Some brief extracts from publications of Jehovah's Witnesses, as permitted by the Fair Use provision of US copyright law. Links in blue will take you directly to the full articles in the Watchtower Online Library.
Those who wanted to become Christians in the first century came from various backgrounds and lifestyles, and some of them made significant lifestyle changes. For example, the Bible speaks of “those who are sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, men who submit to homosexual acts,” and then it adds: “That is what some of you were.”
In saying “that is what some of you were,” does the Bible mean that those who stopped engaging in homosexual acts never again experienced any homosexual desires? That could hardly be the case, because the Bible also exhorts: “Keep walking by spirit and you will carry out no fleshly desire.”
Note that the Bible does not say that a Christian will never experience an improper desire. Rather, it says that he or she will choose not to carry out that desire. Christians learn to bring such desires under control, not dwelling on them to the point of acting on them.
The Bible thus makes a distinction between inclinations and practices. (Romans 7:16-25) A person who has homosexual leanings can control what he allows his mind to dwell on, just as he would control any other wrong desire, including leanings toward anger, adultery, and greed.
While Jehovah’s Witnesses uphold the moral code set forth in the Bible, they do not force their views on others. Nor do they try to reverse laws that protect the human rights of those whose lifestyle differs from theirs. The message that Jehovah’s Witnesses bear is a positive one, and they eagerly share it with all who will listen.
Our hearts go out to any who struggle with their sexual feelings. As our article acknowledged, the causes of such difficulties may be complex. But as long as one does not deliberately cultivate or act upon immoral impulses, one can remain clean in Jehovah’s eyes. Be assured that Jehovah God is delighted when individuals make such efforts to remain morally clean.—Proverbs 27:11.
17 A fourth way to help you cope with
anxiety is good communication, sharing your feelings with a trusted
confidant. A marriage mate, a close friend, or a congregation elder may
be able to help you to put your anxiety into perspective. “Anxiety in a
man’s heart weighs it down, but a good word cheers it up.” (Prov. 12:25)
Frank and honest communication can do much to help you to understand
and deal with your concerns. The Bible tells us: “Plans fail when there
is no consultation, but there is accomplishment through many advisers.”
I serve as a Ministerial servant and a pioneer.......The “Young People Ask….” articles on homosexuality seem to have been written for me!...... I’ve found it hard to fight these feelings. With these articles however,....... I’ve received help to keep on fighting!
True Christians know that even deeply rooted wrong desires, including those that may have a genetic basis or that involve physical causes or environmental factors, are not insurmountable for persons who truly want to please Jehovah. .......
Likewise, a person may feel strongly attracted to others of the same sex, but by heeding the counsel of God’s Word he can remain clean from homosexual practices. (See Ephesians 4:17-24).
Of course, those appointed to take the lead in true worship are imperfect.
All of them make mistakes, and some have persistent weaknesses that they are working hard to control.
Does this mean that becoming a Christian will automatically cure a person of all deviant desires or confusion over gender? Not necessarily. Persistent application of Bible principles has enabled some to live normal lives. Even so, these Christians often have had to wage a day-to-day struggle against wrong desires. Such ones thus serve God despite having a figurative “thorn in the flesh.” (2 Corinthians 12:7) As long as they continue to battle wrong inclinations and maintain righteous conduct, God views them as faithful servants and as clean in his eyes.
There is virtual agreement among experts on this point: the exact cause of homosexuality is unknown.
It was at this unhappy time in my life that I met the man I lived with for the next ten years. Right from the outset, my new partner and I got on really well. I was extremely fond of him and we began to set up home together much as a normal married couple might do. We viewed our relationship as something rather unique and special. Neither of us felt freakish or strange about it.
As a couple of companions we were very happy. There was an intense, deep and loving relationship between us. In fact, we felt that the love we had was deeper than that of many heterosexual relationships we observed………
Then one day I obtained a Watch Tower publication. As soon as I started to read it, from the very first sentence, there was no doubt in my mind that it was the truth………….
My eyes were opened to options that I never knew existed. As I came to learn of the Bible’s hope for mankind, it threw an entirely new light on everything.
My first reaction was to get my companion to learn God’s ways………. Members of the local congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses often invited us out to meals and social gatherings. We were shown much understanding. My companion had every reason to see that he was not being left out of things. Indeed, he was being encouraged as much as I was. But sadly, he did not accept the truth as I had hoped……..
