I was born into a Christian family and chose to walk with Jesus when I was nine years old, but my testimony of God’s grace and goodness at work in my life extends into the healing He’s done in me in recent years.
In the last few weeks, I’ve again sensed God leading me to share my journey with others. Perhaps He wants me to share the story now because of the time and tide of history or perhaps because of the timelessness of the truth of His character displayed in it. It’s probably a combination of the two.
This is more than a story of freedom from one particular sin, but it is a testimony to God’s miraculous redemption and restoration of whatever the devil tries to steal. Jesus is the hope and healing for every need. He has proved Himself real to me, and He will be equally real to you- no matter the form your own brokenness takes. This is my story, yes, but the story is only beautiful because of His faithful presence and loving hand at work in it.
In the days and weeks to come, I will write some more on homosexuality and healing, but to begin, I want to tell you my story. Below is an abridged version of my testimony, written to the Church in 2006, in the middle of the firestorm that erupted about homosexuality and the church in the wake of the Ted Haggard scandal.
I personally understand the hurt and confusion that homosexuals feel as they try to pursue a Christian life in today’s Evangelical churches. There is so much hatred and ignorance regarding this issue.
I lived for years in a state of struggle- between the same-sex attractions I was experiencing and the condemning voices I heard in the church.
I kept reading the Scripture and praying hard over my struggle. I found articles written by men and women who had somehow talked themselves into accepting their homosexuality as God’s plan despite certain passages of the Bible that I just could not ignore.
In the end, my search led me to the conclusion that despite my feelings, longings, and confusion, homosexuality was not God’s best plan for me. It wasn’t that He wanted to isolate me and force me to live a life of loneliness- because I knew He was good- but that He had a plan that was even better than what my soul thought it needed. So, I committed myself to living a celibate life in pursuit of knowing the best that God had for me. Mind you, I had never spoken to anyone in my church about my “secret feelings.”
It was nearly a year after I had entered into my secret “vow of celibacy” when I received hope. I met a man who claimed he had found healing from his homosexuality. Initially, I was skeptical and asked probing questions. He assured me it was possible- even citing a passage from I Corinthians 6. Now, you may know that verses 9 and 10 speak of those who will NOT inherit the kingdom of God. Many evangelicals use this verse to condemn the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) community. The man I was talking with did not stop on verse 10 like so many others- instead he continued to verse 11.
Here is the passage:
“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (verse 11–>) And that is what some of you WERE. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
That verse gave me hope! Although it clearly stated that living a homosexual lifestyle was not congruent with a life of freedom in Christ, it also said that there was hope! The verse implies that although some of the Christians in the early church had been homosexual, they were no longer living in that bondage!
I suddenly had hope that the Lord really could heal me! The man put me in contact with an organization called Exodus International that helps men and women who desire freedom from homosexuality.* I began reading about the emotional causes of homosexuality. Exodus’ website has an extensive list of very helpful books that I would encourage any Christian to read, regardless of whether or not they have struggled with this particular sin.** At the very least, these resources can educate the church on how to properly address the issue of homosexuality.
Anyway, to make a long story short- from that point, I began actively engaging in the healing process. Each day I am amazed at how gracious the Lord has been in restoring parts of me that I lost as a child in response to emotional and sexual abuse. I have also found accountability and loving support from a few select Christian friends, which has been key in driving me forward in my journey. The power of the temptations and fantasies has decreased so much as I have confided my struggle with close friends, praised God for His healing so far, and stand boldly with Jesus against any thought that tries to come in and destroy. I have discovered joy again, as Jesus breaks off the chains of unforgiveness, sexual addiction, and self-hatred. I am no longer discouraged imagining a future alone. I am never alone, and I know Jesus will bring His healing work to completion in me.
So, my advice to the church, whose condemning cries for so long pierced me as I trembled alone in a dark closet, is this- for the sake of the Lord Jesus, love us. Do not condemn us- but be like Jesus- offer us hope.
In Jesus, there is hope. There is healing. It’s there for you, and yes,
it’s even there for us.
(This post is part of a series of posts on homosexuality and healing)
*Exodus International no longer operates. It’s former director, Alan Chambers, has his own website here.
**Several books were helpful to me, notably other stories of people who had found freedom from same-sex attraction – through which I considered what environmental factors may have contributed to my experience of same-sex attraction and a pamphlet about emotionally dependent relationships, upon which I reflected and examined my own relationships.