The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

I'm 16 and have a bit of a problem. For as long as I can remember, I have only ever felt passionate sexual, or personal emotions for other males. I really would like to change this as I know that it is horribly wrong, but I'm struggling. Especially because the feelings I feel are not purely sexual. They are deeply emotional as well. The strongest feelings I have ever felt toward females are deep friendship and a strong sense of siblinghood, which is also deeply emotional, but not in the same sense.

I have the unfortunate desire to spend my life with one of my male friends, who is (even more unfortunately) very much attached to me, although thankfully not in the same way. He has few strong friendships because few people truly understand him. He is a deeply sensitive person who is a lot more mature than many of his peers. He sees the world very differently and very few kids around him can relate to that. But the people that do understand him, he clings to and holds very close to his heart. I find myself unable to stop interacting with him for both the sake of his, and my emotional well being.

The feelings I have for him are wrong. I know that, but they have always felt complete. As if every emotional, spiritual, and sexual component of love is bound together whenever I think of him. To make matters worse, he (who is 100% heterosexual) knows, and finds it pleasing, flattering even, to know that someone feels that way for him. He often expresses this to me in hopes that I'll find peace in accepting my feelings. He's only clung tighter since I told him. (I told him with the hopes that maybe he'd become uncomfortable around me and maybe even help me realize how wrong I am, giving me some space in order to try and detach myself, and keeping him away and safe from my homosexual influence). Although my presence is more emotionally fulfilling for him, it is extremely dangerous to my faith, and I'm beginning to believe, to his.

Every other aspect of me is relatively healthy. I'm not the typical teenage boy and am a lot more sensitive, empathetic and kind. I don't get a thrill out of boasting about masculinity. My other Christian values are strong. Only this aspect of my life is a challenge. Everywhere I turn people are telling me that this is natural and healthy to feel, even my fellow Christians and churchgoers say that I'd be emotionally and mentally relieved to accept the way I feel, but I know, even though it feels quite the contrary, it is killing my spirit, and acceptance should be the last thing to cross my mind. Do I need someone to tell me without compassion how wrong these feelings are to get the picture? It seems that no amount of guilt or shame, or even desire to change can make these feelings go away.

How do I stop feeling this (besides trying not to think about it) when I feel such a strong emotional, personal, and sexual love for someone that God did not intend for me? How can I find the strength and desire to find this form of beauty in a woman when I only find it in males, specifically this friend? How can I break free of him when it would hurt both of us (albeit in different ways) to separate? How can I change, how can I become a healthy, good Christian? What do I need to do?


Answer

One of the consequences of the movement to try making homosexuality acceptable in society is that friendships between people of the same gender have been sexualized. Because you have strong feelings for this person, you assume that it needs to be expressed sexually -- that is where the error in your thinking is occurring. See: Are same sex relationships wrong if they are non-sexual? You said that you think of him as a close brother. Surely you would not desire to have sex with one of your siblings.

To accept friendship is fine, to turn that friendship into sexual lust is not. "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man" (Mark 7:21-23). I don't know if your friend and other people are trying to tell you to accept a sinful desire for another male in your heart or if they are encouraging having male friends. I hope it is the later. If it is the former, then you are surrounded by people that have no respect for God or the dangers of sin.

What I can't answer for you is whether you can change your mind about the sexual aspect of this relationship. As I've told other guys, just because you get aroused, it doesn't mean you should act on it. That goes for a guy with a girl, and it would remain true for a guy who thinks he is sexually attracted to another male. But it is fine to find stronger emotional ties to another male than to women. When David's best friend Jonathan died, he said, "I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; You have been very pleasant to me; Your love to me was wonderful, Surpassing the love of women" (II Samuel 1:26). There is nothing sexual in that statement.

As a Christian, emotions do not guide your decisions. Yes, your decisions have an emotional component, but the choices you make must be rational, based on what God said you are to do. After all that is way faith is about: A desire to trust God and do what He commands, whether you feel like it or not. "If you love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15). Jesus demonstrated it when he went to the cross, even though he deeply did not desire to go. "O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done" (Matthew 26:42).

If you cannot control your sexual desires, then you would need to put distance between you and him. That would be no different advice than I would give a guy who having trouble keeping his pants on around his girlfriend. But, frankly, I am certain that if you can separate sexual desires from desires for friendship and companionship, which you already do in other relationships, then you can simply see this other boy as just a really good friend and not a sex object.

Oh, and now that you are growing up, you need to start being responsible for your own decisions and stop trying to make other people decide for you.