Young People Ask . . .
Homosexuality—How Can I Avoid It?
“When I was 12, I was attracted to a girl at school. I was confused and worried that I might be a lesbian.”—Anna. *
“During my teens I struggled with an attraction to other males. Deep down, I knew those thoughts weren’t normal.”—Olef.
“My girlfriend and I kissed once or twice. Since I still liked boys, I wondered if I might be bisexual.”—Sarah.
TODAY’S tolerant attitudes have prompted a number of youths to experiment with same-sex relationships. “Many girls in my school claim to be either lesbian, bisexual, or ‘bi-curious,’” says 15-year-old Becky. Christa, 18, finds the situation similar at her school. “Two classmates have actually propositioned me,” she says. “One wrote me a note asking if I wanted to see what it was like to be with a girl.”
With same-sex relationships being flaunted so openly, you may wonder: ‘Is homosexuality really bad? What if I’m attracted to someone of my sex? Does that mean I’m gay?’
How Does God View Homosexuality?
Today, many people—even some clergymen—soft-pedal the issue of homosexuality. Yet, the Bible leaves no room for confusion. It tells us that Jehovah God made man and woman and that he purposed for sexual desires to be fulfilled only between husband and wife. (Genesis 1:27, 28; 2:24) It comes as no surprise, then, that the Bible condemns homosexual acts.—Romans 1:26, 27.
Of course, many would say that the Bible is out-of-date. For example, 14-year-old Megan asserts, “Some of the things stated in the Bible have no place in today’s world.” But why are some so quick to make that claim? Often, it is because the Bible’s view conflicts with their own. They reject God’s Word because it teaches something different from what they want to believe. That view is biased, though, and the Bible encourages us to rise above such closed-minded thinking! In fact, in his Word, Jehovah God urges us to consider the fact that his commandments are for our good. (Isaiah 48:17, 18) That is reasonable. After all, who knows our human makeup better than our Creator?
As a young person, you may be experiencing a variety of emotions. What if you feel attracted to a member of the same sex? Does this automatically mean that you are a homosexual? No. Remember, you are in “the bloom of youth,” a period in which you are subject to involuntary sexual arousal. (1 Corinthians 7:36) For a time, your attention may focus on a member of the same sex. But having such an attraction does not mean that you are gay. In fact, statistics indicate that such inclinations usually fade in time. Still, you might wonder, ‘How do these desires start in the first place?’
Some say that homosexuality is rooted in the genes. Others say it is a learned behavior. It is not the purpose of this article to delve into the “nature-versus-nurture” debate. Indeed, it seems that it would be a gross oversimplification to attribute homosexuality to a single cause. Homosexuality—much like other forms of behavior—appears to be far more complex than that.
Regardless of the cause, the important thing to realize is that the Bible condemns homosexual acts. Thus, the person who is struggling with same-sex desires is presented with a reachable goal—he or she can choose not to act on those desires. To illustrate: A person might be “disposed to rage.” (Proverbs 29:22) In the past he may have freely given in to fits of anger. After studying the Bible, though, he becomes aware of the need to develop self-control. Does this mean that he will never again feel anger welling up inside him? No. However, because he knows what the Bible says about uncontrolled anger, he refuses to succumb to his feelings. It is similar with a person who has felt attracted to others of the same sex but who has now come to learn what the Bible says about homosexual practices. On occasion, an improper desire may still present itself. Nevertheless, by heeding the counsel of the Bible, the person can refrain from acting on that desire.
Granted, same-sex desires may be strongly entrenched. Be assured, though, that even deeply rooted wrong desires are not insurmountable. (1 Corinthians 9:27; Ephesians 4:22-24) Ultimately, you are in control of how you will live. (Matthew 7:13, 14; Romans 12:1, 2) And despite claims to the contrary, you can learn to control your impulses—or at least refrain from acting on them.
Reject Wrong Practices
How can you keep from getting involved in homosexual practices?
▪ First Throw all your anxieties upon Jehovah in prayer, confident that “he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7; Psalm 55:22) Jehovah can fortify you with a peace that “excels all thought.” This can ‘guard your heart and your mental powers’ and give you “power beyond what is normal” to keep from acting on wrong desires. (Philippians 4:7; 2 Corinthians 4:7) Sarah, who struggled with the fear that she might be bisexual, says: “Whenever my thoughts disturb me, I pray; and Jehovah sustains me. Without his help I couldn’t have dealt with this problem. Prayer is my lifeline!”—Psalm 94:18, 19; Ephesians 3:20.
▪ Second Fill your mind with upbuilding spiritual thoughts. (Philippians 4:8) Read the Bible daily. Never underestimate its power to shape your mind and heart for good. (Hebrews 4:12) A young man named Jason says: “The Bible—including scriptures such as 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10 and Ephesians 5:3—has had a powerful effect on me. I read these scriptures whenever wrong desires occur.”
▪ Third Shun pornography and gay propaganda, which will only fuel wrong thoughts. * (Psalm 119:37; Colossians 3:5, 6) Some motion pictures and television programs also foster the belief that homosexuality is nothing more than a so-called alternative lifestyle. “The world’s warped thinking affected my mind and added to my sexual confusion,” says Anna. “Now I steer clear of anything or anyone that promotes homosexuality.”—Proverbs 13:20.
▪ Fourth Seek out a confidant, and talk to him or her about your thoughts. (Proverbs 23:26; 31:26; 2 Timothy 1:1, 2; 3:10) Olef, who sought the help of a Christian elder, recalls: “His counsel was very effective. I wished I had spoken to him a lot earlier.”
Do Not Give Up!
Of course, some would say that there’s no point in doing all this, that you should simply embrace your sexuality and accept what you are. But the Bible says that you can do better than that! It tells us, for example, that some early Christians who had formerly practiced homosexuality changed. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11) You too can win the battle—even if at this point it is only being waged in your heart.
If your desires persist, do not give up or conclude that you are a lost cause. (Hebrews 12:12, 13) All of us battle wrong inclinations at times. (Romans 3:23; 7:21-23) If you refuse to act on wrong desires, in time they may subside. (Colossians 3:5-8) Above all, lean on Jehovah for help. He loves you and knows what will make you happy. (Isaiah 41:10) Yes, “trust in Jehovah and do good . . . , and he will give you the requests of your heart.”—Psalm 37:3, 4.
More articles from the “Young People Ask . . .” series can be found at the Web site www.watchtower.org/ype
^ par. 3 Names in this article have been changed.
^ par. 19 “Metrosexuality”—a lifestyle in which men give excessive attention to themselves and particularly their appearance—has done much to blur the line between gay and straight. According to the man who reportedly coined the term, the metrosexual “might be officially gay, straight or bisexual, but this is utterly immaterial because he has clearly taken himself as his own love object and pleasure as his sexual preference.” The popularity of the term, says one encyclopedia, “followed the increasing integration of gay men into mainstream society and a correspondingly decreased taboo towards homosexuality and changing masculinity.”
TO THINK ABOUT
▪ Why does God disapprove of homosexuality?
▪ What can you do if you are struggling with same-sex attraction?
▪ In whom can you confide if you are battling homosexual urges?
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