It’s confession time! I didn’t know how far gone I was until a few weeks ago. As I started formulating the “Our Beliefs” section of the ministry website, I choked. Thick doubt settled over me like fallout from a volcano filled with fear and despair, erupting in my head, enveloping my soul in a toxic cloud of rancid hopelessness. Or maybe it was just a little gas. Anyway, my goal was to share the message that Freedom (from Homosexuality) is Possible, but that phrase has lost some credibility from the ex-gay Christian community. My intention was to proclaim the truth that “Freedom is Possible” for those who want out of homosexuality and the truth of the gospel to those with opposing beliefs. I wasn’t sharing to condemn. I was sharing because once upon a time it was a statement that brought about hope.
So I was stuck. Was I holding on to old ideas on principle alone? Was I afraid of change? Or were the new ideas unbiblical? Was the message I “grew up” on filled with hate or had SIN simply found a better PR/marketing team? My compromised mind hadn’t been evident until I began to write for the website. As I typed, I shimmied to the top of the fence and sat right in the middle, where so many others had taken roost. I wrote the following.
“We believe that those who read God's word on a daily basis, pursue God in prayer and daily surrender their same sex desires to Him will experience a greater level of freedom from homosexuality.”
When I sent the email to my web lady, my stomach was in knots. I didn’t believe what I had just typed, but I typed it to satiate the masses listening to “a new gospel of half hearted hope” blowing on the wind. I felt myself slipping deeper into the sewers of political correctness. With a few simple keystrokes I had succumbed to the doubts that had been brewing in the ex-gay Christian community for months. Instead of standing firm on scripture that we can do all things through Jesus Christ, like I said before, I choked. I gave people reason to doubt God and gave God an easy way out. In the event that He ‘couldn’t’ or ‘wouldn’t’ help someone walk free from homosexuality, I was covered.
“…a greater level of freedom from homosexuality.” The words haunted me. I kept screaming inside my head, “That is not what I believe!” “What if I tell people there is freedom from homosexuality and they don’t experience the same freedom that I have?” “Will they turn their back on God?” “What right do I have to give anyone a license to hope?” I wanted to offer people the same hope that Jesus Christ had given me in 1998 and for 12 years in Exodus circles, but I caught myself torn between the tortured sentiment of gay Christians and their sympathizers and the truth of God’s word. I had accused others of preaching a watered down gospel and here I was doing the same thing.
“Freedom is Possible” and another catch phrase, “Change is Possible” have come under fire, because there were people who attended Exodus conferences over the years that said they had not experienced a noticeable level of change in their sexual attractions. Sorry friends, but I was not on that list. Since I left homosexuality in 1998, I have experienced a noticeable change in my attractions. I’m not a regular attendee at Hooter’s, but I ain’t hold up in Rainbowville either. I’m in process, but I am a little further down the assembly line than the kid I was in 1998. I experienced change and freedom, because I read books, attended conferences, asked for prayer, confessed and asked for help, prayerfully followed conference advice, attended an Exodus ministry and church, read the bible, prayed and held Jesus’ hand as we exhumed the skeleto-emotional remains of my past.
My daily devotional today is found in Genesis and Luke. I use the reading plan at www.lifejournal.cc. The story of Lot’s wife has always fascinated me. The bible says that she looked back and turned into a pillar of salt. In the notes section of my bible, it says this “Lot’s wife was trailing behind him with her heart still in Sodom, looked back, died…”. In warning people about the perils of looking back, Jesus reminds us of Lot’s wife in Luke 17:31-33
Walking away from homosexuality is the most difficult thing I have ever attempted to do. There were days that I “looked back”, days I prayed for a different struggle and days that I drowned my sorrows in gay porn and masturbation. But, at the end of the day, I did my best to honor my commitment to God and my conviction that homosexuality in any form: whether acting out sexually or maintaining a gay identity, though celibate was not God’s best for my life.
There are many reasons why people who decide to leave homosexuality behind “look back”. If we leave pieces of our heart scattered throughout a sexually charged past, it will eventually call out to us and we will be tempted to return. The bible says to sit down and count the cost before ‘investing your life into in a big project’. People underestimate the power of sin in their lives. Failure can also be attributed to the lure of sexual sin, unbelief and human failure. It can never be attributed to God. God will never fail us, but he doesn’t always do things our way. People fail all the time, yet in attempt to shirk blame and responsibility, they pin their failures on God and the Christians who appear to be getting it right. Proverbs 19:3 says it best, “A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the Lord.”
After much prayer and devotional time, I came to a different conclusion today than I had that day, working on the website. Many in the ex gay movement may have given up on true freedom and settled for the scraps that fall from the Master’s table, but I won’t be among them. Over and over again, God has used people to share the following scripture with me. God has called me to live the Isaiah 61:1 life. It says, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,”
Luke 7:22 “So he (Jesus) replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.” Jesus performed feats of healing that caused the crowds to marvel. My life and the lives of so many others who have walked away from homosexuality are miracles.
“…TO PROCLAIM FREEDOM FOR THE CAPTIVES and RELEASE FROM FROM DARKNESS FOR THE PRISONERS”. Hmmm. That is pretty clear. These same words can also be found in Luke 4:18. God has raised me up to proclaim freedom for men and women trapped in homosexuality. It isn’t false hope and condemnation to proclaim true freedom. It’s actually the most loving thing a person can do for someone who is lost. It isn’t me making promises I can’t keep. It is the truth of God’s Word proclaiming that freedom and release are available to everyone.