People all over the world can identify with this struggle—both Christian and otherwise. Yet one of the key problems Christians face is not finding a community to be a part of. For this reason, the church must continue to be the hope of the world. Believers who are battling with this sin can find themselves in better place if the church is willing to walk alongside them. Here are some strategies to effectively walk beside someone dealing with same sex attractions.

1. Understand the Issue

If someone is dealing with homosexuality be careful in making assumptions. It is not always wise to enter into a dialogue about a specific sin without being well prepared.

Like a surgeon who is expected to perform a specific procedure, Christians must be well equipped in handling the issue.

Just because an individual accepts homosexuality as a sin does not mean it is understood rightly! So, it is important to study and educate oneself in why God condemns homosexuality as a sin, and to use other resources (e.g., psychology, biology, counseling, testimony, etc.) to educate oneself with the struggle at hand.

2. Homosexuality vs. Same Sex Attraction

Try using different nomenclature when addressing homosexuality; that is, there is a difference between homosexuality and same sex attraction. Homosexuality refers to the sinful act, while same sex attraction refers to the struggle of misplaced desires for the same sex. It is important for a believer to not find their identity in sin, but in Christ. By using same sex attraction, the label of being a “homosexual” can be removed. It allows for there to be an intentional disconnect between the struggle of attraction and the sin of homosexuality.

3. Use Sound Doctrine

At times, there is an unreasonable fear that many Christians have when facing the issue of homosexuality with respect to Scripture. At the basic level, be able to explain the doctrine of sin. Communicating the depravity of humankind, and that all sin and fall short of God’s standards, provides a point of commonality (Romans 3:23). That is, it allows for bridges to be built as everyone can agree in their propensity to sin. While the specific sin for each individual may be different, the struggle remains the same.

A Christian, therefore, is called to deny themselves, pick up their cross, and follow Christ (Luke 9:23). The sin of homosexuality must be no exception to this command. Like lust, greed, unjust anger, etc., homosexuality must be seen the same way—as sin.

They must know that their bodies are not functioning as they ought. Here is perhaps one of the best moments to be open and relate to the difficulties of life. It is essential to communicate that through Christ believers become regenerated and are able to overcome their sin; though, this may look different for each believer. Thus, it is possible to have a hope in a changed orientation, whether that comes gradually or instantly. Yet for those who do not find their orientation changing, it may mean a committed life of celibacy, which is far better than violating the commands of God. For God’s command are not arbitrary, but His commands are to bring about human flourishing.

4. Life Together

The church has been commissioned to be the hands and feet of Christ. The Gospel is essential to the Christian message, but it is not the only piece within the Christian life. God calls his people to be in community with each other. Scripture exhorts the body of believers to encourage and build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11). This is not only the responsibility of leaders, but it is the responsibility of the entire church! Christ wants his people to lift each other’s burdens and pray for one another because the body needs it, and as the body is cared for by one another, it grows stronger (Galatians 6:2). Pray for hope and peace, and for God to grant the patience and strength to endure (Colossians 1:11).

5. Eternal Hope in Christ

Ultimately, all believers, especially someone dealing with same sex attraction, must be reminded of the hope that is had in Christ. There will come a time where God will bring about justice as he judges the world (Acts 17:31). Those who have been redeemed by his blood will forever be in commune with the Father. At this time, there will be no more tears or pain. And as the believers are in eternal fellowship with God, the issues that were experienced on Earth will be a fleeting thought (Revelation 21:4).