Warum hat Gott mich so geschaffen?
Wie oft haben wir uns das gefragt: Warum hat Gott mich so geschaffen, wenn ich es nicht ausleben darf Das ist doch eine lebenslange Qual und ein lebenslanges Verleugnen!
Ich will hier bewusst nicht auf den wissenschaftlichen Hintergrund dieser Aussage eingehen. Sexuelles und emotionales Empfinden, also ob wir uns in sexueller und gefuehlsmaessiger Weise zu jemanden hingezogen fuehlen wird von einem ganzen Buendel von Faktoren beeinflusst. Weder das ganze Buendel an sich noch einzelne Faktoren zwingen uns jedoch zu einem bestimmten Verhalten. Es ist und bleibt Freiheit menschlicher Entscheidung und liegt somit in unserem eigenen Verantwortungsbereich, wie wir uns verhalten und wie wir unser Leben fuehren. Wir sind weder Sklaven genetischer oder hormoneller koerperlicher Gegebenheiten noch koennen wir unsere Verantwortung so einfach von uns weisen.
Ich will euch die Antwort auf diese Frage an einem Beispiel aus meinem eigenen Leben erlaeutern:
Im Laufe der Jahre nach meinem Entschluss, die schwule Szene zu verlassen, hatte ich mit einem Mann zu tun, der schliesslich zu einem meiner besten Freunde wurde. Gleichzeitig fuehlte ich mich aber auch zu ihm hingezogen- sowohl sexuell als auch emotional. Ich hatte nicht vor, diese Empfindungen auszuleben, ich war mir ihrer aber sehr wohl bewusst und sie waren die Ursache fuer staendige Versuchungen und einen staendigen inneren Kampf. Dies umso mehr, als wir beide glaeubige Christen waren und Sex unsere Freundschaft zerstoert oder ihr zumindest einen schweren Schaden zugefuegt haette, von den spirituellen Konsequenzen ganz zu schweigen.
Ich merkte, wie sehr mich dieser innere Kampf aufwuehlte und betete taeglich, las in der Bibel und suchte mir Rat bei einem anderen meiner besten Freunde. Ja, auch ich fragte mich, warum mir Gott diesen Mann in mein Leben geschickt hat, wohl wissend, dass ich nie mit ihm zusammen sein koennte. Was in mir vorging, schien mich fast zu zerreissen. Nie jedoch hoerte ich auf zu beten. Je haerter der Kampf wurde, desto haerter betete ich auch. Ebenso las ich in der Bibel, um mir Kraft und Weisheit zu holen. Trotzdem war die Situation irgendwann kaum mehr zu ertragen. Warum? Was war der Plan hinter all dem? Was war meine Berufung im Leben? Weshalb hatte ich diese Emofindungen? Weshalb war ich so schwach?
Sollte ich nicht doch einfach aufgeben? Auch ich hatte Beduerfnisse!
Dieser Mann, der sich sonst, was seine eigenen Gefuehle anging, sehr bedeckt hielt, erzaehlte mir ploetzlich und ohne Vorwarnung von dem, was in seiner Kindheit und bis heute geschehen ist. Ich will dies hier nicht wiedergeben, aber ich kann mich nicht erinnern, je etwas gehoert zu haben, was mich mehr beruehrt hat. Was musste er mitgemacht haben, welch grausamem Leiden musste er ausgesetzt gewesen sein! Ein ganzes Leben ohne jegliche menschliche Liebe, ohne eine Umarmung, ohne Freunde, aber mit schlimmen Erfahrungen was musste in ihm vorgehen? Nach seiner Aussage ging er auch davon aus, dass er fuer den Rest seines Lebens (er war mittlerweile Ende 50) ohne Liebe leben musste.
