Recently we received the following letter:
I am a woman in my 20s and have developed a very close friendship with another woman. At first, we just spent a lot of time together, but eventually it developed into a sexual relationship. I lost my virginity to her, and we have been sexually involved for about four months. We both go through stages of repentance and guilt, and then we become sexually involved again.
She has had this kind of relationship in the past. I know with all my heart doing this is wrong. My friend seems to be OK with doing this at times and doesn't seem as emotionally devastated as I am. We are so close and have spent so much time together that I have really become attached to her, and now with the sexual involvement, even more so. So what should I do? Avoid her?
We have both discussed this numerous times and both agreed never to let it happen again. Yet it does. I never thought a homosexual relationship would be part of my life story. Bewildered, I am admitting that it is. If someone could address this complicated situation with truth from God's Word, I would truly appreciate it, especially where to go from here.
Here is how we responded:
Thank you for writing. When it comes to same-sex romanticism — especially with the misassumptions and pressures connected to the homosexual topic today — I know this takes courage.
That's why I want to bolster your faith. You are sensitive to His plan for your life and seeking His answers — He is with you even when it's difficult. Christ's invitation is indeed to grace and restoration when misplaced sexual expression occurs. In the biblical story of the woman at the well who was in a cycle of sexual sin (John 4), the Lord met her greatest needs by giving His love and treating her with dignity.
And I believe that is where you find yourself — with Jesus, at your own "well." Thus, I invite you to deeply ponder the following as you grow to understand your situation:
Eventually, any pleasurable relationship or behavior that does not accurately point and connect us to Christ easily becomes a lesser-fulfilling counterfeit god.
Once it has become our God-substitute, we cannot readily abandon its half-satisfying yet guilt-inducing comfort in order to seek and grasp the real thing himself. For many, this is a starting point to explain why they're habitually attached to something they do not truly want. Call it "idolatry," "addiction" or merely "meeting legitimate needs in illegitimate ways." All are potentially accurate.
When your relationship with this woman began to meet desperately unfulfilled needs for acceptance, safety or solidarity in your life, my guess is the Enemy tempted you with his cunning sleight of hand. He, along with human fallen nature, led you to want the emotional and physical comfort of the relationship as an ultimate thing, rather than keeping it as a moral friendship that might contribute to your connection with God.
In Emotional Dependency and How to Keep Your Friendships Healthy Lori Rentzel makes an important remark. I suggest you study her resource. She states:
Whether or not physical involvement exists, sin takes place when a friendship becomes a dependent relationship. Yet we all have a deep need, placed in us by God, for intimate fellowship.
Your desire for deep friendship is not the problem nor is it frowned upon by the Lord. He just does not want it to be your god. He knows our relational thirsts and placed those in us as an echo of being made in His image, but what we sometimes miss is how to avoid turning potentially good things into ultimate things. God must be the highest of all beings in our lives because no lover, friend, spouse, job, possession or habit can be the Ultimate Comforter.
Once "emotional dependency" forms, there can be mutual stagnation and excessive closeness that is resistant to outside influence. The relationship comes to possess and preoccupy the individuals. Ironically, its intensity often leads to smothering and an eventual implosion. Such "emotional fusing" is a common genesis for some forms of female-to-female sexual involvement.
Further, our human emotions, bodies and wills have difficulty changing directions once sexual connections occur. I observe the effects of misplaced sexuality as one example of Hebrews 12:1 — "sin which clings so closely." That passage says to be very intentional and active in responding. It says "lay aside" anything that hinders so that you can persevere, fixing your eyes on Jesus.
Practically speaking, that looks different for each person. While it's important to stop acting in ways that violate your beliefs and bond you sexually, getting back on track is not merely about stopping behavior. It's about addressing underlying history that leaves you vulnerable in this area of life.
That's why I urge you toward Christian counseling that can help with personalized insights and provide productive actions.
I'll leave you with these initial steps in your process of growth and experiencing God's healing grace:
- Understand it's unlikely that regular contact in this now-intensified friendship can be maintained in a healthy way for you at this stage of your growth and development.
- Thus, prepare with a counselor how to best detach and distance from this relationship. As you get wise and practical boundary-making input, it's respectful to yourself as well as your friend to communicate these calmly and clearly.
- Prepare for feelings of grief and loss (by both parties) as you obediently "lay aside" (Hebrews 12:1) this dependent relationship.
- Learn to recognize and be honest about your own manipulations that keep the relationship going (Jeremiah 17:9). Clearly and specifically define your desired plan and boundaries on paper and be accountable for learning to live by them.
- In counseling, address the deeper issues that left you emotionally vulnerable to this form of dependency.
- Stay in touch with a trustworthy friend and mentor. Allow yourself to be open as well as appropriately nurtured.
- Ask God to do a deep work in your heart. Yet be sure you are not doing life in a way that keeps Him from His work.
- Cultivate healthy friendships. Get input and coaching about any fears and blockades.
There is much more you will learn. You won't do it perfectly, yet He loves you anyway. With the help of others who share your values, walk toward Him and away from any substitutes for security that have taken you where you don't want to go.