(Both the mentor/discipler and ssa/ma/tx overcomer should read this and agree on it. If you have points of disagreement, you should certainly discuss them; but if you cannot resolve your disagreements, perhaps you should not work together.)
The Keys program is designed to help people overcome same-sex attractions (ssa), minor attractions (maa, or minor-attracted adults), and transsexuality (tx). The focus is on the roots of the issues and not just outward behaviors. Many people who have the attractions have never acted upon them, and help needs to be available to them also. If you work this program, very few questions will be asked about your sex life or fantasy life. The program focuses on helping people overcome temptation by changing thoughts and attitudes.
The Bible (Old Testament, also known as the Hebrew Scriptures, and the New Testament) is the primary textbook of the Keys program. It says that we are all sinners, and that none of us are good enough by ourselves to come before a holy, just, and sovereign God. Ssa/ma/tx people are neither better nor worse than other people. Just because some sins are less common, they are not worse in the eyes of God. Just because some sins are done by everybody, they are not more acceptable to God. While the social consequences of different sins vary, and the legal system has to treat them differently, the eternal consequences of any sin are the same. We ALL need redemption in Christ no matter who we are or what we have done.
God wants to forgive our sins (John 3:16-17). He came to seek and to save the lost (Matthew 18:11). He came to call sinners to repentance (Luke 5:32). He does not give us credit for living good lives or doing good works. He gives us forgiveness if we are truly penitent, because He is gracious, not because we have earned it (Ephesians 2:8-9). He does not single out any one particular sin, although some people will try to tell you that. They are wrong; the Bible teaches us that if we fall into any sin, we need to confess it (I John 1:9).
God loves everyone the same. There are some who claim that God hates ssa/ma/tx people and predestined them for hell. That is a lie. People who say such things ought to repent of their own sins and seek God’s mercy for themselves. The Bible tells us that God loves us and was willing to pay the penalty for our sins so that we could live with Him forever in heaven. The Gospel is for ssa/ma/tx people along with everyone else (John 6:40 & 47).
God sent Jesus to die for our sins so that we do not have to. All we have to do is confess our sins and ask for His forgiveness. He does not turn away anyone who is sincerely seeking Him (John 6:37), and He will forgive us no matter what we have done. Often the first step we take is to acknowledge that He is right and we are not.
Many people have the mistaken idea that they must first “clean up” their lifestyle and only then can they approach God. But no one can do that. We can only come before a holy God as we are (Hebrews 4:15-16). He is the only One Who can wash us clean.
Anyone who has ever overcome a persistent sin knows that God can only help us when we become willing to be totally transparent before Him; without making excuses, pretending our sins are not serious, or blaming others. He knows all about us anyway; we can hide no secrets from Him.
The Bible is the Word of God, and through the Bible God reveals Himself to mankind. It shows us our sins, but it shows us even more about God’s mercy to penitent sinners. At the roots of ssa/ma/tx are sins of thoughts, attitudes, and motivations. Please see Romans 12:2 and 2 Corinthians 10:5, which say “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” and “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ”. Thoughts that need to be taken captive include not only lustful fantasies but also self-pity, envy, cynical attitudes that assume the worst in everyone, attitudes of superiority that cover up low self-esteem, and most of all, resentment. People often find that they are more easily tempted to act out sexually when angry or depressed, but their anger and depression were fed by negative thoughts.
A big part of the Keys program is becoming honest with God about our negative thoughts and letting Him transform our minds with His truth (John 8:32). As we walk daily with Jesus, we let Him have more and more of His way in our lives. Overcoming the sin in our lives is a process that will continue until we die and go to be with Him.
The Bible does promise deliverance from ssa/ma/tx. In I Corinthians 6, verses 9 & 10, there is a list of about 10 sins, including homosexuality, greed, and gossip. Greed and gossip are common, and supposedly “everyone does them”; but the Bible puts greedy and gossipy people on the same level as homosexuals and says such people will not inherit the kingdom of God. We ALL need redemption in Christ; there are no exceptions. Verse 11 goes on to say, “…and such were some of you, but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God”. God can change anyone if we are willing to obey Him.
