Sexual/Gender Identity Confusion
CCCH Marriage & Family Ministry
With Kurt Bruner, The Center for Strong Families
Our generation is experiencing an increased level of confusion with regard to sexual/gender identity. When addressing struggles such as same-sex attraction, gender identity concerns or a transgender disposition, we must approach each cautiously with several foundational understandings.
Wholeness begins with the realization that sex is first and foremost a noun (what we are) rather than a verb (what we do). Each of us has been created by God to reflect His image as male or female. “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness’…So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply.’” (Genesis 1:26-28) Our physical design points us to the nature of a triune God, whose image we bear. God purposed that when two become one as husband and wife they enter into the intended design of conjugal love. Sexual health begins by understanding that our sex, male or female, is fixed at creation by our creator and not a social construct or individual choice subject to alteration.
Confusion over sexual identity can be common during puberty as an influx of hormones can throw the body and emotions out of balance. This is no time to panic. Under normal circumstances the confusion clears. However, those who are encouraged to act upon such short-term feelings can perpetuate and intensify the struggle into adulthood. Far too many adolescents listen to peers, the media, and even authority figures pushing them to “come out” or declare themselves to be something other than what God made them to be. This can trap them in the mistaken idea that one’s desires, even if short-term, dictate one’s identity.
Christianity recognizes that human affections can become disoriented due to the effects of the fall. As the Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the church at Rome, “We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin…For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (See Romans 7:14-15) Every person feels desires that run counter to our intended design including a variety of sexual struggles like pornography addiction, same-sex attraction and others.
A REDEMPTIVE APPROACH
The emotions associated with same sex attraction and gender identity confusion are both real and complex. Many individuals desperately wish they could free themselves from feelings and desires that can make them feel abnormal or even shameful. Unfortunately, extending hope in such situations has become difficult because those who affirm God’s design for human sexuality are labeled “bigots” or “homophobic haters” by those with a political agenda. Loved ones and friends are told that if you don’t agree with the person’s lifestyle choices you are rejecting them as a person. But Christians should love others enough not to perpetuate lies that undermine sexual wholeness. To become agents of redemption in the midst of an increasingly emotional debate, both the person wrestling with sexual identity confusion and the person who cares about them can follow a few important steps.
Step One: Extend Grace
Refuse to perpetuate stereotypes. Not everyone struggling with same-sex attraction is living in rebellion against God’s design. On the other side, those who believe God intended sexual union exclusively for a husband and a wife should be motivated by truth and love, not ignorance or hate. So extend grace, without calling names or assuming the worst.
Step Two: Explore God’s Design
Regardless of our current posture or perspective, the best place to start is to explore what it means to be created male and female in God’s image and how we can find sexual wholeness as intended by our Creator.
Step Three: Glean From Those Who Understand
Same-sex attraction and sexual identity confusion are complicated matters with no easy answers. The journey to wholeness may be a difficult, long process. Seek wisdom from those who understand where you are. Let them help you discover the joy and health that comes from pursuing God’s loving, beautiful design for human sexuality. Start by exploring the Going Further Resources.
GOING FURTHER – Resources
It should be noted that Calvary Chapel Chino Hills does not necessarily endorse any particular resource and the entirety of its content.
The following books and organizations are recommended for those struggling with same-sex attraction or sexual identity confusion and their loved ones.
Available from the CCCH Bookstore
When Homosexuality Hits Home: What to do When a Loved One Says, “I’m Gay” by Joe Dallas
The heart-wrenching declaration that a loved one is a homosexual is increasingly being heard in Christian households across America. How can this be? What went wrong? Is there a cure?
FirstStone.org – A ministry leading the sexually and relationally broken into a liberating relationship with Jesus Christ. There is detailed emphasis on overcoming all forms of sexual brokenness including homosexuality, sexual abuse and addiction to pornography.
Syrogers.com – Regarded as a gifted communicator, award-winning talk show host, recording artist, and pastoral care specialist, Sy is a leading voice regarding sexuality, cultural themes and God’s character.
Help4families.com – Help 4 Families works with other outreach/churches and counseling programs in order to assist families and individuals with their needs.
White Stone Ministry
White Stone is a confidential support ministry for families and friends of those struggling with same-sex attraction. All calls are strictly confidential: 909.393.4114 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.