As forgiven people free from condemnation,
we made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
determined to root out fear, hidden hostility
and contempt for the world.
Long ago AA warned of the destructive tendency of compulsive people to try and find "an easier, softer way". [Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 58] We who seek freedom from homosexuality will fall short of our goal if we do not work all the steps.
Some of us make the mistake of working only the relational side of our program (Steps 8-14). In doing so, we run the risk of looking to man to meet needs only God can satisfy. Human beings are limited creatures who cannot always be available to us and often do not know how to help. Further, they are fallen creatures who can fail us terribly. When this happens to one who has not learned to look to God for wisdom, comfort, and strength, old emotional wounds can be opened and exacerbated. Thus, the person who fails to work the spiritual side of the program hinders his or her recovery.
Others of us make the mistake of working only the spiritual side of our program (Steps 1-7). In doing so, we forget that God Himself said that it was not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18). God made this astounding statement before the fall, while Adam was enjoying perfect fellowship with Him in the garden. It was not enough. Man needed a helper like himself. Adam had no wounds from childhood that needed healing so he was ready for Eve. Those who struggle with homosexual problems may not yet be ready for marriage, but the Bible does stress the importance of friendship (see Proverbs 17:17; 18:24; 27:6,9,10,17; Ecclesiastes 4:8-12). God has ordained that He will meet some needs only through another human being. He will heal some wounds only through other people. Thus the person who fails to work the relational side of the program hinders his or her recovery.
Thus we urge all who seek freedom from homosexuality "to be fearless and thorough from the very start." [Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 58] Only thus is complete recovery assured.
To begin the relational side of our recovery, we must do something we've always dreaded. We must face ourselves and discover those defects of character which have poisoned our past friend- ships. The longer we put this off, the more we will find ourselves using sex (whether with others, in our minds, or with ourselves) to deaden our feelings of shame, fear, and isolation. Such responses only increase the feeling that we are filthy, guilty, and worthless, which produces greater desires to escape into sexual oblivion to punish or comfort ourselves.
Thus we dare not delay. As soon as we possibly can, we must begin our "searching and fearless moral inventory" so that we can see clearly how to break free from the forces which have kept us in bondage.
1. What truth must I clearly understand before I can make my "searching and fearless moral inventory"?
"My friend..., Tom Melton, tells of the time his three-year-old son Brandon tried to surprise Tom by bringing him a big glass of milk. In the process, Brandon broke glasses, spilled milk all over the kitchen, and drenched Tom head to toe. As it dawned on Brandon that he might have botched the plan, Tom's eyes filled with tears as he was overwhelmed with love for his son. 'True,' Tom recalled, 'he screwed up everything he touched. But he is my son, and I just couldn't stop thinking how much I loved him.'" [Chap Clark, The Performance Illusion, p. 92-93]
"These two, east and west, can never be brought together; so our sins and us when once for- given." [Gems From Bishop Taylor Smith's Bible, p. 31]
"The pardon of sin is an indispensable...part of a sinner's justification, but is not an adequate or complete description of that privilege. It includes also his 'acceptance as righteous in the sight of God;' his admission to the divine favor, and possession of the gift of eternal life. His person, although he is still unworthy in himself, and...his services, although they are still imperfect..., 'are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ,' both being sprinkled with His blood, and perfumed with the incense of His intercession." [James Buchanan, The Doctrine of Justific- ation, p. 272-273]
"This...is not to be understood as descriptive of their present state merely, but of their permanent position. They are placed beyond the reach of condemnation. They shall never be condemned." [Charles Hodge, Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, p. 249]
"The believer in Christ is made secure against all condemnation by the death, resurrection, ascension and intercession of Christ. When the death of Christ ceases to satisfy God regarding sin, and when the intercession of Christ ceases to prevail with God, then the justified man can be condemned and not till then." [R. A. Torrey, What the Bible Teaches, p. 322]
"Other religions list lots of acts or states of mind that have to be achieved before God will accept a person. But this message from God says: 'Yes, you are guilty. You have failed, sinned, ruined the perfect world. You can't be good enough. But I love you. I love you so much my own Son came to your planet and shared your sorrows. He took your punishment." [Cliffe Knechtle, Give Me an Answer, p. 111]
2. Should I expect perfection of myself?
"To talk about the need for perfection in man is to talk about the need for another species. The essence of man is imperfection. Imperfection and blazing contradictions--between mixed good and evil, altruism and selfishness, cooperativeness and combativeness, optimism and fatalism, affirmation and negation." [Norman Cousins in David Stoop, Hope for the Perfectionist, p. 112]
"...Nobody can be perfect unless his admits his faults, but if he has faults how can he be perfect?" [Laurence Peter, Peter's Quotations, p. 381]
"Nothing can damn a man but his own righteousness; nothing can save him but the righteousness of Christ." [C. H. Spurgeon, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit VII, (1861), p. 216]
The world God made was perfect, but our first parents sinned. This resulted in a broken relationship between God and humanity and the world was cursed (Genesis 1:1-3:24).
