It’s hard to be honest with someone about what it’s like to live with same-sex attraction. But keeping this struggle secret will only isolate you and make your walk with Christ more difficult. Desmond talks about some first steps you can take to begin opening up and inviting other brothers and sisters in Christ into your life, and receive the care and friendship you need.

Click here to go deeper on this subject in Desmond’s blog: “Hiding my same-sex attraction—Part 2.”

My previous blog looked at why men and women with same-sex attraction in our church still find it difficult to share what they struggle with. You can find that blog here, and my previous video blog here.

I’ll repeat what I said about disclosing this struggle with same-sex attraction:  it’s difficult to do this, for both personal reasons and for reasons that might have more to do with the people in your life or the church you attend. You need to identify what your reasons are for keeping this a secret.

And then, you need to face what keeping a secret does to you, and any of us: it perpetuates your feelings of being alone, and in the long run, it weakens your walk with Christ because growth in faith depends on being increasingly open and honest with others and with God.

Hiding anything gives that “thing” a life of its own; it gives power to the secret to become larger and stronger in our lives. But God’s word tells us that living in openness and transparency is the key to intimacy with him, and with others. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

Hiding anything gives that “thing” a life of its own; it gives power to the secret to become larger and stronger in our lives.

Now I want to talk about how to open up and talk about this. I want to talk about how we help men and women with same-sex attraction who come to Harvest USA take a few first steps in moving toward others in honesty and transparency. Once you are persuaded that keeping this matter a secret hinders your spiritual growth, knowing what some first steps to take can be helpful. Here are some practical steps in how to walk in the light with your struggle.

Find someone you know who is safe

Willingness to share is the first step. It is an important step, but that is not where it stops. Identifying someone with whom to share can be an even more fearful step. Who do I know well enough to trust this with? How will they react when I share a struggle that they most likely know nothing about?

Sometimes feeling totally “ready to share” may never come. Take your time, be patient with yourself. Pray about it. Don’t rush the process, but also do not back away from taking such a step once you are convinced that sharing your struggle is needed for your growth in Christ. Be willing to trust God for the right timing. A note of caution: Be careful of sharing prematurely (rushing through this), or sharing with someone who lacks spiritual maturity.

On a practical level, think small. Start with your immediate circle: a small group leader, a brother or sister in the church whom you have had some ongoing contact with, or an overseeing elder. The person who might be the right one is someone whom you have shared something else with and found that they handled it well.

Ask for mutual vulnerability

To grow in freedom means building and establishing mutual vulnerability. Trust is something that is built by being honest with someone about our struggles.  But you want this growing trust with someone to be a part of a symbiotic endeavor. Mutuality will keep you from feeling like you are a ministry project.

The goal for mutual sharing and vulnerability is that you are inviting this person to grow with you.

It is important to keep in mind that the primary function of this relationship is not mentoring or counseling (unless that is the purpose you want). We’re talking friendship here. Look for someone who will also be honest about their struggles, even if it is not same-sex attraction. In fact, it’s safer not to pick someone who shares the same struggle.

As this friendship develops, see if it’s mutual. If it feels one-sided, share your need for mutual vulnerability. An open and honest relationship will develop healthy boundaries that can handle it. Sharing invites mutual sharing, so let it come naturally, but also express your need for it if it is not there. The goal for mutual sharing and vulnerability is that you are inviting this person to grow with you.

Sometimes, however, the other person is as afraid as you to talk honestly about their life struggles. Be okay with that. The relationship may not work out. It may be necessary to seek out someone else.

In the years since I shared publicly what God has done for me and is continuing to do in my struggle with same-sex attraction, it has been an encouraging experience. Being honest about how I got myself into sinful messes with my struggle, and how I am still learning to trust God, is only possible because brothers came alongside me and acknowledged their own brokenness and need of Christ.  The mutuality of our sharing is what turns me from self-sufficiency to healthy interdependence. In this sharing, I experience God caring for me.

Ask for accountability

Without having others involved in our struggle, we’ll get stuck. Growth in holiness ultimately plays itself out in our day-to-day involvement with others.

For some, the struggle with same-sex attraction involves thoughts, fantasy, and desires about another person. They may never act out on their feelings, but Christ spoke of “adultery committed in the heart” in Matthew 5:27 as being on the same continuum as behavior. As believers, we should never minimize our internal struggles with sexual sin as being “no big deal.”

For others, the struggle involves actively acting out by looking at pornography or having sexual encounters. Both internal and external sexual sin is sin. The nature or intensity of the struggle doesn’t determine whether you need accountability or not. All of us need accountability because none of us are guaranteed freedom from the temptations around us or within our own hearts. As a ministry worker with same-sex attraction, I have learned the value of making accountability one of my top priorities.

