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Homosexuals can change - let’s speak the Truth in Love

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Earlier this week I attended and spoke at the Core Issues conference in Belfast. The event explored issues surrounding homosexuality with a particular focus on reparative therapy, which helps those with unwanted feelings of same-sex attraction.

There were men in attendance who were genuinely struggling with same-sex attraction but who also wanted to follow Jesus. Two men there were on the cusp of changing their gender from male to female. I had the feeling that this is exactly where the Church should be - reaching out to people who were honest and open and who wanted to explore the hope and transforming power found only in Jesus.

My turn came to speak in the evening. A group of about 50 homosexual rights activists who had picketed the event were invited in to hear my talk. It wasn’t long before some of them voiced their disapproval and I had to quickly adapt my material in response to the chorus of jeers and heckles.

Homosexual rights campaigners get very angry with the idea of homosexual practice as sin, and very angry at the idea of reparative therapy - which rests on the idea that people can change if they want to and are motivated to do so. It is important to note that it is a voluntary therapy – no one is forced to undergo the therapy and no one is forced to change against their will. Similarly, no one can coerce anyone into faith. Jesus died for each one of us but it is up to us to accept His offer of forgiveness and salvation.

This point seems to be lost on those who would seek to silence any voice that suggests we need to turn away from sin or that sexual orientation can be changed. The call for an open and honest debate on the issue of homosexuality by these campaigners rings hollow when those who suggest that change is possible are shouted down and harried out of the public space.

Honest debate requires that a hearing be given to all views, not just those in agreement with politically correct opinion.

It’s strange that the same people who argue that sexual orientation can’t be changed also argue that gender can be changed. Yet the testimonies of former homosexuals speak clearly of how change is possible.

Love is to point people to truth. Jesus is the most loving man there could possibly be yet he was honest and frank about people’s sin. He offered the woman from Samaria living water whilst at the same time confronting her with her own sexual immorality. If we deny truth and deny people the chance to change then this will have serious consequences both now and on into eternity.

I came under fire for holding the line on Biblical sexual ethics but I am prepared to endure abuse if just one person embraces Jesus and sees the powerful changes He is able to bring to our lives. We all need Jesus’ forgiveness and power to change us, whatever our sexual orientation.

Some of those present shouted me down; others listened. This has always been the way since New Testament days. One thing is for sure: just like those early Christians, we must continue to speak the truth in love whatever the cost.

Andrea

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