There is in all of us a longing for the flawless harmony of Eden. "We yearn to have harmony in our environment as well as in our relationships--to our self, to others, and to God.... This quest--trying to restore the completeness of original creation--can be beneficial to us. We often find exhilaration in pursuing difficult goals. The processes of work, self-discipline, and human relations can be gratifying. We must realize, though, that in this life we can reconstruct only an imperfect approximation of God's perfection." [Richard Walters, Escape the Trap, p. 16-17]
"...Perfectionists will always be frustrated because we live in an imperfect world. None of us can escape that reality.... We can't recreate the Garden of Eden in this sin-broken world. We may achieve excellence, but not perfection." [idem.] "However perfectionists won't settle for excellence. They strive for perfect performance in every area of life and regard the gap between performance and the ideal as a personal failure. They scold themselves harshly and try harder, only to repeat the cycle of impossible demand, discouragement, failure, and self-condemnation once again." [ibid., p. 17]
"'There is no man that sinneth not;' this truth is the hypocrite's pillow, but the believer's bed of thorns." [Andrew Bonar, Diary and Life, p. 435]
I John 1:8-2:2
"Jesus is a sinner's Savior. It is not written, 'If any man be holy, he has an advocate." [C. H. Spurgeon, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit XIII, (1867), p. 136]
"Christ died for our sins, not for our virtues. It is not your efficiencies, but your deficiencies which entitle you to the Lord Jesus. It is not your wealth, but your lack. It is not what you have, but what you have not. It is not what you can boast of, but what you mourn over that qualifies you to receive the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ." [ibid., XXX, (1884), p. 484]
3. Why is it so difficult for me to face my failures?
While some will not face their failures because they are proudly stubborn, others cannot do so because they are self-deceived.
Denial is one way all of us a greater or lesser degree deceive ourselves. Unconsciously, we keep ourselves from facing reality and thus lock ourselves into increasingly destructive patterns of behavior by:
Outright denial: refusing to acknowledge an existing problem to ourselves and/or others.
Minimizing: acknowledging the problem but refusing to face its severity.
Rationalizing: acknowledging the problem but offering excuses to justify it.
Blaming: acknowledging the problem but refusing to take responsibility for current behav- ior by saying it is someone else's fault.
Dodging: changing the subject when the conversation begins to deal with the problem.
Attacking: getting angry when the problem is discussed, thus avoiding the real issue.
If you recognize any of these tendencies in yourself, put them to death if you really want freedom from homosexuality.
We can also deceive ourselves by taking other people's inventories instead of our own. We cannot change them; we must change ourselves!
"A critic is a legless man who teaches running." [Channing Pollock in The Portable Curmud- geon, p. 72]
"It is dangerous to judge others, but it is good to judge ourselves." [Thomas Watson, A Divine Cordial, p. 37]
Camus was struck by a remark his friend Blanche Balain made "and recorded it in his journal: 'Nobody realized that some people make Herculean efforts just to be normal.'" [Herbert R. Lottman, Albert Camus: A Biography, p. 282]
"...Let the Judge do the judging. Unlike you, He knows what He's doing." [Garry Friesen with J. Robin Maxson, Decision Making and the Will of God, p. 388]
Pride can take the form of a perfectionism which blinds us to our own faults and makes us quick to see the failings of others.
"Moroccans make rugs with deliberate imperfections. Designs are purposely woven with 'mis- takes' in the pattern. Rug makers believe it is either ludicrous or blasphemous to attempt perfection when only God is perfect, and flaws are seen as reminders that humans are only human." [David Stoop, Hope for the Perfectionist, p. 12]
4. Why is it important for me to face myself?
"Who would not declare all his debts when they are certain to be discharged by another?" [J. W. Reeve in C. H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David II, p. 90]
"Sin is a serpent, and he that covers sin does but keep it warm, that it may sting the more fiercely..." [John Donne in J. J. Stewart Perowne, The Psalms I, p. 291]
As Dr. Earl Henslin warns, "Probably 80 to 90 percent of our interaction with other people is controlled by our response to old hurts from our childhood.... That's why it is so important to become connected with those old feelings and recover those old wounds. If we don't they will continue to play tyrant in our lives. ...(They) will determine whether or not we stay married. They will direct us toward success or failure. They will influence how we treat our children.... They will even govern our relationship with God." [The Way Out of the Wilderness, p. 155] "...Problems never get better on their own. Time only allows the hurt to become more entren- ched, the resentment to grow deeper, and daily life to become increasingly difficult. Time heals only if people are actively working toward recovery." [ibid., p. 70]
"There is no greater disaster in the spiritual life than to be immersed in unreality." [Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude, p. 19]
"I remember approaching the office of a Christian mission and was puzzled to hear bangs and clatters and voices lifted up in anger--this was a Christian office! Two colleagues were physi- cally wrestling over a telephone headset. When I attempted to arbitrate, it was fascinating to hear both of them protesting that they had nothing against the other. This was obviously not true; wrestling the phone from one another was a symptom of a real problem, one they weren't prepared to confess. Until they did so, there was no possibility for trust restoration and spiritual harmony." [Arthur Dixson, To Trust Again, p. 93]
One vital barrier against falling back into our old, destructive patterns is a clear record of the pain our old lifestyle involved. If we can remember what that lifestyle cost us, we will do what- ever it takes to avoid a return to that terrible misery. "The burnt child dreads the fire"--as long as he can recollect the pain! Thus, our "searching and fearless moral inventory" is an essential link in our chain of recovery.
