NOTICE: This newsletter is a little longer than usual. In light of recent events such as the closing of Exodus International and the attack on ministries and churches that deal with unwanted same sex attraction, I felt the need to address a certain component of this issue. I could not do that in a short memo type of format. I thank you in advance for taking a few extra minutes of your day to read this letter.
Let me propose to you a hypothetical scenario and ask how you might respond. You have a 23 year old single Christian female who is struggling with promiscuity. She has had dozen of one night stands with male strangers that began in her mid teens. She was repeatedly molested by an 18 year old male friend of the family when she was 6 to 7 years of age. She has concealed this abuse and continues to struggle with shame and confusion regarding its effects. Let me first clarify the difference between molestation and rape. In most cases molestation involves a grooming period where the perpetrator establishes a relationship of trust, care and concern for the victim. This process is expedited when the perpetrator is someone identified in a trusty worthy position such as someone in authority. The victim often looks up to, adores or idolizes the perpetrator prior to the abuse. When the molestation occurs the perpetrator will often want the victim to have a pleasurable physical and emotional experience. This pleasurable response will most often generate a false sense of cooperation and consent on the part of the victim. In other words, the victim feels responsible for the abuse. At the same time the victim experiences the shame of the abuse. This mixture of emotional and physical pleasure coupled with the shame produces a very confusing state for the victim. Later, as they look back at the abuse, they will condemn themselves for not saying no or stopping the abuse. Rape on the other hand is strictly about power and is generated out of hatred and disdain for the victim. There are much more complicated issues that arise in either situation of rape or molestation. The affects of childhood sexual abuse traumatize every aspect of the child’s being and have life altering consequences if left unattended.
Now, let us return to my scenario. My question I present to you is, “Does her sexual molestation have any effect upon her sexual promiscuity today?” Most reasonable people with absolutely no mental health training would have to say “Yes, I believe it would.” A mental healthy professional that is trained and very well educated in the area of sexual trauma would most likely say “Yes, and we need to find her the help she needs because she can be helped.” I doubt that I could find one person that would say to her, “Well you were born to be promiscuous, which is how God made you. The only way you will ever be happy is to go out and be the best promiscuous person you can be. If you try to be anything other than promiscuous then you will be living a lie. We can help you practice being safer but promiscuous you are and will always be. If your parents or church have a problem accepting you as you are then come to our Free Love Church and you will acceptance for the wonderful promiscuous person you are.”
Let us change some of the dynamics of our scenario. Instead of the person being a female, let’s make it a 23 year old male who is promiscuous with the same sex and was molested by an 18 year old male from ages 6 to 7. Do you believe his sexual molestation has any effect upon is sexual promiscuity? Before you answer the question let me give to you a recent real life situation. An old man who is married with grandchildren goes to a well trained, highly credentialed psychologist for advice regarding his sexual struggle. He has been having numerous sexual encounters with males for an extended period. This PhD’s advice was that he was gay and he needed to divorce his wife or come up with an arrangement wit his wife for an open marriage. That he was born this way and he would never be happy until he lived out his life as a gay man. If he would have taken the time to do a thorough assessment he would have discovered that this man was sexually molested at an early age by an older male. Does this man not deserve the opportunity to address and perhaps be healed of the wounds from his sexual abuse? Is having more sex with men going to address his core issue of sexual abuse? If this was the 23 year old female in our first scenario would he tell her to go out and be promiscuous? I doubt that he would have advised that for her. Now go back to my question. What would you say to this young man? Go have more sex with men and that will cure you? Does not this young man deserve the chance to deal with the effects of his sexual abuse?
Let’s change our scenario again. It is a 23 year old female who is promiscuous with the same sex. She was raped by an older male friend of the family when was 6 or 7. Do you think her rape has anything to do with her current sexual behavior? Does she not deserve the chance to deal with the effects of her sexual abuse or does she just need to go out and have more sex with females and that will fix her? We could change the situation from sexual molestation and rape to neglect. You have a 23 year old male whose father was emotionally and physically absent for his entire childhood. He now seeks out older men that will take care of him and have sex with them. Do you think this neglect has anything to do with his sexual and relational behavior today? Do you think he deserves the chance to deal with the effects of his childhood neglect?
My point in all these situations is there are perhaps millions of wounded people in the world today that are struggling with unwanted sexual attraction and the only answer they can get is “you were born that way, go be gay.” I worked in the mental health field for over 15 years in various venues and at difference positions and levels. I worked for very professional organizations and was always proud of the work we did. I left the world of secular mental health in 1998 and I am thankful that I did because I would be ashamed of that being my profession today. I could understand a lay person with no mental health training to make mistakes regarding advising wounded people but mental professionals should know better.
We live in a free society that says if someone wants to live a homosexual lifestyle then they are free to do so. This letter is not about the issue of whether someone is or is not born ‘gay’. We can save that discussion for a later time. My concern, in this letter, is for the people who have been wounded through abuse and neglect of various forms and now act out sexually in a response to that abuse. Do they not deserve the opportunity to find healing or do they just need to have more sex? Ministries and organizations that deal with unwanted same sex attraction are called intolerant, harmful and hateful. But when wounded humans are denied and misdirected in the help they need then who are the ones doing the harm? The human spirit is the most fragile component of our entire being and by which our unique personalities and gifts flow. The only means by which a wounded and crushed spirit can be healed and restored is through the works and the touch of His Holy Spirit. All other attempts are futile. God is still the God of Hope and Restoration. He can and still does heal that wounded spirit.