Ploetzlich fiel es mir wie Schuppen von den Augen. Es war, als ob Gott den Vorhang wegzog und mir einen Blick aus Seiner Perspektive erlaubte. Er hatte offenbar die Erde gescannt, um zwei Maenner zu finden, die perfekt zueinander passen, die einander stuetzen und unterstuetzen. Die sich gegenseitig helfen und lieben, wie Jonathan David liebte. Offenbar sandte Er mich, um diesen Mann zu zeigen, dass es wahre und reine Liebe auch in diesem Lieben gibt. Um ihm dadurch auch einen Vorgeschmack auf die Liebe zu geben, auf die jegliche menschliche Lieben letzten Endes verweist. Um fuer ihn zu sorgen und ihm zu zeigen, dass er nicht allein ist und Gott ihn liebt. Zwar haette es hierfuer viele Maenner gegeben, die besser geeignet gewesen waeren als ich. Aber es ging auch nicht um mich. Ich war nur ein Botschafter, der Traeger einer Botschaft und derjenige, den Gott verwendete, um Seine Gnade und Liebe auszuschuetten. Ich selbst haette weder die Weisheit noch die Kraft, aber Gott kann auch und gerade durch jemand wie mich zeigen, wie gross Er ist. Gerade meine gleichgeschlechtlichen Neigungen und mein Anders-sein waren hier nicht einfach nur eine Art Fluch, sondern erlaubten mir, den Zugang zum Herzen dieses Mannes zu finden. Hierfuer also hatte mich Gott gerufen und bestimmt! Er gab mir diese Neigungen nicht, um Lust- und unangemessene Liebesgefuehle diesem Mann gegenueber zu empfinden, sondern zu seinem Herzen vorzustossen und ihm von der groesseren Liebe Gottes durch mein eigenes Beispiel Zeugnis zu geben! Diese Erfahrung war lebensveraendernd fuer mich. Nun begann ich den groesseren Plan hinter all meinen Empfindungen und Neigungen zu sehen und zu verstehen und sah sie nicht nur als etwas Negatives, das meinem Glauben im Weg stand! Gleichzeitig musste ich lernen, mich dabei voll auf Gottes Gnade zu verlassen, da nur Er zu all dem im Stande war.
Frueher betrachtete ich die Erzaehlung von David und Jonathan sehr misstrauisch. Wenn es da hiess, dass die Liebe zueinander als bedeutsamer als die Liebe zu Frauen betrachtet wurde, wenn erzaehlt wurde, wie David weinte, als sich die beiden trennten, so machte mir das einen sehr schwulen Eindruck. Erst als ich selbst diese Art von wahrer, reiner und maennlicher Liebe erfahren durfte, war mir klar, was sie wirklich bedeutete. Auch das Verhaeltnis von Johannes zu Jesus und dessen Ruhen an Christi Brust sah ich auf einmal mit voellig anderen Augen.
Letztlich endet es immer an der Frage des Glaubens. Bereiche wie Psychologie, Medizin usw. sind gut und wichtig, ohne den Glauben jedoch ist alles nichts und keine Motivation wird auf die Dauer tragfaehig genug sein, wenn sie nicht den Glauben an den einen Gott als Basis hat.
Warum hat Gott mich so gemacht? Warum empfinde ich so, wenn ich es doch nie ausleben darf?
Das sind in der Tat Fragen, die so manchen Christen und so manche Christin plagen. Wenn es denn so falsch ist, seine gleichgeschlechtlichen Neigungen auszuleben, warum empfindet man dann so? Warum zieht es einen emotional und sexuell zum eigenen Geschlecht hin? Darf man denn nicht auch glücklich sein? Ist man dazu verdammt, ewig allein und unglücklich zu sein, wenn man Christ oder Christin ist und gleichgeschlechtlich empfindet?
Ich will hier bewusst nicht auf die wissenschaftliche Frage eingehen, ob man denn schwul geboren ist oder nicht. Gene allein zwingen uns nicht zu einem Verhalten, da wir nicht Sklaven eines Gencodes sind. Gene sind ausserdem auch kein Kriterium für moralisch akzeptables oder nicht akzeptables Verhalten und Denken. Abgesehen davon wird unser sexuelles und emotionales Empfinden von einem ganzen Bündel vn verschiedensten Faktoren beeinflusst, sodass einfache und plakative Erklärungen hier nicht weiterhelfen.
Ich selbst habe lange mit diesem Problem gerungen und will deshalb aus meiner eigenen Erfahrung berichten.
