Nancy Heche openly discusses her personal experience and shares helpful tips to Christian leaders and families on dealing with homosexuality in her recently released book, The Complete Christian Guide to Understanding Homosexuality: A Biblical and Compassionate Response to Same-Sex Attraction.
Heche is all too familiar with the homosexual community as well as the Christian one, although her understanding of homosexuality, she says, took a while.
"I grew up in a church and family that didn't talk about it," she told The Christian Post.
Heche's husband, who died of AIDS, led a secret homosexual life which she knew nothing of until his death close to 30 years ago. Heche spoke of her lack of knowledge on the lifestyle and the hurt it caused her family.
"It was a secret life so we didn't know much about AIDS or homosexuality," she said. "It was a huge betrayal and entering a world that we never would have chosen, which is pretty much every family's experience. We come to the kingdom for such a time as this, and we come to the kingdom of homosexuality, usually not by our own choice. But here we are and what is God going to do in our lives around this."
After the tragedy of her husband's death she chose to ignore the issue and not face the questions she had.
"I didn't know what to do and I didn't have any support when my husband died, so I pretty much ignored the whole thing," she recalled.
But Heche couldn't ignore it for long. Her daughter, actress Anne Heche, went public with her homosexual relationship with comedian Ellen Degeneres in 1997.
"She became sort of the poster child for coming out and bringing the whole homosexual issue into the public eye and even glamorizing and humorizing it, laughing about it, making it just another kind of love relationship," the author said.
After two family members admitted their controversial sexuality, Heche had to step up and attempt to understand the issue.
"God gives us a second chance to get it right. Or at least two, three, or four chances to get it better," she said. "Because I hadn't dealt with the issue of homosexuality at the time of my husband's tragic death, now I was forced to deal with it."
"If God wants us to heal something He brings it up again," Heche continued. "The Complete Christian Guide to Understanding Homosexuality offers that healing along with vital information. The book offers scriptural background of the causes of male and female homosexuality.
"Once someone hears valid teachings and causes of homosexuality, it is such a relief. Hearing the truth is such a help and comfort. Families get insight from the book."
The 485-page book offers insight on homosexual relationships from a biblical perspective as well as from a personal one. Stories of real people and real situations are included to better help parents, spouses, and teens dealing with homosexuality, and people who have lived homosexual lifestyles. It gives readers some encouragement while guiding Christians to live in consistency with the values they promote when responding to those who support or participate in the homosexual lifetsyle.
She emphasizes in the book, "God has a winning strategy regarding homosexuality. That strategy is love trumps everything."
The Christian community, Heche says, is hesitant to show compassion to homosexuals.
"They are just waiting for someone to give them permission to be kind and just to homosexuals," she pointed out. "When they read the book it gives them permission."
The book debunks the thought that many homosexuals have about the Christian community.
"Most homosexuals, men or women that I talk to and ask them what they think the church's position is, 100 percent of them will say the church hates homosexuals, Christians hate homosexuals and God hates homosexuals," Heche said.
The book, however, speaks out about God's love for the homosexual community. It talks blatantly about there being no hierarchy with sin. And it also addresses how God is bringing His church to a place of ministry to homosexuals, not condemnation.
"God loves the world. Jesus came to die for sinners and we're all sinners," she stressed.
Heche's co-author is Joe Dallas, a counselor, minister, author, and founder of Genesis ministry, which specializes in "sexual addiction recovery and homosexuality." In the book, he offers his experience as well as his knowledge in theology. Dallas, who struggled with same-sex desires and is now married to his wife, Renee, focuses on healing sexual addiction, responding to pro-gay theology, ministering to parents of lesbians/gays, developing ministerial responses to homosexuals, and apologetics approaches to the "gay debate."
Dallas, Heche stressed, is very objective. "He's going to present the truth and if this is unfamiliar or unpopular truth for some people, he presents it very gently," she noted.