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But I still deal with temptation and attraction to other men

Understanding the root of your attraction to other men is of the utmost importance. This “daily occurrence” is based on two things. The first can be traced to one of the most common root issues in the lives of men struggling with same-sex attractions. These roots are deeply embedded in the fertile soil of envy.

If you’re a man who struggles with same-sex attraction, let’s do a little experiment. Take out a piece of paper and write down all the things you don’t like about yourself, such as “I’m too fat,” “I’m not buff,” “I’m not confident around men,” or “my hair’s too curly.” Set that paper aside when you’re done.

Now take another piece of paper and think of the men you find attractive. (Understand that I’m not giving you license to lust.) Assess their attractiveness critically: What specifically are you drawn to? Write those things down. When you’ve done this, compare those two pieces of paper. I would venture to say that most of the things you find as weaknesses in yourself are the opposites of the things you find attractive in other men. So what’s going on here?

Many observers see this as a sort of subconscious cannibalism — an extreme kind of envy. Maybe my own experience can help you more fully understand this phenomenon.

I have skinny legs. Since you can’t see them, let me illustrate: When I wrap my thumb and middle finger around my ankle, they actually touch. So, without any further humiliation, what do you think I was drawn to in men? You’ve got it — muscular legs.

Understanding this component of my struggle has freed me up tremendously. I’ve had to come to grips with this weakness in myself (skinny legs) and realize that no attention from another man, no matter how big his legs are, is going to make mine any bigger. I’m able to speak against the lie of the attraction and move on. This same power is available to you. Think through and assess your attractions. You’ll find that they are based in envy and that giving in to the temptation is leaving you with the same outcome — coming up short in the area that sent you looking for affirmation in the first place.

Alcoholics Anonymous calls this insanity — doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different outcome. You know the outcome will be the same. You’ll still feel negative about whatever you haven’t accepted in yourself, and the sexual act will leave you feeling worse — shameful, embarrassed, and unfulfilled.

The second factor that seems to be fueling your attractions has to do with your focus. Try another experiment. Listen to me now: Don’t think of the number eight. Don’t think about it. Careful… don’t think about the number eight!

What are you thinking about right now? That’s right — the number eight. While attempting to overcome your homosexual fantasies and attractions, you are far more aware of them, even as you tune into your desire to be successful. So the very thing you are trying not to think about is all you can think about.

That is why accountability is so important in the beginning stages of your healing process. You are trying to give up something that used to dominate your thoughts and may still be doing so.

Have faith. Examine your attractions for what they are really all about. And when you find yourself tempted, assess your mental state as well.

Jeff Konrad, my best friend and the author of You Don’t Have to Be Gay (which, by the way, was a by-product of his commitment to helping me find freedom) would remind me to H.A.L.T.

In the midst of temptation he would ask me these questions: “Are you Hungry? Are you Angry? Are you Lonely? Are you Tired?”

He understood how important taking care of myself was, especially in the midst of the difficulty of overcoming sexual temptations. Try this yourself: Take care of yourself,  ask for help, learn to understand your desires, and give yourself a break. No one can think about this stuff all day, every day. When you find yourself growing weary of the battle, you might need to refocus. “Fix [your] eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of [your] faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition… so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12: 2-3).

101 Frequently Asked Questions About Homosexuality (2004) Harvest House: Eugene, Oregon

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