“Growing up, one of the most difficult things I had to deal with was my attraction to others of the same sex. I used to think it was just a phase, but those feelings plague me still.”—David, 23.
David is a Christian who wants to please God. Can he do that while feeling attracted to those of the same sex? How does God really feel about homosexuality?
What does the Bible say?
Attitudes about homosexuality may vary from one culture to the next or from one time period to another. But Christians aren’t governed by popular opinion or “carried here and there by every wind of teaching.” (Ephesians 4:14) Instead, they base their view of homosexual conduct (and any other kind of conduct, for that matter) on the standards set forth in the Bible.
The Bible’s standard regarding homosexual acts is clear. God’s Word says:
“You must not lie down with a male in the same way that you lie down with a woman.”—Leviticus 18:22.
“God, in keeping with the desires of their hearts, . . . gave them over to uncontrolled sexual passion, for their females changed the natural use of themselves into one contrary to nature.”—Romans 1:24, 26.
“Do not be misled. Those who are sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, men who submit to homosexual acts, men who practice homosexuality, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners will not inherit God’s Kingdom.”—1 Corinthians 6:9, 10.
In reality, God’s standards apply to all people, whether they have homosexual desires or heterosexual desires. The fact is, everyone must exercise self-restraint when it comes to urges to engage in conduct that displeases God.—Colossians 3:5.
Does that mean . . . ?
Does that mean the Bible promotes hatred of gays?
No. In fact, the Bible doesn’t promote hatred of anyone—gay or straight. Rather, it tells us to “pursue peace with all people,” regardless of their lifestyle. (Hebrews 12:14) So it’s wrong to engage in bullying, hate crimes, or any other type of mistreatment of homosexuals.
Does that mean that Christians should oppose laws that allow same-sex marriage?
The Bible shows that God’s standard for marriage calls for the union of one man and one woman. (Matthew 19:4-6) However, discussions of human laws on same-sex marriage relate to a political issue, not a moral one. The Bible tells Christians to remain politically neutral. (John 18:36) Therefore, they neither advocate nor oppose governmental laws involving same-sex marriage or homosexual conduct.
But what if . . . ?
But what if someone currently practices homosexuality? Can that person change?
Yes. In fact, some in the first century did so! After stating that those who practice homosexuality will not inherit God’s Kingdom, the Bible says: “That is what some of you were.”—1 Corinthians 6:11.
Does that mean those who stopped practicing homosexuality no longer felt any inclination toward their former lifestyle? No. The Bible says: “Clothe yourselves with the new personality, which through accurate knowledge is being made new.” (Colossians 3:10) Change is an ongoing process.
But what if someone who wants to follow God’s standard still has homosexual urges?
As with any urge, a person can choose not to nurture or act on those urges. How? The Bible says: “Keep walking by spirit and you will carry out no fleshly desire at all.”—Galatians 5:16.
Notice that the verse doesn’t say that the person will have no fleshly desire. Instead, armed with a good spiritual routine of Bible study and prayer, he or she will have the strength to resist those desires.
David, mentioned at the outset, found that to be true—especially after he confided in his Christian parents about his struggle. “It was a tremendous burden off my shoulders,” he says, “and I probably would have enjoyed my teen years a lot more if I had talked to them sooner.”
In the end, we are happier when we conform to Jehovah’s standards. We are convinced that they “are righteous, causing the heart to rejoice,” and that “in keeping them, there is a large reward.”—Psalm 19:8, 11.