All of these things [trials, temptations, tribulations] They are wonderful opportunities to confirm or deny our commitment to Christ. It is an opportunity to challenge temptation and stand up for what is right, despite peer pressure (Matt. 10: 32-33). We can make things easier or more difficult for ourselves. Either you are totally convinced that God’s way is correct and worth living, or you are not sure and continually risk breaking the fence; tormenting himself and sending mixed signals and confusing signals (Matt. 6:24; 7:16). When you are at a crossroads, it is this way or another. You cannot have both (Revelation 3:15). You should have made a decision at baptism.
Will you honor your decision or will you break your vows? For those who have chosen to follow the Noble Path, they cannot afford to play with fire, flirt with death, or risk living on the edge (Jude 23; Zechariah 3: 2). They have to learn to quickly say no to sin. “He who doubts is lost.” Then they must get “stuck in their ways.” They know it’s now or never, do it or die, and that nothing can compare to what God has in store for them (Heb. 11: 25-26; Matt. 13:46).
God’s fire will purify or destroy you. The choice is yours. Will you become a great success or will you end up a miserable failure (Mal. 3: 2)? You might as well put your lust in the dust, because everything in this world is about to end and a new world begins; therefore, God expects us to take notice and act accordingly (1 John 2:17; 2 Peter 3:11). Just as God has something in store for His saints, He has also reserved something for sinners (2 Peter 3: 7). Don’t worry, everyone will get what awaits them (Revelation 22:12).
Use of available resources
By having a clear vision of the Kingdom of God and a sober vision of things to come, we can overcome all obstacles in Christ (John 16:33). But how can we keep our heads up when the whole world collapses around us (Luke 21:28)? By realizing that we are much closer to the time when God will pick up the pieces and start over (John 6:12; Acts 1: 6). But how can we avoid “losing” it while we wait (Revelation 3:11)? By being “baptized”! We must be immersed in the Word and saturated by the Spirit of God (Luke 3:16). That is the only way to be “in Christ.” That is an atomic statement. It’s not meant to be just an empty spiritual cliche. It’s packed with POWER and ENERGY!
Our growth and development depends on how often (and to what extent) we will take advantage of our available resources (Matt. 13:23). Only we can hold back or back down (1 Thes. 5:19).
We are authorized to exercise “veto power” over any unlawful thought or action. We must exercise the Spirit of God (Romans 8:13) and learn to handle our lightsaber like an expert (Hebrews 4:12; 2 Timothy 2:15). We are under orders to seek and destroy (2 Cor. 13: 5; Gal. 5:24), and to follow our Leader wherever He goes (Rom. 8:14; 1 Pet. 2:21).
The flesh and blood of Jesus are our rations (John 6: 47-63). God’s Word can energize us and His Spirit sustains us, but it must become our daily bread. Are we using what we have been given, investing our assets wisely, or are we simply wasting our “time and money” (Isaiah 55: 2)? You have to use it or you will lose it (Luke 19: 11-27)! We will really need this heavenly help to “walk on the water” and not let our hearts sink within us, as long as we hear rude comments or insensitive comments from Christians, people we hope will understand our situation and appreciate our efforts (Ps. 41: 9).
God expects us to get out of our way, to forgive and forget, when we get burned (Col. 3:13). He does not want us to fall into the trap of arguing back and forth (1 Pet. 3: 9). We must share Scripture, not exchange cutting comments (1 Cor. 14:26; Ps. 50:20)! As Satan seeks to divide and conquer, may he instead find unity in diversity (1 Corinthians 12:12). Since we have such a high calling, let us not act below ourselves.
Some Christians don’t know how to deal with homosexuality. Everything is new and terrifying to them. That is understandable. But now they have an obligation to learn to handle themselves when faced with this problem. We should be patient with them and pray that they will be tolerant of us. We must not force-feed them “everything you never wanted to know about homosexuality”! They can get sick. Everyone grows at their own pace. You can expect some “growing pains” along the way. We must accept and respect these facts of life and avoid sibling rivalry.
In the meantime, we can try to make the best of a bad situation (Rom. 12:18). Don’t judge, but be careful. Don’t trip someone or help them fall into their mental block (Rom. 14:13). This is the way of love: don’t hold a grudge!
What about AIDS victims? Are they victims or were they knowingly endangered? Should we befriend these social outcasts or leave them in the bed they have made? And compassion? Am I my brother’s keeper? Can’t I cry for the suffering sin causes (Jer. 9: 1)? Don’t these “lepers” need love? They are not necessarily worse than others (Luke 13: 1-5). Time and chance brought them down (Ecclesiastes 9:11). They need our tender loving prayers and care, not our cold-hearted looks. Also, if everyone who has sinned gets sick, we would all be in intensive care! “Except by the grace of God, here I come”, it better become our attitude. God showed his love for us while we were still sinners (Rom. 5: 8).
