Sermon January 14, 2007 : Homosexuality - a detour on the road towards sexual maturity
Hello, buenos días. I wish I could speak more of your beautiful language. I grew up in Southern California where you really need to speak Spanish, but I never learned because I’m stubborn and stupid, so forgive me. I do a lot of work within the Latin world. Doors have opened there for us to equip the church to deal with broken people, people that really love Jesus, but who struggle in deep and shameful areas of their lives.
And sometimes it’s hard work to gain victory in deep and difficult areas of our lives. We know there’s victory in Jesus, but we actually don’t know how it relates to some of the deep areas of our lives. So that makes it hard for us. We don’t want to dishonor our parents. We don’t want to dishonor the name of Jesus, but much as we don’t want to dishonor Jesus and our family, we still struggle with really dishonorable things.
And so we work with churches around the world to help them, to treat our people with dignity when we have these difficult problems, so we don’t have to go outside of the church to get answers. We don’t have to listen to false shepherds. We can discover the good shepherd where we worship and some of these deep areas where we struggle. And that’s a hard thing for us, because when we come to church, we just want the victory.
We don’t also want to say, “But I really don’t have the victory here.” But actually that’s the beginning of healing, just saying, “This area of my life isn’t getting better,” and finding people who can stand with us until we have the victory. Sometimes it takes a long time. That’s hard. I don’t like that, but it’s the truth. And my not liking it doesn’t make it any less the truth, but we have to help each other. And especially within our families, we have to understand each other. And that’s really hard with a problem like homosexuality. We don’t want to talk about that with our family. We don’t want our fathers to know about that. It’s more shameful than most problems.
It’s true isn’t it? It’s much easier to say, “Hey, I committed adultery,” or, “I’m playing around with my girlfriend,” or “I’m into pornography.” Those are shameful things too, but in a way they’re more normal, aren’t they? We think, “Oh, I understand that.” But when it comes to homosexuality, like I don’t really get that. Like, why do you do that? You know, like why can’t you do something normal like commit adultery? And you know what? If you’re honest in your Latin culture, adultery is really common. And we all know it. You all have relatives who committed adultery, but you don’t talk about it, because you don’t want to shame them, so we all know how to keep secrets, don’t we? Even to protect people. But it doesn’t set them free, does it? It doesn’t stop the internal bleeding. So we all have secrets, and in order to be free to tell our secrets, we really have to trust people. So that’s why we have to learn to trust people in the church ‘cause that’s where the answers are, through Jesus, in his body, a fighting chance to get free. So that’s what we do. We help the church to provide safe places for people who have deep and shameful problems, and who are willing to tell their secrets in order to know Jesus, in order to live the truth in the unseen areas.
Now, I was so inspired by the open door to once again say no to gay marriage. I was excited. I thought, “Lord, this is an open door. Let the people of Massachusetts go through that door. Let the people have their say.” I live now in Kansas City, Missouri within a prayer house of 600 full-time intercessors, so I will lead our prayer house in 2007 so that this door stays open, so that the people can vote. That’s what the open door is. Let the people decide. So I am provoked by this possibility, that the 50 states might be united in saying no to gay marriage. Because my ministry is a global ministry, I know of the powerful influence of the United States on the rest of the world, even those countries that hate the United States. And today there are many. They are still deeply influenced by the United States. What a powerful voice it would be if we said no to gay marriage as a country. If the door was closed in Massachusetts, then the United States will have spoken. Whether or not there is a national amendment, if the door closes in this state, the United States of America are truly united in this way. So I am excited about this. We have a responsibility to uphold the truth in all marriage. And we have a responsibility to broken people. We have to provide powerful avenues of healing for those who struggle with homosexuality. If we don’t provide healing, then we grieve the Lord, just as gay marriage grieves the Lord. The central message of Jesus Christ was to sinful people. The gospels are full of these examples. He invited sexually broken people to come under the rule of his loving kingdom, and in doing so he sent a message to the religious people. He said, “The prostitutes are entering into the Kingdom of Heaven before the Pharisees.” So we have to make every effort to provide healing opportunities.
