Updated: Aug 13, 2019
Have you ever looked at someone of the same gender as you and thought, "Wow, that person is absolutely gorgeous!"? Have you ever experienced a weird feeling of guilt and shame after appreciating their beauty and asked the question of yourself, "Am I attracted to the same sex? Does that make me a homosexual if I think they're attractive?"
Growing up, I had a few lesbian friends, a few gay friends, and a few people around me who weren't really sure which way they swung.
Some of these girls were stunning - just absolutely drop-dead gorgeous. It was truly hard to stop staring, they were that beautiful.
You know. You've met those people! They are those overly beautiful people you're secretly convinced might not even be people but rather some superhuman race that was introduced on this planet to make you look bad. Yeah, those people.
In fact, these girls were so beautiful, they had almost a magnetic pull that drew you in - whether you wanted to be drawn to them or not.
It was after meeting one of those aliens - I mean, females - I had a conversation with the Lord. I asked Him a serious question: "Am I so mesmerized by their beauty because am I attracted to the same sex???"
I was very reassured by Him that I was not, indeed, attracted to the same parts on someone else I had on my own body, but that I was captivated by their beauty.
As an artist, I sometimes get mesmerized by beauty and I just want to stare.
I've had conversations with my husband that have started something like this: "Don't take this the wrong way. I don't find this person attractive. He's just absolutely gorgeous." It almost seems paradoxical to not be attracted to a person, yet to be lost in their beauty. I have to say, God definitely broke the mold with some people! I think He was still practicing and getting the hang of it with some others, but we won't talk about that....
I have come to realize, however, that many people have fallen prey to a same-sex attraction because of this very situation: they see someone they think is handsome or beautiful and they wrongly make the assumption they must be attracted to their own gender because of it.
I would assume for most mainstream Christians, the thought of having a same-sex attraction is absolutely terrifying, mainly because there is no one with whom to talk about it inside the four walls of the Church. I have only attended one church in the history of my life where anything at all was said about homosexuality and same-sex attraction. The twelve other churches I have attended at some point in my life were completely silent on those subjects. Even in the various youth groups and young adult groups I had attended, it were as if these socially-relevant issues were banned by an unspoken rule and, therefore, completely off-limits. The only time I ever heard about sex in a church was in the context of how evil you were if you had sex outside of marriage and how porn was more prevalent in the lives of churchgoers than we realized: 68% of men in the church and 50% of pastors regularly view porn.
I wonder, how many homosexuals would be straight and enjoying heterosexual relationships today if they had heard inside of a church, "It's okay to think this person is attractive. It doesn't mean you're gay."? What if we talked about porn and sexual abuse? What if we had discussions of how to transition from homosexuality to heterosexuality? What would happen if, instead of distancing ourselves from difficult topics and messy life issues, we embraced them and became known as a people who are determined to shape culture, instead of run from it?
When I was growing up, there was an emphasis on purity from a well-intentioned author who chose not to date, but rather to court his future wife. Both families were involved in the process of this young couple getting to know one another and there was absolutely no physical intimacy of any kind allowed while they were courting. They shared their first kiss on their wedding day.
As beautiful and fairy-tale-esque as that may seem, it's just not reality. It breeds guilt and shame in people who didn't follow in that author's footsteps.
In fact, because I grew up sexually abused by various people and then later raped multiple times, I believed a really powerful lie that almost robbed me of a wonderful marriage and family:
I believed I was damaged goods.
I had given away my first kiss, I had struggled with feelings of shame from the sexual scars, and I wasn't a pure bride. Raped girls don't get to present their virginity to their husband on their wedding night. Oh, sure, God can restore emotional virginity. Sometimes, He will cause the body to regrow a hymen and they will become a physical "virgin" of sorts, again. But the experience still exists. Even if you try to suppress it and never address it, it still influences you.
What if, instead of telling people they aren't allowed to share their secret shame with us, we walk them through it and bring healing and confidence?
It's common knowledge now (Google it for yourself) that almost every homosexual and transexual person out there was at one point in their life victimized sexually. Maybe if they could talk about it in a safe place like church, they wouldn't be deceived into a lifestyle of destruction.
If you have ever experienced sexual confusion, abuse, addiction, or trauma, please know that you are NOT damaged goods!
You are not worth less just because of your experiences and/or choices. You are lovely and you are loved. Please don't hesitate to reach out if you need someone to walk with you on your journey to wholeness.
If you have experienced same-sex attraction or want to leave homosexuality, please check out Changed Movement and connect with my friend, Luca Jo Groppoli, who has "been there, done that" and has a powerful testiomony to share with you here.