"It is a philosophical observation so profound as to be platitudinous, that a man's past is never finally past until he is buried; that any encounter, any incident in his life, though he may long since have filed it away as ancient history and for all everyday purposes forgotten it, may only be waiting with the infinite patience of a time-bomb to make violent re-entry into the peacefully lulled passage of his days." [Leslie Charteris, The Saint in Pursuit, p. 3]
"We preachers have often given people the mistaken idea that the new birth and being 'filled with the Spirit' are going to automatically take care of these emotional hangups. But this just isn't true. A great crisis experience of Jesus Christ, as important and eternally valuable as this is, is not a shortcut to emotional health. It is not a quickie cure for personality problems.... What I am saying is that certain areas of our lives need special healing by the Holy Spirit. Because they are not subject to ordinary prayer, discipline, and willpower, they need a special kind of understanding, an unlearning of past wrong programming, and a relearning and repro- gramming transformation by the renewal of our minds. And this is not done overnight by a crisis experience." [David Seamands, Healing For Damaged Emotions, p. 12-14]
5. Who can help me see my errors?
"How consoling to a child in the dark is the hand of a father or mother, and God's is a Father's hand, not a policeman's." [W. Graham Scroggie, The Psalms IV, p. 47]
"It is as when a housewife cleans her chamber. She looks, and there is no dust; the air is clear, and all her furniture is shining brightly. But there is a chink in the window shutter, a ray of light creeps in, and you see the dust dancing up and down, thousands of grains, in the sunbeam. It is all over the room the same, but she can see it only where the sunbeam comes. It is just so with us. God sends a ray of divine light into the heart, and then we see how...full of iniquity it is." [C. H. Spurgeon, New Park Street Pulpit VI, p. 400-401]
"If man were his own judge, who would be condemned?" [Charles Bridges, An Exposition of Proverbs, p. 225]
"Whatever our judgment is concerning ourselves, the Lord ponders the heart." [Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible III, p. 910]
"The omniscience of God...follows from his omnipresence. As God fills heaven and earth, all things are transacted in his presence. He knows our thoughts far better than they are known to ourselves.... We pray to a God who knows...our state and wants, who hears what we say, and who is able to meet all our necessities." [Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology I, p. 397]
6. What means will God use to help me see myself?
"...The Word of God...is the outward and ordinary means by which the Spirit of God enlightens the understanding of all that are sanctified.... We begin to see when we begin to study the Word of God." [Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible III, p. 713]
"The Word is a...(mirror) to show us our spots, and Christ's blood is a fountain to wash them away." [Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity, p. 87]
"Not only was the Holy Spirit active in the writing of the biblical books, he is also active in conveying the truth of the Bible to the minds of those who read it.... So we must pray as we read the Scriptures, and we must ask the Holy Spirit to do his work of enlightenment in our hearts. The Spirit's presence is not given to us to make a careful and diligent study of the Word of God unnecessary. He is given to make our study effective." [James Montgomery Boice, Foundations of the Christian Faith, p. 97]
We should make "earnest supplication to God to give us clear minds and pure hearts to over- come our prejudices.... We should also pray that God will assist us to overcome our proclivity for slothfulness and make us diligent students of Scripture." [R. C. Sproul, Knowing Scripture, p. 64]
I John 5:14,15
"The tree of mercy will not drop its fruit, unless it be shaken by the hand of prayer." [Thomas Watson, The Ten Commandments, p. 106]
7. What is my part in the process?
"Do with your hearts as you do with your watches, wind them up every morning by prayer, and at night examine whether you hearts have gone true all that day..." [Thomas Watson in The Golden Treasury of Puritan Quotations, p. 254]
Dr. Albert Ellis said, "Homosexuals are even more difficult to treat than most other psycho-therapy patients for several reasons. They frequently do not admit that they are basically disturbed, but insist that only society is disturbed for persecuting them. They often enjoy their homosexual acts...and therefore cannot look upon these acts as disabling symptoms. They wrongly believe that they were born to be homosexual and that there is nothing unusual or aberrant about their being fixed deviants. When they come for therapy, they usually want to tackle their other symptoms--such as their anxieties, depressions, and guilt--but want to leave their homosexuality alone. They are usually evaders or goofers, and tend to work very little on their therapy, just as they work little at many other aspects of their lives." [Homosexuality: Its Causes and Cure, p. 111-112]
I Corinthians 11:31
"Fearless does not mean painless. Fearless means that we may be frightened but we go ahead and take our inventory nevertheless. Fearlessness is openness and honesty in looking within." [Emotions Anonymous, p. 51]
II Corinthians 13:5
"He who has gazed at his own sinfulness will be able to persevere in the face of setbacks. He will not be surprised by the sins of those to whom he ministers; he....will weep for the sins of his companions as well as his own sins; but he will not despair because of them, for he has a realistic view of himself... What is more, he has a glorious view of God, and of His power to save and keep." [Sinclair B. Ferguson, A Heart for God, p. 131]
"As a cure for vain glory, the apostle prescribes an impartial and thorough examination of the individual's own conduct.... Instead of looking at the defects of his neighbor's character, and making use of them as a foil for setting off his own excellencies, let him examine his own char- acter by the unerring test--the Divine law.... He will find...so much wrong, that he will find there is no room for glorying." [John Brown, An Exposition of the Epistle to the Galatians, p. 329-331]