I love the story in Luke, chapter 7, verses 11-17. It’s how Jesus raised the son of a window, and I want to use this as an example of how Jesus raised me from the dead of homosexuality. Let me read these verses for you. “Jesus went to a town called Nain. His disciples and a large crowd went with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out. The only son of his mother, she was a widow. A large crowd from the crowd was with her. When the Lord saw her, His heart went out with her, and he said, ‘Don’t cry.’ Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, ‘Young man, I say to you, get up.’ The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. They were all filled with awe, and they praised God. A great prophet has come among us. God has come to help his people.”
So the first thing we know about this son is that he’s dead, he’s being carried out of the town for burial. I want to use this death as a metaphor for the death that occurs when a person with a homosexual problem takes on a homosexual identity. These are actually two different things, and there is a lot of power in actually identifying oneself as a homosexual or lesbian.
Let’s look at the development of this identity. This would apply to a few of you in this church today. You’re aware of having same-sex feelings. You’ve become aware at about ten or eleven years old. It’s very shameful. You don’t want anyone to know, so you don’t tell anybody, but you’re still trying to figure it out. You don’t want to talk to your friends about it, you’re afraid to talk to your parents or your pastor, so you start listening to other voices. What is Oprah saying about this? What is my school saying about this? If I go anonymously to a school counselor, what might he say to me? Maybe you go on the Internet where you can develop relationships on chat rooms. Or maybe there are some images of people having homosexual activity or pornography. And that further increases your desire. Maybe you get on a chat room with someone who has a homosexual problem too, and you start developing secret relationships.
What you will hear from the world is that you’re just a homosexual, that’s just who you are, just make peace with it. And if we agree with it, if we say, “Yes, that’s who I am. I am a homosexual. I am a lesbian.” This is the death to the real self. And I’ve heard this from people, people who have struggled for a long time. When they affirm themselves as homosexuals, when they say, “This will be my truth, this will be my peace, this will be the self that I present to the world.” It is actually a death to the real self. How can this be so? I want to tell you what I think. I think there’s actually no such thing as a homosexual. I just think that there are people who bear certain wounds that have certain longings for love and intimacy that they do not understand. And when they are confused and in darkness, when there is no good shepherding, the light of truth and love and reason, then we are vulnerable to false shepherds. To those who are only too quick to lay hands on us, and say, “That’s what you are.” To confirm us as something that actually we are not. We are not born mature heterosexuals. Amen. You don’t look at an infant, and say, “You are a mature heterosexual.” You say, “You’re a sweet little girl. You’re a great little boy. You have a long journey to maturity. But we want to help you get there.”
We all know what the goal is. Man for woman and woman for man. But we’re talking about adult man, adult woman. It’s quite a long journey, many valleys, many mountains, much debris in the path, and we can get caught. We can get stuck. We can get caught in bushes. We can stay in a valley and go in circles not knowing what happened, sexual abuse, neglect, so many broken things that can enter into our young lives that scare us, that excite us, that confuse us so that we get stuck along this journey. And those who have same-sex attractions, those that have to honestly admit, “My desires are for my own gender, not from the opposite line.” They got stuck along the journey in ways that they can’t figure out on their own. That’s what their desires are telling them. And we can help them with this. We can say, “Oh thank you for sharing what you’re struggling with. You need help. You need healing. We want to help you resume the journey to maturity, the journey that we’re all on.” We’ve all had problems in that journey. Most of you didn’t get stuck at the level of homosexual desire, but just because you reached that point of having heterosexual desires doesn’t necessarily make you mature. All you have to do is get married and figure that out. Wow, Lord, I still need help. I need help to love this woman the right way. I don’t understand this man. Lord, have mercy. We all need help, don’t we? Homosexuality is just a particular kind of help. The goal is the same: mature heterosexuality. That is God’s goal for all of his human creation.
