Unfortunately, hating our sins doesn't come naturally to most of us. In fact, one reason we struggle so much with certain sins - especially those of the flesh - is that we actually love them. Even when our sins present obstacles that block our achieving our long term objectives for life, not many of us can say that we really hate them. Perhaps, if we did - either for God's sake or for our own - we would gain an advantage in resisting them.
If we take a frank and honest look at homosexuality especially male homosexuality - I believe we can move in the direction of developing such a healthy hatred - a hatred not of ourselves or of those caught in homosexuality, but of the practice and the images that are essential elements of homosexuality.
The first fact that Scripture reveals about mankind is that we were created in the image of God. Secondly, God's Word declares that we were created male and female. Thus, there is a wonderful way in which some of us reflect the image of God in our manhood and others reflect His image in their womanhood. The two sexes reflect the glory of God in different ways; ways that are equal in value, but quite different in nature and function.
For this reason, male and female homosexuality are different. Both distort God's perfect plan for complementarity and union between a man and a woman, but they do it in different ways. Male homosexual behavior, while no more sinful than lesbian behavior seems to introduce a far more radical distortion of our roles as bearers of the image of God. Perhaps this is why Scripture mentions male homosexual behavior six times, but lesbianism only once. Perhaps this is why intuitively in our culture and in many others people react more strongly against male than against female homosexuality. This article will focus primarily on male homosexuality.
I believe that any man who is seeking to grow out of homosexuality and into true manhood can move the process forward if he starts to understand how his homosexual behavior and fantasies degrade his image of himself as a man, and how this hinders his growth. To gain such understanding, we need to look at some history and at a fundamental characteristic of male homosexuality.
Historically, male homosexuality was never a matter of equality or mutuality. It always involved the stronger, active one (the inserter) and the weaker or passive one (the one who received the other man orally or anally). Thus, homosexual behavior would involve a man and a boy (the ancient Greeks), a conquering warrior and his captive (the ancient Persians) older boys being serviced by younger boys (certain tribes in New Guinea) or masters and slaves and so on.
The concept of equality and mutuality in homosexual behavior is quite recent, having developed within the lifetimes of many of us who were homosexually active 40 or 50 years ago. It emerged as the focus of homosexuality shifted from the perception of "what I do" to "who I am." Gay writer Gabriel Rotello in his recent book, Sexual Ecology, points out that most older homosexual men can remember the time when the object of most homosexual pursuit was a straight or straight appearing man, a man for whom he could play the passive homosexual role. I know that this is true from my own memories and I have verified it by asking others of my age and older.
|When a man engages in homosexual behavior or when he dwells in the fantasies of submitting himself sexually to another man, he desecrates that which God created in His image|
It is not surprising, knowing the nature of male homosexuality, that most homosexual men prefer the passive role. Even at this time when the image the gay community tries to portray is of two men or two women in a loving relationship that parallels heterosexual mutuality, the overwhelming attraction is towards the man who embodies male strength and dominance. Although, of course there are exceptions, a look at gay literature, a glance at the ads in a gay paper, the numerical preponderance of masochists over sadists in the S and M element of homosexuality, all reveal the prevailing passive tendency among male homosexuals.
To see why the prevailing passive role of male homosexuality is ultimately a degradation of manhood, we need to look at the fundamental nature of manhood. The concept of manhood is inseparable from the concept of a type of strength that is distinctly masculine. (There is a different kind of strength in womanhood). The words "strong" and man" just go together. This is because manhood or the masculine embodies strength, initiation, prevailing, conquering, authority, protecting. In contrast, male homosexuality, in its most common form just described embodies response, submission, obeying, being controlled or protected.
Several years ago in Regeneration News we ran a picture taken at the April, 1993 national gay march in Washington, DC. We got a little heat for running it, but I felt then, as I do now, that the picture captured the dark, degradation of manhood than runs through male homosexuality. The picture was of a skinny little man wearing what appeared to be a Nazi cap strutting along with a leash in his hand. Trailing behind, at the other end of the leash, was a larger muscular shirtless man. He was handcuffed and the leash was attached to a dog collar around his neck. The article which the picture accompanied declared that homosexuality was "an evil that must be resisted." It was addressed to the church.
This article is addressed to the Christian man who is seeking to overcome homosexuality. The message is similar. Male homosexuality is a degradation of manhood. Mankind (male and female) is the glory of God's creation. When a man engages in homosexual behavior or when he dwells in the fantasies of submitting himself sexually to another man, he desecrates that which God created in His image.
The men to whom we minister, by and large, long to feel like they are men, to have a deep inner sense of their manhood. This is a subtle thing. How we feel about ourselves is affected by many things, some of them quite deep in our subconscious: events of our past, self-talk, how others react to us, our accomplishments and failures, and our imaginations. A man who habitually pictures himself in a passive sexual relationship with another man, or worse yet, one who engages is such behavior, is constantly reinforcing the image of himself as one who is passive, submissive, weak; in other words one who is less than a man.
