What IS Domestic Violence?

What is Domestic Violence?

abuse, generalThe month of October has been designated Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The goal of this month is to raise public awareness about domestic violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to recognize, prevent, and respond to domestic violence.
This article is the first in a series that will focus on the topic of domestic violence. For more on this issue, you can read Is It My Fault?: Hope and Healing for Those Suffering Domestic Violence , which is written by Justin and Lindsey Holcomb.
“Domestic violence” is used as an overarching term to encompass a large number of behaviors–physical, verbal, and psychological–that violate the well-being of an individual and his or her ability to act.
Historically, “domestic violence” was mostly associated with physical violence. “Domestic violence” today, however, has a much broader legal definition, which includes sexual, psychological, verbal, and economic abuse.
Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive, controlling, or abusive behavior that is used by one individual to gain or maintain power and control over another individual in the context of an intimate relationship. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, exploit, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure, or wound an intimate partner.
As such, domestic violence can take many forms, including willful intimidation, physical assault, sexual assault, battery, stalking, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, economic control, psychological abuse, spiritual abuse, isolation, any other abusive behavior, and/or threats of such. Of course, threats of abuse can be as frightening as the abuse itself, particularly, when the victim knows the perpetrator may carry out the threats.
Domestic violence includes the establishment of abusive control and power over another person through fear, isolation, and/or intimidation.[1] Abusive behavior often is thought of as direct “hands-on” infliction of pain but also includes implied threat or actual physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, including withholding finances and medical equipment.[2]
This understanding of domestic violence gets beyond our society’s narrow understanding of the issue and expands the spectrum of actions to be considered domestic violence. A comprehensive definition and understanding of domestic violence includes several elements. Each element is important in understanding domestic violence:
  • Intentional: The abuser consciously or subconsciously sets out to use deliberate abusive tactics to achieve his/her ends. The abuser chooses to abuse and he can choose to stop abusing at any time.
  • Methodical: The abuser systematically uses a series of abusive tactics to gain power over the partner and to control her.
  • Pattern: The abused partner often at first sees the abusive tactics as isolated and unrelated incidents, but they are really a series of related acts that form a pattern of behaviors.
  • Tactics: The abuser uses a variety of tactics to gain power and
 to control his partner such as threats, violence, humiliation, exploitation, or even self-pity.
  • Power: The abuser aims to acquire and employ power in the relationship. For example, the abuser may use force or threats of physical harm to intimidate his or her partner, thereby gaining physical and emotional power. Or the abuser may prohibit the partner from working, making the partner financially dependent on the abuser, and thereby gaining financial power.
  • Control: With sufficient power, the abuser can control his partner–forcing or coercing her to do as the abuser wishes. For example, the abuser controls the decision making for the relationship, or controls who has social contact with the partner, or determines the sexual practices of the partner. The goal of the abuser is to force compliance.
  • Desires: The abuser’s ultimate goal is to get his emotional and physical desires met and he aims to selfishly make use of his partner to meet those needs. Most abusers are afraid their desires will not be fulfilled through a normal healthy relationship. Fear motivates them to use abuse to ensure that their desires will be met.
Domestic violence is a pervasive, life-threatening epidemic and crime that affects millions of people worldwide in every community.
It takes place across all races, ages, socioeconomic statuses, geographic regions, religions, nationalities, and education backgrounds, including traditional, nontraditional, teen dating, and adult dating relationships as well as older populations.[3]
A National Problem
Domestic violence is dangerously good at hiding itself, yet it is extremely prevalent–and extremely damaging–in our world today.
Domestic violence exists in every community and culture (including communities and cultures that we might perceive as happy and “normal”). The number of occurrences of domestic violence is staggering. Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused at some point during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.
Intimate partner violence is pervasive in U.S. society. The prevalence of domestic violence in the United States is difficult to determine because the crime is vastly underreported, yet the statistics are still overwhelmingly high: one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.[4]
Nearly three out of four (74%) of Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence. Approximately 30% of Americans say they know a woman who has been physically abused by her husband or boyfriend in the past year.[5]
In terms of lifetime abuse rates, various studies show that 22-33% of American women will be assaulted–including rape, physical violence, or stalking–by an intimate partner in their lifetimes.[6] Young women are particularly at risk. Women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence and sexual assault.[7] Similarly, women who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.[8] And among teenage girls, one in three reports knowing a friend or a peer who has been hit, punched, kicked, slapped, or physically injured by a partner.[9] Violence against women is primarily intimate partner violence: 64% of women who reported being raped, physically assaulted, and/ or stalked since the age of 18 were victimized by a current or former husband, cohabitating partner, boyfriend, or date.[10]
Even if the recipient of abuse is the mother (and not any children), children are affected by domestic abuse in staggering and long-lasting ways. And it is here, among some of the household’s most vulnerable members, that we see some of the most toxic effects of the cycle of abuse. If you have children, this section will be especially hard to read, but please bear with us, because we think it’s important that you know this information.
To begin with, studies suggest that between 10-15 million children are exposed to domestic violence every year.[11] And for these children, abusive adults can cause tremendous long-term physical, emotional, and spiritual damage in their lives. This is true even if the the mother is physically abused (but the children are not physically hurt), though roughly half of men who physically abuse their wives also abuse their children.[12] Bruce Perry, one of the top neurological trauma researchers in the world, has conclusively shown that when young children merely witness domestic violence, this trauma exposure creates long-term physiological changes, including significant structural alteration and damage to the brain.[13]
The aftermath of abuse comes out in children’s behavior as well. Children exposed to violence are more likely to attempt suicide, abuse drugs and alcohol, run away from home, be exploited in teenage prostitution, and commit sexual assault crimes.[14] Children who witness violence at home display emotional and behavioral disturbances as diverse as withdrawal, low self-esteem, nightmares, self-blame, and aggression against peers, family members, and property.[15]
The damage also occurs in more intangible ways. Children who witness the abuse often experience their mother’s powerlessness and humiliation. Many lose their childhood innocence because their sense of security has been violated and they feel dramatically unsafe. Children often develop anxiety in anticipation of the next attack, blame themselves for the abuse, and fear abandonment – especially if they should fail to keep the violence secret. They are left isolated and frightened as they carry the weight of shame, responsibility, guilt, and anger.[16]
And here, among children, we see one of the most toxic effects of the cycle of abuse: Witnessing violence from one parent or caregiver to another is the strongest risk factor of transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next.[17] Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults.[18] Men exposed to physical abuse, sexual abuse, and/or domestic violence as children are almost four times more likely than other men to perpetrate domestic violence as adults.[19]
The most common factor among men who abuse their wives is that they experienced (received or witnessed) domestic violence themselves in childhood. Again, this history does not excuse anyone from choosing destructive behavior, but it does illustrate the far-reaching effects of abuse.