The men and women are different here. A man has to come into a whole sense of his power as a man. We have to make peace with who we are as men or women. A man needs power in order to rightfully care for a woman. And a woman has to become secure in her belief that a man is going to use his power in a good way. But we live in a very confused world. Many men are very unsure of their power. And many women are unsure of men’s power. And in this insecurity, the destabilizing of men and women, we are vulnerable to seeking refuge in the arms of our own genders.
Now, the family plays an important role in all of this, especially the father. We need powerful fathers who can engage with each son, each daughter, that can press into the shadows in the uncertainties that young life may be facing. The power of a father’s affirmation over the course of a young man or woman’s life. This is perhaps the most important influence on a child’s identity. Very important. And when the father is not present to parent, sons and daughters are simply more vulnerable to other voices, to other people and sources telling them who they are. This was true for me. My father is a good man, but he didn’t know how to be a father. I’m now a father of four young adults. I have much more compassion on my father now. But he didn’t know how to be one. In doing those critical years of my life where I really didn’t know who I was, he was not there. He was very, very busy with his own life. He fathered me, but he didn’t know how to parent me. And I was vulnerable. When he was present, he was often very angry. So the face of my father was an angry face. And so I just put up a wall. I said, “I’m glad you’re not here.” But in refusing him, I was also refusing to make peace with who I was as a man. And this played a big role in the development of my homosexual tendencies. I’m not blaming him, but this was an influence. And then when I took a homosexual identity, when I said, “This is who I am. This is what I’m going to do with my feelings, then I sinned. And I came under gray darkness.”
One thing we know about the dead widow’s son is that he had no father. He had no masculine voice to empower him in his weakness. No one saying, “Walk this way. Avoid that thing in the path. I’ll walk with you. We need to walk up this steep path, but I’ll help you.” I just didn’t go up the steep path. Becoming a mature man is an accomplishment. It’s not a given at birth. It takes a lot of mentoring, a lot of work. It’s a steep climb. You need someone there to say, “This is the way. Walk in it.”
Many people, like myself, will turn into a culture of license. I grew up in Southern California in a very liberal culture. It wasn’t that difficult to come into homosexual relationships. There was a lot of sensual pleasure, even the blessing of my peers. It wasn’t hard to find support from gay people. This is very true today, very true in Boston. So homosexual behavior is increasing among young people. Teen culture is a gay-friendly culture. It’s a sexy and fun culture. The shame is no longer there. You’re blessed for coming out of the closet. It’s seen as courageous and heroic rather than a bad move, one choice among many and not a good one. In this room, we’re dealing with another culture. It’s almost a culture within a culture. It’s a culture where we’re saying, “We’re not going to be like that. We’re going to be a Christian culture.” Amen. Good. That’s good. That’s good.
But what can easily happen in a Christian culture? Good shame. The shame that says, “You know what? Maybe I shouldn’t act out my homosexuality. I’m want to do the right thing.” It can easily become bad shame, which means, “I don’t want to tell anybody about this.” This can become an unsafe culture to tell your secret to. Let me ask you something. Have you ever told a Christian a hard, painful area of your life, and later wished you hadn’t told him? Raise your hand. Raise your hand if that’s true. And you just think, “That was a bad idea. They didn’t keep the secret.” Or they gave you really bad advice, like, “Just don’t tell anybody.” Like, really? And you could just see on their face like they were kind of horrified. And you thought, better to keep my secret. That’s what easily happens in a Christian culture. I don’t want to tell you what’s going on with me. So guess what happens. Just what happens in Luke 7. They take the body outside the walls of the culture. The person struggling says, “I’m going to go outside of this world.” I’m going to work at my problem out here. And in a way, we agree with him or her, maybe in obvious ways or maybe in our confusion, in our shame. Don’t bring that into the family. Don’t bring that here. That’s unholy. So we treat them like a dead person. We see them as infectious just like the dead son where they literally did take them outside of the boundaries of the community so that literally the corpse wouldn’t infect the people. This is usually what we do with people who have committed sexual failures: the daughter who pregnant outside of marriage, the husband in his adultery, and the son or daughter with his or her homosexual practice.