Nachdem ich das schwule Leben hinter mich gelassen hatte, begann eine unglaubliche Entwicklung in allen Bereichen meines Lebens. Auch sah ich mich selbst, meine Vergangenheit und meine Beziehungen zu anderen Menschen in völlig anderem Licht. Vor allem aber habe ich zurück zu Jesus Christus gefunden, was mir mehr bedeutet als alles andere.
Nach einiger Zeit hatte ich in einer christlichen Online-Gruppe einen Kanadier kennen gelernt. Wir wurden bald Freunde und unsere Freundschaft wuchs und wurde enger und enger im Laufe der Jahre. Er hat mir gezeigt, was die Freundschaft, die David und Jonathan in der Bibel hatten, wirklich ausmachte und welch unglaublicher Schatz dahinter steckte.
Trotzdem fiel es mir schwerer und schwerer, innerlich gesunde Grenzen zu ziehen. Ich fühlte, dass ich mich mehr zu ihm hingezogen fühlte, als mir lieb war emotional wie sexuell. Es ist keineswegs ein Zeichen mangelnder Veränderung, dies zuzugeben ganz im Gegenteil. Ich bin hiermit völlig offen umgegangen und habe dies auch mit meinen engsten Freunden und Seelsorgern besprochen und natürlich auch mit ihm selbst. Wir waren uns beide einig, dass Jesus immer das Zentrum unserer Freundschaft sein sollte und wir nie etwas anderes über die Liebe zu Jesus stellen dürften, da dies dann nicht nur unsere Freundschaft, sondern auch unser Verhältnis zum Herrn zerstören wuerde. Trotzdem hatte ich genau diesen inneren Kampf: Warum empfinde ich so stark, wenn ich es doch nie ausleben darf? Warum mir diesen Mann als Freund schenken, wenn er doch eine ständige Versuchung fuer mich bedeutete? Da er mir jedoch in jeder Hinsicht sehr, sehr viel bedeutete, setzte ich alles daran, hier Klarheit zu schaffen.
Ich betete und betete, damit Gott mir zeigte, was all dies zu bedeuten hatte. Warum hatte Er uns zusammengebracht? Was war Sein Plan? Ich sah keinen Sinn darin und hatte enorm damit zu kämpfen auch und gerade in spiritueller Hinsicht. Sollte so wirklich mein Leben aussehen ein ewiger innerer Kampf zwischen dem, was sein soll und dem, nach dem man sich innerlich so sehr sehnt, was aber nicht sein darf?
Es gab Zeiten, da wurde dieser innere Kampf beinahe unerträglich. Oh ja, ich betete weiterhin täglich, ich ging wöchentlich in den Gottesdienst, arbeitete hart, engagierte mich in diversen Bereichen aber durch diesen inneren Kampf machte ich das fast nur mehr mechanisch. Ich funktionierte nur mehr, hatte aber nicht mehr das Gefühl, zu leben (nicht, dass ich das jemals wirklich gehabt hatte).
Ich erzählte dem Kanadier in einem Email von diesem inneren Kampf. Nach aussen war ich wohl immer noch der, als den mich andere sahen. Ich versuchte, gute Laune zu verbreiten, anderen zu helfen, ich gab immer noch Bibelstunden soweit, so gut. Wenn ich aber alleine war, hatte ich manchmal Tränen in den Augen. Nicht aus Selbstmitleid, sondern eher aus Sehnsucht und aus Schmerz.
Ohne jede Vorwarnung mailte er mir etwas zurück, das mir das Blut gefrieren liess. Ich will hier verständlicherweise nicht ins Detail gehen, aber er erzählte aus seiner Kindheit und wie grausam er damals und teilweise bis heute behandelt wurde. Gleichzeitig liess er mich wissen, dass er darüber nicht reden wollte.
Es war mir unbegreiflich, wie jemand so etwas überleben konnte. Ein ganzes Leben ohne jede Liebe und Zuneigung, aber mit sehr viel Schlimmem und Unaussprechlichem. Trotzdem ist so ein wunderbarer Mensch aus ihm geworden wenngleich er aber innerlich auch oft noch litt.
