7. Seek to see them with God’s eyes of love and acceptance, with His intention for their wholeness, healing and freedom. This means depending on the Holy Spirit for divine perspective and exercising humility to recognize that first impressions are often incomplete and inaccurate.
8. This is a great opportunity to lead people to an understanding of what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Some homosexual strugglers, especially men, feel that they have committed the unpardonable sin. They’ve heard they are going to hell no matter what they do, so they are permanently separated from God. They need to know this is a lie, because when we confess our sins, the blood of Jesus covers them ALL and cleanses us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
9. Because of abuse issues, most strugglers seem to have an especially hard time relating to Father God and to receiving His love. Yet it is the masculine voice (first in earthly fathers, and ultimately in our Heavenly Father) that calls gender out from both men and women, and it is the Father’s personal and powerful love that is the most important healing agent in human hearts.
10. Because most pastors are men in authority, most strugglers (men and women) are incredibly intimidated by them. Pastors need to know this and really understand in order to minister to strugglers. This means respecting the fragility of strugglers’ relationships with pastors and choosing to be deliberately tender and gentle. They really need “good shepherds.” Verbalize to them that God can not only change them, but He is very proud of them (as you are) for sharing this with you and desiring to change.
11. Most same-gender strugglers have very weak and broken boundaries. Their deep neediness causes them to lapse into emotionally dependent relationships with everyone who gets close. We encourage you to only counsel these folks at your office during regular business hours where others can be aware of your activities. This gives a sense of security to the struggler and a protection for you as the pastor.
12. The most success in overcoming same-gender attraction has occurred when strugglers experienced God as Healer through strong followers of Christ who were willing to come alongside them in their journeys-men helping men, and women helping women. It would be helpful for you to find someone willing to befriend and mentor the struggler. This takes a person willing to seriously invest in the life of a very needy person. They will need to be available and accessible. Their presence in the struggler’s life can be powerful and healing.
13. If someone comes in with an agenda of arrogance, demanding acceptance of their sexual sin, don’t let them bully you. There is a difference between welcoming the sinner and allowing him to continue in his rebellion. Homosexuality is sin. Lev. 18:22-23; Rom. 1:26-27, 1 Cor. 6:9-11. Note that these verses condemn homosexual behavior, not feelings.
1. Don’t panic.
2. Don’t make false assumptions or accusations.
3. Don’t shut down pastorally or emotionally. The person coming to you has known a lifetime of rejection and desperately needs to know that a representative of Jesus Christ will extend grace to him. Hug them when they leave. It may be the first positive touch they have had in years.
4. Don’t pass judgment. All of us have besetting sins! As Billy Graham said, “Don’t take credit for not falling into a temptation that never tempted you in the first place.”
5. Don’t disclose this person’s secret without permission, even among church staff. There is nothing safe about the gay lifestyle; people struggling with same-gender attraction need to find safety in the church.