This past week in 507, the hot topic of homosexuality was unexpectedly discussed. The reason it got brought up was because of the newly popular article about a man's journey of being gay and coming out at Liberty University. There were a number of different opinions about the article, the topic of homosexuality, how the professors responded, etc. and the whole time this was being discussed and people were voicing their opinions about "those kinds of people", I couldn't help but feel sympathy for those with same sex attraction. Unfortunately, much to many churches and Christians are responding very poorly to the issue and it is honestly breaking my heart. Too many people are focusing on the political aspects and are fighting as hard as they can against the issue that it seems like the only thing being communicated is hatred. I came across a really great article on christianpost.com and I really like what Alex Murashko had to say. His overall point in this article is that we need to start looking past all of the debating and look at the individuals. He argues that we, as a church, need to show much more compassion towards those struggling with same sex attraction. Not go so far as accepting the behaviors, but recognizing that there is a struggle there. He wrote something that encouraged me when he said that there's a church in D.C. who meets each week to discuss how to better care for these struggling individuals. I love that. They're more concerned with how they can lend a helping and loving hand instead of being concerned about "letting those people near our children" or "keeping them away from our families."
How this relates to counseling:
It goes without saying that we all are going to encounter clients who are struggling with homosexual tendencies. Instead of referring them because we don't agree with their behaviors, we need to show compassion and instead counsel the person through it. Yes that will be difficult to do if we are in secular settings because many of those practices teaches us how to assist someone in coming out, but I still believe that we can be loving and try to understand the hurt the person is feeling underneath. There is always some way to love someone. And as I have said in my previous post, we ALL have a struggle of some kind. A person with same sex attraction just happens to wear their struggle on their sleeve.
My personal response:
I took a class here at Liberty in undergrad called "Addictions and the recovery process" with the late Dr. Pitts. He was an absolutely brilliant man and I learned a great deal from him. He is a recovering drug addict so I really respected his insights into the struggles of addictions especially since I'm the daughter of two recovering drug addicts myself. In this class, we talked about homosexuality which at first shocked me. But the more he unpacked it the more it makes sense to classify homosexuality as a sexual addiction. When placed through that lens, it hits home for me. Seeing both my parents struggle through their recoveries, I understand how hard it is to resist an addiction. So instead of making homosexual people out to be these monsters, how about we instead take a step back and look for the hurting person within them. I guarantee there's hurt there. And we as counselors need to be much more sensitive to that. The church spends all this time preparing missionaries for their trips over seas by teaching them the language, the culture, the dress codes, etc. so why aren't we attempting to do the same for the homosexual community? Why aren't we attempting to reach out to them and love on them so as to create opportunities to share about the healing ministry of Jesus Christ? Why are we seeing them only for their sinful behaviors? That makes no sense to me.
I think these two pictures sum this post up perfectly: