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We often view homosexual desire in contexts of theological prohibition and the need for repentance and healing. We miss the tendency of these streams to channel young people into repression. Measuring only external behavior, we celebrate a young SSA struggler’s obedience. Many times, however, their obedience is stimulated by relational and religious pressure rather than life-giving spiritual surrender. In short, they are not celebrating; they are falling to pieces.
Breaking off homosexual desire from the inner self is futile – and potentially dangerous – unless such an effort is directed by the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Attempts driven by peer, family, church or religious pressure will fail. We must be cognizant of the tendency of young people to pursue obedience in their own strength; and we must ensure that our engagement of them does not channel them into repression.
While the ideal is spiritual or whole-life surrender, this is not a switch one can simply turn “on.” If you recall Justin’s story, he needed an encounter with God – initiated by God – to discern the doorway into whole-life surrender. This is true of my life – and of every person I have met who experiences SSA. Getting to whole-life surrender, then, is not “something to accomplish” – it is a gift from God.
Prior to arriving at whole-life surrender, young SSA strugglers may remain stuck in channels of repression for long seasons – looking outwardly victorious but inwardly all torn up. Pastors and parents: be careful what you celebrate; you may just miss the opportunity to walk through a deep well of pain with your loved one.
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