When it comes to same-sex attraction or gender issues, Christians spend a majority of their time debating the right and wrong positions on the matter. This I understand, because oftentimes, a decline of moral standard can occur when people do nothing. Yet at the same time, there are critical things being missed within the cause of upholding moral standards.
What I find missing today in the discussion is why people are actually having these struggles to begin with.
Because this is not occurring on a larger scale, it creates two major problems:
1. We give no insight to the struggles.
We simply tell people it’s wrong and make that the predominant emphasis. This brings little personal change to people’s lives. Rarely is someone deeply changed from solely being told their lifestyle is wrong. There must be more substance to the dialogue. There must also be love and compassion for the whole person that goes beyond our focus on the moral argument. In addition, we need to carry an ability to listen, understand and provide actual understanding to what is really going on.
2. There is no real help we can offer for those who actually want to change.
What happens when someone says, “Ok, I need help.” Many times the response of believers is simply, “Pray about it,” which is Christianize for “get over it as soon as possible.” This is what often makes us look foolish when Christians talk about same sex issues and gender confusion in culture.
I have personally had a number of people come to my seminars or personal coaching sessions who had battles with their sexual identity. They often lived in a personal hell. They were shamed by well meaning believers and yet gained little help of substance to walk through the internal battle they were facing.
It aches my heart how much Christianity gives cliche answers with no substance for victory. It makes me cringe how much damage we can add to an already broken world.
Giving Insights with Love
I have spoken on the issue of same sex attraction and gender confusion with people who had those issues going on in attendance. They never felt shamed. Did I ignore the issue? Did I tiptoe around it? Absolutely not. But nowhere in the dialogue where’s there a shaming over the issue. Why? Because my heart is to see people healed and I cannot accomplish that if people of all struggles do not feel loved and safe.
But we also need to address the root issues of the struggle and continually talk through what health looks like. Even in love and safety, we need to have something healthy to say when addressing these very real battles that face a lot more people than you realize.
If you are a church attender, odds are someone you’ve sat next to has had these things crossing their mind and you didn’t even know it. So it’s important that we walk through personal transformation regarding how we present ourselves to those who are dealing with same-sex attraction and gender identity issues.
Getting to the Root
If we don’t get to the root of these battles, people will continue to carry these struggles, often in a secret shame. Just telling people something is wrong is not acceptable. We need to carry insights on walking free. It further torments people if we tell them something is wrong but provide very shallow answers for freedom.
One of the key points for healing is to get to the “why” on this issue. I am saddened that Christians spend very little time praying about why people are battling same sex and gender issues in growing numbers. We’ve failed to do our job if we cannot speak to the hearts of people regarding why they do the things they do.
Here are some very important areas we need to be aware of:
1. The Lack of True Fathering
When I talk about fatherlessness, I am speaking to more than just a physical absence of a father. I am even talking about fathers who are even physically in the home, but have not spiritually and emotionally fathered the children. I am also speaking to the lack of healthy male mentors and spiritual fathers in our generation. This plague of fatherlessness has spawned masses of gender and sexual orientation confusion.
When it comes to masculinity and femininity, the father is the one who helps affirm and reinforce identity in his child’s life. There is no more powerful voice and presence than of the father when it comes to investing in the identity of our children. A boy learns how to be a man through his relationship with his father. A daughter learns how to process a relationship with a man by how she related to her father.
A father tells us who we are and reinforces this by how he father’s us. Many dads have been conditioned to think kids will just figure everything out themselves, or they rely on their wives to cover these issues. Yet it is his God given role to establish healthy identity in the home. Millions of people are experiencing the ramifications coming from a lack of true fathering in their life.
This does not diminish the power of a mother’s voice or her role in any way. My point is to bring to light the need for a father’s voice, love and leadership on a regular basis to the household.
The major root issue connected to same sex and identity struggles in today’s culture is the lack of a father’s presence and leadership investment in the home. The focus for a father for many years has been to provide income, with little training and emphasis about how he needs to relationally invest in his home every day. There is also very little training on how to be an active leader in the home, so he therefore lives from a predominantly passive posture.
Men can often seek relational intimacy from another man that they never gained from their relationship with their father. The emotional void turns to a sexual attraction to find what the heart is missing. Women can look for an emotional connection from a woman that she did not receive from her father, or a healthy man in general.
2. The Sexual Confusion Link to the Leadership Confusion in the Home
If you were to survey most homes, in an in depth manner, you will find the majority of them have a dynamic where the mother is in a more active spiritual leadership role than the father is. God created a safe leadership structure where the man is to lead the home, as he is submitted to Christ and the Father. A true matriarchal leader can only lead when he is first submitted to the work of Christ in His heart, as he experiences the covering power of Father God.
That is what male leadership means in the home—covering. He creates a safe atmosphere where everyone feels protected and safe to grow and develop. The covering creates a spiritual protection that keeps a spirit of confusion from having an influence.
Most people do not know what healthy male leadership looks like. The topic can make some people uncomfortable, because their reference is dysfunctional. But healthy male leadership is empowering and freeing for all involved. A man first leads through initiating growth in his own life and then by initiating healthy decision for the family.
