Sunday, June 4, 2017

Two More Family Tales

In our previous post, A Tale of Two Families, we talked about two of the ways families deal with a gay family member. There are more nuanced reactions than full-on acceptance of homosexuality as an immutable identity or treating it like it is: a perverse, pleasureable sin that needs to be repented of, no matter what the cause. Here are a few we are seeing a lot of.

The parents, siblings, grandparents, etc. know homosexuality is perverse and wrong, and because of this or that reason are attracted to the there-must-be-an-opposiste-sex-evil-spirit-that-has-taken-over explanation. While there are such things as evil spirits, we've never heard of them taking this form in such a situation as we have today. The world is pro-gay. It's accepted, it's praised, it's paraded in the streets. No evil spirit needed!

It's true that some people repress traumatic events such as child sexual abuse. They may need special help to unearth these abuses, confront them, and gain understanding why they feel the way they do, and so be enabled to then heal and repent. Maybe people call those bad memories an evil spirit. Maybe some people believe these proclivities can be cast out and their lives are changed. We are hearing of  many people who have left homosexuality behind through exorcism. Of course the individual must have a sincere desire to leave their proclivities and behaviors behind if they are to benefit from any such help.

Be that as it may, being overtaken by an evil spirit and choosing to sin are different things. The first takes any control away from the individual; the second is completely up to the individual. Perhaps there are grey areas where harm or emotional illness is present. In our case, we know if we had suggested to our loved one when he was involved in homosexuality that he was possessed of an evil spirit, this would have greatly frightened and confused him even more. He knew exactly what he was doing and he knew it was wrong. Doesn't sound like an evil spirit unless we all have evil spirits at one time or another. Jesus cast out devils, yes, but wasn't this like any other of his miracles, as an indication of his power so he could get people's attention and teach them the gospel? We are fallen, we are human, we are tempted, and we are accountable for our thoughts and acts. It's the human condition.

Here at SoL our experience has convinced us that, as Alma says, the gospel is more powerful to change us than anything else, even the sword. It seems a bit convenient to blame an evil spirit on something so obvious and common and simple as a sin of the flesh. But evil spirit or not, repentance through Christ is the best way to change our desires, and we are promised that it works. 

Rather than being possessed of an opposite-sex evil spirit, we think that today, given the sexually permissive, pornographic, pro-gay environment we live in, it is more likely that the individual has come in close contact with homosexuality and has decided to try it out. Unless the person is truly emotionally or mentally ill, agency is the key. The "gay" person has a mind and a heart of his own. The world around him is teaching something that for any number of unfortunate reasons caught his imagination and he's going with it. It's sexual, it's pleasurable, it's exiting, it's cool, it's trendy, and apparently there are no limits. People even say he's courageous. He's getting lots of attention, at least in that way. Yeah, he's having the time of his life. So we hesitate to recommend that these people are possessed of evil spirits. Perhaps some are.

Generally speaking, we have observed that homosexuality is an age-old temptation,  a way to explain bad things, a way to be naughty, a way to escape pain, a way to be rebellious, a way to be wicked, a way to get thrills, or a way to thumb your prideful nose at God. It's not surprising at all that this is what more and more young people are choosing if you think about sexual and peer abuse, how gay-affirming our society has become, pro-gay propaganda, ubiquitous gay-recruiting resources on the internet, the easy availability and attraction of pornography enflaming sexual feelings, older gays initiating the young, pervasive social media constantly encouraging homosexualism, and the groundswell of secular humanism pervading the culture. Apparently, man has given himself super powers and needs no God.

Another reaction we're seeing is when the family knows it's wrong and, at first, says something or other against it, draws a line or two, but then gives in when the gay family member ignores their wishes and insinuates themselves and their partner(s) into every family gathering. We've seen how gays insist on long talks with their parents and siblings on the wonderfulness of their homosexuality. We've seen how they win some family members over in order to divide the family and put pressure on (bully) those resisting. We've seen how they manipulate and charm their family members into shrugging their shoulders and handing out hugs.

We call this turning a blind eye. The family knows their son or brother is behaving badly, they know this isn't who he is, but they'd rather keep the peace than enforce any rules or openly stand against it or speak up regularly in words of truth and warning. Parents and siblings and extended family want the family member around so they ignore or whitewash his lifestyle in their minds. They make his dangerous sexual choices and habits none of their business, even though it's all over facebook.

Families may even presume that their magnanimous love and acceptance of the acting-out family member will somehow, someday, bring them back to their senses. Hmm. Again, where in the scriptures does it say that this happens? Where in life does this happen? Nowhere. You can't go along with something wicked as if it isn't wicked and expect it to go away. It will only increase. And all sorts of unimagined harm and destruction will occur. What will they do when this grown gay man gets HIV/IDS? And starts recruiting his nephews? It's happened. Did you know that 92% of new HIV/AIDS cases are males age 13-25? Did you get that? Age 13-25.

This okay-we-know-it's-wrong-but-we'll-put-up-with-it-to-keep-the-family-together reaction may be the most common. Or maybe not. Maybe most people completely fool themselves. Who knows?
Either way, the emphasis is certainly not on using the gospel of  essential divine redemption for inevitable sin, which is the Lord's solution. When people use the Lord's solutions (humbly turning to Christ, repenting continually, loving truth, exercising faith in God's plan, putting God first), no matter what their wayward child does, they are comforted, guided by the Spirit, and will grow spiritually by leaps and bounds.

The point is, there are many strange roads people are taking, roads that do not lead to righteousness, goodness, and Christ. This is what happens when human relations and being nice and keeping up appearances are what you care more about than God and truth and the welfare of souls.

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