by Kathleen A. Barr
God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way, the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion (Romans 1:26, 27).
Jed* is slowly killing himself. And it’s heartbreaking to watch.
Trapped in the homosexual lifestyle more than 40 years, it is amazing he is still alive. Statistics show that a majority of those who define themselves as gay often die at relatively young ages. The Family Research Institute reports that the median age of death in the homosexual community is 45 years old; for those with AIDS, it’s 39. Only nine percent of people in this group live to become senior citizens.
Health Related Dangers
Hepatitis caused Jed to be hospitalized when he was in his 40s. Family members were immunized so they would not contract this highly contagious disease from him. Hepatitis A is an illness commonly found in the homosexual community, and left untreated, can be fatal. Knowing this disease can often be prevented by avoiding the homosexual lifestyle makes it difficult to understand why someone would continue to engage in such behavior.
Contracting illnesses such as gonorrhea, syphilis, and tuberculosis are also more likely when involved in this life choice. Unfortunately, the general public, including those who struggle with homosexual feelings, are not always given this information.
Worse than these illnesses, of course, is AIDS. Jed has assured his family that he takes precautions to avoid contracting this deadly disease. Still, they worry. In spite of medications that lengthen the lives of AIDS victims, no one survives it forever. Dealing with the side effects causes some to decide the quality of their life is so diminished that it is better to live a shorter life, so they stop taking their medications.
Jed has alluded to other illnesses he has battled that are a consequence of the decision he made years ago to become part of the homosexual community, but he doesn’t go into detail. He knows the heartache he brings when he discusses the choices he has made and the pain he has suffered.
For years, Jed abused alcohol. Some say the pain they suffer from society’s rejection causes homosexuals to drink to excess. Rejection of homosexuals is not an issue where Jed lives, in the gay section of a large city. Some may argue that homosexuals fear they are rebelling against God, and drinking alcohol is how they handle the guilt. Regardless of the cause, alcoholism damages both body and soul. Cirrhosis of the liver caused by drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can be fatal. Additionally, alcoholics are more likely to cause vehicular accidents and be injured or killed.
Scripture states drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21). In the life of an alcoholic, alcohol becomes his god, impairing the alcoholic’s relationship with his Creator.
We may hear about acts of violence against homosexuals committed by heterosexuals, but statistics show that violence between members of the homosexual community is also common. Jed was nearly killed by a “friend” who demanded his credit card and then bound and gagged him. Threatening Jed if he reported the incident to police, the thief left. Jed was able to free himself and call authorities, and the perpetrator was eventually apprehended. His sentence? Less than a year in prison.
In addition to physical illnesses that beset those in the homosexual community, emotional disturbances are also common. Depression and anxiety are nearly pandemic. Sadly, suicide attempts are more common in this group than in the heterosexual community. According to the Family Research Institute, homosexuals are 24 times more likely to commit suicide than males in the heterosexual community. One can imagine the sense of futility of someone who has been informed there is no way out of this lifestyle, in spite of its many dangers. To some, suicide appears to be the only answer.
I’ll never forget the phone call. A friend urged me to come immediately; Jed was threatening to commit suicide. I’d like to think I made a difference by going to see him, but I’ll never know. He said nothing about the incident for years. I wonder, when will I get another phone call? How should I respond? Did my visit matter?
Tragically, Jed is killing himself spiritually. In Romans 1, God condemns the homosexual lifestyle and those who continue to live in it. God doesn’t condemn this lifestyle because he is a killjoy. When he created us, God had a design and plan for us, and he knew those who chose to rebel would destroy themselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Rather than choosing to worship God, homosexuals have chosen to worship his creation.
First Corinthians 6:9, 10 confirms that living the homosexual lifestyle will prevent an individual from inheriting eternal life. “Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards . . . will inherit the kingdom of God.”
How Should Christians Respond?
To some it may appear that God hates homosexuals. However, Scripture tells us God loves us all people and wants everyone to repent and enter into the life he has created for us.
God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,” the Scriptures say in 2 Peter 3:9. God wants everyone to be saved, including the homosexual. The apostle Paul wrote about some who chose to leave homosexuality because of their love for God and their desire to spend eternity with him (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
How should Christians respond to those who are caught up in this lifestyle? The easy choice is to condemn. After all, their sin has condemned them to life without God. Why should we care?
We care because the Scriptures tell us it is possible to turn away from the homosexual lifestyle. “And such were some of you,” Paul tells the Corinthians. “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
Groups such as Exodus International have helped thousands leave the gay community and become connected to local churches. Taking this step of faith is not easy. But those who have decided to become Christians and are faithful to their Savior have reported a newfound sense of purpose and peace. Some have married and started families.
Chris Delaney has chosen this path. Raised in a dysfunctional family where he was parented by his mother and a series of stepfathers, Chris never knew his biological father. Like others in this situation, he sought masculine love in the homosexual lifestyle. Fortunately, three friends who left the gay life with Christ’s help shared their faith with Chris. Chris realized he needed a relationship with his heavenly Father. Today, Chris runs a ministry known as Joseph’s Coat in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area and assists those who want to leave the homosexual lifestyle. He is happily married and the father of two children.
“I have a passion to preach the gospel while sharing my testimony with those who are in need of hope, regardless of the area of their struggle,” Chris said. “God continues to radically change my life. He’s giving me the desires of my heart . . . . I praise God for his love and the healing he’s continuing in my life.”
*The name has been changed.
Kathleen A. Barr is a freelance writer in Ooltewah, Tennessee.
Focus on the Family
Love Won Out
National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality
Joseph’s Coat Ministries
Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays