By: Kyle Thorp
Most people would describe puberty as a confusing time in their life. Dealing with social challenges and adjusting to physical changes is enough to cause a “normal” adolescent anxiety, heartache, and distress. Add to this the awakening of feelings for one’s own sex, and puberty becomes a horrific nightmare.
The earliest memories I have of attraction towards other men comes from the time I was about twelve years old. I barely understood what healthy sexuality looked like. The recurring thoughts I had about men with no clothes on absolutely terrified me. At the time, there seemed to be no place for me to share and try to process those thoughts. I felt helpless and alone.
If you are dealing with homosexual inclinations yourself, I’m certain you know exactly what I’m talking about. But it is not necessary for anyone to face this struggle alone. In fact, no one should.
To any young men and women experiencing attraction to the same sex for the first time, I offer the advice I wish I could give my younger self.
Share Your Struggle
Satan’s number one strategy is to isolate you by convincing you that no one understands your struggle. This will discourage you from seeking help from other Christians. I spent over a year struggling with the knowledge of my sexuality in secret. It was the loneliest year of my life. Thankfully, I eventually gave my burden to my parents. As difficult as that confession was (and you can read about that experience here), I found an intense release from the pressure and struggle I had been keeping to myself. Each time I have chosen to disclose my struggle, I have felt a stronger sense of empowerment.
Part of the church’s role is to enable believers to fight temptation together through confession, prayer, worship, and encouragement. We are urged to confess our sin to one another, and we should not treat homosexuality any differently from other sins. If you have no one to keep you accountable in your struggle against same-sex attraction, it is crucial that you find someone to confide in. Choose this person carefully. It should be someone mature in their faith, ideally a few years ahead of you in life. It may be a family member, friend, or pastor, anyone you trust and respect and (it should go without saying) not someone you feel attracted to, emotionally or physically. This conversation may be scary, but a true brother and sister in Christ will be able to forego judgment and respond in love.
Passages that helped me:
Be Very Careful What You Take In
We live in a culture that opposes the truth in many ways. It can be easy to seek comfort from the pain of your unusual struggle in the wrong places. Imagine a battle taking place for control of your mind. Everything you watch, every word you hear are all struggling for a bit of your attention. But the gospel empowers you to decide which thoughts will prevail. To maintain control, you must manage your mind’s input.
The stories we let in are the stories we believe, and the stories we watch are the stories we act out.
Be ready to do battle when using the internet. Use whatever tools are necessary to protect yourself from sites with suggestive or erotic content. Steer clear of anonymous chat rooms as well. It is no more possible for you to avoid every possible source of temptation than it is for me to list them all. But the more you fill your mind with godly things, the less power temptation will have over you. It may not disappear completely, but Jesus can teach you to overcome it.
Know God’s acceptance, not just the world’s
God’s grace kept me from any same-sex encounters, but I still need forgiveness for sinning through pornography, fantasy, and masturbation. Whatever your homosexual desires have led you to do, the same forgiveness is available to you. The Bible says that through Christ’s sacrifice our sin is erased. You may feel as if the thoughts you have had regarding your own sex disqualify you from receiving God’s grace and blessings, but those feelings are directly the opposite of the truth. They’re not true. Remember 1 Corinthians 6:9-11:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (ESV, emphasis mine)
No sin is as powerful as the grace of God. No action of sin is greater than His action of love. Know that you are forgiven. Live from that. Rest in that. Your same-sex attraction may feel like the worst thing in the world, but I believe that God can turn your experience into a gospel opportunity as he did for me. Jesus of all people knows what it feels like to be cast out, to feel alone, to feel rejected. Put your hope in Christ’s redeeming power and there really is nothing to fear.
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Kyle Thorp holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from Grove City College. He currently resides in Lynchburg, Virginia, where he is pursuing an MDiv at Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity and working part-time. He plans to enter full-time ministry after completing his degree.