The time came when we decided to part. It was like slicing off one whole side of my character, leaving it on the ground………..
How reassuring it has been for me to bear in mind Jehovah’s all-embracing understanding of my problems! I have grown to realise that he alone knows individual circumstances and backgrounds and takes into consideration damage caused by environment and in other ways as he lovingly gives guidance through his holy spirit.
After all, sexual desire is not all there is to life. There is so much more to living……
When the apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Corinthians he mentioned homosexuality as a gross sin, but he did not particularly underline it as the ONLY one, or as being worse than the others mentioned there……
To expect to get any instantaneous cure would be wrong. But with Jehovah’s spirit helping in the exercise of self-control, I have learned that it is possible to work on in the way of the truth and manifest Christian endurance. Rom. 5:1-5
It is humbling for me to know that Jehovah has been able to use me, and despite my imperfections he continually strengthens me.
It is interesting that, according to dictionary definitions, homosexuality includes sexual desire for others of one’s own sex. Yet the bible makes a distinction between the practice of what is bad and sinful desires or tendencies. These desires may be present despite determined efforts to eradicate them from mind and body.
If you struggle with same-sex desires, you might feel as did one young man, who said: “I’ve tried to change my feelings. I’ve prayed to Jehovah for help. I read the Bible. I’ve heard talks on the subject. But I don’t know where to turn.”
If you’re in a similar situation, you clearly have a real fight on your hands. There’s no easy cure. Nevertheless, anyone who desires to please God must conform to His moral standards and shun immoral behavior, even though doing so may be agonizingly difficult. Never forget that God understands the struggle you have in your heart and that he has compassion for those who serve him.* (1 John 3:19, 20) When you obey God’s commandments, you open the way for receiving his blessing. In fact, in the keeping of God’s commands, “there is a large reward.” (Psalm 19:11) Even now, you’ll enjoy the best way of life possible in this troubled world.
A youth who desires to please God must therefore conform to His moral standards and shun immoral behavior, though doing so may be agonisingly difficult. …….
….a Christian cannot excuse immoral behavior by saying he was ‘born that way'.
At times, though, the battle to control their feelings can be so exhausting that they may begin to wonder if the Bible’s standard is fair or reasonable.
However, while a youth may successfully avoid homosexual ACTS, he or she may find it difficult to eliminate entirely homosexual DESIRE……
There is no magical or instantaneous cure…….nevertheless, by applying Bible principles, one can cope with such feelings. .....
Do not be overly discouraged, though, if the bad feelings persist. God understands your feelings and has compassion for those who struggle to serve him. (1John 3:19,20)
I have also learned that no matter how bad you’ve become or whatever wrongs you have committed, Jehovah God will still help you and forgive you if you sincerely want to please him and if you go to him in earnest prayer.
The Bible does not call particular attention to homosexuals as a group to be ostracized or hated by Christians. Moreover, it does not teach that God will punish homosexuals—or any of his creatures—by burning them in a fiery hell forever.—Compare Romans 6:23.
However, the Scriptures do set forth the moral standards of our Creator, which oftentimes run counter to modern-day mores. Homosexual acts, heterosexual sex between unmarried persons, and bestiality are all condemned in the Bible. (Exodus 22:19; Ephesians 5:3-5) …….
Regarding acts of homosexuality, God’s Word pointedly says: “This is a hateful thing.” (Leviticus 18:22, The New Jerusalem Bible) God’s Law to Israel stipulated: “When a man lies down with a male the same as one lies down with a woman, both of them have done a detestable thing. They should be put to death without fail.” (Leviticus 20:13) The same punishment was prescribed for those committing bestiality, incest, and adultery.—Leviticus 20:10-12, 14-17. ......
Some people may even react with stronger feelings of aversion or disgust toward homosexuality than toward other types of immorality, viewing homosexuality as an unnatural sexual perversion. However, should Christians hate the individuals who practice such things?
We cannot read hearts. (Jeremiah 17:9, 10) It would be wrong to assume that one is an unreformable enemy of God because he or she is practicing wrong. In many cases wrongdoers simply do not know God’s standards.