It’s hard for us isn’t it? The Latin culture is a culture of honor, and you are honorable. You respect authority. You want to honor your family in a way that is a great gift to the Anglo culture. We too quickly dishonor our family in our Anglo culture. But there can be a downside to that honor when we don’t tell the truth, when we don’t sit down with that son or daughter, and say, “What’s going on? What are you doing with your life? Let’s talk about that friendship. Are you dealing with homosexuality? Let’s tell the truth. Why are we dancing around this?” So there is a culture of license out there, but as the church, we can create a culture of secrets and lies where unintentionally, we do not create safe places for people to tell the truth. I would be dead today unless I had found a healing church.
My high school friends that I came out of the closet with. (By the way take your time. Please go on. I mean, just to let you know. Don’t feel pressure. … Take your time. Forget about the clock). Thank you. (As much as you need.) This is another great benefit of the Latin Church. It’s kind of the Las Vegas of churches, you know, throw away the clock, keep going. (In a good way. Amen.) Oh absolutely. No, I don’t mean like… Please be Las Vegas. Come on, come on. Las Vegas has no clock. That’s the only point. (Yeah, yeah, yeah, sorry.) Anyway, they’re all dead from AIDS. (I’m sorry?) They’re all dead from AIDS. They’re dead. They were no cocktails then. You see they’re dead, just snuffed out in the prime of their life. And the only difference for me is that I found a group of people in Jesus’ name where I could say, “This is what I’m dealing with. I really love Jesus. I know he’s the victory. I know he is the life, but I’m really struggling here.” And this community has to become more powerful for me than that other community. I mean…
Let’s talk about some of the keys to creating a healing community. First of all, intercession. The power of intercession begins on our knees. It says that the dead son’s mother was weeping for her son. I believe this means she didn’t give up on him. Even though he was dead, she was still praying, still interceding. I’m also here today because of the prayers of the saints, people who knew what I was struggling with, who knew that I was identifying as a homosexual, who prayed simple prayers. God get him. It doesn’t require a lot of sophistication. God get him. My mother was probably the most powerful intercessor. And she wasn’t a Latin Pentecostal. She was a very sort of cognitive Anglican. Yeah, I mean, I really didn’t even know she prayed. No offense to the Anglicans. I mean, I didn’t know she really prayed, and one day I came home, and I was a mess. And she looked right at me. She said, “Andy, you really need Jesus.” And then she said, “I want more for you than this.” She said, “I’ve known a lot of people who’ve lived that life. So they didn’t live a full life. I want more for you.” It wasn’t really, you know, heavy, religious. She wasn’t condemning me. She was inviting me into something more. In the power of a mother’s love and tears, and it broke my heart. Really, her tears got in. Preaching wouldn’t have gotten in. But someone who really knew me and really knew me, weeping over my destiny, that had power. Power.
Secondly, there’s another kind of dying that has to happen. Not the dying, like the dead widow’s son, or the dying of taking on a homosexual identity, but a willingness to let go of what is safe and familiar, the willingness to let go of the pleasures of sin. This is a kind of death as well, isn’t it? A lot of family and friends come up to me, and say, “Oh, what about my gay daughter, or gay son, or gay friend?” And one of the questions I ask them is, “Is he dead yet? Is he asking the question yet? Does he really want Jesus yet?” A lot of times we want to bring people into resurrection. We want to raise them from the dead, but they’re actually not dead yet. They don’t really want resurrection. They’re not ready for it. Timing is everything, isn’t it? So we often pray and wait, certain that God can bring together the circumstances as we do our part to help create a healing community so that when they’re ready, there’s a place of resurrection. So in the meantime, we can pray powerfully. Lord, open the door. In the meantime, we as a church can pray. We can repent.