8. What should I consider as I make my moral inventory?
"God did not tell us to follow Him because He needed our help, but because He knew that loving Him would make us whole." [Irenaeus in The Wisdom of the Saints, p. 137]
We are not given the option of loving God or our neighbor. We are to love God and our neighbor. "The love of our neighbor is the only door out of the dungeon of self..." [George MacDonald: 365 Readings, p. 23] "Love has hands to help others. It has feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. This is what love looks like." [Augustine in Inspiring Quotations Contemporary & Classical, p. 117]
"Do we love God with all our heart, and soul, and strength, and mind? Do we love our neigh- bor as ourselves? Where is the person who could say with perfect truth, 'I do?'... The best of us, however holy we may be, come far short of perfection. Passages like this should teach us our need of Christ's blood and righteousness. To Him we must go, if we would ever stand with boldness at the bar of God. From Him we must seek grace, that the love of God and man may become the ruling principles of our lives." [J. C. Ryle, "Luke," Expository Thoughts on the Gospels I, p. 373]
"We do not love Jesus at all if He is not our....King of kings and Lord of lords. Love Him, and belittle Him!... Follow your own will in preference to His will, and then talk of love to Him! Ridiculous." [C. H. Spurgeon, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit XXXII, (1886), p. 657]
I John 4:20,21
"Loving someone means being so closely connected to them that what happens to them, in one sense, happens to you, too. If I really love someone, when they cry I ought to taste salt." [Stephen Brown, If God Is in Charge, p. 111]
I John 5:2,3
"Don't throw God a bone of your love unless there's the meat of obedience on it." [John MacArthur in Gathered Gold, p. 210]
9. What is love?
"Many people have a deep love for someone of their own sex. Such relationships have had social acceptance and even admiration, but it is when the agape of self-giving love turns into the eros of sexual gratification that the church's condemnation starts. It can do no other if it is to be true to both Jewish and Christian tradition." [Margaret White, AIDS & the Positive Alter- natives, p. 21]
Dr Alfred Plummer warns that "'love may go grievously astray--misty thought, emotional conduct, and indiscriminate good nature are perilous'." [Guy King, Joy Way, p. 25]
We dare not direct our lives by our feelings. They have been distorted by sin. We must trust our Father's instruction in the Bible.
"...The biblical Christian cannot accept the...premise...that love is the only absolute.... Love needs law to guide it." [John Stott, Decisive Issues Facing Christians Today, p. 350]
"Love is the fulfilling of the law, not the breaking of it." [Alex Davidson, The Returns of Love, p. 81]
I Corinthians 13:4-7
These "...words...have always seemed to me to hold the complete answer to all of human living." [Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings in Lillian Eichler Watson, Light From Many Lamps, 189] Compare them with any homosexual relationship you have experienced or seen.
10. What should I consider beside my deeds when I make my moral inventory?
"We are moral beings and as such we must accept the consequences of every deed done and every word spoken." [A. W. Tozer, Of God and Men, p. 47]
"When I was a boy, the old country doctor came lumbering in with his bulging pill-bag and always began his examination by saying, 'Let me see your tongue.' It is a good way to begin the examination of any Christian. What we talk about is a good index to our character. Our speech betrays us." [Vance Havner, Pepper 'N Salt, p. 54]
"Evil words show a wicked heart, and idle words a vain mind." [The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, IV, p. 224]
"An evil tongue hath a great influence upon other members. When a man speaketh evil, he will commit it. When the tongue hath the boldness to talk of sin, the rest of the members have the boldness to act it.... First we think, than speak, and then do." [The Complete Works of Thomas Manton IV, p. 288]
