Frequently, individuals who have found freedom from homosexuality are

confronted with charges that they are simply suppressing or repressing

their true sexuality. The assertion is that we really need to accept

ourselves as we are; that we should learn to be at peace with our

homosexuality. Let us look at this charge and see if it will hold up.

Although they are similar, suppression and repression are two separate

psychological phenomena. Suppression is a conscious act wherein the person

refuses to acknowledge, deal with, or work through a certain situation.

There are times in everyone's life when suppression is a positive step to

take. Typically, it is best to suppress actions when someone "makes us

angry." Then one can develop a healthy plan to work through the feelings.

Suppression is a positive step when it is followed by working through the

situation. Suppression can be an excellent tool when one is confronted

with anger, tragedy, or upon learning unacceptable details about a loved

one's life, such as involvement with the cults or homosexuality. Through

suppression, an individual is able to work through the initial shock,

taking care of immediate needs. He can then prepare a loving response

instead of merely reacting.

Suppression can become repression when buried anger is no longer

acknowledged. At that point, anger is transformed into bitterness. When

an individual refuses to proceed through the grieving process, suppressed

grief becomes repressed grief, preventing a return to normalcy.

Repression, then, is an unconscious act whereby the individual refuses to

acknowledge, deal with, or work through a certain situation.

Repressed Emotions Leak Sideways

Webster defines repression as a "process by which unacceptable desires or

impulses are excluded from the conscious mind and left to operate in the

unconscious." Homosexual desires or impulses are generally seen as

unacceptable when a person is becoming aware of them. Even though an

individual may be aware of these impulses, he can continue to refuse to

consciously deal with them, leaving them to plague his unconscious being.

It is at this point that repression can take it's toll.

Sometimes repression will have outward manifestations in the physical

realm, such as: ulcers, frequent colds, physical disorders and accidents.

There are other manifestations too. We don't know if King David was

suppressing or repressing but he definitely felt the effects of unconfessed

sin. He talked about these effects in his confession of adultery with


When I kept silent (suppression or repression), my bones wasted away

through all my groaning all day long, for day and night your hand was heavy

upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer

(Psalm 32:3,4 NIV).

David may have been able to hide his sin for a while, but the results of

his unwillingness to acknowledge it, whether conscious or not, leaked out

sideways through physical pain, sickness, and deep depression.

From what we have learned, suppression leading to repression, and

repression of homosexual desires, is an unhealthy approach to use. And

will it work? Absolutely not! When homosexual desires are only suppressed

and then repressed, the individual will continually be plagued with

homophobia -- the fear of homosexuals, homosexuality, or the fear of being

a homosexual. This fear will immobilize a person or prevent him from

working through the situation. If not dealt with, the repressed homosexual

desires and impulses can lead a person to such extremes as despair and

suicide. 1/

Secondly, repression is a form of immaturity. That is, a refusal to

acknowledge, deal with, or work through a situation. It may be easier to

remain immature, but in so doing, one cannot be whole, i.e., "becoming the

person God created me to be."

Our conclusion can only be that if the change has occurred, it must be

something other than suppressing or repressing unacceptable homosexual

desires and impulses. To change means to make or become different. If

these changes have occurred, then there should be observable differences.

Facing Fears

One of the aspects of the change process relates to self-esteem, or self-

worth. 2/ For many individuals, they begin to realise that in and of

themselves -- that is, apart from the family name, occupation, feats

accomplished, or personal attributes -- they have worth because they are in

the "image of God" and are important to Him. Their self-worth is


This realization leads to a freedom to explore fear-producing situations in

relationships. Repression would be the refusal to explore. Change should

bring with it the courage not to run away from fear-producing

relationships, such as friendship with a heterosexual male (a common

threatening relationship to those whose masculine self-image does not

"measure up"),or a relationship with a man who provokes homosexual


Another aspect of the change process is beginning to identify, within the

confines of fear-producing relationships, the dynamics that draw one to

members of the same sex and often, subsequently, repel one away.

If homosexuality is primarily a failure to bond with members of the same

sex, and this lack of bonding results in same-sex ambivalence and emotional

dependency on members of the same gender, then the ability to stand still

in a relationship and examine the hazards and the advantages would be of

immense help.

This can't be done without a sense of purpose and personhood. Accepting

the concept of a legitimate same-sex love need, as Dr. Moberly talks about

in her book, Homosexuality: A New Christian Ethic, 3/ can go a long way

to breaking patterns of bondage.

The lifting of guilt and shame regarding the need for love and acceptance

from members of the same sex is a significant breakthrough. But it can

never come about by the suppression of one's sexual impulses. So it's at

this point that one can bring to light the undesired or unacceptable

homosexual impulses and examine them for what they really are.

As the change process continues, there will result a new freedom to relate

intimately with the opposite sex. This can only flow when one is

comfortable with being the person God created him or her to be. The

foundation must first be laid in the examination of same-sex relationships.

The leap to opposite sex-relating, can all too often ignore the troublesome

dynamics that create the fear that leads us to suppressing and repressing

our sexual drives.

The result of repression is a continual refusal to examine undesirable

impulses. The results of true change are the courage to examine and

explore the undesirable impulses and the ability to deal with them

according to the guide-lines in Scripture.

-- Douglas A Houck



1/ Homosexuality: Laying The Axe to the Roots, Ed Hurst, 1980: OUTPOST,

1821 University Ave. S., #296, St. Paul, MN 55104.

2/ "The Four Stages of Healing," Doug Houck, Metanoia Ministries

3/ Homosexuality: A New Christian Ethic, Dr. Elizabeth Moberly. Attic

Press, Greenwood, SC, 1983.



For further information about homosexuality or about other areas of sexual

brokenness, please contact:


G.P.O. Box 1115


Phone (08) 371 0446


This article is reprinted by permission from

Metanoia Ministries

P O Box 33039

Seattle WA 98133-0039



Database Listing - Ministry To Homosexuals.
Christian Resources on Homosexuality on the web

These documents are free from
the complete christian resource site with more than 5000 webpages.