I’m sorry on behalf of the church. Many, not all, christians have played a large role in doing your community harm.
The church was meant to be a lovely bride and it seems she is finally beginning to remember that. As she awakens from her drunken slumber, after two thousand years, she looks around and sees a world that she’s wounded. The trail of destruction and broken people that lay in her wake is centuries long. She falls to her knees in repentance. Jesus comes and sets her on her feet. She looks into His eyes and remembers the foundation of her purpose. Love.
Fear is the biggest opponent of love. Many Christians have fear that if they love someone who they disagree with, they will give the impression that they condone what they view as wrong. They let fear hinder them from loving each other, and your community, the way they were always intended to. The many things on this planet that are not congruent with our faith or denominations are not the problem. The problem is that many of us christians don’t know that it is okay to love someone we disagree with. Love doesn’t require its own way. We don’t need to agree in order to love. Christians are called to love unconditionally as Jesus still does. However, we cannot love unconditionally when we nurture our fears. Only perfect love can cast out fear. Before christians love others well they must first receive the Love of God for themselves.
It is not easy for the christian. Think about it. We go against the popular opinion of society. We are hated, misunderstood, ostracized, labeled and discriminated against. Many people who don’t even know us call us “gay haters” and homophobes. Consequently, many christians are afraid of being mistreated so they distance themselves from people they disagree with in hopes to avoid confrontation. Their distance is interpreted as dislike when in reality it is fear.
I realized I was gay when I was five years old. Even at that young age,, I heard horrible things about gay people from a christian relative and I was afraid of my feelings. As I grew older my mannerisms became noticeably feminine and I was mistreated and mocked by family and peers because of that. My father, an ordained pastor, made it really clear how he felt about me and it was not good. I loved the Lord but I was struggling with the thought that He did not love me because I was gay. Eventually, I walked away from God because my desires and my faith could not coexist. That is when I came out. It took so much crushing and heartbreak for me to be honest with myself and the world. So I was determined to stay OUT and PROUD.
I didn’t know the difference between my sexual orientation and my identity. If someone asked me who I was I would’ve told them that I was a gay man before I said that I was somebody’s brother. My world revolved around guys and the LGBTQ community. Outside of that, I didn’t know myself. I was so busy chanting “Born this way” in my dining room and getting angry at people who were “religious” that I didn’t realize that I was becoming someone else. My accepting community cheered me on as I went deeper into gender dysphoria, eventually taking on a female nickname and feeling like a slave to my desires. At that point, I would have pressed a button to change myself if I could have.
Years later I spoke to God. I realized that I never gave Him a real chance. I allowed other people to define Him for me. So I told Him that I wanted to know Him for who He really is. That’s when a still small voice within my heart said, “Christopher. I love you.” Those words went into my skin and I fell to my knees in the dirt and rain. I wept because I knew in my heart that God Loved me. I also knew that I could not continue in the gay lifestyle. Being attracted to men wasn’t a choice for me and I could not understand how that could ever change. But somehow the Lord made it clear that He wanted me to stop trying to figure everything out and just follow and trust Him.
I began reading the Bible and talking with God every day. I treated Him like I would a friend that I could see. I didn’t beg Him to change my sexual orientation. I just enjoyed Him. Suddenly I had the power to stop watching pornography after being addicted for ten years! Suddenly I stopped using profane language! He also gave me the strength to overcome an eating disorder that controlled my life. Eventually, He changed my sexual orientation and healed me from 16 years of PTSD. Today I am completely CHANGED. My sexual/romantic desires for men changed and I am sexually/romantically attracted to women. It’s true. It’s my story and it cannot be taken away from me.
I was overwhelmed in the best way and I posted the news on Facebook, “God set me free from Homosexuality!” My friends in the LGBTQ community and those who supported them were irate. I realize now that my status came off as an attack. I didn’t mean to hurt anyone. I wanted the world to know that my unwanted same sexual attraction was gone along with the addictions and compulsions that fueled it. However, no one asked me to elaborate or explain my process. My own friends turned on me like I was a violent stranger who meant harm. For three days my status collected their venomous comments. Finally, I was called a bigot by the man who took me in as his own once upon a time. And then, one by one, they unfriended me. I forgive them. But how I wish they would have looked beyond my status and remembered that I was a twenty-year-old who adored them.
Being “changed” does not mean that I hate or reject you. It doesn’t mean that I withhold love from you. “Changed” does not mean that I see you differently or judge you, it refers to my convictions, attractions and lifestyle. If anything, now that I am changed, I am able to be more kind, gentle, and understanding of the LGBTQ community. However, I’m swimming against the current of political correctness and popular opinion. People may shout profane and give me bad looks as I swim by, but every once in a while someone reaches out to take my hand. I swim for those people. Jesus saved me because of those people so I’ll never stop swimming. If you want to know more about people like me, and there are a lot of us, you can visit oncegay.com. There you can read many stories of people who have been changed. There are also resources to help you or someone you may know who has UNWANTED same sexual attraction. Thank you for taking the time to read my side of the story.
God bless you.
This article is published in our ‘Wild&Holy’ series in our Wild Hearts Magazine. To read the story in the mag and other stories like this pour a cup of tea, put on some music, and read our second issue ‘Wild&Free’ for free online