Ed Vitagliano of the American Family Association writes in this month’s edition of the AFA Journal that while he knows many people have “prayed endlessly for God to remove their same-sex attractions — to no avail,” that is because they simply haven’t called upon the power of God “to gain mastery over [their] impulses.”
Vitagliano cites “the reality of ‘ex-gay’ people” as proof that “there are clearly many who have left the lifestyle.”
He notes that while ex-gays have “reoriented their affections to the opposite sex,” nonetheless “temptation remains.”
The Bible makes clear that homosexual acts are sinful. Yet what about a same sex orientation apart from sexual activity? Is it also sinful?
The answer appears to be yes, just as a desire to fornicate is a sin. In Romans 1:26-27, Paul speaks of the homosexual’s “degrading passions” or desires themselves. He also mentions that they “burned in their desire toward one another” and then committed “indecent acts.”
Perhaps the person born blind will cry out to the Lord for a miracle, and sometimes God answers and heals. But if we are honest, most of the time God does not seem inclined – whatever the reason – to perform that miracle.
Likewise, countless people who self-identify as homosexual claim to have prayed endlessly for God to remove their same sex attractions – to no avail.
This is not the whole story, of course. Despite the media’s refusal to consider the reality of “ex-gay” people, there are clearly many who have left the lifestyle. While temptation remains, they have – by God’s grace – reoriented their affections to the opposite sex.
On the other hand, like the blind or paralyzed person who cries out to God for physical healing but does not receive it, Christians who still struggle with same sex attraction may find themselves similarly frustrated.
For some reason, God often responds to prayer requests as He did with Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). The battle goes on. The Christian must fight against his fallen nature as the Israelites fought against the continual encroachments of the Philistines.
What, then, do we say to the gay man and the lesbian? What are they to do with their brokenness? First, if they remain defiant in it, they will eternally perish. Yet this is no different than the drunkard or the fornicator or the liar or the idolater. All who remain in their rebellion are damned.
Can a person be a Christian and still struggle against same sex attractions? Yes. When we become followers of Christ, we continue to battle the flesh in all its permutations (Galatians 5:16-17). But we have the power of Christ on our side, and we are called to gain mastery over the impulses that have plagued us, even if the impulses themselves remain. Christ will lead us in victory if we will receive His grace daily and obey Him.