CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Help For the Homosexual

Feb 23, 1999

There has been a lot of confusion both in the world and in the church surrounding the issue of homosexuality in general, and homosexual orientation in particular. This is partly due to the push by the homosexual lobby to force the acceptance of homosexuality on the rest of society, and partly due to some Christians who offer a misplaced sense of compassion without understanding all the issues involved.

A number of good books have been written over the years by individuals who have spent time working with homosexuals. Perhaps one of the best is one of the earliest books written. Homosexuality: A New Christian Ethic by therapist Dr Elizabeth Moberly was written over 15 years ago, but it remains a classic assessment of the problem of same-sex relationships and how they can be overcome.

Moberly argues that “a homosexual orientation does not depend on a genetic predisposition, hormonal imbalance, or abnormal learning processes, but on difficulties in the parent-child relationship, especially in the earlier years of life”.

The homosexual, says Moberley, “has suffered from some deficit in the relationship with the parent of the same sex; and there is a corresponding drive to make good this deficit – through the medium of same-sex or ‘homosexual’ relationships”.

Sexual expression is not the key to homosexuality, but the inner orientation. Says Moberly, “Homosexuality is not essentially a sexual condition. . . Some people have a complete same-sex identity (heterosexuality) while others have an incomplete same-sex identity (homosexuality). The goal is the attainment of a complete same-sex identity; and, where the process of growth has been checked, the reparative drive of same-sex love is the solution to the problem of underlying deficits”.

Thus Christians who argue that only homosexual practices need to be discouraged or stopped are wide of the mark. It is not enough to simply stop having same-sex activities. It is the orientation that must be dealt with: “To ‘stop being a homosexual’ means to stop being a person with same-sex psychological deficits”.

If the final goal is “the attainment of a complete same-sex identity” then healing will involve dealing with the source of the problem: “Healing for the homosexual is not just a matter of meeting unmet needs, but of dealing with the barrier that blocked their fulfilment in the ordinary course of growth and can continue to prevent such fulfilment”.

This process can take time, “quite possibly a matter of some years”. This is because “homosexuality is the kind of problem that needs to be solved through relationships,” and the restoration of relationships does not occur overnight.

For those who are willing to change, real and substantial change is possible: “Love, both in prayer and in relationships, is the basic therapy. A defensive detachment from the same-sex love-source, and consequent unmet needs for love, constitute the homosexual condition. Love is the basic problem, the great need, and the only true solution. If we are willing to seek and to mediate the healing and redeeming love of Christ, then healing for the homosexual will become a great and glorious reality”.

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