I believe so much of this is on our knees as God changes our hearts. Some of us have to repent of how harsh we’ve been towards homosexuals. We think we’ve had a holy hatred, but it’s just a natural hatred. We just think they’re evil and perverse, and we think it’s righteous, but then we think, no, but the Bible’s on our side. Romans 1, the worst form of idolatry. Homosexuality is a powerful expression of idolatry. But we have to read Romans 2, as well. And their Paul says, “Watch your judgments, because you are subject to similar wickedness.” And then the crowning verse, “It’s the kindness of God’s mercy that leads all of us to repenting.” Romans 2, verse 4.
Some of us have to repent of the fact that we really haven’t understood what’s going on in homosexuality. We trivialized it. We’ve had a “just say no” approach, just stop doing, the way I stopped smoking, or the way I’m trying to lose weight. It’s just the same thing. That’s really ignorant. The roots of homosexuality are very deep. The wounds related to it require a lot of attention. You wouldn’t say to someone who was hit by a car, “Well, just get up. Just walk the way I’m walking. Come on, especially if you’re a Christian. You have authority. Get up, you baby.” So sometimes you just have to be honest, and just say, “Lord, our answers have been sometimes too simple. Lord, give us wisdom, give us real understanding, that spirit of wisdom and revelation so that when we engage with people, when we pray for them, we can provide real help.”
We can also just repent of the heterosexual brokenness in our own lives and in the lives of our family. Homosexuality emerges out of broken heterosexuality: generational sin, sins of adultery, sexual addiction, spousal abuse and abandonment, fatherlessness, hostility between men and women. All of these things contribute to the development of homosexuality and lesbianism. So we can start repenting just as the basis of our broken heterosexuality.
I’m working with a young man from Puerto Rico. His father is a Christian pastor. He was very, very busy all of this young man’s life serving the Lord. He loved Jesus very much. And he never connected with his young son. His young son really needed him. Over the course of his ministry, he had an affair with a woman, this father. He left the family and planted a church with his new wife, and so the mother just bonded with the son. Joined in their woundedness against the father. The young man went into homosexuality, and now he’s resuming the journey. He’s saying, “I want Jesus. I want his best for me.” But there’s a big barrier for him. That’s his father. So this is going to be a big step for him to once again open that door.
When we repent, when we say, “God, make us a healing place.” God will send many people to us. And some of you will be invited to say, “You know, I’m broken.” Some of you have already received a lot of healing in these deep areas. And you will be real helpers in this healing community. You’ll give a face to healing in your community. And I guarantee, when you do this, hundreds will come to you. Hundreds will come to you. You might think now, well, there aren’t really many people who struggle. I don’t know anyone, at least not serious Christians. Just wait. And when they come forward, and say, “Hey, can I talk to you?” Don’t go, “You?” Just say, “Wow, thank you for sharing. There’s a place for you here.” This command in Luke 7-14, “Young man, I say to you, get up,” is a great command. It conveys the need for a response. I need to engage with God and others in our own resurrection. We need to resume the journey, and in my own healing, I see that there were stages of resurrection, specific points where Jesus said to me, “Andy, get up. Keep going. Stop doing homosexual things. Deal with the pain of your childhood. Forgive your offenders from your heart. Deepen in relationship with your brothers. You need their love. Step out in relationship with women. You can be a good gift to a woman. Get up. Offer yourself.” These are all steps of resurrection empowered by the Holy Spirit through the command of the Lord. Keep going. Keep going. Don’t stay in the same place. We can provide healing tracts in our churches so that broken people like myself can hear and respond to this word of resurrection. I know you guys have a group here. We need more. That’s really what we do. We train people to start powerful healing groups in the church. Let’s work together on this. Let’s partner to make this church a healing church.
In the same way that we have an open door to prohibit gay marriage in Massachusetts, let’s go through this open door to make a clear and powerful avenue of resurrection for broken people. Jesus wants this for us. He wants us to raise righteous standards in the marketplace. But he delights when we enable people to really live out that righteousness. Amen.