Move toward sharing with more than one person

Finally, move toward sharing with more than one person. You need to widen your circle to include one or two others, because having only one accountability partner can be a tremendous weight on the person with whom you have shared. If you do not know how to best go about this, consider asking your men’s or women’s group leader if they can help you share your need for wider accountability.

I hope I have encouraged you to be bold in taking the necessary steps to share your struggle with others around you, and that you will find the support, care, and love I have found in doing so.


To see Desmond talk more about this issue, click on Desmond’s video blog, Hiding My Same-Sex Attraction—Part 2. These short videos can be used as discussion starters in small group settings, mentoring relationships, men’s and women’s groups, etc.

It’s hard to be honest with someone about your struggles.  We feel weak and shame in admitting that we don’t have everything together. But for those who live with same-sex attraction, the struggle to be open and honest with others in the church is far more intense and scary. Desmond talks about this intense fear, and how it hurts both the struggler and the church.

Click here to go deeper on this subject in Desmond’s blog: “Hiding my same-sex attraction—Part 1.”

Openness and transparency are markers of a healthy Christian community. Honesty about one’s struggles and needs leads us to reach out to Christ and others for the help we need. But this is harder for believers who live with same-sex attraction.

One would think that with a growing acceptance of gays and lesbians becoming more visible in the culture there would be a corresponding acceptance within the church of Christians who follow God’s word on sexuality and who live with same-sex attraction.

But at Harvest USA we continue to see this issue remain hidden in the church. That means there are lots of brothers and sisters with same-sex attraction whose lives remain shrouded in secrecy. They don’t want to disclose their struggle because of the possible consequences of doing so.

The most obvious reason for staying silent is the fear of rejection. The most intense fear is the fear of rejection from your friends (and yes, I know many who have friendships lasting for years and, sadly, they have never opened up about this to them).

Will my friends think any different of me? Will I be treated with distrust? Will I understand their responses? Will they understand me? How might this news radically change the level of friendship I already have? I want more, but I’m deadly afraid to lose what I’ve got.

I already feel alone and different; I don’t want to feel this anymore.

But the fear is greater than the hope that they might finally be known, and loved, for who they are. So in staying hidden, there remains a part of them that never sees the light of day.

Then there is the fear of gossip. You don’t need everyone knowing this about you, but you fear that it will leak out and spread. Keeping secrets and confidences for a long time is a hard thing to do. If everybody knows this about you, then you’ll dread living in a fishbowl. You are certainly not ready for that.

Then there is the fear of hearing opinions that are inaccurate about same-sex attraction, putting you on the spot, needing to explain again and again.

The desire to keep quiet may seem valid—and feel like the only safe option—but continuing to do so keeps you from growing in your faith. Holding onto a secret from others is also a failure to trust God.

And then there is the fear that, if you stumble and fall into sexual sin, then you know there will be some (many?) who think that sexual sin is the worst kind of offense for a Christian. (And if that’s the kind of church you’re in, there are other gospel-believing churches where that is not the case, and you should seek them out.)

But even if you are in a church that sees sexual struggles and sin as being essentially no different than other faith struggles, these are some legitimate concerns that can keep you from opening up.

But let’s talk for a minute about one other thing that’s hurting you by keeping silent. Not sharing keeps you isolated and feeling alone, which is how you feel almost all the time. The desire to keep quiet may seem valid—and feel like the only safe option—but continuing to do so keeps you from growing in your faith. Holding onto a secret from others is also a failure to trust God.

One of the most beautiful aspects of the cross of Christ is that although it is marked with suffering and shame, it also swallowed up death. In other words, Christ’s death puts to death our sins and fears.  We are now given the power to face our fears and struggles and seek help from God and others. And in seeking help from others, we are, in fact, seeking help from God.

The person struggling with same-sex attraction can freely share what God has done, even if there is fear of rejection. I know it’s hard to do this. I get it. I’ve mentioned some of the dangers and difficulties.

And in remaining silent, the church won’t grow. Because how you live your life in the body of Christ affects others.

But when you remain hidden, you won’t grow as you could grow; you won’t experience trust and joy in Christ as you could.

And in remaining silent, the church won’t grow. Because how you live your life in the body of Christ affects others.

My hope is that if you are a same-sex attracted struggler, that you would ask God for the grace to share your struggles with a few others in your church. Start small. To be increasingly honest about who you are. And that in doing so, you will be surprised. Surprised that there will be many who will receive you and love you just as you are, and in accepting you, will love you enough to keep showing you Jesus, and walking with you every step of the way towards him.


To see Desmond talk more about this issue, click on Desmond’s video blog, Hiding My Same-Sex Attraction—Part 1. These short videos can be used as discussion starters in small group settings, mentoring relationships, men’s and women’s groups, etc.

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