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by Randi Short
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 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 and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
This is a grand list of sins. Being real, in my life before Jesus there are very few of those sins that my hands weren’t found in.
But the focus here, as I mentioned in the last post, is:
If you do any research, even a quick Google search, you’ll get two sides to the coin. Same sex attraction is because of:
- Abuse, rejection, a legitimate need that didn’t get filled, etc.
- Or, you were born that way.
(There are obviously other theories, but these are the largest.)
Looking back, I could go on about what “caused” this same-sex attraction I felt, but at the end of the day the reality was that I thought God had made a mistake with me.
I remember the first woman I was attracted to. I don’t remember much of being a kid so I’m not certain how old I was, but because of who she was and the period of time she was in my life, I couldn’t have been more than 7-8.
Even at that age I “knew” it wasn’t normal. I was ashamed and felt dirty because of the way I felt. I remember going to bed at night distraught because of it.
Though my family were not believers, from a young age I attended church within the community I grew up in, and so I had enough church influence to know that homosexuality was wrong.
But as a child of 7-8 (or even once a teenager) when all you know/feel is being called sin and against God’s best, then that leaves me… fundamentally flawed?
Don’t get me wrong, no one outright said it. But they didn’t have to. It was obvious in the judgment that I saw towards those who had “come out” and in the jokes that were said, etc.
So I kept silent. No one knew my secret.
In fact, if you knew me at all you would’ve thought the complete opposite. Since I knew homosexuality was so wrong I wanted to be in any relationship with the opposite sex. I thought “surely this would fix me and then I could be loved by God!?”
I spent years crying out to God to “change me” and even attended a year of Bible College trying to find the answers to why I was so messed up.
But it solved nothing.
When I moved away from home at 18 I found myself in a community that tolerated and even embraced homosexuality. And for the first time I felt accepted; I could be who I thought I was “born to be.”
With that desire suddenly sated, it threw me on a downward spiral.
Alcohol and sex were my vices, and it seemed obvious that I no longer needed nor even believed in God. Why would I? If He was real, He messed me up and I didn’t want anything to do with a God like that (thankfully that’s not who He is!).
I had many friends in the homosexual community and one common thread that ran between the majority of us was the hold of depression. Being satisfied was just an illusion. We were miserable. (I say this confidently–we were on a constant pursuit of pleasure and love that left us wanting time and time again.)
Though I had struggled with same sex attraction for as long as I could remember, I lived the lifestyle for almost 4 years when I hit my lowest point:
The sin I had become entangled in and the choices I had made were leading me to physical, emotional and spiritual death. At 22, I was addicted, in debt, on the verge of killing myself…
He broke in. In the simplest of ways. Yet the most profound encounter I’ve ever had. In one moment He filled me with a love that I had never experienced before. And I had searched.
He showed me that I didn’t have to live in the mess that I was living in. And in that moment I knew I had to make a decision. If I said “no” to Him I knew it would probably be one of the last decisions I ever made.
I said “yes.” (Though really it was more in the form of “help me” surrounded by expletives.)
Don’t get me wrong, there was a huge process. One which I’m still walking out and stumbling over. The journey coming out of it all could be likened to a train wreck. It’s still messy sometimes as there are consequences to our choices.
I was asked a couple weeks ago what the hardest part of coming out of homosexuality was. For me, it was loneliness. Coming out of homosexuality, where you have “friends” galore (if only surface level) was hard. I distanced myself strongly from women; if this was the greatest sin in the world today, as it seemed to be, then I was going to ensure that I never sinned in this way again. I isolated myself for years for fear of being attracted to a woman and out of shame from my past.
And then one day during a ministry time (6 years after God broke into my life) we were encouraged to confess based on James 5:16:
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
So I did.
Stuttering out even the word homosexuality was a struggle. Even though I had lived it I had never verbally confessed it to anyone besides God (obviously some people knew).
The response of the woman listening to my confession was “how could you not?” She understood the grasp of homosexuality and she had also heard snippets from my past that shed light on the struggle.
Though I hadn’t been struggling in this area for a while I had still identified with it.
I still looked at myself as fundamentally flawed, and somehow thought that for the previous “however many years” I had just done a decent job of not being attracted to the same sex. Yet I lived in constant anxiety that one day I would think a wrong thought or feel a wrong emotion towards another woman. And I was always second guessing comments that I would make toward female friends, “you look nice today,” “that outfit is stunning,” etc. Was that ok to say? Was there some sort of attraction felt that made me say that? It was a constant battle.
But those words “how could you not?” brought back memories and emotions from years gone by. And for the first time I realized that me being attracted to the same sex was a response to surroundings and influences that I didn’t have control over. My choices, the sin that entangled me, was a bad response to hurt and pain from my past.
Then came the realization that maybe I wasn’t so fundamentally flawed after all.
In one moment I came to the understanding that God doesn’t make mistakes. In fact, He only creates perfection.
Freedom. Hope. Identity in Him.
This is the power of the Gospel.
Even though I am yet in a process of being sanctified, I am forgiven, I am justified, I am a new creation, and I am given new desires because of Jesus.
…such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor. 6:11)