11. What should I consider beside my deeds and my words when I make my moral inventory?
"...The keeping and right managing of the heart in every condition is the great business of a Christian's life." [The Works of John Flavel V, p;. 425]
"A wound here is instant death..." [Charles Bridges, An Exposition of Proverbs, p. 53]
Dr. Mark Laaser says the three building blocks of sexual addiction are fantasy, pornography, and masturbation. "Fantasy is created by a need to satisfy deep longings. Pornography displays images of how to do that. Masturbation is the physical expression of perhaps the only touching or nurturing...the addict receives. The three...are involved in a cycle. Pornography stimulates fantasy. Fantasy needs to be expressed. Masturbation allows a 'release' of that need. There is a problem in this cycle. While it may satisfy the physical need for sex, it never satisfies the emotional and spiritual hunger that rests deep in the soul. Addicts have never learned to feed that hunger in a healthy way. Instead, they try to gratify this need in the easiest and most accessible way. Sex...allows the addict to escape and thereby cope temporarily with his feelings.... More and more sexual activity, however, also creates more and more negative feelings. This vicious cycle makes sexual addiction a degenerative process. It gets worse." [Mark Laaser, The Secret Sin, p. 29]
"Thoughts are the eggs of words and actions, and within the thoughts lie compacted and con- densed all the villainy of actual transgressions." [C. H. Spurgeon, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit XXXII, (1886), p. 398]
"Our thoughts are responsible for how we feel and most of what we do. Events occur in our lives, and we usually blame what we feel or how we act on these events. But events, as they are perceived by us, are interpreted in our thoughts. This inner conversation with ourselves is what causes us to feel what we feel and do much of what we do. Our experiences are processed in our thoughts and given meaning before we feel a certain way or respond in a certain way." [David Stoop, Hope for the Perfectionist, p. 143-144]
"All homosexual lust...fights against normal sexual adjustment. Each instance of homosexual lust conditions the nervous system to an even stronger responsiveness to homosexual stimula- tion." [George Rekers, Growing Up Straight, p. 24]
"Sin, says St. Augustine, is 'a word, deed, or desire in opposition to the eternal law.' Sin is present whenever man tries to separate himself from God, ceases to acknowledge his dependence on God, and refuses God's gifts." [The Wisdom of the Saints, p. 147]
"Nurture your mind with great thoughts. To believe in the heroic makes heroes." [Benjamin Disraeli in Leadership, p. 108]
12. What is one area I must especially examine as I make my moral inventory?
Dr. Charles W. Socarides states, "The sexual arousal pattern in homosexuality is fear-based, unconscious, and very often completely beyond the awareness of those so affected. The repeti- tive quest for homosexual contacts is thus not motivated solely by the desire for pleasure; relief from and avoidance of anxiety is of paramount importance. In some homosexuals the anxiety is chronic, sometimes conscious and other times unconscious. It is this anxiety which the homo- sexual attempts to neutralize through homosexual activities." [Male and Female, p. 145] "...Anxiety or mental pain can be neutralized or diminished through sexual stimulation and orgasm." [Homosexuality, p. 155] "The aim of the homosexual act is to experience dependency on and acquire security from 'powerful' figures of the same sex." [ibid., p. 71]
"Always be afraid of being afraid. Failing faith means failing strength." [C. H. Spurgeon, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit XXVII, (1881), p. 367]
"If one gazes too long upon the enemy and his might, the enemy grows in the mind's eye to gigantic proportions and his citadels reach up to the skies (Deut 1:28). The hypnotic power of the enemy is broken when one turns one's gaze toward God, who is able to fight and grant victory (Deut 1:29-30)." [Peter C. Craigie, "Psalms 1-50," Word Biblical Commentary XIX, p. 73]
"It is not written, 'I will save thee from the fire,' but 'I will save thee in the fire,' not 'I will quench the coals,' but 'they shall not burn thee,' not 'I will dry up the rivers,' but 'they shall not overflow thee,' not 'I will put out the furnace,' but 'the flames shall not kindle upon thee.'" [C. H. Spurgeon, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit VII, (1861), p. 396 with addition]
"God brings men into deep waters, not to drown them, but to cleanse them." [Unknown]
In 1986, James and Kim Jackson and lost their three-year-old daughter, Amber, to cancer of the eye. Kim herself has incurable cancer. How does she get through it? She says, "You can either focus on the good or the bad. You have to use energy for either one, and it seems to make more sense to make you and others happy rather than sad. I'm not saying it's always easy to be up. I get down too, but it just doesn't make any sense to stay that way. We have so little time on earth." [Judson Edwards, What They Never Told Us About How To Get Along With Each Other, p. 150]
13. What is another area I must especially search out as I make my moral inventory?
Dr. Leo Madow says, "In homosexuality there is...frequently a great deal of anger, often near the surface." [Anger, p. 66]
Dr. Charles Socardies notes, "Most homosexual acts first disarm the partner through one's seductiveness, appeal, power, prestige, effeminacy, or 'masculinity' and then take satisfaction from the vanquished. To disarm in order to defeat is a common motif..." [Homosexuality, p. 161]
One man described his feelings thusly: "I try to take from the handsome males what I do not have.... I feel I can't be a real man, so I try to seduce and to top rival males... I do want a father!... I cannot get away from the trap of my mother...and whenever I get into an argument with her, or she is angry with me, I seem to seek out some male to exploit sexually, and prove myself, and get even with him." [Irving Bieber et. al., Homosexuality, p. 237-238]
"Anybody can become angry. That is easy, but to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time, and for the right purpose, and in the right way, that is not within everybody's power." [Aristotle in Stephen Brown, No More Mr. Nice Guy!, p. 162]
"Anger is a normal human emotion. To never feel angry is to never be fully human. Yet intense, uncontrolled anger can hurt and destroy.... When pushed down and hidden, anger.... gnaws, eats, burns, corrodes until nothing is left but a raw-edged hole, an empty pit of despair." [Gayle Rosellini and Mark Worden, Of Course You're Angry, p. 3]
Think of yourself as a general and your emotions as messengers bringing vital intelligence. A messenger does not tell a general what to do! He has one job--to convey his message. He stays until the message is delivered. He should be dismissed when his job is done.
When you sense anger (or any other emotion), stop and ask, "What message am I receiving?" When you understand it, let the emotion go. Then decide what you should do in light of the message you have received.
