BY KELLY HARTLINE
Today is National Coming Out of Homosexuality Day, a day dedicated to helping homosexuals overcome their sexual tendencies and move towards a healthy lifestyle. Compassionate people nationwide recognize this day, rather than the more publicized “National Coming Out Day,” because they want people to live and enjoy their lives to the fullest.
Hundreds of people reject homosexual lifestyles and come out of homosexuality every year. Exodus, an international nonprofit organization, helps homosexuals liberate themselves from homosexuality. It was formed partly in response to the Church’s failure to minister appropriately to people struggling with homosexuality.
Rather than treat homosexuality like every other sin and work through it with prayer, love and support, the Church has generally ostracized homosexuals. Part of Exodus’ mission is challenging churches to welcome and help homosexuals, for they are merely sinners like everyone else (Romans 3:23).
Exodus also challenges those who believe homosexuality is an acceptable sexual preference. Exodus believes heterosexuality is God’s creative intent for humanity and homosexuality is behavior outside of God’s will. Accordingly, the sin of homosexuality can be redeemed through Jesus Christ. As homosexuals work through the process of coming out of homosexuality, Christ will be with them in their daily struggle and will enable them to experience their true identities.
Homosexuals can come out of homosexuality because their preference is not biologically mandated. Unlike race or gender, homosexuality is a choice. Dr. Robert Spitzer of Columbia University, one of the principal scientists behind the American Psychiatric Institute’s 1973 position that homosexuality is inborn and cannot be changed, has recently reversed his position. He interviewed over 200 former homosexuals and concluded a legitimate and authentic change in homosexual preference is possible.
In fact, hundreds of people have been able to renounce their homosexual lifestyles and become healthy, happy heterosexuals. Two of the most famous former homosexuals are John and Anne Paulk. Both John and Anne came out of their homosexuality, began following Christ, became heterosexual and eventually married each other. They tour the nation sharing their testimony and helping homosexuals come out of homosexuality. Their story is told in their book, “Love Won Out.”
Through working with several thousand homosexuals, Exodus has found that the most common cause of homosexuality is sexual molestation during childhood. Eighty-five percent of the women and more than 50 percent of men seeking help from Exodus’ 135 ministries worldwide have been sexually abused. Aside from molestation, nearly every homosexual who has sought help from Exodus has come from a family where there was a rift in the father-son or mother-daughter relationship, and feelings of exclusion from peers during childhood and adolescence.
Coming out of homosexuality requires working through underlying relational and abuse issues. It also requires dedication and perseverance. To assist in attaining freedom from homosexuality, Exodus recommends that homosexuals participate in pastoral counseling, accountability groups, personal prayer and Bible studies.
Coming out of homosexuality is not a process that is motivated by guilt. People want out of homosexuality because they are unhappy or know their moral beliefs conflict with their sexual choices.
It is also not a process that results in repression of continuing desires and attractions. Science has proven homosexual preferences can be authentically changed.
Homosexuals are not depressed or suicidal after coming out of their homosexuality. Programs like Exodus’ give them hope for a fulfilling life. Many former homosexuals are jubilant, proud and uninhibited. They eagerly share their stories of redemption, restoration and freedom.
Coming out of homosexuality can be a long process that requires persistence and encouragement from friends, support groups and the Church. Progression out of homosexuality can take many forms including abstinence from homosexual behavior, the lessening of homosexual temptations and the strengthening of masculine or feminine identities. Change is not measured by temporal manifestations, but by spiritual growth and obedience.
For general information on coming out of homosexuality, contact Exodus at www.exodusnorthamerica.org. Exodus will be holding its “Setting Love in Order” conference in Boston on November 9-10. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for conference-related information. Also check out the following books: “Pursuing Sexual Wholeness,” “Desires in Conflict,” and “Coming Out of Homosexuality.”
If you or people you know are homosexual, this day is for you. Share the message of hope. There is a way out of the homosexual lifestyle. There is no reason to be controlled by the ‘once-gay-always-gay’ rhetoric used to advance political agendas. On this day, begin your journey out of homosexuality.
Exodus’ website and quotes from Bob Davies, Exodus’ executive director, and Robert Larimer, Washington for Traditional Values, were used in writing this article.