get.

If we can understand this meaning of forgiveness we will find it easier to forgive and reach out to the gays and lesbians in our community.

In addition, love is accepting. But once again many refuse to accept the homosexual because they have a false concept of acceptance. Acceptance is not agreement. Acceptance is not endorsing ideas or behavior. Acceptance is affirming the infinite worth of another person, no matter who she is or what he has done. Acceptance is keeping our heart, our mind, and our hands open to the life of another human being. Christians are called by God to accept the homosexuals and lesbians as God’s creatures and at the same time only hate what they are doing. Do you know what will be eternally significant? How we relate to people who we think or know are wrong. Jesus says it very plainly, "Love your enemies . . . . For if you love only those who love you (or agree with you), what reward have you (Matthew 5:44, 46). Christ was always accepting and forgiving of the underdog. We see this principle worked out over and over in his life: Reject the sin, accept the sinner. This is the difference between judging and discerning. Judging evaluates the actor; discerning evaluates the action, whether it is right or wrong. If we can grasp these concepts, we can be free to open our hearts to the gay and lesbians in our society. Some are afraid to forgive and accept the homosexuals because they fear it will be understood as an endorsement of their lifestyle, thus causing them to increase in numbers. The truth is that the anger and hatred towards the gays makes them more determined to progress.

I do know that there might be some homosexual who are reading this article that do not believe that being romantically or sexually involve with a same sex partner (faithful and monogamous) is morally wrong or sinful.  I respect that view but disagree.  I now know that not all homosexuals can truly change.  However, I do believe that although one can be a genuine Christian with a homosexual orientation, the sexual and romantic activities should cease. 

Secondly, many Christians have their own dark, hidden secrets, and these individuals are usually the ones who are most critical and judgmental of others. Too many Christians are closet sinners. Not only homosexuals are in the closet. They have life-long sinful habits that they find difficult to end. Yet, they would present a facade of "holiness" and spiritual commitment. Ironically, these individuals are usually the ones who are most rigid in their presentation of the gospel. They are very critical and judgmental of others. These persons are also very unkind towards homosexuals, drug users, x-cons, etc. I wish that each one of us would take a long introspective look at our own lives before we start removing the mote in our neighbor’s eyes.
Thirdly, many men refuse to get in touch with the softer side of their personality, sometimes called the feminine side. They view homosexuality as displaying a "softer" kind of personality they were taught to shun. What do we call a boy who falls, hit his knee, and cries? His friends call him a sissy. "Take it like a man" would be their damming request. The stereotypical view of male homosexuals is that they are more sensitive, caring, affectionate, compassionate, and loving than the "normal" man. Many rigid heterosexual males deep down inside know that they should have these qualities but are afraid or ashamed to display them in their own lives. Thus, when observing someone, usually a homosexual, who is naturally that way, they become angry at the person when in reality they are angry at themselves. The truth is not all sensitive, tender and caring men are homosexual. We just judge the homosexual because of the way he walks and talks. We say that he has effeminate characteristics. We do know that eighty-five percent of effeminate men are not homosexuals, they are truly heterosexuals. Most homosexuals are rugged, masculine men.

Men, we need to liberate of ourselves from the slavery of rigid traditionalism and learn how to become whole persons in Christ. When you are able to combine a warm, tender loving spirit with your Christ-centered heterosexual lifestyle, then and only then, will we be able to reach the gays and lesbians in our society. This is the only approach that can help transform homosexuals.

I firmly believe that homosexuals can change their lifestyle (although not all). Interestingly, at a recent American Psychological Association convention in New Orleans, Dr. Robert L. Spitzer, professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, expressed a change in his views about homosexuals. In 1973, he persuaded the American Psychiatric Association to remove the term homosexuality from its official diagnostic manual of mental disorders under extreme pressure from the homosexual community. Dr. Spitzer taught that it might be impossible for homosexuals to truly transform their lifestyle. But twenty-seven years later he has another view. After working with and interviewing more than 200 homosexuals he stated his finding just last week at the convention with these words. "Contrary to conventional wisdom, some highly motivated individuals, using a variety of change efforts, can make substantial change in multiple indicators of sexual orientation." It seems he is now saying, once homosexual does not necessarily mean always homosexual.

Dr. Spitzer interview with 200 people of both sexes revealed that they had experienced a significant transition from homosexual to heterosexual attraction, and had continued in this change for several years. "Like most psychiatrists," Spitzer continues, "I thought homosexual behavior could only be resisted, and that no one could really change their sexual orientation. I now believe that to be false. Some people can and do change." Of all his findings, one that surprised Dr. Spitzer was that 67 percent of the men who had rarely or never experienced any opposite sex attraction before the change effort, now report significant heterosexual attraction. Even those whose orientation did not change, but who gave up homosexual practice, testified to a significant improvement in their emotional health. I have also seen homosexuals who have been transformed into happy, well-balanced heterosexuals.

From my research and the response to these articles I have discovered that there are a great number of homosexuals who want to change their lifestyle. However, they find it more difficult to change when family members and friends love and support them. A mother of a homosexual son once wrote what she learned can help gay loved ones who are in the process of seeking change, or those whom we want to change. First build them up. Call attention to their good points, positive attributes, achievements, wisdom and victories. Second, learn about homosexuality. A lack of knowledge makes it hard to help our loved ones through the emotional roller coaster that change brings. Third, give them the gift of time. Our loved ones feel pressured to meet our expectations. This pressure may force them to live a double life that act out a public facade but hide their private world. Fourth, let go of expectations for marriage. The pressure to get married, especially from parents can do more damage to their healing process. Fifth, forgive the past. We can do a lot of damage to our loved ones by bringing up past hurts, and they may never ask our forgiveness for some of the pain they have caused us. Total forgiveness is a major ingredient in the healing process.

If homosexual and lesbians can change their sexual orientation, then we too can change our attitude towards them. Our change however must not be conditioned on their change. It is only unconditional love and acceptance that truly transform lives, even if they cannot change or choose not to change. Instead of hating them, let’s love them. Before trying to change them, let us first love them. If we have this kind of approach in our society we will be able to reach and help most if not all of gays and lesbians. Remember, let the change first begin in your heart.  
Call 242-327 1980 or write to Barrington H. Brennen, P.O. Box CB-10319, Nassau, Bahamas or barringtonbrennen@gmail.com



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