An excerpt from an interview with John Zulueta
A few years ago, we had the privilege to interview Mr. John Zulueta, executive director and a full-time counselor at Bagong Pag-Asa, an organization founded by a former gay man that was transformed when he found Christ. Bagong Pag-Asa helps people struggling with same sex attraction leave their lifestyle and embrace their full identity in Christ. We feel the need to publish a part of that interview to help people deal with their struggle with gender identity.
What are some of the causes of homosexuality?
The first cause is an identity problem. People going through identity crises embrace homosexuality as a false identity because they think it is better to have a false identity than having no identity at all; it’s better than not knowing whether they are a boy or girl. Our society, which is very affirming to gays, entices many to believe that it’s okay to assume this false identity. But because it is false, the people who take it up have false hope which results in further conflict.
The second cause is when there are relationship problems which prevent a young person from feeling secure in their gender identity. Children need models to show them how to become a man or woman. If the relationship that should do that is missing in childhood then people search for that type of relationship into their adulthood.
A third possible cause is when children experience rejection from their peers. Maybe they were bullied or labeled. Rejection like that makes them feel isolated and different from others. This breeds homosexuality in a child.
Finally, many homosexuals have experienced sexual molestation. This created a deep wound in their soul. Maybe they went through this issue without anybody to help them sort things out. That is why it is not sufficient for a person to simply read the Bible, pray, and perform spiritual disciplines in order to change. They need to deal with the issues beyond their homosexuality because homosexuality is just a symptom of deeper issues. People who experienced sexual molestation can move in different directions—they can become alcoholics, drug addicts, homosexuals, engage in multiple relationships and many other mal-adoptive coping mechanisms. It is best for people who have been sexually molested to seek professional help. Other factors that contribute to the problem are upbringing, environmental influence, unmet needs, technology, and media.
How can we help a person turn back from the life of homosexuality?
First, the desire to change has to come from the person himself. Change is possible if the person is willing. They should recognize that homosexuality is a problem, and every problem has a solution. But, change will take time and a lot of effort. As friends perhaps we can help them evaluate the direction they are taking and somehow express our confidence that they can actually move away from homosexuality and they need not feel trapped by their attraction or emotion.
If you want to help someone turn back from homosexuality, you can start by exploring. Ask the individual how they see themselves. Are they happy? If they say they are, then you cannot do anything except tell them, “Okay, you may be happy but as a friend, I feel like this lifestyle may not be the best direction for you. Should you want to deal with your homosexuality, I will refer you to some people I know that can help you.”
Explore the possibility that they need help. Ask them how long they have felt this way and what they have done so far. If they are not ready to change, you can remain a friend and love them. Never under estimate the power of prayer.
There is great hope for people struggling with same-sex attraction. They need not stay in that condition the rest of their life. 1 Cor. 6:9-11 states, “Neither the immoral, the homosexuals …would inherit the kingdom of God…you have been washed, cleansed and sanctified by the blood of Christ.” It says there that you were in that state before but not anymore.
People can change but of course, change is a process and they have to have a realistic expectation as to what change will be like in their life. Also they should not embrace the post-modern worldview that homosexuality is an identity, because doing that, is like sentencing yourself to be that way forever. Many people have moved out of homosexuality, therefore people that struggle with this are not alone. Help is available. They can walk with other people who have similar struggles and who are seeking to pursue a more meaningful life. There is hope! Know that homosexuality does not define anyone’s worth or entire life. It is just a problem that can be dealt with. It will not measure anyone’s value as a person.