Some people, attempting to justify homosexuality, have argued that the word in this passage should be translated “pedophile”. Such a mistranslation would only prove there are no limits to the mercy and power of God to change lives. If both ex-homosexuals and ex-pedophiles were members of the early Christian Church, the Apostle Paul knew who they were. He did not consider them beyond the redemptive work of Jesus, so neither should the modern Church.
The Keys program deals with the whole person. The Keys involve the same kind of work done by people who are overcoming an addiction. Some overcomers have compared ssa/ma/tx to chemical addiction, and the only disagreement among those who have overcome both is which recovery was harder.
The program consists of 7 Keys, each of which is designed to get at a different aspect of the issue. Each Key consists of something to read, some Bible verses to memorize and write out what they mean to you, and a Study Guide to fill out. There are 5 Units with 7 Keys plus a Review in each one. So each Key can be gone over 5 times. When you get all the way through the 7 Keys plus the Review Key of Unit I, then you start with Unit II, Key 1, etc. There are 40 lessons in all. (see the “Outline of the Keys”) .
Not everyone gets through all 5 Units. Some people find their freedom after one or two Units. Instant deliverance is rare, though it does happen. Most people find that overcoming is a process of two steps forward and one step back, and most do not overcome easily. Weeks of calm can be interrupted by fierce temptation.
The first few weeks are the hardest. Rate of change varies for everyone. Overcoming any besetting sin is like withdrawing from a drug. Any sin is potentially habit-forming and addictive (John 8:34).
The first 3 Keys are designed to get control over one’s thoughts. The 4th Key is called the Key of all Keys. It is on Forgiveness. Ssa/ma people often come from backgrounds where many people hurt them: parents, other family members, molesters, authority figures, other children, partners, etc. No one seems to overcome ssa/ma/tx without struggling with forgiveness issues. Forgiveness is the hardest Key, but often the one overcomers feel they get the most out of.
So here is how to start.
First, make sure you have asked your questions and gotten them answered. Your mentor/discipler may not have all the answers, but hopefully he/she knows how to find them. There are frequently asked questions and concerns that are common to many people who are considering this change, and you have every right to go into this fully informed.
One frequently asked question is, “What kind of a man or woman will I become as I work through this program?” Some ssa/ma/tx people do not want to become just another heterosexual man or woman. The answer is that God knows we are all unique. Some will find heterosexual feelings becoming stronger over time and will want to marry someone of the opposite sex. Some will find happiness in being single and celibate, and believe I Corinthians 7 was written for them. Such a life is also blessed. God has a unique calling for each individual who gives his/her life over to Him, and He will eventually show each person what that calling is (Ephesians 2:10). He will give them the gifts they need to carry out their calling (I Corinthians 12).
Second, pray about it and ask God if He wants you in the program. If you have not sought God’s direction, do not expect a positive outcome. If you are not accustomed to praying, go ahead as best you can, because we all had to start somewhere. Your mentor/discipler can teach you this also. God will understand what you mean because He listens to our hearts. If we are ready to listen to Him and obey His will, He is ready to talk to us.
Third, if you feel that God is calling you to work the program, talk to your mentor/discipler, who will get you started.
If you give your mentor-discipler a short autobiography, it will help him/her understand you, especially when you get to Key 4, Forgiveness. Tell about your relationship with your father, mother, step-parents, other family members, brothers and sisters, authority figures, and other children. Tell about what childhood and adolescence was like for you. Include any bullying or sexual molestation you experienced. You need not go into more detail than you want to; if writing or talking about it triggers painful feelings, set the issue aside. Some ssa/ma/tx overcomers do not share their autobiography until they have done several Keys and feel stronger.
Most importantly, tell how you came to faith in Christ. Include both the progress and difficulties you have experienced in your life as a Christian.
May God richly bless you and your mentor/discipler as you work the program.