God created male and female in His image – each unique – each special – but both equal in terms of glory, dignity and value. God’s original intent is that they would each live out of the fullness of their specialness and goodness in life, love, worship and play. God’s original intent was to join with them, live with them, love them and be at the center of their joy.
Regardless of where a person might find themselves in terms of their identity(s), relationships, sexual preference(s), economic status, religious beliefs, racial and cultural inheritance, failures and successes, God is still passionate about restoring every individual to His original intention of joy and fulfillment. “For I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
Having walked with people for over twenty years, my associates and I do not presume to know how Jesus will impact and change another’s life. He is God; we are not. We feel safest when we humble ourselves before His Mighty Hand, knowing He has unlimited power but also knowing that His tender gentleness never breaks a bruised reed (Is. 42:3).
A person’s story is never over, final or complete until they pass from this life unto the next. Even then we may be in for a surprise about the eternal journey set before us. But in the meantime, it is our commitment to journey with a person through the ups and downs of life, coaching them ever onward towards the Truest and Best Lover of their Soul.
As of date, there is no conclusive evidence that proves same-sex attraction is inborn or solely genetic or biologically caused. Nor is there conclusive evidence that proves it arises solely out of developmental, familial or experiential processes. As Margo Rivera so aptly states:
“Every new study tends to be hailed as if the results offer a simple answer to a simple question, but so far there are no data that point to genes, life experience, or brain morphology as the sole and simple source for the many variations in the ways in which sexual desire, longing for affiliation, and gender identity manifest themselves in different people.”
- Rivera, M. (2002). Informed and supportive treatment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered trauma survivors. In J.A. Chu & E.S. Bowman (Eds.) Trauma and Sexuality: The effects of childhood sexual, physical, and emotional abuse on sexual identity and behavior (pp. 33-58). Binghamton, NY: The Haworth Medical Press.
What we do know from the extant research is that homosexuality most likely arises out of an interaction of
1) genetic and biological factors, inherent or inborn traits, characteristics and temperaments,
2) an individual’s need to both belong and self-identify, and
3) an individual's experiences, reactions, environment, relationships and attachment patterns, and is therefore a complex, mysterious and a unique and ongoing changing and enduring dynamic within each individual’s life.
The Right to Choose
Just to mention the issue of change can be offensive to many gay men and women. People toss the word “change” around as if it has a universal meaning. Some say “change is possible.” But what do they mean? Change what? Others say, “change is not possible.” But what are they referring to. What can’t change?
“Change” might mean adjusting one’s sexual desires – or fantasies - or behaviors – relational styles - or one’s inner concept of self or identity. “Change” might also mean reducing the shame, self-hatred or low self-esteem related to a gay or bisexual orientation. It may mean coming to peace with a gay identity – coming out to one’s loved ones. In the end, I believe it is up to each individual to decide what they might want to change, if anything in their life.
In the counseling setting when people use the word change, often what they mean is that they simply want something different. When we hear a client's desire for something different, we hear a desire for change. The nature and direction of change is based first upon each individual’s choice. Therefore, every man or woman with same-sex attraction should be given full autonomy and the right of self-determination in terms of the specific types of changes, if any, they desire to make in their own life. And as in every other area of life, even when we set out to make certain changes, there are no guarantees that we will reach all of our goals nor are there quick and easy fixes; but without a vision or aspiration, we would all certainly perish.
Life is a process. Most life decisions require a process. We at Janelle Hallman & Associates are committed to walk with a man or woman during the process of exploring, deciding and choosing – for the simple sake of offering our love and support. We value the process and leave results and outcomes to God.