Breaking from this kind of thinking can be extremely difficult. In our fallenness many of us have a strange tendency to want to lead lives that reflect our inner images of ourselves, even when that image is of a person who is frequently subject to pain or rejection. This is why some women who have been abused seem repeatedly to walk into situations in which abuse is apt to occur again. Often people who have suffered from rejection set themselves up for further rejection. Perhaps this gives them an identity, perverse though it may be, when otherwise they would feel that they had no identity at all.
To break from an identity of being a man whose purpose is to service another man in a degrading way is possible. Let me suggest how you might go about it.
First, we need to focus on man (mankind) as the glory of God's creation. Despite our individual fallenness and failings, we were created to be something noble and glorious, something truly reflecting the image of the Father. In Christ, the manifestation of this reflection is possible for each of us. For those who know Jesus, it is our ultimate destiny. God is at work making us sons. The process is going on right now.
Then, we need to focus on the ugliness of those things that we would do in our perversion. We contemplate how such things desecrate our manhood, how they rob us of what is to be rightfully ours. We repent of engaging in those fantasies and behaviors. And then whenever they want to recur, we declare strongly, that this is not who we are; that we are men created to be strong and noble, men who are bearers of the image of God. As the Holy Spirit leads, this may be declared to God, spoken to ourselves or shouted at Satan, the one who would destroy our manhood. We need to and can nurture a real hatred for those things that would take this manhood away from us.
In prayer, we can picture ourselves as sons of the Most High God, receiving from Him a magnificent robe that is our manhood. Wearing that robe, God will sustain us in our manhood. "For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship." (Romans 8:15)
Live in this sonship and hate anything that would try to take it away from you. To God be the glory in our manhood.
The gay gene is back in the news. For years it has been sort of a holy grail sought by the mass media and gay activist groups, a solid, scientific proof that homosexuality is hard-wired into certain individuals. If this is so, then those who struggle with homosexuality can't change; they are just made that way - or at least that is the argument.
But suddenly the water is being muddied by the very researcher who in 1993 claimed to have found what came to be called the "gay gene." Dean Hamer, a scientist at the National Cancer Institute, claimed that a small bit of DNA on the X chromosome was the link to male homosexuality. The results of his study were published in Science in 1993, and Nature Genetics in 1995.
The study was widely reported by the mass media at the time. Less widely reported was the fact that a colleague of Hamer's who worked with him on the study accused him of arbitrarily selecting data that would force the desired results. I many case, those results have never been replicated, a fact hat Hamer himself acknowledges. Now Hamer's research has taken a different turn according to an article in the December 26 edition of the Washington Times. In a book to be published in March he claims his continuing research has shown that lesbianism is "culturally transmitted and not inherited." In the book, Living With Our Genes, he says: "If these results hold up under further testing, it would appear that whatever is being transmitted to lesbians is fundamentally different from what is transmitted to gay men."
What are we to make of this? Can there really be this much fundamental difference between the sexes as relates to homosexuality? It is hard to imagine, and the science is pretty thin. Hamer does cite research done in Australia by Nicholas Martin, a behavioral geneticist, and J. Michael Bailey, a Northwestern University psychologist, which "suggests female sexual identification is more a matter of environment than heredity."
Scientific investigation of this sort is not without merit, but until a result can be corroborated by others scientists, working independently, it is really of little value. Hamer's credibility has certainly been called into question by his "gay gene" study. Is there reason to accept subsequent work without asking some serious questions?
Some would say it doesn't really matter, but as long as serious research is being done to determine whether there is a genetic component in Homosexuality, those of us who minister to homosexual strugglers have to pay attention. Proof positive of a genetic link would not really change our attitude toward homosexuality. There are plenty of hereditary traits that are neither good nor desirable. It would, however, change our approach in ministering to those seeking help. At this point we seem to be looking at lots of opinions and not much valid science.
We have sought to keep our Regeneration News readers informed of these various studies over time, and we will continue to do so in the future.
Regeneration News is published monthly by Regeneration, Inc., a nonprofit tax exempt Christian ministry associated with Exodus International-- North America. We seek to bring God's healing to homosexuals and to help the Body of Christ in reaching Out to those caught in homosexuality. Permission is granted to churches and ministries to photocopy or reprint for non-commercial purposes any article from this newsletter. Abridgments or modifications of articles do require prior approval by Regeneration. Regeneration News is sent without charge to those who request It. Our continued operation is entirely dependent on contributions, and we appreciate any financial help from our subscribers. For further information write: Regeneration, RD. Box 9830, Baltimore, MD 2 1284-9830. (410) 661-0284 (703) 591-HOPE. s
February 14, 1998
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