I am pleased to say that for the next 2-3 weeks I will have my first guest blogger! Gary has been a friend for over 20 years and he brings a real and personal perspective to our recent dialogue about homosexuality and the Christian faith.
I am a retired college professor. I have always been single. I am a committed Christian, having been raised in a Christian home and accepting the Lord as my Savior at a young age. My relationship with the Lord Jesus is the most important thing in my life.
God provided a great Christian family, but when I was young my Dad worked in the evenings. Combined with the fact that I am both athletically and mechanically challenged, I became closer to my Mom than to my Dad.
I grew up in a small community with four or five other boys about my age. At a young age we began to explore sexual things. The others began in their pre-teen and teen years to do things with girls, but I did not – I think I felt spiritual pride in not being heterosexually active.
Throughout high school, I did occasional sexual exploration with my (heterosexual) friends, but during my college years I began to do sexual things anonymously. This set the agenda for my sexual encounters over the next forty plus years. I looked for anonymous sexual encounters in places where guys struggling with same sex attraction and homosexuality look for such things. My sexual activity became more and more risky as I attempted to satisfy my sexual appetite. Several years ago, I began to find encounters through the internet using mainly gay internet sites.
I saw my sexual activity as sin and longed to be set free. I looked for accountable relationships to give me the help I needed, but found none. I confided my struggles with a few close friends and my pastors, but no one seemed to know how to help me. I so wanted to be free from the inner conflict that waged within, but had no hope of change.
Things came to a head in the summer of 2006 when I was arrested for invasion of privacy. The story got wide media coverage as I held a high profile on my campus and in the community. Although extremely difficult, this turned out to be my turning point.
For a couple of days, I felt distant from God, but soon discovered His forgiveness and strength. In late September I spent two weeks in a recovery program with Love In Action. Though group interaction, various exercises and great teaching I discovered so much about homosexuality (and same sex attraction)—and about myself. I finally saw that my sin did not define who I am – it’s my relationship with Christ that defines me. What hope! While I was at Love In Action I made a commitment to be celibate. With God’s help I have kept that commitment, having had victory for the most part in my thought life, and freedom from my negative feelings about myself.
In January of 2007, I began a sixty-day study, called Door of Hope, through the website settingcaptivesfree.com. Door of Hope was instructive and a real encouragement that I was on the right path.
I then felt God put it on my heart to attend the Exodus International conference the following June. Exodus is an organization that proclaims the message of hope in Christ for change to the world, and to those struggling with homosexuality. Perhaps, Exodus’ most consistent message is that the opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality, but holiness.
In the summer of 2008, I again attended an Exodus conference – another great experience of learning and worship! The highlight was my introduction to the ministry of Healing for the Soul, and its founder and Director, Jayson Graves. Through this contact, I began telephonic counseling with Jayson and joined a telephonic sexual addiction recovery group shortly thereafter. We met once a week by phone with a counselor from Healing for the Soul and we each called the other members of the group during the week. We also worked through The Twelve Steps – A Spiritual Journey. How pleased I am to have developed such strong and close relationships with the guys in the group! Over a year ago I joined a Healing for the Soul graduate group that provides the same telephonic support and accountability my recovery group did.
I wish I had before and after pictures of my heart to show everyone. I feel like I am a living example of Romans 12:1-2, having submitted my body and mind to the Lord, He has transformed me. In Jeremiah 29:11, God tells His people He has plans to prosper them and to give them hope. I know He has both prospered me and given me hope. I marvel at what the Lord has done (and is doing) in my life to provide victory and healing. I pray that my personal story of God’s redeeming love and power will bring encouragement to areas of your life in which you may feel hopeless.