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Do People Choose their Sexual Orientation?

Do People Choose their Sexual Orientation?

There is a lot of confusion within the church as to how a person comes to be gay or bisexual. What we believe significantly impacts how we engage our gay neighbor and how well we love them. A great many Christians believe that gay people choose their orientation toward the same sex outright, often as some form of rebellion against the status quo. Another theory is that gay people arrive at homosexuality through extreme opposite-sex debauchery. As a man who is attracted to men, who knows many people also attracted to the same sex, I would like to speak into this. I also speak as a man who deeply treasures God’s word.

Some Confusion about Romans 1

I can the debunk the second theory from experience alone. I did not arrive at my desires for the same sex through straightness or debauchery. Rather, I simply seemed to find myself desiring the same sex. From my earliest memories, even before sex had any meaning, I was drawn to and infatuated with the same sex, not the opposite sex. These desires were with me near the start of my life.

Many who hold this belief do so because of a particular interpretation of Romans 1:24-27, where they think Paul is describing a path taken by individuals. The last post spoke to this, but I have a few more thoughts. First, I believe Romans 2-3 makes it quite clear that Romans 1 is explicitly describing every single one of us.

Second, if this interpretation is true, then you would have to also say that envy and disobedience to parents came through being gay since it is mentioned after same-sex attraction and there is no clear separator between that section and the previous text. I think it’s safe to say that none of us believe we have to be gay before we feel envy. I think it’s equally strange to say we have to be straight before we’re gay.

No Conscious Choice

I can also debunk the first theory from experience alone. There was no point in my life when I thought, “You know, I’d really like to be attracted to men instead of women. Yeah, let’s do that.” There was no crossroads. There was no series of choices through which I consciously geared myself toward men. It was that way it was seemingly from the start. There was no conscious choice to be gay.

Further, given the excessive bullying and oppression going on today, who in their right mind would ever choose to be gay? To me, it flies in the face of reason. I spent all the way through high school longing to be attracted to the opposite sex instead of the same sex. Of course, what I really wanted was acceptance, not straightness. But the fact remains that I clearly did not choose same-sex attractions. Neither did any gay person I know.

You Can Relate

I’d like to approach this from a different direction and ask: Did you explicitly choose to be attracted to the opposite sex? Was there ever a crossroads where you chose between being gay or straight? Did you choose to be straight in order to be obedient to God?

I think it’s safe to assume you would say no to all of those questions. Being attracted to the opposite sex was the most natural thing in the world for you. The same is true of me regarding the same sex. While both of us do choose sin, neither of us chose the flavor of it. We simply do what’s natural until we see Jesus with new eyes. I would also say that none of us explicitly set out to envy other people. There are a great many things we don’t explicitly choose.

Uncomfortable Empathy

I recognize that this might make some of you a bit uncomfortable. It sounds like I’m equating same-sex and opposite-sex attractions to some extent. “But homosexuality is a sin, and heterosexuality is not,” you might be thinking. That might be true in itself, but details matter significantly.

Was it your natural opposite-sex desire to remain sexually pure until marriage? If you’re married, is it your natural desire to be emotional, romantically, and physically faithful to your spouse? How about when they hurt you? If you look at the ground level, your natural desires for the opposite sex are actually just as sinful as my natural desires for the same sex.

Righteousness isn’t natural to any of us. We have the same problem, and we need the same rescue.

Posted by Matt Norman with

What Does “Abomination” Mean?

What Does “Abomination” Mean?

I often bring up the biblical truth that as humans, none of us are ultimately that different from one another. When I apply this to gay people, however, a lot of believers have trouble. Often, it stems from a word we find in the Bible: “abomination.” For many, because the Bible says that same-sex sex is an abomination (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13), they believe gay people are not only different from them but worse than them. So let’s take a look at the word and how it’s used in the Bible to see if that’s actually true.

What does “abomination” mean?

Holman Bible Dictionary describes the meaning of this word by looking at how it’s used in scripture. It describes anything that God finds detestable, especially idolatry (worshiping false gods). It is translated from a number of Hebrew and Greek words, several of which mean “to stink” (e.g., Exodus 7:18). An abomination is something that God detests and finds rotten and vile. It is applied to idolatry far more often than it is applied to homosexuality.

Do only gay people commit abominations?

Perhaps you hold yourself to be better than gay people because you believe they commit abominations and you do not. To support this, you need to make a clear case that you do not, in fact, commit abominations. Unfortunately, the Bible is very clear that you and I actually do commit actions that are abominations in God’s eyes every single day. All people do, whether they’re believers or not.

Paul calls envy “idolatry” twice: once in Ephesians and once it its twin epistle, Colossians.

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:[b] sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5)

For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. (Ephesians 5:5)

Have you ever felt envy? Yes, you feel it often, and so do I. We feel it when we long for a life different than our own. We feel it when we see a man or woman we want for ourselves. We feel it when we grumble about our jobs, believing we would be better off if God provided something different. We feel it when we become impatient with our children, believing it would be better for us if they were different.

God says that you and I commit idolatry. For many of you, this isn’t surprising. Seeking provision from anything other than God and what He gives is no different than serving a false god. It’s an idea foreign to some believers but to not most these days. Idolatry is an abomination to God. And we do it every single day.

We all need Jesus’s grace

Yes, homosexuality is an abomination. But so is envy. Frankly, so is all sin, and none of us can claim we don’t sin. If the word applies to something as commonplace as envy, what does that say about contentions, anger, selfish ambitions, grumbling, deceit, and pride?

It’s not just gay people who need to repent and trust Jesus when they don’t understand. We all need to repent and trust Jesus when we don’t understand. Believer, you are not better than your gay neighbor. You are the same as them. You’re not even better than an unbeliever. When God had mercy on you and saved you, it was all His grace.

You contribute nothing to your salvation except the sin that made it necessary. (Jonathan Edwards)

You depend on Jesus just as much now to change your heart when you’re living in the flesh’s desires as you did when He first saved you. When you believed in Jesus, you declared in no uncertain terms that you were so bad and so helpless, you needed God to crush His Son to atone for you and make you clean. This is not a belief that lends itself to you thinking you’re better than anyone, much less a gay person.

We all share the same need for Jesus to save us, whether we’re believers or not. We’re just not that different from any other human, gay people included.

Further Reading

For a more in depth treatment of this, check out Chapter 4 of Foreign (specifically the section, “Addressing Leviticus”).

Posted by Matt Norman with

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