By Sara Rankin, The Standard
September 1993 – A university student at a Christian school (whom I will call John) is a former homosexual. Because of his past, he has insight and an awareness of others who have experienced similar struggles.
John came from a dysfunctional family and said he was not close to either of his parents. He struggled with homosexual tendencies all of his life. At the same time, he said it was this inner struggle that drew him to the Lord. At age 18, John became a Christian.
“I picked up the Bible and read about how all of these people [homosexuals] are under the wrath of God,” he said. “I knew that I had these frustrations inside that I couldn’t change, but I had hope that God could change me, so I vowed my heart and life to the Lord and to missions.”
Although John was a faithful Christian for many years, he experienced many disappointments and deep hurts, some from within the Christian community. Once, when he went to sign up with a mission board, he was asked if he was gay. His reply was “no,” because he had remained faithful to the Lord despite the struggles with his homosexual feelings. He was then asked if he had homosexual tendencies, and his answer was “yes.”
“After I shared my testimony with them and they prayed with me, I was dismissed,” said John. “I was not material to be used. I felt this strong stamp of rejection on my life. I thought by this time I would have been on the mission field.”
John blamed much of this hurt on the Lord, and began to fall away little by little. He became miserable and hopeless.
“In quiet rebellion, I threw my faith to the wind,” he recalled. “I was in a real ripe position to be pulled into ‘the [gay] lifestyle.’ I had been working with some open, professing homosexuals. They were warm, affectionate, and loving. Of course I knew it wasn’t what I needed, but at the time I didn’t have a church that was there for me.”
John remained in the homosexual lifestyle for two years, admitting that it only resulted in more hatred for himself. During this time he cried out to the Lord. He ended up in the hospital for two knee surgeries that his medical insurance didn’t cover.
“I went into tremendous debt,” he said. He felt prompted to read the passage from Hebrews 12:12 which states: “Make straight the path of the Lord, and strengthen the knees that are weak.”
John said that from this passage the Lord spoke to him saying, “I am going to have to strengthen your knees because your legs have been taking you down crooked paths.”
John believes that it was the Lord’s judgment that drew him back to himself. “Judgment in the sense of discipline—discipline from a loving father,” he said.
John now has a strong relationship with the Lord.
“We all need to take a personal mandate to lessen our busyness and get more in touch with the Lord to allow Him to lead us to individuals to build solid relationships with,” said John.
He said that he has found some good counselors at his school and a good church to attend, but it took a lot of effort on his part.
“I sought to be ministered to,” said John. “I went to 12 different churches in the area which only seemed interested in their building projects and other things. They were not interested in me. As a visitor, they sent me a pledge card.”
But John didn’t give up until he found a church where he could open up about his struggles.
“This issue of homosexuality is such an unspoken thing in the church,” he continued. “People need to feel like they can approach the leadership for counseling. The problem is, you can go to church and hide all of your sins through the week.”
“The church has to be that place of open arms and acceptance,” he said. “There should be encouragement from the leadership first for confessing your sins one to another, and really encouraging that healing aspect of Christ, then people will submit themselves to the discipline of the church.”
Searching for meaningful relationship
By Mark Gephardt, The Standard
It was a beautiful spring day nearly two years ago when I was approached by a young man in a park who asked me if I would like to go to dinner. I must have flushed with embarrassment, because the young man laughed and said that I didn’t have to go to bed with him!
This was my first experience with an overtly homosexual man, and as it turned out, I was able to share my faith with him for nearly four hours. I later retraced the steps of our conversation, pondering this man’s life. I thought that AIDS was not so much a result of sexual appetite, but the result of a gnawing loneliness never fulfilled.
The young man I talked to in the park seemed to be very happy with the way things were in his life, even though he found himself overwhelmed with loneliness. Why change a lifestyle that had worked for him for so many years?
Sin often blinds a man from seeing his lifestyle as sinful, and a person doesn’t have to be a homosexual to understand that.
I believe homosexuality is a type of addiction. Once a man realizes his need to break free, he must begin to vacate his old haunts and friends and the literature that lead him into this lifestyle. This can be difficult, since even among churchgoers our Western culture rarely allows men to develop relationships that are pure and meaningful. We seem to be obsessed with the male image of toughness, success, and sexual prowess. We forget about sharing insecurities and accountability.
I still see a lonely young man sitting on a park bench. Somewhere he is searching for that meaningful relationship which will bring him security and fulfillment. As believers we know that we find this in Christ, but to the many homosexuals who cruise the streets, there is nothing but hollowness.
Now is the time for believers to love the homosexual first for who he is, then show him the most meaningful relationship he could ever have—one with the Lord Jesus Christ. The lonely heart must find this healing balm before AIDS claims another life.