How can we overcome our own homophobia?
Homophobia is not cool
When we deal with the gay issue, we're wrestling with deeply ingrained homophobia inculcated in us by society, which in some gays, has become self-loathing.
The only way to correct the false beliefs we were taught growing up is to recognize them as false, reject them as lies and embrace Biblical truth.
People self-identify as their gender, race, religion (Methodist, Baptist, etc), education, cultural background or even their social class. Yet according to Galatians 3:28, those distinctions do not matter in Christ. Once we believe on Jesus Christ and get saved, those distinctions should not rule our lives. As Christians, we are part of the family of God, we are "in Christ," and that is the most important thing about us.
We can chose to allow others to define us, for example, (the haters say: if you're gay, God hates you and you can't serve God) or we can define ourselves as God defines born again believers: beloved, part of the family of God, already seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, Ephesians 2:6.
We are commanded: Be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, Romans 12:1-2. Renewing our mind, rejecting whatever mental programming was false, is not something that happens automatically.
It happens as we read, believe, obey and study the Bible in context. God doesn't want us to live according to our own belief system. We have the indwelling Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth, John 16:13 so that we can obey God. Only by knowing the written word of God can we view ourselves as God views us.
What the anti-gay crowd teaches is poison to the soul. If we allow them to define us, then we will view ourselves as immoral sex-crazed drug-abusing alcohol-addled Christ-rejecting perverts, hated by God and unworthy of God's love. That is not a healthy way to view ourselves.
We don't eat rotten food or knowingly drink arsenic because we have too much common sense to live that way. Yet when we allow the anti-gay crowd to define us, when we internalize their hatred for us, we begin to hate ourselves.
I embrace everything the Bible says about me, in context. I reject every attempt by the anti-gay crowd to rip verses out of context and then insist that the out of context verses mean that God hates me.
When someone uses the clobber passages to clobber us, we need to step back and think it through instead of immediately assuming they are right. Common sense tells us that rape and a loving sexual relationship are not the same. Both involve sexual activity but rape is vicious, violent, mean-spirited. Love is kind, gentle, loving. That explains the Sodom story.
Common sense tells us that pagan worship and anal sex to worship the fertility goddess is not the same as a loving relationship between two people. Loving relationships include mutual emotional, physical, psychological, romantic and spiritual interaction. That explains Lev 18:22 & 20:13 and Rom 1:26-27 and 1 Cor 6:9 & 1 Tim 1:10.
We are the only ones who can decide who gets to live in our head. If we allow them to, the anti-gay crowd will live in our head, will constantly condemn us and will infect us with their poison. Or we can kick them out and go with what the Bible says, in context. Whenever I am confronted with their vicious context-ignoring verse twisting, I renew my decision not to give them free space in my head.
I always affirm, believe, obey, practice and trust what the Bible says in context. That is just common sense for every disciple of Jesus Christ. But no one has the right to rip verses out of context and then use the out of context verses to heap false condemnation on us. Scripture tells us:
"Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." Galatians 5:1.
I hope this is helpful Amy. Keep reading, keep believing God (but ignore the folks who put you down) and the Holy Spirit will bring you to a place of peace and joy in the Lord, Galatians 5:16.
And yes, community is important. It helps to have Christians to fellowship with who do not put you down, who do not badger you about being a lesbian. You may find a gay affirming church in your area by using the resources on our Find a Gay Church
Amy's original email:
Hi Rick: Your website is very thorough and by far the best information I have read. I just got your book as well. It is also unique in what you call a "conservative" view of the Bible. I know every conceivable question is answered on your site and I have read it and reread it (I promise).
When you have struggled your whole life and then come to the end of the rope, it's difficult to just take a book or website at face value. You know, as you say, it is important to have christian fellowship. The problem has been, that it may be impossible for someone like me, where I live, to find christian fellowship when I am no longer willing to put myself among people who are disgusted by me, among other issues the "church" has which are many.
One of the issues that I think is unique to your site and that you spend much more time and detail addressing is the issue of Adam and Eve. I understand completely what you have said and I have read it completely. Where I am stuck is not so much the biblical knowledge and context but rather the heart of the issue. I understand what you have said and researched and I think it's completely sound and reasonable.
And I understand God was interested in multiplication at the time, etc., although that doesn't really explain why God created men and women to multiply instead of two women for instance. God is God, right? It just seems to me that the obvious issue of what God originally created, is what God values overall, and the way people have lived after the fall, whether then or now, bears no resemblance to God's original creation, polygamy included.
I never thought God blessed polygamy but rather blessed people. I differentiate those two issues. I don't think because God blessed people involved in polygamy that God is in favor of polygamy. Can you speak to that? And I do know that you address polygamy quite extensively on your site. So it isn't an issue of questioning the context or your correct knowledge of events.
I do understand and respect that you are imploring people to study and read. I realize that isn't your idea but a biblical one as well. However, it isn't realistic that all people are going to be able to do your level of study. People have kids, jobs, responsibilities, etc. And furthermore, while it's quite obvious you are highly intelligent and above average Rick, that simply isn't true of everyone. Some of the people I work with are not very bright at best. That's just the way people are. Some are very intelligent some are not, and there is a wide spectrum in-between. In life, some people are quite skilled at any number of things, but just not that smart.
Which leads me to a point of biblical study is great, to the degree that one can do that, but isn't there a heart issue involved here? I understand the Bible to be a living word, in which case I can be knowledgeable, but have my own "motives" if you will. - amy
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