Cover Story Good Advice Feature Video Hot Topics





Hot topic of the week


Hello everyone! What are some of your favorite things to do on Sabbath? I like to watch nature shows, listen to music, and read! :)

What do YOU think?


Click here join in the discussion.

Web Bonus


Tempted to Be Bi




by Katie Smith

How do I deal with my temptation? How do I not give into it? How do I please God?

My face grows hot, and a deep shade of red invades my already ruddy complexion. My fingers race to find the mouse, and I switch from a blue Web site page to my

e-mail. Did she see? My frightened eyes latch onto my roommate, Alyssa,* who’s just walked through our door.

“I’m going to Maria’s room to study.” Alyssa grabs some papers and heads out the door.

I breathe a sigh of relief and switch back to the Web site. Mark 12:28-34 stares back at me, accompanied with a devotional commentary. I flash a look at the Web site address, the cause of my dancing nerves. It’s a Web site for Christians who believe they are either gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.

I’m bisexual. That means just like I’m attracted to some guys, I’m attracted to some girls. There, I said it. Maybe it’s easier to say here on paper, because I’m not using my real name in my byline—so you’ll never really know who I am. Then again, people who say my name every day don’t even know who I am.

Confession in an essay

“How was your day?” Becky asked me, her voice sounded tinny coming through the receiver.

“It was really long,” I told her as I paced the halls of the dorm, hiding from prying eyes. “I went to see my professor today about that essay I wrote. It got me thinking about things. Well, you know,” I murmured, not wanting others to figure out what I’m talking about.

I’d written about an awful night when I’d thrown my morals to the wind and kissed a girl. Regret coated each of my written words, because I still felt disgusted with myself for giving in to temptation.

“My professor and I talked about changing my behavior by focusing on good things instead of on the problem itself. I should be happy that someone is trying to help me, right? But it’s so hard! I was kind of depressed after I talked with him . . .” I admitted and then paused. “I think the worst part was I couldn’t even tell my best friend here. When she came into my room, I faked being happy.” Sobs throbbed in my throat, and my eyes leaked. “I hate how I can’t talk to anyone. I hate it!”

“It’s OK,” Becky murmured, hundreds of miles away, which may as well have been millions.

“Do you know what it’s like?” I asked, my voice strained. “Knowing that if you told your friends the truth, they’d either hate you or be afraid? Do you know what it’s like knowing that the people you love are only friends with you because they don’t know who you really are?”

I stopped for a second, because it felt as if a boulder had lodged in my throat. “You’re the only one I can talk to,” I whispered.

I longed for a hug from my best friend.
Cry for help

“Hey!” an instant message leaped to life as I surfed the Web one day. It was Maxi, a girl in my youth group. I imagined her short, dark hair, yellowed teeth, and her annoying laugh. I didn’t know why she trusted me. Nobody liked her—not even me. It’s difficult to like a compulsive liar. Anyway, I found myself talking with Maxi day after day.

“I like girls,” she admitted one day during a talk about God.

My heart convulsed. I knew the sea of pain she was probably struggling to wade through. My disdain for her instantly morphed into admiration and pity. Then she asked me, “How do I deal with this temptation? How do I not give in to it? And how do I please God?”

I shared as much as I dared—Bible texts I used to overcome my sexual thoughts toward guys I lusted after—but I didn’t tell her about the women.

“You don’t understand. It’s way harder than that!” Maxi responded, her frustration evident in spite of the electronic means of our communication.

I wanted to scream that I understand exactly how hard it is. I wanted to shout out my own secret in an effort to help her. It’s what will help her stay tight with Me, is what God tried whispering in my mind. But I slammed the door shut on His suggestion to make myself vulnerable.

No one can know! I shivered in fear.
A year later

I stumbled across Maxi’s MySpace page. A picture of her and her new girlfriend graced the page. If I’d let God use me, would she have been better able to resist temptation? What can I do now since I’ve lost contact with her? I decided that my time to act had passed.

Months later I sat nestled on a couch as I flipped through an old Christian magazine. Suddenly my world got jolted, as if I’d reached up and touched a telephone wire as I read, “Christ challenged every convention and confused people by how He lived. He broke the mold of what people thought was holy and acceptable in His day. Christ was the biggest risk-taker in history and the perfect definition of a missionary.”

I shivered. God, what are You saying to me? I bit my lip, knowing full well that I hadn’t stumbled upon this article by chance. What if I share my sexual struggles instead of burying them? It would be scarier than anything I’ve tried yet.

I realized that the time to act to help others like me hadn’t passed. I was still breathing, and God could still use me.

So here I am. I’m still afraid to reveal my name, in case my friends and family find out. But I’m your best friend, your daughter, your girlfriend, your sister. I’m nobody to fear or hate. Instead, I need prayers and love, because I want to follow God, just like any other Christian who struggles with sinful desires. I share my testimony to help myself and others come to grips with homosexuality or bisexuality.

Maybe my decision to speak out this much will help someone understand their gay best friend instead of judge them. Maybe it will reassure someone who feels that they are alone in their struggle. Maybe finally sharing my struggle will encourage someone else to stick to God’s side instead of give in to temptation.

When I’m tempted to give in to my temptation, I think about how much I love God and want to please Him. My happiness with another woman would be as plastic as a child’s toy, and I’d yearn for the love of the Being who created me (Psalm 139).

Perhaps some day I’ll be able to strip away my mask of perfection and let you see who I am. For now, I’ll just finish reading my daily devotion from God’s Word. The clarity it provides on the God I love helps me in my walk with Him. And I’m not ashamed of that.