A man cannot be fully shown how to be a man through female relationships. Masculinity is bestowed through a man’s relationship with his father. A man must lead his sons into stages of what it means to be a man. Leaving a male to figure this out on his own, can be a prescription for disaster.
Even though a woman needs mentoring from a mother on what it means to be a female, the father brings confirmation to who she is through how he relates to her. Many women can struggle with being more masculine, because her feminine beauty was not called out and affirmed.
When true leadership is absent in the home, the wife will step into carrying both male and female leadership responsibilities. This allows for a disruption in the designed order of the home, thus allowing for realms of confusion to trickle into the lives of the children.
3. A House Divided
Order in the home involves healthy leadership structure, but also unity in the oneness of the marriage bond. A house divided cannot stand, nor can it effectively carry out the power of covenant in the home.
When Melissa and I got married, we recognized that we carried a work of division between males and females in our generations. Most people do. We worked diligently to repent of that and drive out the wedge that keeps us from loving each other and working together to lead our home effectively.
My wife is a strong leader and me being the primary leader in the home actually empowers my wife’s leadership to a greater level. Yet we could not shift to a healthy order without first addressing the division that would seek to prevent us from living in powerful covenant.
Modern culture has made marriages that live as roommates an acceptable norm. This plague has bothered the incoming generation, who has opted out of marriage to pursue the practice of cohabitation. Making covenant has become less important, because the modeled framework was more frightening than inviting.
More and more parents are not getting married, while many married couples live on a plateau in their commitment to each other. Our children have often witnessed disorder, disunity and lack of order in the structure of the home. This context welcomes confusion in mass effect.
God is not the author of confusion, but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33). He created the home structure to be one that protects the family from threats against His peace. The same sex attraction and gender discussion is more than a personal breakdown of an individual’s sexual preference, it is revealing the breakdown of our overall family structure.
The investment of health in the home has been neglected by Christians and non-Christians alike. Working, achieving and personal brokenness have kept us from guarding and investing into our homes as a high priority.
The confusion does not just impact personal identity or sexual orientation. It has an effect on brain health, mental development and social effectiveness. I believe the rise of developmental delays, learning disabilities and even many mental illness factors spawn from the confusion that has broken into our generations.
4. The Longing for Intimacy
Same sex attraction brings out what the heart truly longs for—intimacy. This intimacy has not been filled in the proper context, so it looks for a counterfeit source for fulfillment. When a man becomes sexually attracted to another man, what he really longs for is a healthy emotional connection with another male, but satan has now perverted it. The enemy always takes a valid need and adds a counterfeit twist to it; stealing the beauty of what a healthy relationship could really be.
Growing up in my life, two guys hugging was often joked about as being “gay.” Men sharing feelings was absent. The relational dynamic of David and Jonathan in the Bible was a foreign concept. Even in the Gospels, John, the beloved disciple of Jesus, was recorded as laying his head on the chest of our Savior. This was not sexual nor inappropriate. This was an honest and pure expression of connection that has been lost over the centuries. Most today would immediately put a label of homosexuality on any kind of exchange like that. Our references have been distorted.
I personally know of many men who avoided getting close to other men because they feared engaging inappropriately. What they needed was a healthy intimacy from another man, but it was absent from their life and especially their father. Other men had little to offer. The only environment that offered connection was in a same sex attraction context.
In high school, we read the sonnets of William Shakespeare, most of which were written to a man. The boys in class all immediately assumed Shakespeare was gay, mainly because there was zero reference in them of one man communicating appropriate love to another man in a healthy context. In their minds, men play together, work together and drink together. They do not share emotional connection together. If they attempted to, they were seen as weird.
So therefore, great opportunities for healthy connection are stolen because of our lack of healthy references. A mentor becomes sexually inappropriate with a young person. Two coworkers cross the line and affairs take place. A healthy connection between two people becomes perverted because there is little reference for pure connection in a healthy context. Even as a parent, I have to be on watch constantly of the motives and intentions of people with my children. What could be amazing connections get stolen.
So Where Do We go From Here?
There’s no condemnation in this subject. So if you have this issue in your family, there is no need to point fingers, blame or accuse. This is the time to sober assessment and reconstruction. Now more than ever, our Father in heaven needs to be welcomed into the fabric of our homes to restore relational connection. Instead of being busy with lots of activity, lets get busy with authentic sharing and connection. Instead of preaching and lecturing, let’s spend our time creating safe environments for people to work through their battles and grow in truth. The hard work of restoring God’s order begins in each of our own homes.
Restoring the father’s heart is the end times message. Malachi’s prophecy still echoes to this day and is true now more than ever. The healing of the land involves the restoration of the father’s heart to the sons, while the sons also restore themselves to the father.
5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet
Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
6 And he will turn
The hearts of the fathers to the children,
And the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.
(Malachi 4:5-6 NKJV)
This post may cause more questions than answers. What factors do you think are helpful in addressing this subject?