Why Do People Fall Back into Homosexuality? Demandingness – 4 of 6
This six-part series is also available on our website, www.harvestusa.org/resources/articles/same-sex attraction and is on the print edition of our Winter Harvest News (just part one). But we love to get comments, so feel free to read John’s posts over the next several days and give us your comments!
A question that is asked here at Harvest USA is a common one. “Why do people, Christians even, go back to a gay life after they have come for help?” It’s a legitimate question. For Christians who believe the historic Word, the Scriptures, and believe that faith in Christ makes one a “new creation,” the issue may seem confusing, but the answer must be honest and biblically-grounded. Here is the 4th reason of 6 to explain what might be happening here, as we have seen some common denominators over the years in our ministry work.
This is a very subtle thing, but it is something significant that begins to characterize the heart of the struggler. How does it show up? In a variety of ways.
The most common way is the demand that feelings and attractions change, usually on the person’s own timetable. Sometimes months or years later a man will complain to us that he still feels strongly attracted to men, or a woman is still attracted to women. Our response is, “Why does that surprise you?” It would surprise us if they didn’t.
You see, if you spend years cultivating desires and acting on attractions, feeding temptations, it is perfectly understandable that one’s heart is still stirred by what has characterized his or her life. If a man or a woman has spent years looking at others in a way that diminishes the image of God in them, reducing others to what you can get from them, then that will be the first place their heart will turn to until they learn, steadily over time, to love others biblically. This is an important lesson to learn; else you will be surprised at the ferocity of the desires of the “old man” or “old woman.” It is in that context that a struggler can demand that God stop those attractional pulls/desires NOW, but they need to understand that there can be a number of reasons that cause this to still occur.
What else is going on here? One, there is a false idea of what healing means, and there is a lack of understanding of what it means to have the old (sinful) nature and the new (redeemed) nature be at war within you. The latter ignorance is to be vulnerably exposed to the wiles and schemes of the evil one, and that can lay a foundation of demandingness in the heart.
As for what healing is, there is confusion about, and sometimes a demand that God remove feelings and attractions for the same sex, while at the same time, cause feelings and attractions for the opposite sex. It has been our experience that God doesn’t bring one out of a general lust for the same sex and into a general lust for the opposite sex. Rather, as one begins to have an understanding of, acceptance of and appreciation of who they are in their true sexual identity, they can begin to experience a lessening of same-sex attraction over time. What may also occur is an attraction for someone of the opposite sex (not generalized but specific toward one person with whom they are in relationship). But it is important to note that the ability to walk in obedience and to experience a sense of the wholeness of Christ can occur whether or not one ever develops sexual attraction for the opposite sex.
At times during their initial interviews, when someone is asked why they came to Harvest USA, we’ll get this response: “I want to be like everyone else. I want to be married and have a traditional family.” We tell them that, while that is a noble and good goal to have, it cannot be the reason for their being here. Why not? Because, invariably, when feelings don’t change and these expectations don’t materialize in the person’s timetable, they will grow disillusioned and want to give up. Often underneath this is the demand: “God, you better come through for me! Look how much I have given up for you!”