Additionally, we know that girls who grow up in physically abusive homes are more likely to be physically and sexually victimized by their own intimate partners in adulthood. Daughters are more than six times more likely to be sexually abused in homes where intimate partner violence occurs.[20] Children in homes where domestic violence occurs are physically abused or seriously neglected at a rate of 1500% higher than the national average in the general population.[21] And even when they grow into adults, children who’ve grown up in abusive households are 15 times more likely to be abused by other adults.
If you are reading this and are still on the fence about getting out of the relationship.
All of these studies point to destructive effects of abuse that are long-term. Even if your child has not personally suffered abuse yet, the consequences of even witnessing it in the home over the rest of their lives could be catastrophic.
Frequency and Duration
One of the common perceptions that keep many women in abusive relationships is the belief that this time, he’ll change–that this time, he really means it when he says it won’t happen again. But the numbers tell another story.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, approximately half of the women raped by an intimate partner and two-thirds of the women physically assaulted by an intimate partner said they were victimized multiple times by the same partner.[22] Female rape victims have reported 4.5 rapes on average by the same partner, and female physical assault victims averaged 6.9 assaults. Among women who were victimized multiple times by the same partner, 63% of rape victims and 70% of assault victims say their victimization lasted a year or more. On average, women who were raped multiple times said their victimization occurred over 3.8 years, and women who were physically assaulted multiple times said their victimization occurred over 4.5 years.[23]
Verbal abuse is one of the biggest indicators that physical abuse may follow. Much of the violence perpetrated against women by male partners is part of a systematic pattern of dominance and control, or what some researchers have called “patriarchal terrorism.”
Naming Violence
Naming and describing the evil done to victims does not ensure their healing. However, if domestic violence is not defined, named, or described, then it remains hidden.
There is an epidemic of domestic violence and victims need the kind of hope and healing that only the gospel of Jesus Christ can provide. Tragically, most churches and Christians are woefully unprepared to help the one in four women who have been abused. Helping victims of domestic violence starts with knowing what is.
Justin is an Episcopal priest and teaches theology, philosophy, and Christian thought at Gordon-Conwell-Theological Seminary and Reformed Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Lindsey, are authors of: Is It My Fault?: Hope and Healing for Those Suffering Domestic Violence , Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault . Justin has written or edited numerous books: Know the Heretics  (2014), K now the Creeds and Councils  (2014), On the Grace of God , Acts: A 12-Week Study, For the World , and Christian Theologies of Scripture
[1]  E. J. Alpert, S. Cohen, and R.D. Sege, “Family Violence: An Overview,” Academic Medicine 72: S3-S6, 1997; R. L. Muelleman, P.A. Leneghan, and R. A. Pakieser, “Battered: Injury Locations and Types,” Annals of Emergency Medicine 28:486-492, 1996; R. L. Muelleman, J. Reuwer, T. G. Sanson, et al., “An Emergency Medicine Approach to Violence Throughout the Life Cycle,” Academic Emergency Medicine 3:708- 715, 1996; L. E. Saltzman and D. Johnson, “CDC’s Family and Intimate Violence Prevention Team: Basing programs on science,” Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association 51:83-86, 1996
[2] J. C. Campbell and K. L. Soeke, “Women’s Responses to Battering: A Test of the Model,” Research in Nursing and Health 22 (1999), 49-58; R. L. Muelleman, P.A. Leneghan, and R. A. Pakieser, “Battered: Injury Locations and Types,” Annals of Emergency Medicine 28:486-492, 1996; R. L. Muelleman, J. Reuwer, T. G. Sanson, et al., “An Emergency Medicine Approach to Violence Throughout the Life Cycle,” Academic Emergency Medicine 3:708- 715, 1996; L. E. Saltzman and D. Johnson, “CDC’s Family and Intimate Violence Prevention Team: Basing programs on science,” Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association 51:83-86, 1996
