Can You Turn Over a New Leaf? Of Course, You Can!
Before I "came out" I was a moody and unhappy teen. Nothing unusual there really, but since I didn't know who I was, what chance did I have? I did date, but it was lack-luster at best; because of the church training I really did believe that I shouldn't be doing too much "fooling around." At least I told myself that was why I had so much restraint and self-control. It did take a while, but after adjusting to the idea that I liked Tommy better than Jane, life became much easier. Easier if you call living a double life easier. When I was at home during the college years, I would head off to church and stop by the local tearoom. Yes, I was a "park queen." I would stop by on my way to anywhere just to see who might be around. After dates, I would dump, er uhm, drop off my girlfriend and drop by the park. Just to see who might be ready for action. (Yeah, I'm lucky to be alive today.) I began to embrace the lifestyle and I loved it. (My first Christmas in my first apartment, I remember sending out beautifully painted "unicorn" greeting cards. Don't ask.)
Now when I "came out" (don't get the wrong idea: there were neither debutante balls nor any engraved announcements sent out in those days; coming out for me simply meant that I now knew who I wanted to have sex with and it was now just a matter of "going out" to find someone who wanted the same thing, the same way, and of course without getting beat up,)as I said when I "came out" there were no emotional confrontations with parents, (although there were three or four with police, undercover cops, and whoever wanted to roll the local queers. And come to think of it, there were a few "pycho" cases that I still have no idea what they really wanted, but I got outa' there before I found out anything more about them. [If you get a gut feeling, LISTEN TO IT!])
I never told my parents (remember I was talking about parents--stay with me) I never told my parents anything and they are both gone now, so I never will. I used to wonder if they knew anyway. (Come on, what do ya' think, I sent out unicorn Christmas cards!) Today they would have to know, but things were different then. For one thing we didn't suspect everyone who remained single of being gay. After all the local priest was single and he was ok. (Sorry, that was a cheap shot.) For another thing I really wasn't a "flamer," or at least I wasn't very demonstrative so I didn't stand out too much. Anyway I know that Dad finally decided that I would never give him grandkids. It kinda' irritated me when I heard my aunt tell me this, as I still thought that I might have kids some day. I don't know whom I thought it would be with or how long I was going to wait to get started, but I figured I'd come up with something.
After about eight years of living a discreetly gay lifestyle (is that possible? Or is it just like a "jumbo shrimp?"), some friends from work took me to visit their "charismatic" church. (They promised to feed me afterwards; I was still a young bachelor after all.) It was a bit strange to me, but I could see or sense a power there that I hadn't experienced at my mainline church. Since I had grown up in church, I secretly felt that the life I was living was not what God wanted for me. But how could I deny the person that I was. The person that I had become was just as unhappy as the kid I once was. I had found love. (For you doubters, two men can love each other. Profoundly. Any relationship between two people is a fragile thing. It is going to have a hard time making it without a foundation in God's love. Our's was no different.) He was even a fellow Christian. We both felt that we were disciples of the one true God through His Son Jesus. On looking back I was probably the one at fault as I now believe that I was only a religious man and not a Christian. So my love was more selfish than I would like to remember. My friend on the other hand, I think was the real thing. However as he continued in the lifestyle he was drawn to he began to change his opinion of what a Christian was. He began to feel that he could be of both worlds. (I'm sorry if I have to disappoint, but we both believed in the beginning, that a follower of Jesus Christ could not continue in a gay lifestyle.) Where he is today, physically or spiritually, I have no idea. I still believe that one has to "come out" from the gay life to follow Christ.
I Corinthians 6:9-11(NLT)~Don't you know that those who do wrong will have no share in the Kingdom of God? Don't fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin...male prostitutes, homosexuals...none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God. There was a time when some of you were just like that, but...You have been made right with God because of what the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God have done for you.
I wanted my life to be different from the way it was and not just aberrant. So that night at the charismatic church, I talked to the pastor, made Jesus my Lord (even if it meant giving up everything from the past), and asked Jesus to baptize me in the Holy Spirit. My "likes" and "dislikes" did not change instantly, but Jesus is now my master and not the desires that drove me for eight years. God began to set me free from that day on. Yes, free from homosexuality. The changes in my emotions and in my thinking have been gradual, but God has been recreating me over the last eight or so years. (Actually longer than that since I first wrote this testimony for my new church.) You see, I don't believe that I was born a homosexual. Okay, the inclination for that lifestyle might have been there, but it was the enemy who led me and I followed him into the trap. Jesus came to set me free and He has brought me out. What Jesus saves, He can deliver.
1 John 3:8 (NLT) But when people keep on sinning, it shows they belong to the Devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy these works of the Devil.