Why don’t we all stand and pray? (I would like to urge you to pray for us as a congregation so that we might truly become that open place. You know, we’re right here… We’re a Latino congregation, and that may be put some barriers…). I know. (But we really want to become healing.) I know barriers. Yes. (And our people are committed, just as we’re committed to that open door out there in Massachusetts, but our people are very clear, and we are always speaking about the fact that we need to have grace, and openness and honesty. So yes, do pray for that.) I will. (And we’ll use this congregation to be a place of healing for our community.) I love it. I can tell you are. Praise the Lord.
Father, I thank you for these people. Lord, I thank you for their good, beautiful and broken lives. Lord, we all have histories of broken lives. Lord, ways that the journey was hard for us. Sometimes they’re no fault of our own, sometimes through our own sin. Lord, we ask that the light of your resurrection would shine on our own histories. Lord, that you would give us eyes for those shepherdless ones. Lord, instead of seeing an angry activist, help us to see a lost son or daughter. Help us to see one without a shepherd. Lord, I ask in your mercy that you would lead these ones into this place. Lord, I ask for the lost ones, for those who are crying out. Is this all there is? Is this my destiny? Lord, I ask that you would show them their true destiny, and that you would grant them, men and women in this church, to come alongside of them, to help make a way in their wilderness, to help release water in their desert. Make a way o God. Open the doors in this church. Open the gates of healing. Open the gates of righteousness that your children would come home. Release them from the North, release them from the South, release them from the West, release them from the East o God. Bring them home o God, and prepare us to receive them. Let it be so for this church. Let it be so o God. Thank you Lord. Thank you Lord. Amen. Amen. In Jesus’ name.
(I’d just like to do something prophetic… I’m just asking for those who feel called to the Lord, to become those healers, and being called really specifically to be healers, but also that want to intercede for a loved one who may be dealing with whatever kind of sexual brokenness, or themselves, or others very close to them are dealing with those issues to just come forward, and let us pray to that the Lord will anoint them, and heal them, and bless them, and constitute workers who are merciful and grace-filled.) Thank you Jesus. (And transparent, and broken themselves, and willing to admit our own brokenness. And I’m the first one here.) Thank you Lord. (And that we would allow the Lord then to make us that healing community, and make us healing presences in our community.) Thank you Lord. (May the Holy Spirit make us a place that is proactively healing.) Thank you Lord, Jesus. Thank you, Lord.
Lord, I ask for that Isaiah 61 anointing, that the spirit of the sovereign Lord would be upon us. Lord, to preach good news to the poor. Lord, to release those in exile, to open prison doors. Lord, I pray for the intercessors here, those who pray over their children, who pray over their sons and daughters, who pray for lost ones they do not even know. Lord, I ask that you would once again ignite that gift of faith, the simple faith, that when we pray you act. Lord, I thank you for this. Lord, I ask that you would ignite a prayer base in this place for sexually broken people, so that you would go forth through these prayers, so that you would shatter deception, so that you would shatter mindsets, strongholds of thought. Jesus, I ask that you would do this through the prayers of your faithful ones. Thank you, Lord. Lord, I ask that this would be the foundation, that this intercession would be the foundation. Lord, I want to pray for those who really are being called to come alongside the broken ones, to gather with them, week after week after week, to include them in their lives.
Lord, I ask for those who have been broken-hearted over loved ones. I pray for those who have been broken-hearted over their own sin. Lord, we ask that this would become a redemptive brokenness, that you would create room in these hearts for broken lives. Lord, I ask for strategies for healing, for wisdom, for boundaries, for a track on which broken ones can go from one step to the other in order to come into maturity. Lord, I ask that you would do this through your healers, through your intercessors, through your teachers, through the prophetic, through the pastors. Lord, I ask that everyone would do his or her part to make a way for powerful healing community in this place. Let it be so o God. Let it be so, we pray. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord.
|Sermon delivered by Andrew Comiskey taped January 14, 2007 at Congregation Lion of Judah||Listen|||||View (100K)|||||View (400K)|
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