Hence, generally speaking, Christians are slow to hate fellow humans. Even if they have strong feelings of abhorrence toward certain life-styles, they do not seek to inflict injury on others, nor do they harbor spite or malice toward them. Rather, the Bible counsels Christians to “be peaceable with all men.”—Romans 12:9, 17-19.
Christians do not make homosexuals, or anyone else, the target of ill will, ridicule, or harassment. True Christians view their fellow humans as potential disciples of Christ, treating them in a respectful and dignified manner.
15 “In my flesh there dwells nothing good” wrote the Apostle Paul. (Romans 7:18) Paul knew firsthand how difficult it can be to struggle against the desires and weaknesses of the imperfect flesh. However, Paul also had confidence that he could prevail. (1 Corinthians 9:26,27) How? By trusting implicitly in Jehovah. That is why Paul could say: “Miserable man that I am! Who will rescue me from the body undergoing this death? Thanks to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24,25.) What about us? We too have a battle against fleshly weaknesses. As we struggle to deal with such weaknesses, it is easy to lose confidence, becoming convinced that we can never succeed. But Jehovah will help us if we, like Paul, truly rely on Him and not just on our own strength.
16 When a fleshly weakness persists, we can show that we trust in Jehovah by imploring Him in prayer. We need to ask, even beg, Jehovah for the help of his holy spirit. (Luke 11:9-13) We can specifically ask for self-control, which is part of the fruitage of God’s spirit. (Galatians 5:22,23) What should we do if we have a relapse? By all means, we should not give up. Let us never weary of praying humbly to our merciful God, asking his forgiveness and help. Jehovah will never reject, or turn away, a heart that is “broken and crushed” by the weight of a guilty conscience. (Psalm 51:17) If we supplicate Him with a sincere, contrite heart, Jehovah will help us fight temptations. – Philippians 4:6,7.
11 What if no appropriate partner can be found? Imagine the potential frustration of a person who desires to marry but who has not been able to do so! He may see his friends marry and achieve a measure of happiness, while he is still seeking an appropriate partner. For some in that situation, the unclean habit of masturbation may become an ongoing problem. In any case, no Christian wants inadvertently to dishearten another who is struggling to remain chaste. We could unintentionally cause discouragement if we made such inconsiderate comments as, “When are you going to get married?” That might be said with no ill intent, but how much better for us to manifest self-control in the sense of guarding our tongue! (Psalm 39:1) Those among us who are remaining chaste while in a single state deserve our warmest commendation.
Paul had internal conflicts, so that at times he did the things he wished not to do and did not do the things he desired to do. But his weaknessess never got the upper hand.
A person who is making progress in his desire to please God should not get discouraged if he cannot at once clear his mind and feelings from all wrong thoughts and emotions. He must keep on fighting, however, taking encouragement from the fact that even the apostle Paul confessed to not being able to fully do what he wanted to do. But he did not give up the fight.
In our race for life, no-one should feel impelled to resign. This race is like a marathon, a race of endurance, not a hundred-yard dash. The slightest misstep on the part of a sprinter will in all probability cost him the race. But the marathon runner, even if he stumbles, has time to recover and finish the course………. No reason for despair! No reason to give up!
19 However, is it possible to be happy today, living as we do in the last days of this crime-filled, violent, immoral world under Satan, where sickness and death confront us? Of course, we cannot now expect the degree of happiness that will exist in God’s new world, such as his Word foretells: “Here I am creating new heavens and a new earth; and the former things will not be called to mind, neither will they come up into the heart. But exult, you people, and bejoyful forever in what I am creating.”—Isaiah 65:17, 18.
20 What God’s servants can have now is relative happiness because they know his will and have accurate knowledge of the marvelous blessings soon to come in his paradisaic new world. (John 17:3; Revelation 21:4) That is why the Bible can say: “O Jehovah of armies, happy is the man that is trusting in you,” “happy is everyone fearing Jehovah, who is walking in his ways,” “happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit the earth.” (Psalm 84:12; 128:1; Matthew 5:5) Thus, in spite of the present difficult circumstances we have to contend with, we can have a substantial measure of happiness. Even when bad things happen to us, we do not become saddened as do those who do not know Jehovah and who do not have the hope of eternal life.—1 Thessalonians 4:13.
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A resource for gay Jehovah's Witnesses April 2020