Dann dämmerte es mir plötzlich. Es war, als ob Gott für kurze Zeit den Vorhang wegzog und mir das ganze Bild sehen ließ. Als ob man jahrelang einen Zentimeter vor einem unglaublichen Gemälde stand und nur den dunklen Fleck dieses einen Zentimeters wahrnahm und sich über die Dunkelheit beklagte, ohne sich bewusst zu sein, dass dieser Fleck nur unsere begrenzte Wahrnehmung eines unglaublichenen Ganzen war. Etwas, das so viel größer war als alles, was wir uns vorstellen konnten.
Mir war klar, dass Gott dies nur einmal tat. Er wollte mir einmal zeigen, wie die Dinge aus Seiner Perspektive aussahen. Gleichzeitig ließ Er mich wissen, dass ich Ihm von nun an trauen sollte, wenn es etwas in meinem Leben gab, das ich nicht verstand oder wenn ich das Licht am Ende des Tunnels nicht sah. Er wollte, dass ich Ihm von nun an ganz und bedingungslos vertraute.
Was den Kanadier anging, so wurde mir bewusst, was meine Rolle in seinem und für mein Leben war: ihm zu zeigen, dass es so etwas wie aufrichtige und bedingungslose Liebe gab. Eine Liebe, zu der uns Jesus gerufen hat. Offenbar hat Gott seine Gebete und innere Trauer gehört und ihm einen Menschen gesandt wenn mir auch immer noch nicht klar war, warum ausgerechnet ich. Auch war es von nun an meine Aufgabe, für ihn zu sorgen in jeder Hinsicht. Mir war bewusst, dass hier noch mehr Aufgaben für mich enthüllt wuerden, wenn die Zeit reif dafür wäre. Ich fühlte mich dadurch mehr als gesegnet es war beinahe, als ob mein Leben von nun an einen Sinn hatte.
Trotzdem kämpfte ich innerlich immer noch. Warum hatte ich dann diese Empfindungen, wenn ich doch eine derart noble Aufgabe hatte? Widersprach sich das denn nicht völlig? Schloss das eine nicht das andere aus?
Es war auf dem Weg zu einer Beichte und im Gebet in der Kirche dort selbst sowie in den Tagen darauf, als mir der Rest offenbart wurde: In gewissem Maße gab mir Gott diese Neigungen als besonderes Talent, als eine Art Berufung. Er gab sie mir nicht, dass ich sexuelle Fantasien hinsichtlich dieses Mannes entwickelte oder gar Sex mit ihm hatte. Er gab sie mir auch nicht, damit ich ihn liebte, wie ein Mann eine Frau lieben soll. Er gab sie mir, weil sie der Schlüssel zu seinem Herzen waren. Sie erlaubten es mir, auf einer Ebene und in einer Intensität zu seinem Herzen vorzudringen, die ich sonst nie erreichen wuerde. Diese Neigungen ermöglichten es uns, ein Band der Freundschaft mit Jesus als Zentrum zu entwickeln, das sonst wohl kaum moeglich gewesen waere und daraus Kraft fuer unsere Berufung im Leben zu finden.
Auch für den Kanadier selbst sah ich nun klarer: auch er hatte seine gleichgeschlechtlichen Neigungen als Gabe und Aufgabe geschenkt bekommen, wenn mir deren genaue Natur auch noch nicht klar war. Er fühlte sich wohl von jüngeren Maennern angezogen. Konnte es sein, dass Gott ihm diese Empfindungen bewusst gegeben hatte nicht damit er im sexuellen Sinn Fantasien oder gar Beziehungen aufbaute, sondern damit er zu ihren Herzen durchdringen konnte. War es vielleicht seine Berufung, junge Männern mit extrem schwierigen Hintergrund beizustehen Männer, die von der Gesellschaft und von sich selbst aufgegeben wurden und zu denen sonst niemand Zugang hatte? Wuerden es ihm diese Neigungen vielleicht erlauben, ihr Herz aufzuschliessen fuer Jesus Christus?