[3] L. R. Chambliss, “Domestic Violence: A Public Health Crisis,” Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology 40 (1997), 630-638; L. E. Keller, “Invisible Victims: Battered Women in Psychiatric and Medical Emergency Rooms,” Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic 60 (1996), 1-21; S. Y. Melvin and M. C. Rhyne, “Domestic Violence,” Advanced Internal Medicine 43 (1998), 1-25; R. L. Muelleman, P.A. Leneghan, and R. A. Pakieser, “Battered: Injury Locations and Types,” Annals of Emergency Medicine 28:486-492, 1996; R. L. Muelleman, J. Reuwer, T. G. Sanson, et al., “An Emergency Medicine Approach to Violence Throughout the Life Cycle,” Academic Emergency Medicine 3:708- 715, 1996
[4] Patricia Tjaden and Nancy Thoennes, “Extent, Nature and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey,” National Institute of Justice and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 2000; Tjaden, P., and N. Thoennes. Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women: Findings From the National Violence Against Women Survey  Research Report. Washington, DC, and Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, November 2000, NCJ 183781; Sara Glazer, “Violence, Against Women” CO Researcher, Congressional Quarterly 3: 8, February, 1993, p. 171; N. S. Jecker, “Privacy Beliefs and the Violent Family: Extending the Ethical Argument for Physician Intervention,” Journal of the American Medical Association 269 (1993), 776-780; M.T. Loring, and R.W. Smith, “Health Care Barriers and Interventions for Battered Women,” Public Health Reports 109:328-38, 1994.
[5] Allstate Foundation National Poll on Domestic Violence, 2006. Lieberman Research Inc., Tracking Survey conducted for The Advertising Council and the Family Violence Prevention Fund, July – October 1996
[6] Helen M. Eigengerg, Women Battering in the United States: Till Death Do Us Part (Prospect Heights, Ill.: Waveland Press, 2001), 62-85.
[7] U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Intimate Partner Violence in the United States,” December 2006.
[8] U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Intimate Partner Violence in the United States,” December 2006.
[9] “Liz Claiborne, Inc., Omnibuzz Topline Findings: Teen Relationship Abuse Research,” available at http://www.teenresearch.com.
[10] Patricia Tjaden and Nancy Thoennes, “Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women: Findings From the National Violence Against Women Survey,” Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, 2000.
[11] R. McDonold, “Estimating the Number of American Children Living in Partner Violent Families” Journal of Family Psychology 30:1 (2006), 137-142.
[12] The landmark study that established this correlation was done by Murray Straus, and reported in “Ordinary Violence, Child Abuse, and Wife-Beating: What Do They Have in Common?” in Physical Violence in American Families, ed. Murray Straus and Richard Gelles (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transition, 1990), 403-24.
[13] Bruce Perry, “The Neurodevelopmental Impact of Violence in Childhood,” in Textbook of Child and Adolescent Forensic Psychiatry, eds. D. Schetky and E. Benedek (Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Press, 2001), 21-38.
[14] D. A. Wolfe, C. Wekerle, D. Reitzel, and R. Gough, “Strategies to Address Violence in the Lives of High Risk Youth,” in Ending the Cycle of Violence: Community Responses to Children of Battered Women, edited by E. Peled, P.G. Jaffe and J.L Edleson. New York, NY: Sage Publications, 1995).
[15] Inat Peled, Peter C. Jaffe, and Jeffrey L. Edleson, eds., Ending the Cycle of Violence: Community Responses to Children of Battered Women (Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, 1995).
[16] Carol J. Adams, Women Battering (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1994), 21.
[17] I. Frieze and A. Browne, “Violence in Marriage,” in Family Violence, eds. L. Ohlin and M. Tonry (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989), 163- 218.
[18] M. A. Straus and R. J. Gelles, Physical Violence in American Families: Risk Factors and Adaptations to Violence in 8,145 Families (Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1992).
[19] C. L. Whitfield, R. F. Anda, S. R. Dube, and V. J. Felitti, “Violent Childhood Experiences and the Risk of Intimate Partner Violence in Adults,” Journal of Interpersonal 
Violence 18 (2003), 166-185.
[20] Carol J. Adams, Women Battering (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1994), 22.
[21] Ibid.
[22] Patricia Tjaden and Nancy Thoennes, “Extent, Nature, and Consequences of intimate Partner Violence: Findings From the National Violence Against Women Survey,” Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, 2000.
[23] Ibid.