 
*All names have been changed.
 
Katie Smith is a pseudonym.
 
 
Ali,
This needs to go along with this article.
 
Are You Tempted? Here’s Some Hope!
 

Knowing that God doesn’t approve of homosexual or bisexual relationships isn’t very comforting if you’re struggling with homosexual or bisexual feelings. The good news is that God can help you overcome your struggle.

 
by David Solomon Hall, Sr.
 

Bisexuality. Homosexuality. How does God feel about these practices? We know how the world feels about them—that they’re merely “alternative lifestyle” choices.

A bunch of entertainment stars have recently shared their sexual preferences with anyone within earshot. Last fall American Idol alum Clay Aiken “came out” in a People magazine cover story, and Lindsay Lohan “confirmed” that she and her long time “gal pal” are much more than that. MTV’s mega-hit reality show A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila was television’s first bisexual reality dating show. Both vice presidential nominees Sarah Palin and Joe Biden were asked to discuss their views on gay marriage in the heat of the recent presidential campaign. These and many other happenings make it clear that our society is becoming more and more tolerant of homosexuality.

What does God think about all of this? Can we apply “WWJD” to this issue? How would Jesus respond to someone who’s bisexual or homosexual?

Some critics say that Jesus never really spoke out about homosexuality during His earthly ministry, since there’s nothing recorded about it in the Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. However, we can find out what Jesus and the apostle Paul thought about the practice of homosexuality by examining their words.

For the record

When people pressed Jesus on the subject of marriage, here’s what He shared with His listeners: “‘Haven’t you read,’ he replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator “made them male and female,” and said, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh”? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate’” (Matthew 19:4-6, NIV).* Jesus is making it clear that the Godhead—He, His Father, and the Holy Spirit—favors heterosexual marriage relationships.

In that simple statement Jesus affirmed the Old Testament principle of no sex outside of marriage, since the two people He spoke of don’t come together as “one flesh” until the marriage bond is consummated. And, Jesus specifically said that the marriage relationship is between a man and a woman.

Jesus’ statement on marriage begs the following question: If God created marriage, and He explicitly stated that the institution of marriage is reserved for a man and a woman, how could He be in favor of homosexual or bisexual relationships?

In Romans 1:24-27 the apostle Paul wrote about the Romans who refused to obey God’s truth: “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion” (NIV).

That’s a pretty clear statement, isn’t it? Remember, “all scripture is given by inspiration of God (2 Timothy 3:16, KJV), so we can’t just discount what Paul wrote because Jesus didn’t say or write the same thing. Actually, both views on relationships came from the same Source—God!

Knowing isn’t enough

Knowing what God says about homosexual practices doesn’t make life easier for someone struggling silently with homosexual or bisexual feelings, someone ostracized by family, friends, church members, and society at large. None of us consciously choose our sexual orientation, so it’s quite possible that the degradation caused by sin down through the ages has altered humanity at its core, including sexual orientation.

Following the biblical premise that homosexual and bisexual relationships are sins, we have to conclude that homosexuality and all other “alternative lifestyles” are at their core spiritual problems in need of spiritual solutions.

Traditionally, churches have spoken out strongly against homosexuality, many times in ways that are homophobic. Sometimes Christians beat homosexual brothers and sisters over the head with the Bible, totally forgetting the biblical injunction to love and accept all people even while rejecting their sinful lifestyle. Truth is, all of us—homosexual and heterosexual—have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23).

To God, there are no categories of sin. Sin is sin, and all sinners must bring their sin to the only one capable of handling sin problems—Jesus!

What are practical ways to deal with the pull of a homosexual or bisexual lifestyle? If you’re struggling with a temptation to engage in a homosexual or bisexual relationship, you must avoid tempting situations. Proverbs 22:3 advises: “A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.”

Don’t read articles or visit Web sites that celebrate the lives of those engaged in sinful lifestyle practices, whether they be gay or straight.

If you’ve got gay friends or bisexual friends who are urging you to accept and embrace the lifestyle, minimize your contact with them. This isn’t easy, but remember that your goal is to please God, not your friends.

Your mind is the battleground in the great conflict between God and Satan. The way to victory is to allow God to transform the way you think (Romans 12:1, 2). In the process, remove anything—pictures, keepsakes, etc.—that might trigger your temptations.

The crucial step

No matter how vigilant you are in avoiding tempting situations, temptations will come, and they will come on strong. To overcome them, you must take the next step—you must get to know Jesus better.

A good way to do this is to immerse yourself in the Gospels. Ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten your mind as you read, and while you’re reading them pay close attention to Jesus’ character and what motivated His actions. Why did He do certain things? What was His attitude like in different situations? As you read, you’ll learn about Jesus’ sacrifices for you. You’ll get to know His love. And God will give you peace and direction in your life.

Most important, submit yourself to God completely, and ask Him for strength to resist Satan’s temptations. When you do that, James 4:7 promises that the devil will flee from you. Repeat this process daily, and slowly God will transform you into His image. God loves you more than you could ever know, and He won’t give up on you!

The old saying goes that “birds of a feather flock together.” Friends generally mimic the behaviors of the people they associate with. Associate with Jesus. His character will become your character. Then the only thing you’ll want to do is please Him.

 

*Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright  1973, 1978, 1984, International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

 

David Solomon Hall, Sr., is director of Youth and Church Ministries for the Nevada-Utah Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.





Top | Home