"Get angry, but don't 'get (go) mad.'... Don't lose your temper! Losing your temper means losing control. Temper turns into rage, and rage turns you into a dangerous rampaging animal.... Am I saying, 'Get mad, but don't let it show?' Indeed not. Let it show if you feel it is justified. State coolly the fact (1) 'I am angry--I don't hide this'; (2) 'I am angry because...' and keep it impersonal: none of this 'you stupid so and so...' (We should try to be)...objective in selecting the object of our anger: the situation, not the person.... Two good rules to follow in expressing anger: 1) Wait a while... 2) State it and forget it." [Vincent Collins, Me, Myself & You, p. 61-62]
Dr. Archibald D. Hart says, "...The best advice I can think of concerning anger can be found in the Bible (Ephesians 4:26): get rid of each day's anger before the sun sets. This is great psychological wisdom." [Healing Adult Children of Divorce, p. 283]
"Bitterness leads to wrath which is the explosion on the outside of the feeling on the inside. Wrath and anger often lead to brawling (clamor) or blasphemy (evil-speaking). The first is fighting with fists, the second is fighting with words." [Warren Wiersbe, Be Rich, p. 117]
"For a young lad to seriously reject his own father (even with 'good reason') is often to find that, as an adult, he has rejected his own masculinity." [Leanne Payne, The Healing of the Homosexual, p. 38] "To hate a parent is, in the end, to hate oneself." [Leanne Payne, Crisis in Masculinity, p. 69] "...We cannot cut off a member of the family, and most especially a father or a mother, without cutting off a part of ourselves." [ibid. p. 60-61]
"...We must realize that men and women are what they are because of sin. Paul does not say, as so many foolish people...are saying today, that they refuse to see any wrong in people at all. That is not Christianity; that is make-believe. Christianity is always realistic.... Forgiveness is realizing to the full the wrong they have done, and then forgiving them.... And it is only the Christian who can do this, for he has become able to look at the offender...with a new eye. Before he saw him as a person who was doing him harm; now he sees him as a victim of sin, a pawn and a dupe of the devil; and he says, Yes, he is like that and I was like that, and there are...remnants of that in me still; who am I to say I will not forgive this man?" [D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Darkness and Light, p. 287]
"...You can only forgive a hurt that you understand, and you can only forgive someone who you admit has hurt you." [Archibald D. Hart, Healing Adult Children of Divorce, p. 117] "Forgiveness is both an act and a process. It is an act of your will in which you choose to surrender your right to hurt those who have hurt you, and it is a continual process of choosing forgiveness until you finally feel forgiveness." [ibid., p. 126]
"Clara Barton, the founder of the nursing profession, never was known to hold resentment against anyone. One time a friend recalled...a cruel thing that had happened to her some years previously, but Clara seemed not to remember the incident. 'Don't you remember the wrong that was done to you?' the friend asked Clara. 'No,' Clara answered calmly, 'I distinctly remember forgetting that.'" [James C. Humes, Speaker's Treasury of Anecdotes About the Famous, p. 132]
"Life is short and we never have enough time for gladdening the hearts of those who travel the way with us. O, be swift to love! Make haste to be kind." [Henri Amiel in Good Advice, p. 45]
14. What if I resent others only when they have really wronged me?
"Jesus is telling us that we can respond to people instead of reacting to them. If someone strikes us on the cheek, we don't have to strike him back. If someone sees us as an enemy, we don't have to treat him as our enemy. If someone is critical of us, we don't have to be critical of him. In all of these examples, Jesus is underscoring the power we have to choose our response." [Judson Edwards, What They Never Told Us About How To Get Along With Each Other, p. 49]
"People who fight fire with fire usually end up with ashes." [Unknown]
Those who do not live in love "cannot pray the Lord's prayer, or if they do, they must pray against themselves; they pray that God will forgive them 'as they forgive others,' which is in effect to pray that God will not forgive them." [Thomas Watson, Sermons, p. 24]
"When I can no longer bear to think of the victims of broken homes, I begin to think of the victims of intact ones." [Peter De Vries in The Portable Curmudgeon, p. 97]
I Peter 3:8,9
"Revenge is sweet, sweeter than life itself. So say fools." [Juvenal in Gerald F. Lieberman, 3,500 Good Quotes for Speakers, p. 207]
"The best memory is that which forgets nothing but injuries. Write kindness in marble and write injuries in the dust." [Persian Proverb in ibid., p. 152]
15. What is an attitude I must be especially careful to catch as I make my moral inventory?
The dictionary defines "contempt" as the act of despising, the condition of having no respect, concern, or regard for something or someone. Contempt has been defined as the belief that a person is only of importance as he or she satisfies my needs or wishes.
