Rainbow flags appear everywhere in June. The things you see and hear during Pride Month can be confusing and raise questions about sexuality. You might wonder how to think about all that is happening and how to respond to the messaging.
The worldview behind the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) platform runs counter to a biblical standard. What you need to remember is that God created you in His image and gave you a physical body that connects to your soul. God made male and female on purpose and with a plan. Your body is not accidental or random. It expresses the person God made you to be, His beloved creation.
In the book of Genesis, God said that only one thing was “not good”—that Adam, the man He had created, was alone. So God made Eve, a female counterpart for Adam. God created man and woman as two separate, complementary and yet equal, people to show His relational nature.
Together, male and female in marriage reflect the image of God (Ephesians 5:22-32). Marriage also reflects Christ and His church. Jesus is the Bridegroom, and the church is His bride. This “marriage” creates salvation and spiritual life.
Our culture throws different views at us, especially in June when the pressure to endorse pro-LGBT ideas is intense. To help equip you, Focus on the Family counselors prepared the following Q&A from your questions.
I have friends who identify as LGBT. How can I be a friend without agreeing with what they believe or do?
Relate to your LGBT friends the way you would to anyone else. Everyone is our neighbor, and Jesus commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Luke 10:25-37). But loving your friends doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing with their views or behaviors. It also doesn’t mean celebrating something that goes against God’s commands or your own convictions. Remember, we’re all sinners. You probably have other friends who don’t believe as you do or obey God’s commands, and you’re still friends.
If a friend pressures you to accept or engage in unhealthy sexuality, you may need to create some distance in your friendship. Talk to your parents about how to respond in those situations. You can still show love and kindness even if distance is needed.
I have many friends who identify as LGBT. If the subject is brought up, what should I say? I feel conflicted.
If your LGBT friend is a nonbeliever:
Appreciate your friend as a person, not a project. If you turn your friend into a project and try to change her mind, your motives will be obvious and could lead to resentment. Instead, remember that God loves your friend and commands you to love her as well. Find ways to connect through common concerns and interests. Most important, look at her as a fellow human being who reflects the image of God.
If your friend challenges you to explain your beliefs, keep in mind Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well (John 4:7-26). Jesus wasn’t supposed to have any interaction with a woman, a Samaritan or someone involved in sexual sin. Yet despite these taboos, He met with this woman at the level of their shared humanity by asking her for a drink. During their conversation, Jesus matter-of-factly acknowledged the realities of her situation (she had been married five times and was now living with a man) and addressed her spiritual need. As a result of this encounter, many in the woman’s village came to faith in Christ.
As you discuss your views and differences with your friend, show respect, kindness, gentleness and love. Share your beliefs and your faith in a personal way (using “I” statements). Ask the Holy Spirit to guide the conversation and open doors for sharing more about Jesus as your relationship grows. If your friend criticizes or attacks you, ask God to help you respond with grace instead of defensiveness.
If your LGBT friend professes to be a believer:
As with a nonbeliever, exhibit kindness, gentleness, grace and love, reflecting the Spirit of Christ in everything you say and do. As you talk, look for a common understanding of moral and spiritual truth based on the Scriptures.
What you say to an individual who is involved in sexual intimacy outside of God’s design for marriage will be very different from how you respond to a believer who experiences same-sex attractions but refrains from acting on them. In both scenarios, first listen carefully to what your friend has to say. Instead of quoting Bible verses or launching into a discussion of biblical doctrine, try to get a sense of what she’s thinking and feeling.
Strive to keep the dialogue as pleasant and objective as possible, and don’t fall into the trap of shaming, blaming or condemning your friend. If you discover that what your friend believes about this issue doesn’t line up with God’s Word, share the truth with gentleness and love. If you aren’t sure how to respond to her arguments or questions, let her know you need time to think about it and then ask a parent or trusted spiritual mentor for help. Honest arguments and questions deserve honest, biblically based responses.
My friend’s older sister identifies as LGBT. I feel bad for him because I know it’s tough. How can I help him?
Your friend probably has conflicting emotions about his sister’s sexual identity. Remind him that what’s happening in her life is not about him. The situation is much more complex than that. If your friend is carrying a heavy burden of false guilt and condemnation over her choices, you can help him shift his focus to unconditionally loving his sister as 1 Corinthians 13 says. But remember, loving unconditionally doesn’t mean he has to agree with his sister.
I recently heard the term asexual, which describes some-one who lacks sexual attraction. I like boys romantically, but I don’t feel any sexual attraction toward them. What does God think about asexuality?
Asexuality is a label, and sexuality labels aren’t helpful for a developing teen. The experience of attraction is a delicate and individualized process with a lot of factors. In fact, it’s normal for girls to develop sexually at different rates. Some girls are late bloomers. The important thing is to have confidence in God’s unique timing and plan. God wants you to trust Him with your sexuality, without labels.
A label like asexual also can be self-reinforcing. If you focus on the asexual label, you may convince yourself that this is who you’re supposed to be instead of discovering who you really are. Avoid the labels and give yourself time to grow into the person God created you to be physically, sexually, emotionally and spiritually.
My best friend and I have a joke where she’s like my wifey. It’s not real, but we were jokingly holding each other’s hands, and then I kissed her on the neck, and she went along with it. I don’t know how it happened. I’ve kissed two other friends on the cheek, just messing around. I’m not questioning my sexuality. I like boys. What do I do?
Affectionate friendships with the same sex can be just that. At the same time, your body and mind are intricately connected. What can start as innocent joking can activate feelings you didn’t plan for. You have nerve endings in your skin and hormones that affect your brain. When you’re touched or stimulated in ways that cross physical or personal boundaries, your body will naturally have sensations and reactions.
Be wise about your physical boundaries—especially during puberty. Your body is just starting to get used to the production of sexual hormones and how they interact with your thinking patterns. Feelings can happen quickly and easily, especially if physical joking or play goes a little further than expected. This information is not intended to scare you, but it can help you understand why boundaries are wise.
Sexual Attraction vs. Identity
Identity, sexual attraction, behavior and values are separate concepts that few people talk about. Let’s explore the differences.
Your identity-who and what you are-is something that God has given you
According to the Bible, you are a person, male or female, created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). This means that your identity doesn’t change based on your emotional experiences or what other people say about you.
Being attracted to someone is a complex emotional or physical sensation, greater than a one-size-fits-all definition.
This experience may develop in an instant and blindside you or grow over time. But sexual attraction is transient and will come and go over the course of your life. It’s based on many physical and psychological factors that come out through feelings.
Unlike attraction, your behavior is fully within your control.
God has given each of us a will, and as individuals we are given special responsibility over our actions. By exercising self-compassion and self-control, you can lead your behavior to align with your values, regardless of other influences. Doing this takes godly support, grace and a commitment, but all Christians are called to God’s loving plan no matter what temptations exist. We are loved and empowered by the Holy Spirit and a supportive community.
Your values reflect what is most important to you.
Think about your personal belief system and faith commitment. Remember that feelings don’t determine your identity, and they don’t have to dictate your behavior. It is never wise to give greater weight to labels and feelings than to clear thinking, personal integrity and sound biblical teachings.