One thing that most of us do share – at least initially – is confusion over what identity to call our self. This second part of the two-part series on sexual identity provides you a suggestion for how to both conceive of yourself and describe that identity to others – a suggestion which I give to my clients, and apply to myself.
Our sexual identity, by definition, is something that we choose. Unlike our sexualattractions (which we have no choice in), we alone get to define the sexual identity that is most accurate for how we conceive our self and our life pursuits. Sometimes we change our sexual identity, based upon new conceptualizations of our sexuality and what we intend to do with it. So, while it may be impossible to eliminate our same-sex attractions, it is absolutely possible to change our sexual identity!
If you are a man who believes the Biblical claims that Jesus is indeed the Son-of-God, that His death and resurrection has permanently absolved the punishment owed for your various sins, and that you have entrusted your life to Him (with the intention of following His ways), then you are eternally united with Jesus, with God the Father, and with the Holy Spirit. That is what it means to identify yourself as a “Christian”. But, as a Christian who also experiences ongoing ssa, how do you identify your sexuality? Here’s my suggestion:
Primordial (#1) Identity. I do not believe it is wise to identify our self through some sexual label. These labels are what non-ssa people use to make sense out of our sexual differences – but you do not have to buy into using their labels! The problem is, ssa men are extremely diverse – and Christian men who have an orthodox belief about the immorality of engaging in homoerotic lust or contact may object to being known by some sexual label. So, here is an identity that any Christian man with ssa can confidently proclaim:
“I am in-Christ”
Thus, here is how you respond to the annoying questions about your sexual identity:
- “Are you gay?” “I am in-Christ”
- “Are you a homosexual?” “I am in-Christ”.
- “Are you bisexual?” “I am in-Christ”.
- “I prayerfully ask that all those who shall believe into Me (through their word), may be One. Just as You, Father, are in-Me – and I am in-You – that they may also be One, in-Us.” (John 17:20)
- “Whoever admits that Jesus is the Son-of-God, God remains united in-him and he in-God.” (1 John 4:15)
- “The person claiming to remain united in-Him ought to walk himself as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:6)
- “And he who vigilantly performs His commandments remains united in-Him, and He in-him.” (1 John 3:24)
- “Remain united in-Me, and I will remain united in-You.” (John 15:4)
Here is a phrase which you can always say with integrity, whenever you choose to discuss your sexual attractions:
“I am capable of experiencing sexual sensations toward certain men [and women] – and I abstain from acting upon them [unless toward my wife].”Yes, it is a long phrase – but it is an honest one! Christians who have ssa have been rightfully accused by non-Christian gays for making deceiving statements about their identity and the reality of their sexual attractions. As Christians, this needs to stop. We need to express what is true. We are capable of experiencing same-sex attractions toward certain men. And we do not have to submit to someone else’s categorical label concerning our own sexual identity! And, we are in-Christ!!
“For both He who sanctifies, and those being sanctified, are all of One – for which reason He is not ashamed to call them ‘Brothers’.” (Hebrews 2:11)
This concludes the two-part series on sexual identity. If you are a Christian man who has same-sex attractions – but who is distressed over your sexual attraction capabilities, unable to have full control over erotic temptations, and/or has poor male esteem and male friendships – then I have good news for you. Sexual purity and peace is a possibility! If you want to learn how, I invite you to read the next series of articles on a counseling method that may help you get there – Sanctification Therapy.