Masturbation: is it right or wrong? It is the lesser of two evils, but it is still bad. Didn’t Jesus say that if you’ve lusted after someone, you’ve already had “sex” with him? Sex is mental, not just physical. Is masturbation not usually accompanied by explicit fantasies? What is the difference between them and dirty movies or obscene magazines? Doesn’t everyone add fuel to the fire? Doesn’t it encourage you to comply? Doesn’t it weaken your will, give up your resolve, and ruin your spiritual day? Isn’t lust like a drug: intoxicating and addictive? There is no “down time” for a Christian. Ask God for help in this area and know that you will receive it. Learn to resist sin, not God.
Same person, different perception
Homosexuality is here whether we like it or not. I have been all over the world and I have seen that it is everywhere. We cannot just wish for it because it will not go away. Pretending it doesn’t exist is not fooling anyone but yourself. We have to face the facts, regardless of how uncomfortable they may make us feel.
As stated in the “Family Network” section of “Better Homes and Gardens” (when they published my November 1992 letter / issue): Perhaps you are a parent or friend of a lesbian or gay person. Don’t faint if you have; just remember that nothing has changed in that person except your perception of them. Treat them according to their personality, not their sexuality. Perhaps he would deny that it could ever happen in his family or intrude on his circle of friends. Don’t pass out if you do. It’s not the end of the world. The sun will continue to rise and life will continue. You may not be sure of your own sexuality. This is for sure: everything that you have loved or enjoyed in your friendship or company remains the same. Don’t be mad if they didn’t tell you. Such anger would only justify their fears of being “discovered.” Maybe they didn’t want to risk losing your friendship. Obviously, it means a lot to them. Express your disapproval of their practice, if necessary. But turn it down, not them. Is that asking too much? Life is too short to allow misunderstandings to come between us. We are encouraged to be reasonable; not participate in emotional debates or heated arguments (Isaiah 1:18). Let’s avoid such front row distractions. Stay cool, calm, and collected (2 Tim. 2: 23-25). Build bridges, not walls. Make your point and leave it.
A big happy family
So there, now you have it. What the Bible really says about homosexuality. I guess I have done something right since I have received complaints from both sides: the Christian and gay communities. It just shows that you can’t please everyone! Some say I’m too tough; others say I’m too lenient. That everyone can at least pick something up. Others are initially discouraged but later encouraged to make the necessary changes in their lives (2 Chron. 7: 8-11).
Some might even smell, “I told you so.” If so, they have missed the point. Those prejudiced preachers may deliver the same basic message, but their style and tone of voice is not like the Father’s (John 10: 1-5). This little brochure is a “love letter”, not a hate mail! Not everyone who tells the truth has the right attitude or motivation. “A truth that is told with bad intentions surpasses all the lies you can invent.” We must help to collect, not to disperse; encourage people to come to Christ, not strive; to make repentance easier, not more difficult (Acts 16: 16-18; Philip 1: 15-18).
“Only he deserves his life and his freedom who conquers them anew every day” (Goethe). May we grow stronger and more deeply appreciate our deliverance, ensuring that we never take it for granted (Deut. 5:15). Caution cannot be stressed enough. We have to be very careful not to slip back into our old routine, going nowhere (Gal. 5: 1). We cannot afford a relapse into sin that would only put us in a tail swing (John 5:14). We must be recovering homosexuals, improving and gaining strength (2 Tim. 2:26).
It’s a daily fight
If Christ gave everything, His everything for this relationship, can’t we at least sacrifice a little? Is sex really that important or is it worth dying for? I know it feels good, but it won’t feel too good in the Lake of Fire! May your love for God be greater than your lust for men (Isaiah 56: 4-5).
The Jewish saying that “all beginnings are hard” is true. But that old saying doesn’t just tell a fact, it offers us hope that things will get better with time. They do. We just have to hold on. Climb Jacob’s ladder, one rung at a time. Don’t give up when God hasn’t! I know from personal experience how difficult it can be, but I also know that it is worth it. I wouldn’t have given up John, my ex-lover, for God’s sake if I hadn’t believed what I’ve written! I went through hell, at first, really wondering if there is an afterlife, a resurrection, if Jesus is the Christ, if homosexuality is incompatible with scripture; What if I was wrong? How could I find another lover like that, etc.? But I have survived and I have become stronger. I don’t take my beliefs for granted, I know they are true!
Old habits and ways of thinking can be replaced. New habits and ways of doing things can take hold. Divine nature can begin to replace our human nature, because God can and does heal minds and bodies! He is familiar with broken hearts and unhappy lives, and can mend them (Matt. 11:28). We can be healed in Christ. He wants us all to be “One big happy family”: the Kingdom of God.