The world has been talking to me this week. A lot. Tonight I was out watering my blueberry plants, sporting the remnants of an ill conceived, Halloween costume, a tattered Hawaiian shirt, I wasn’t worried what the neighbors think. I make a concerted effort to let them believe, I am the crazy neighbor they shouldn’t mess with. As I stood there, like a deranged, mental asylum escapee, I was mentally rifling through conversations that had taken place over the past two weeks. I shared my story briefly at a small, country church. I had three minutes to cover 44 years. At the mention of homosexuality, all the oxygen was sucked out of the room. I was transported back to my childhood church, where I knew better than to share my struggle. I left the church feeling rejected; kinda judged. I also left knowing how so many gay people feel about some churches in our nation today.
Juxtapose that event with a conversation I had with my unchurched, Jewish neighbor, who has a lot of gay friends. They asked about what I had been doing since I left Sea World. I shared everything, They surprised me by their understanding of what I do for ministry. Shouldn’t the understanding and interest have come from the church?
One of the other conversations I was privileged to have was with the first gentleman that ever graced the halls of Big Fish Ministry as a participant back in 2009. Our relationship has been rocky and often riddled with misunderstanding. That changed this week. We agreed to let God lead the conversations from here on out; to love each other better. Gratitude flowed.
I sat down with a 19 year old kid who lost someone close and calls me on occasion to chat, because I am not stranger to death and loss myself. We sat at a coffee shop and chatted. I am seeing huge growth in his life. I am seeing him peer out from behind the curtain of fear to claim the abundant LIFE that our great God has promised him. I am thanking God for letting me be used as a vessel for His love.
I got to chat with a talented artist who has some amazing abilities. He gifted me with some of his creative time to sit and chat. Three of the four conversations I had this week were with straight guys who have never had gay temptations. Yet, when we begin to chat their struggles resonated with mine. The Holy Spirit then pointed out that I don’t have a gay struggle, but simply a human struggle, similar to other guys on the planet. Can I tell you how freeing that is to a guy who felt “bad different” during his young life.
My healing journey with Jesus Christ is the proverbial onion people: layer-by-layer, piece-by-piece. God often reveals truth slowly to me, so that I don’t engage in sin & run away from the man He is shaping me into.
The conversation with the artist revealed a deep inner wound that I don’t think this guy has shared with too many. I asked his permission to share. He said Yes. That day, I felt like the Holy Spirit told me to title our time together was to be called “Uncovering the Broken Boys”. And it was funny, because for the rest of the week, that is exactly what the Holy Spirit did.
If it wasn’t me He was uncovering from the rubble, it was the person across the table from me. God is in the business of rescue missions, but He’s really good at search and recovery as well.
I had two more conversations that were polar opposites. One of the guys I mentor sold his computer, because it was leading him to connect sexually with other guys. The other guy kept making excuses about why he needed his phone or computer. He rationalized about keeping some gay friends while breaking it off with others. With both I offered experiential advice. The difference between the two was this. One guy readily surrendered the “poison” he’d been drinking daily, while the other just kept trying to “change the labels” on the bottles.
I made my best effort to take God into every conversation this week. I was only looking to help or connect, but God had other plans. I started a conversation with a lady at Wal-mart and ended up praying for her. Like Jesus back in the day, this week I was all about my Father’s business. I didn’t used to be that kind of man. I used to search for meaning and value in the arms and lives of the gay men I’d meet. What a redemptive work God has done. The bible says in Galatians 1:10 “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” I found myself in a very different place with these folks. God’s opinion is where I lay my head for rest these days.
My final conversation was with a guy who had no idea who I was, but I knew who he was. He was a guy that had been sexually involved with a guy, while I was actively mentoring that guy. For some reason, God brought him back into my life. When I realized who this guy was, I just wanted to throat punch him, because of the trouble he had caused. I quickly realized though, it wasn’t anger I was feeling, but a mix of emotions. At night’s end, I settled near the corner of “Love him where he’s at and What are you doing God?”
Who are you talking to this week? Where are those conversations leading you? Is God stirring evangelism in your heart? Or is the enemy stirring horny in your loins? Are you tired of struggling with the same old stuff? Are you ready to give up because you feel you are all alone? My conversations led me to Jesus and healing. The bible says in James 5:16 “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
Let the conversations begin. Let healing flow.
Refuse to spend one more day in the prison of your silence.