Remark: “I just wanted to write to you to tell you how much I appreciate your ministry, and how much of a blessing it is for people like me who are struggling with unwanted sexual sins.”
Question: “I no longer wish to practice homosexuality, but neither do I want to be with a woman. Can the Lord accept me as a celibate, single man, as opposed to a reformed ex-homosexual married man? I believe that God is more interested in us working for Him in these last days, than with the final disposition of our sexuality. God has told us ‘Be ye holy, even as I am holy’. (1 Peter 3:8) Does someone like me really need to practice heterosexuality, in order to demonstrate freedom from this pernicious sin? Thank you again for your wonderful ministry.”
Reply: My friend, you are the first to ask me this question, and I must say that it is a very good one for which I believe the Bible gives us very clear counsel.
Yes, of course the Lord can accept you as a celibate, single man. God has offered a most beautiful gift to man in creating woman to be a “help meet” to him, an equal partner in life. However, it is not a sin for man to forgo that gift and to not marry, or for a woman to not marry.
Jesus was never married, neither were many notable Bible personalities. The apostle Paul himself was never married and had this to say about it:
“Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other… For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I (Single). But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. (Meaning, with lust.) 1 Corinthians 7:1-9.
The apostle Paul is here talking very plainly about appropriate sexual behavior: about being single, about celibacy, about not withholding sexual intimacies from one’s spouse, and not seeking self-gratification through masturbation, but rather saving all sexual expression for the beloved spouse, etc. He actually encourages those who feel called to be single and celibate to remain so. However, he cautions that if singleness and celibacy result in lust and sexual fantasies and fornication, it would be better for one to marry and avoid those sins of the flesh, to find sexual fulfillment through marriage, the only divinely approved arrangement for sexual expression.
Allow me to share with you from my own experience. When I was born again, I was very content to spend the rest of my life in celibacy. After all, I felt unworthy of being married since I had squandered that gift in my youth and had lived a life filled with perverted sexual self-gratification for sixteen years.
But then I was called into ministry. Everything was great for awhile, until someone started spreading rumors when my Bible Worker associate and I went somewhere together alone. He was young and attractive, and people started accusing him of being gay — led astray by me, his pastor. I was shocked and frustrated. Our relationship was more like that of a father and son, for he was from a broken home and had a very poor father image with which to relate. But I could understand how the evil surmising could get started. So, I tried to be very careful to avoid any appearance of evil and to avoid any situation that would feed such rumors and consequently stigmatize my associate.
It was then necessary one day for me to give one of the ladies of our church a ride to town. We were together alone in the car only a short distance, because we stopped to pick up a third person. But the gossips who saw us drive off together didn’t know about the third person and started spreading rumors about this lady and me and a developing romance.
Needless to say, I became even more frustrated. “Lord!” I cried. “How can I effectively work for you in ministry? How do I follow your plan of going two-by-two? I can not be seen with either a man or with a woman without feeding the minds and empowering the tongues of the evil surmisers.”
Shortly after that, the Lord placed in my path the lady who is now my wife. We had known each other since childhood. She was a good friend with both of my younger sisters. She knew my story of fall from grace, self-destruction, degradation, contrition, remorse, repentance, conversion, newness of life, and call to ministry. She believed in the power of God to change the “unchangeable”, to re-create the fallen and broken creation. She trusted God, and she trusted me. This made it easier for me to relate to her and to be relaxed as a romance blossomed between us at the hand of the Lord. When I eventually proposed to her, she responded, “[Victor], I always knew you were slow. But I never dreamed it would take you 30 years! I’ve loved you since childhood. But you always were interested in someone else.”
When we were married, of course I was very nervous. So was she. But aren’t all brides and grooms nervous? We didn’t know whether we would be able to fulfill the expectations of one another. And we each had our own reasons. But the Lord has richly blessed our marriage. We are very compatible. He has blessed us with two beautiful children, giving us both second chances in life and in ministry.
When I read in the Bible, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him, (1 Cor. 2:9), I truly believe that “Higher than the highest human thought can reach is God’s ideal for His children.” And, you know? I don’t deal anymore with evil surmising about my still being gay, or about inappropriate relationships with women. The Lord put an end to that by placing me in a very fulfilling marriage and in giving us beloved children. Now, (and no surprise here), Satan comes at us from other directions, for “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution”, we are warned. (2 Timothy 3:12)
My friend, when we place ourselves trustingly into the hands of God, submitting ourselves entirely to His care and keeping, we can trust that life will be more than we could ever imagine for ourselves. I encourage you to do just what you have suggested: choose to live your life as a celibate, single man. Marriage in and of itself is not a convincing demonstration of heterosexuality. After all, many homosexuals disguise their sin by marriage. Grow strong in the Lord, in faith, in doctrine, and in spirit. Let the Lord do with you as He will. He may choose to assist you by His grace, (His divine power and strength), to live a Godly, pure life in single celibacy, empowering you to focus on living for Him and blessing others, even as the great, single, celibate apostle Paul.
However, He may also choose to surprise you someday down the road of life. All He wants from you right now is a willing and obedient heart. Buckle your seat belt, my friend, and enjoy the ride. You can demonstrate freedom from the pernicious sin of homosexuality by living Godly in Christ Jesus, by being a loving and lovable Christian, by being a blessing wherever you go. Heterosexual marriage is not the solution to homosexuality. Jesus is…!
All Power to you!