Homosexuality: 3 Tough Questions
Jordan Yoshimine is a biblical counselor at Pure Life Ministries who came out of a homosexual background, and now he wants to offer hope to others in the same situation by answering some common questions about this difficult issue.
Brooks: Jordan, I know someone could wonder, "How could a person who was raised in a Christian home come to struggle with homosexuality?" I know when you've shared your testimony in the past—even on our At the Altar of Sexual Idolatry DVD Curriculum—you've talked about how you began to develop a desire for other men early in your life...how that followed a horrible experience of abuse you had from an older man in your church and other influences from the culture around you. So can you now elaborate and expand on that and talk to us more about how this process unfold? How do people with a Christian background come to the place of struggling with homosexuality?
Jordan: So, I was exposed to media at a very young age. And I was molested at a very young age. And those two things combined really affected my trajectory in life. But different people are going to have different experiences. You could probably talk to anyone who's struggling with same sex attraction, and their experience is going to be much different and varied. And at the end of the day, it's a sin issue. And it really is a heart issue, and it's a self issue—pleasing self, putting yourself on the throne, putting your own needs and desires above the needs and desires of others...and the desire to have a true, deep relationship with the Lord.
Anyone has the opportunity for Satan to come in and use same-sex attraction as a tool to draw them away from the Lord. Anyone. It doesn't matter whether you're raised in a Christian home or not. My sin just happened to be same-sex attraction; for someone else, it might be materialism...or possessions, or athletics, or promiscuity, or pornography, or marriage, or relationships. So my sin just happened to be homosexuality. Sin is sin; we're all born sinners; we all have a fallen nature.
Brooks: I know that at one time in the church, homosexuality was clearly seen as sin, and any teaching to the contrary would have been clearly recognized as false teaching. But of course, today, our culture has embraced homosexuality, and even some churches claim that homosexuality is acceptable. So if someone who is struggling with homosexuality has heard this teaching and they're on the fence, what would you say?
Jordan: If you're going to take the Word of God literally, which is what all Christians should do, then you cannot deny biblically that homosexuality is a sin. Sexual immorality in general is a sin—homosexuality being one of those. And we know that it wouldn’t be right for someone to be going to church, saying, "Well, you know, I'm an adulterer; that's who I am." Or, "I'm a fornicator; I like sleeping around with whoever. That's who I am. That's the way God made me." Well, no. But we kind of single out homosexuality because it's more of a lifestyle thing. But it's just sexual sin, and the Bible is very clear about sexual sin.
And if you look at Leviticus 18, where it does mention, "Man shall not lay with another man," God is calling his people, the Israelites, out of the culture—and the culture was full of homosexual lust. And if you look at Paul when he was speaking to the Corinthians...if you look at the Roman culture of that day, several of the emperors at that time had homosexual relationships. So the Word is just as relevant today as it was then, because the culture hasn't changed. Homosexuality was just as prevalent then, and God was calling his people out: to deny themselves, to take up the cross, and to "follow Me." Laying down our "self-life" and giving it to the Lord.
Brooks: At the end of the day, what should someone struggling with homosexuality expect? What will daily life be like? I know some folks might hope for an instantaneous deliverance from all temptation forever, but obviously that probably isn't going to happen. At the same time, I know some people despair of ever changing...ever feeling any different than they do. So can you leave us with what is a realistic expectation?
Jordan: I will say it this way: it's really about holiness—about becoming holy, becoming like Jesus. Your focus and your gaze has to be on eternity, because it's going to be tough. I had a really close friend who's not a believer, and she said to me, "You're just suppressing your feelings." And I thought about it, and I said, "No, I'm not suppressing my feelings; I am denying my flesh—and there's a big difference." Without God, would I go back to homosexuality? Yeah, I would totally be back in that lifestyle. Absolutely. But God has called me out of sin and out of the world and into a relationship with him, and the two can't co-mingle together.
When I was first coming out of that lifestyle that was a lot of temptation. Seven years later? Much less. But still, my flesh is my flesh. Satan knows that's always going to be a weakness of mine. And every once in a while he'll come in and tempt me, whether it's at a grocery store, or an image on a billboard or on a screen somewhere. But it’s a fleeting thought, and it just kind of goes away, because I know who my Lord is. I know who my Savior is. I know where I'm going. And it just doesn't have the same hold on me as it did many years ago, because I'm falling more and more in love with Jesus. It's amazing what the Lord can do.
But as far as what a person can expect, it's almost like you're going to have to expect persecution. Just expect it. Expect yourself to be isolated. Expect that it may take time to find a church—a really Bible-believing, Word-based church. Keep looking, because there are people out there that want to help you—that want to walk alongside of you and bring you in and help you grow in your faith. But it is going to be a battle. It is going to be a fight, especially at the beginning. Especially when you're trying to come out of the lifestyle. Satan hates that you're even thinking about God or thinking about a relationship with Him, so he's going to do everything in his power to make staying in the gay lifestyle easier and more attractive. But it's a lie, because he just wants to take you where he's going...and that's eternal separation from the Lord.