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Out of the Alternative Schneider Q&A

 “For Christians, the phenomenon of lesbianism in women’s sports cannot simply be abandoned as if dealing with it was somebody else’s responsibility, or ignored as if it didn’t exist. We cannot stand by and view this phenomenon hopelessly, as if it is evidence that the culture we live in is plunging deeper into moral depravity.”*

Read the following advice from Schneider to learn how we can see this circumstance as an opportunity to reach those who are struggling with deep emotional needs and can share with them the freeing love of Christ.

Why do you think homosexuality is so prevalent within female sports?

“Lesbianism in women’s sports is nothing new. Teammates are so close to each other—practicing together, traveling together. Women who may not have a lesbian core attraction
are now being more influenced by lesbianism.

“By ‘core attraction’ I mean someone who has felt attraction to the same sex from an early age. Sheryl Swoops admitted that she didn’t have a lesbian core attraction. She just spent too much time with her assistant coach and let down her barriers and lines got blurred. We live in such a sexualized society that if you have strong feelings for anyone, our society tells us that it is sexual in nature and this brings confusion. And women are more susceptible to this confusion because our sense of love is strongly attached to our feelings and emotions.”

What can Christians do to provide clarity for these confused women?

“We can’t be afraid to talk about homosexuality. We have to talk about it without blushing. We have to show people that they can come and talk to us about anything—that we aren’t going to just jump on them and immediately say that it is a sin. “Young girls who start to feel attracted to other females usually don’t feel comfortable talking to other Christians about their feelings, so they go to someone who is already a lesbian. And because of that, they end up getting more involved, instead of pulling away.”

What attitude should Christians exhibit toward teammates who struggle with lesbianism?

“As Christians, it is our privilege and responsibility to reach out to others with love and compassion the way Jesus did by:
• spending time with them.
• getting to know them.
• being concerned about their feelings and what’s important to them.
• connecting their point of need with spiritual answers.

“Before we begin to reach our teammates with God’s good news, we need to make sure that we are motivated by love and compassion for them. Then we need to seek to understand their point of need.

“Women involved in lesbianism are no different than the next person concerning their need for God. Maybe their childhood experiences have been more painful as a result of rejection or abuse. But like anyone else, they desire friendship, understanding, affirmation, a sense of belonging and acceptance. Your teammate may be hard, standoffish and cynical, but her need for true friendship is just as profound as anyone else’s. A trusting friendship is what you can offer. Through your consistent friendship, you can make it safe for her to take a closer look at God to ask questions that can help her understand.”

How can Christians begin sharing Christ with their lesbian teammates?

“It is imperative for you to develop a rapport with the women on your team before you begin talking about God. That does not mean that you should avoid talking about God in casual conversation. It means that your teammate needs to enjoy you as a friend and know that you care about her as a person first. No one wants to be a ‘project.’ If your teammate senses that you are just out to ‘convert’ her, she will back away from you like she touched a hot stove. She does not want to be ‘burned’ about the things that provide her with a sense of identity and worth.

“Relationships take time and cultivation. Before you think about how to talk to your teammate about Jesus’ plan of salvation, think about what is important to her. Where is her family? What are her interests and activities? What do you have in common with her? What does she do with her time off? Where and what does she like to eat? When is her birthday?

“If you have no idea how to answer any of these questions, then you need to begin cultivating a friendship. Genuinely asking her how she is doing and showing an interest in her life will begin to breakdown any walls of defense. If she is experiencing a hardship in her life, ask if and how you can pray for her. Think of different ways you can serve and bless your teammate. Remember Jesus’ words: ‘Treat others the same way you want them to treat you’ (Luke 6:31, NASB).”

How should female athletes pray for their lesbian teammates?

 “They must remember that their ‘struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against… the spiritual forces of wickedness…’ (Ephesians 6:12, NASB). When Christians realize just how powerful their prayers are, they take on a greater meaning. They should start out by asking God to give them a heart for the lost (not only lesbians) as well as opportunities to build a friendship with teammates and to share with them what God has done in their lives. Pray that He will direct conversations and that these teammates will see the love of the Lord that is available to them.”

What should Christian athletes do if they are tempted toward a lesbian relationship?

“If they find themselves attracted to other women on their team, the first thing to do is to tell someone they trust and respect spiritually. The Bible warns us, ‘So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! ’ (1 Cor. 10:12, NIV). No one is beyond temptation.

“Next is to learn the difference between the normal interdependency that happens in a wholesome relationship and the emotional dependency that develops in an unhealthy relationship (see chart). If they notice that they are exhibiting one or more of these characteristics, then they are emotionally dependent and should seek help from someone who is familiar with the process of overcoming lesbianism. To protect themselves from further temptation, they should avoid spending time alone with the woman to whom they are attracted. If there are Christians on the team, ask them to pray and keep them accountable.”
(*From Schneider’s book Bridging the Gap)

Signs of an unhealthy, emotionally dependent relationship:
• Frequent jealousy and possessiveness
• Spending time alone with just one friend
• Becoming irrationally angry when this friend withdrawals
• Losing interest in other friendships
• Unwillingness to make long-term plans that don’t include this friend
• Becoming defensive about the relationship

Copyright 2007 Sharing the Victory Magazine

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