Pedophiles are people who have a sexual attraction to minors. Can this be changed through treatment or therapy? It’s becoming more accepted that a person’s sexual attraction is a result of their brain’s wiring, and is influenced by their life experiences. It seems evident that a person doesn’t choose their sexual make-up; they simply experience it and decide how they’ll respond.
Trying to change sexual attraction has come to the front in our culture. Gay conversion therapy hit a high point in the 1990’s.
The idea was that people could be cured of homosexuality through counseling and personal effort. This movement was mostly fueled by Christian religious organizations that wanted to preserve heterosexuality as a standard, while reaching out to those with same-sex attractions.
Conversion therapy was highly criticized by the LGBT community, as would be expected. But also, the mainstream mental health profession condemned it has pseudoscience and potentially harmful. Conversion therapy lost momentum as the stories of hurt people were told: Attractions remaining, self-hatred, isolation, and suicide. Several leaders of “Ex-gay” organizations publicly apologized for their participation in the effort. The entire experience gives social evidence that sexual attraction cannot be changed arbitrarily, and that any attempt to address it must recognize its profound impact on a person’s life.
If a person cannot change their sexual attraction, how should they respond? Increasingly, society has described homosexuality as an acceptable expression of sexuality. But, being “born with it” does not excuse all behaviors. Clearly, being born with pedophilic attraction doesn’t warrant acting on it. Our society believes it’s harmful for a child to have sexual contact with an adult. We can choose to agree with society, or disagree.
But, what about Christians; how should we respond? Is God still God if people are born with atypical sexual attractions? He wanted us enough to create us, and loved us enough to sacrifice the most he could give for us. Certainly, God has something in mind for our sexuality (and certainly he’s not shocked and unprepared to help his kids with atypical attractions).
If we understand that God’s overall purpose is to bring broken humanity back to him, through an intimate relationship with each person, we will know how he wants us to respond to atypical sexual attractions. God is bringing us back to himself, to his perspective, his character, and heart. We need to discover what our sexuality means to him. And then, decide if we want that for ourselves.
What does our sexuality mean to God?