– See more at: http://www.reformation21.org/articles/what-is-domestic-violence.php#sthash.CyrZF2Ov.dpuf

The True Nature of Homosexuality ~ by David Kyle Foster

The following is from a colleague of mine who is an expert regarding sexual brokenness and, in particular, homosexuality:
The True Nature of Homosexuality by David Kyle Foster
  by Pure Passion (Notes) on Friday, June 28, 2013 at 2:23pm

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” is a commonly quoted part of a dialogue in William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, in which Juliet argues that the names of things do not matter, only what things “are”.

In Act II, Scene II of the play, the line is said by Juliet in reference to Romeo’s house, Montague, which would imply that his name means nothing and they should be together.


O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?

Deny thy father and refuse thy name;

Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,

And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.


[Aside] Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?


‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy;

Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.

What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot, nor arm, nor face, nor any other part belonging to a man.

O, be some other name!

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet;

So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,

retain that dear perfection which he owes

without that title.

Romeo, doff thy name, and for that name

which is no part of thee take all myself.


I take thee at thy word:

Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptized;

Henceforth I never will be Romeo.”

(from Wikipedia)

I love this play (….except the part where they both die!) and especially love the point that Juliet is making. The principle (that the names of things do not matter, only what things “are”) speaks to our modern debate over the true nature of homosexuality. Of course, in the short run, names matter because people are often deceived when they are surreptitiously redefined, but in the long term, the criterion that will be used by God when He judges the earth will be “what really is”.

Historically speaking, the term “homosexual” was first used to describe sexual behavior with someone of the same sex. Over the past 40-50 years, however, revisionists have expertly manipulated cultural gatekeepers (-e.g., professional guilds, leaders of government, education, etc.) into redefining homosexuality as an innate, immutable, inborn and natural state – a change in definition that runs counter to its original meaning, and reality, as well as the divinely inspired biblical description.

In an article from Touchstone Magazine entitled “The Gay Invention”, R.V. Young states:

“Only in the late nineteenth century, when physicians began discussing sexual perversion as a medical rather than a moral problem in Latin treatises intended only for the learned and required a neutral, clinical term, was there a perceived need to refer to ‘homosexuality.’ Moreover, it is not at all clear that the originators of the term had precisely in mind what is usually meant by ‘homosexuality’ in contemporary parlance……..

……The ancient Greeks did not recognize the existence of the permanent ‘homosexual orientation’ that is nowadays taken as a given……..

……..St. Thomas Aquinas points out that while even simple fornication is ‘against properly human nature, of which the act of generation is ordered to the appropriate education of children,’ sodomy is ‘against the nature of every animal’ because it is not aimed at generation at all. Nevertheless, actions today designated ‘homosexual’ are for Thomas just one manifestation of lust among others; the commission of such sins, even the persistent desire to commit such sins, does not constitute a particular class of persons……….

………So our public language asserts the reality of ‘homosexuality’ as a permanent condition, though there is little if anything in our history (Greek, Roman, and Christian) to justify the idea and even some ‘gay’ theorists do not accept it. The imposition upon an ingenuous public of the terms ‘homosexual’ and ‘heterosexual’ required a prior bit of linguistic legerdemain, namely, the redefinition of ‘sex’ and the displacement of its principal original function by the term ‘gender.’

………Manipulated Words……..

Two linguistic developments over the past several decades have thus been effected by academic and media elites: ‘gender’ has been substituted for ‘sex’ as the designation of the distinction between men and women, and ‘homosexual’ and ‘heterosexual’ have been accepted as legitimate terms for distinguishable classes of persons.

The first development provides an official linguistic approval for the feminist notion that distinctions between men and women are based, not on the intrinsic nature of humankind, but on arbitrary social constructs. The second, conversely, asserts that the compulsion to commit sodomy results not from any disorder, moral, spiritual, or psychological, but from an inherent ‘homosexual’ nature. Apart from the obvious contradiction, further ironies are involved in these verbal manipulations.

……… ‘Homosexual’ and ‘heterosexual’ can only make even a modicum of sense if ‘sex’ means nothing more than carnal coupling in its myriad ways and is no longer associated with the natural complementary relation of men and women. To have recourse to this definition is, however, to rely on the social-constructivist relativism that drives the sexual revolution, which is an absurd basis for the assertion that ‘homosexuality’ is an innate condition…….

………Given the sinfulness of our nature and the mysterious blend of genetic features and external influences that shapes the specific character of particular human beings, it is probable that some individuals are, in fact, born with erotic proclivities toward persons of the same sex (or, for that matter, towards children or beasts or random promiscuity). Nevertheless, compulsive behavior arising from peculiar inclinations is not an adequate basis for establishing social institutions, much less for threatening those upon which society has long depended.”


After living with homosexual confusion for two decades and subsequently finding significant healing from those things that create the confusion, I among countless thousands of others can testify to the fact that homosexuality is a broken condition primarily, (if not exclusively), brought about by environmental factors that can be reversed and/or healed. All scientific experiments designed to prove otherwise have failed to do so. Additionally, we have a clear and unambiguous biblical witness to the disordered nature of homosexual attractions, plus over a century of serious attempts among psychologists to find a way of healing for those who struggle with it. I say “struggle” because like all other emotion-based disorders (-e.g., alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders and other addictive behaviors), unless the person sees it as a problem and is willing to do whatever it takes to change, they will be unsuccessful in changing.

