A Party For The Prodigal
Many parents, friends and church people have the mistaken notion that
homosexual men and women are "out there", cruising the notorious gay
districts or picketing city hall over gay rights. Certainly,the vocal
minority is present in these places, but the reality is that the majority
who experience homosexuality are "in the closet". Many are hidden in the
conservative Christian church.
These men and women lead quiet lives marked by outstanding service to the
parish or fellowship to which they belong. They are regarded as great
family people. Many are married and their family life appears orderly to
those who know them. They are the proverbial "pillars of the church".
They do not seem to fit a stereotype of any kind. The women are not
necessarily "masculinised", nor the men "feminised". In short, unless they
told you, you would never know that they struggle in any way with
homosexuality. It is highly unlikely that they would share it either.
Although they believe that homosexual behaviour is sin, and control their
behaviour to a great extent, these brothers and sisters (for they do
confess Christ as their Saviour) feel powerless over their feelings of need
for sexual and/or emotional closeness to someone of the same sex. Even if
homosexual behaviour is not a part of their lives, they lead double lives,
fearful of discovery and possible expulsion from the church and rejection
by friends and family. Yet they are dying to be known and cared for in
spite of their problems.
They would like to be free, but they don't know how. They've been praying
to God for years to be released from their homosexual struggles, and many,
in despair, have finally given up and given in, leaving the church for the
streets or for a church that preaches the heresy of pro-gay Christianity.
Others have opted to stay in the fellowship of their childhoods, hiding the
fact that their theology has changed, and they now accept themselves as
Fear of rejection has ruled their lives for so long that to survive they've
learned how to fit in. Like many Christians who actually participate in
sin, yet ignore it, they've learned how not to give themselves away.
Transparency, though much touted by those who teach "radical Christianity"
is not an affordable commodity when personal emotional survival depends on
what others think of you.
This is true of non-sin issues as well. If it's difficult for believers to
admit that they drink in moderation, watch "Dynasty", smoke, go to the
movies or enjoy rock 'n roll music, how likely is it that anyone is going
to confess to sexual sin? We generally don't want to admit to a variety of
things because we don't want our spirituality brought into question or face
possible expulsion from "the club".
How else do we keep secrets? Christians seem to have a hard time
requesting prayer for personal matters of any kind. In weekly prayer
meetings how often are prayers solicited for a brother with cancer, a
friend who is out of a job, but never for personal conflicts at work or at
home, or the fact that rent is due soon and there's no money? Do we as
Christians really believe that we shouldn't have problems? That life
should be trouble-free?
In calling believers to repentance in regard to homosexuality, we touch a
group that doubts whether it will be dealt with in mercy, as God would,
because there is little evidence that the Body is willing to be open in
general about hidden areas of its lives. Why should those with homosexual
backgrounds stand alone and naked, exposed to gossip and criticism?
On a sin scale of 1 to 10, most of us hardly confess to sins that only rank
a 1 or a 2. If, in the eyes of the church, your sin, or even potential to
sin, ranks a 13, would you really stand forth and proclaim it?
Heterosexual sin is rampant in the Body of Christ. I don't mean the
"biggies" like a pastor's adultery so much as attitudes that condone mutual
masturbation between engaged couples, the same behaviour that homosexual
men and women engage in. It's accepted practice because it's not "going
all the way", and "after all, they'll be married soon".
Sexual fantasy is winked at since we know that to be a red-blooded American
male (and female!) means that "these things happen" and it's not worth
getting excited about. Yet, Jesus gives us the example of even thinking of
committing adultery is the same as doing it. (Matthew 5:28).
Politically, there seems to be a much louder outcry about getting
homosexual men and women out of the school system when, statistically,
heterosexual teachers are as involved or more so in molesting students.
There's a double standard that makes homosexual sin worse than heterosexual
sin. There's another standard that teaches us not to rock the boat by
admitting to mistakes, errors, indiscretions of any kind, thereby forcing
us all to confront our flawed selves, our real selves, the impoverished,
selfish, frightened selves we really are.
To combat the wrongs, a common practice is to ever more loudly proclaim the
evil nature of sin, using sensational language; words like "vile",
"disgusting", and "abomination", particularly in regards to homosexual sin.
Gossip is referred to as an abomination in Proverbs 6:16, but how often
does anyone get over-wrought about this sin which can effectively murder
someone as deftly as a stiletto to the ribs?
The problem is not that anyone doubts that sin is sin. The problem is that
we doubt whether forgiveness will really be granted or that afterwards we
will be able to maintain enough of an unblemished walk to prove ourselves
worthy of having been forgiven in the first place.
Teaching grace and mercy makes many conservative leaders worried that it
will be taken to mean license to sin. For fear they will seem "soft" on
sin, they turn the volume up on the lectures and go on to cover up their
own lives more thoroughly to prove that "being good" can be done. "If I
can do it, so can you."
The Prodigal Son -
Wouldn't you think that after all these years and the apparent failure of
this line of thought to effect true transformation that someone might have
been pragmatic enough to try something different. How about, after someone
has repented, throwing a party?
If your pastor got involved sexually with a woman in your congregation, and
both repented, wouldn't it be different to go to a big dinner where
everyone brought a plate, to laugh and make toasts with ginger ale & fruit
punch and talk openly about the model of the prodigal son returning to his
loving father who killed the fatted calf for him?
Can you imagine sending press releases to area churches for inclusion in
their Sunday bulletin regarding the celebration and it's cause? Can't you
just see the district superintendent with his arm around the pastor,
If we really believe that Jesus died for our sins, that we even now still
sin and are in need of pleading the Blood, maybe we could be a little more
generous with those who struggle with issues they want help with, but
despair over. Unfortunately, it would appear that most Christian don't
really believe in the Atonement, the action God took in sending Jesus to
bear the sins of the world, past, present, and future.
Most of us still work for the love of God, work for our salvation from sin.
Acting good, or merely refraining from doing the "bad" things, is how we
prove we are worthy of His love and the love of the Body. It's error to
think this. As Doug Houck has pointed out, before the Protestant
Reformation, celibacy was regarded as the greatest self-work of that age.
Then Martin Luther came along to say that justification was by faith and
changed, or should have changed, our viewpoint.
Those who struggle with homosexuality, who want help or think they might,
go begging. They beg from the gay Christian church, the pro-gay political
groups, to those tolerant people of all persuasions who will accept them as
they are. We lose them and damn them to a life without hope of change, and
all because we don't believe that God knows our frame, that we are but
dust, and has made provision for us to accept our fallenness and find
release. (Psalm 103:10-14).
It will be those redeemed homosexual men and women who will lead the way to
wholeness and right belief in our relationship to Jesus and our place in
the Kingdom. Those who have struggled alone, with Jesus as their only
strength, know love, forgiveness and healing in a way those of us who have
always "been good" do not know it.
For further information about homosexuality or about other areas of sexual
brokenness, please contact:
LOVE IN ACTION
G.P.O. Box 1115
ADELAIDE SA 5001
Phone (08) 371 0446
This article is reprinted by permission from
P O Box 33039
Seattle WA 98133-0039
MINISTRY TO HOMOSEXUALS
Database Listing - Ministry To
Christian Resources on Homosexuality on the web
These documents are free from BelieversCafe.com
the complete christian resource site with more than 5000 webpages.