Consider this description of the homosexual lifestyle in San Francisco written by a homosexual reporter: "The gay sexual scene became progressively depersonalized. At first you'd sleep with a person, hug all night, talk and have omelettes in the morning. Then, you skipped the breakfast because just how many omelettes can you make before it gets boring? Then you wouldn't spend the night. With the bathhouses, you wouldn't even have to talk. The Glory Hole and Cornhole clubs came into vogue next. There, you wouldn't even have to see who you had sex with." [Randy Shilts, And The Band Played On, p. 58] "Stripped of humanity, sex sought ever-rising levels of physical stimulation in increasingly esoteric practices." [ibid., p. 89]
Ken Horne was a young man who moved from Oregon to San Francisco in search of love, look- ing for a man he could "marry". "When he did not find a husband, he took the next best thing --sex--and soon sex became something of a career. It wasn't love but at least it felt good.... As the focus of sex shifted from passion to technique, Ken learned all the things one could do to wring pleasure from one's body. The sexual practices became more and more esoteric; that was the only way to keep it from getting boring." [ibid., p. 46] Yet he still felt, "Life is a disappointment." [idem.] Ken Horne was the first reported AIDS case in San Francisco (ibid., p. xiv) and "at 1 A.M. on November 30, 1981, George Kenneth Horne, Jr., gasped one last tortured breath and lapsed into perfect darkness." [ibid., p. 100]
Edward Sagarin was "the father of the homophile movement..." [Toby Marotta, The Politics of Homosexuality, p. 20] He noted, "Every homosexual is aware of the ubiquity of casual rela- tionships, ones that last a few minutes or at most one night, of the hunger for love that meets constant frustrations, and of the fleeting nature of relationships that start with great promise and vows of fidelity." [Odd Man In, p. 100]
Sagarin also wrote under the pseudonym Donald Webster Cory with John P. LeRoy (also a pseudonym), "a member of several of the homophile organizations (including Mattachine) almost since their inception." [The Homosexual and His Society: A View From Within, p. xi] They warn that if a homosexual "expects that his casual sexual partner will, somehow or other, turn out to be a lover or life companion, his chances of having these hopes fulfilled by reality are rather small.... Far too many homosexuals view gay life as a means of finding a lover when its function is primarily one of finding a trick!" [ibid., p. 29-30] "A considerable amount of homosexual activity has little or no preceding or accompanying affection between the partners. Such acts are not so much between two persons but between parts of their bodies. They are more genital than personal. Each participant regards his partner solely as a means toward the goal of satisfying his sexual urges." [ibid., p. 41] In another book he noted, "...Many homosexuals are having a genital-to-genital relationship, rather than a person-to-person relationship." [in Albert Ellis, Homosexuality: Its Causes and Cure, p. 279]
Dr. Robert Kronemeyer warns, "One of the benchmarks of homosexuality is promiscuity; it connotes the intensity of underlying fear and panic. The need for 'proof' of desirability is insatiable. Driven from partner to partner, the gay skips from one 'conquest' to the next along the interminable yellow brick road to 'love everlasting.' His sexual compulsion is like the drug addict's need for a fix or the alcoholic's unquenchable thirst. 'To be gay is to go to the bar,' lamented one male in a series of profiles of homosexuals, 'to make the scene, to look, and look, to have a one-night stand, never really to love or be loved, to know this and yet to do this night after night year after year...'" [Overcoming Homosexuality, p. 30]
Alan Bell of the Kinsey Institute writes: "A modal view of the white male homosexual, based on our findings, would be that of a person reporting 1,000 or more sexual partners throughout his lifetime, most of whom were strangers prior to their sexual meeting and with whom sexual activity occurred only once. Only a few of these partners were persons for whom there was much care or affection or were ever seen socially again." [Male and Female, p. 139] "In early studies conducted by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), homosexual men with AIDS reported a median of 1160 lifetime sexual partners..." [Harry W. Haverkos, M.D. and Robert Edelman, M.D., The Journal of the American Medical Association, (October 7, 1988), p. 1926] Doesn't this seem more like contempt than love to you?
Leanne Payne shows another way homosexuality can spring from and lead to viewing others as mere means to my ends rather than as children of the living God who are to be cherished and treated with respect. She asked a young man she was counseling, "'Do you know anything... about the habits of cannibals? Do you know why they eat people?' In utter astonishment he replied, 'No, I've no idea why they eat other people.'... I then told him what a missionary once told me: 'Cannibals eat only those they admire, and they eat them to get their traits." [Leanne Payne, The Broken Image, p. 46]
Ed Hurst writes, "I could not relate to...men.... I envied them, but I also despised them. At times, I wished that 'I had what they had.' Sometimes this desire became sexually confused until I thought I wanted them, not what they possessed." [Ed Hurst with Dave and Neta Jack- son, Overcoming Homosexuality, p. 40]
Have many of us been subconsciously trying to possess the manhood or womanhood we feel we don't have by acting out? Isn't it evil and futile to use another sexually for such a purpose?
"Our condition is most noble, being so beloved of the most high God that He was willing to die for our sake, which He would not have done if man had not been a most noble creature and of great worth." [Bl. Angela of Foligno in Wisdom of the Saints, p. 31]
Will you treat others as objects to use or as God's children to respect?