What it is. . . . . . . . Moving on from terminology, let’s ask the more important question: What is homosexuality?

Biblically, it is one of many disordered conditions that result from a refusal to glorify and be thankful to the Creator God – a form of prideful worshiping and serving of created things rather than the Creator (Romans 1:18-23). It is also, in part, a blindness that results from God’s judgment of our sinful choices (Romans 1:24-32). No doubt, it can be a consequence of sins of the fathers that are passed down to the third and fourth generation of those who hate God (Ex 20:5; Num 14:18). From a biblical perspective, this could explain why there are those who experience homosexual inclinations from an early age.

In each person, the mix of causes is unique, as are their personalities, experiences and temperamental make-ups. Yet in Christ, all can be forgiven. All can be delivered from family-line curses. All can be healed.

From an “identity” point of view, the non-physical aspect of human sexuality is deposited in every soul in seed form during gestation. The seed, though dormant for the first 10-12 years, is always heterosexual because that is God’s design (Genesis 1:27-28; 2:18, 21-25; Mt 19:4-6). Thus “homosexuals” as a class of people “born that way” do not exist. The very idea is a myth birthed from semantic distortion. What you have are heterosexuals whose natural heterosexuality has not developed properly, whether as a result of damage or neglect.

Every seed, though dormant, needs to be watered and fed proper nutrients during it’s time of dormancy so that it can germinate at the proper time in a healthy manner. For some, the seed of heterosexuality gets damaged by abuse. It’s no coincidence that well over half of all homosexuals are victims of childhood sexual abuse. For lesbians, some studies show abuse rates as high as 85%. And abuse can come in many packages – verbal, sexual, physical, etc. Obviously, a fragile seed that depends on a healthy environment for proper future germination and growth is going to have problems overcoming abuse.

For others, the dormant seed of heterosexuality doesn’t receive the nurture and/or nutrients that are required for healthy germination and growth. It is no coincidence that the vast majority of male homosexuals never had a healthy, emotionally bonded relationship with their father (or father figure). Many were rejected by their dad. Some never had a dad. Others had a civil relationship with dad, but never connected emotionally for one reason or another. They were never mentored by him; never encouraged in their masculinity. Still others have been emotionally smothered by one or more females, some of whom may have had “issues” with men in general, and these young lads were rewarded only when they behaved in feminine ways rather than masculine. And so, for one reason or another, such fellows never got called out of identity with mom (which occurs naturally at birth) and into their true masculine identity – a transition which should happen between the ages of two and five. The corollary of such scenarios can also happen between a girl and her mom.

What we are talking about here is “arrested emotional development” caused by the damage or nutritional neglect of the soul in the area of sexual identity. The creational reality is heterosexual from the beginning, but the perception or “feeling” of that identity and the consequent self-coping behaviors to gain what is missing or repair that which is damaged is where things go wrong.

What God the Father does in the healing process of someone who repents of their sin and yields him or herself to the leading of His Holy Spirit is to re-start their emotional growth. As an intimate relationship is established with Him through Christ, He begins to heal the damaged areas and impart the developmental elements that went missing. And over time, the false homosexual identity slowly dies while the true inner heterosexual self gradually grows healthy and emerges as the predominant and true identity in their life. Any remnant homosexual feelings or memories are exposed as the dark shadows of trauma or neglect that they are and put away – perhaps daily – but put away nonetheless, using the power of the Holy Spirit. The old false identity no longer names or controls them but only serves as a reminder of what God in His mercy, through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ, has delivered them from. And what He delivers them into is even more exciting – everything they’ve ever needed in a relationship, but this time with God Himself, our Bridegroom!

How complete this transition is during someone’s life depends on numerous factors (a matter for another article). For quite a few, it will only be partial. Yet their obedient commitment to holiness, empowered by the Holy Spirit and born from love for the One who died to rescue them from death, will be just as pleasing to God as that of the one whose transition is total.

For more on a biblical perspective on what healing for the homosexual looks like, go online for my two-part article, Sexual Sin & Bondage: What Does It Look Like To Be Healed?