I Peter 2:17
"Usually man does not show his body, and, when he does, it is either nervously or with an intention to fascinate. He has the impression that the alien gaze which runs over his body is stealing it from him, or else, on the other hand, that the display of his body will deliver the other person up to him, defenseless, and that in this case the other will be reduced to servitude. ...In so far as I have a body, I may be reduced to the status of an object beneath the gaze of another person, and no longer count as a person for him, or else I may become his master and, in my turn, look at him. But this mastery is self-defeating, since precisely when my value is recognized through the other person's desire, he is no longer the person by whom I wished to be recognized, but a being fascinated, deprived of his freedom, and who therefore no longer counts in my eyes." [M Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception, p. 166-167]
MY EXPERIENCE WORKING STEP 8
The words "moral inventory" and "searching and fearless" were certainly frightening. I was hurting and did not want, did not know if I could bear, any more pain. But I knew I should make my first attempt, so, gritting my teeth, I plunged in.
I had been asked to give a talk for our chapter on Step 8. I felt I could hardly share about something I had never tried. So, listing "fear", "hidden hostility", and "contempt for the world" at the top of three pieces of paper, I tried to remember the people and situations which had revealed these attitudes in my life.
It soon became apparent that fear was the driving force in my life and in my homosexuality. I was afraid of everyone. I was afraid of God. I was afraid of my parents. I was afraid of my wife. I was afraid of my children. I was afraid of people who said they were my friends. I was afraid of the members of my church. I was afraid of those in authority over me. I was afraid of those over whom I exercised authority. I was afraid of being a failure. I was afraid of being alone. I was afraid of being exposed. I was afraid of criticism. I was afraid of rejection. I was afraid of contempt. I was even afraid of being afraid. Fear dominated my life!
Behind all that fear was a deep sense of aloneness, of unworthiness, of being unlovable. At the core of my being I felt that I was not enough to get the love I wanted so desperately. I had to provide something more--some pleasure that would make a person want me, want to stay with me. Unmet needs from my relationship with my father in childhood dictated that it be a man. But I had to have a hold on him that would keep him from abandoning me.
As I thought on what I had discovered, I saw that the real force behind my homosexual feelings and activities was not love. It was not that I did not care for those with whom I was involved, but fear had fused with and corrupted that love until it had become a grasping, clutching caricature of itself.
Insight does not guarantee recovery, but it is a vital first step on the road to emotional health. Now, when tempted, I can analyze my feelings and recognize that the power I sense is neither sex nor love; it is fear! I hold on to God's promise, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5). I work on developing an appropriate sense of self-worth. I share my vulner- abilities with friends and find that they understand and do not flee away. Thus my fears subside and, without anxiety to fuel them, my sexual feelings are manageable with God's help.
Am I now fear free? I fear I am not. I do not claim perfection. Recovery is, for me, a process. But my moral inventory helped me spot a problem. I am working on it. I see progress. I feel more secure. So I rejoice!
HOW YOU CAN WORK STEP 8
1) Set a time with your step coach, a counselor, a pastor, or a friend to hear your inventory even before you begin to make it. This will help you focus on getting the step done, even if you have to reschedule the appointment, and will give you someone from whom you can seek help should you run into difficulty. You alone can make your moral inventory, but you need not make it alone!
2) As you make your inventory, remember these words:
Arise, my soul, arise,
Shake off thy guilty fears:
The bleeding Sacrifice
In my behalf appears:
Before the Throne my Surety stands,
Before the Throne my Surety Stands,
My name is written on His hands!
Five bleeding wounds He bears,
Received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers,
They strongly plead for me;
Forgive him, O forgive, they cry,
Forgive him, O forgive, they cry,
Nor let that ransomed sinner die!
3) Write "fear" at the top of a sheet of paper, "Hidden Hostility" on another, and "Contempt for the World" on a third. Make two columns on each sheet by drawing a line down the middle. Over one column write "person"; over the other, "incidents". Take one page and list someone you have felt or feel that attitude toward in the column "persons". List each time you remember feeling this way toward that person in the column "incidents". Contin- ue until you remember no more incidents with that person. Then go on to another person. Continue until you remember no more persons or incidents for that attitude. Then take the next sheet and repeat the process until you have finished all three pages.
4) Listen to the tape Taking Stock and read the brochure The Injustice Collector listed under "STEPS 8-10" in the "HA Book Ministry list". Read Experience, Strength and Hope up to Step 9. Ask your step coach to recommend a book from the "HA Book Ministry" list which he believes will help you with Steps 8-14 and begin reading it while continuing to work in your workbook. Journal what you learn from all this and share what you have written with your step coach.
5) Memorize one of the verses you found helpful in this chapter.
I lay my sins on Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God;
He bears them all, and frees me from the accursed load:
I bring my guilt to Jesus, to wash my crimson stains
White in his blood most precious, till not a spot remains.
I lay my wants on Jesus; all fulness dwells in him;
He heals all my diseases, he doth my soul redeem:
I lay my griefs on Jesus, my burdens and my cares;
He from them all releases, he all my sorrows shares.
I rest my soul on Jesus, this weary soul of mind;
His right hand me embraces, I on his breast recline.
I love the Name of Jesus, Immanuel, Christ, the Lord;
Like fragrance on the breezes his Name abroad is poured.
I long to be like Jesus, meek, loving, lowly, mild;
I long to be like Jesus, the Father's holy Child:
I long to be with Jesus amid the heav'nly throng,
To sing with saints his praises, to learn the angels' song.