Ich denke, ich bin hier noch ziemlich am Beginn einer völlig neuen Betrachtung dieser gleichgeschlechtlichen Neigungen weg von rein psychologischen oder gar körperlichen Erklärungsmodellen, die zwar sinnvoll sein mögen aber eigentlich doch nichts erklären und schon gar kein Werte- und Glaubenssystem begründen und hin zur persönlichen Berufung aufgrund ganz persönlicher und besonderer Gaben?
Kann es sein, dass das, was wir bisher eher als eine Art Fluch oder als Folge negativer Entwicklungen gesehen haben, doch etwas ganz anderes ist und uns möglicherweise gar bewusst geschenkt wurde?
Ich überlasse Gott die Antwort.
Why did God Give Me These Feelings? A New Approach on Same-Sex Attractions
If you experience same-sex attractions, have you ever asked yourself why this is the case?
For those who fully embrace the gay live, this question either does not even come up or will be answered by a gay gene, hormonal predispositions, the brain structure, society or altogether. Either way those who live out their same-sex attractions might not even waste a thought on that or see it as something beautiful and lots of fun as well. Well, sort of at least for a while. Also acting out upon them could help you cope with inner pain, loneliness, anxieties, feelings of not being the man you want to be and the like.
For many Christians, however, things are not so easy. They know what the Bible says and even though there are people these days who try to twist that and make a yes or a maybe out of a clear no, someone who is deeply rooted in the faith and in the Bible will have a hard time believing that. They know that we have a loving Father who does not tell us to do or not to do something because He loves to boss us around, but because He loves us and knows where this would lead us to if we do not follow His ways. They might have also read books about the psychological background of same-sex attractions, the broken relationship that boys had with their father, a dominant or over-protective mother and all the rest. You have heard it before I guess.
Not that there is anything wrong with that approach. Often men with same-sex attractions had a broken relationship with their father that needs to be addressed. Also to know about all the different factors that played a role in our sexual and emotional development is crucial if we want to understand who we are and why we are what we are.
Some might describe same-sex attractions as temptations or as a gender identity disorder, maybe also as a sort of misled way of dealing hurts or legitimate needs. Again: there is some truth in that no doubt about it. Some people even think it is a mere choice to feel that way (which is incorrect to say the least).
Most Christian ex-gay ministries or purity organizations would explain same-sex attractions that way: a gender identity disorder based on a broken relationship with the Lord.
Now think about it. Think about how you describe other people and how you see yourself if you share that view, either based on your faith (temptations) or on psychology (disorder) or both.
You give people the impression they are sort of disordered, confused, fallen, broken, helpless. They did not manage to connect with their own gender in childhood and puberty. They are hurting on the inside and have unmet needs that they try to heal with sex and/or same-sex love.
Of course, in many cases, thats how it is. Or is it not? Is there maybe more to it? Have we seen only a small spot of a much bigger and richer painting?
God did not make me this way!, many Christians might say. Depends on what you mean by this way. He sure did not make you gay. Other will say now that we are born this way. I do not want to focus on that discussion now. As of this day, there is no prove for this born gay theory, nor for any other theory (hormonal causes, different structure of the brain and the like) to explain same-sex attractions. They are probably caused by a whole range of different factors. Even a gay gene cannot force you to act upon your attractions nor is it a reason to believe that this would be morally acceptable. We cannot blame God for the way we act, talk and have sexual relations with others.
So what about it? Whats wrong with the way ex-gay groups and Christians deal with that subject? Well, there is nothing wrong with it. However, it might be seen from the wrong perspective and so show only a small part of a much bigger painting.
What if God gave us these attractions for a reason?
For many, this seems unthinkable. God might have given us same-sex attractions for a reason?
Yet think about it. Take something like anger: anger can destroy like with an axe or it can correct. Most everything that is in us has both sides: the one that it is intended for and what we have made out of it in our fallen state.
What if this is not so much different with same-sex attractions? When we think of hem, we only see a negative side either the causes thereof or the consequences if we act upon them. We try to change or want to let God change us either altogether from gay to straight or at least as to the frequency and/or intensity of our feelings. We try to understand how our past distorted our identity and our relationship with God and seek to heal that. Nothing wrong with any of that. Except that this might only be part of a much bigger picture.
What reason could God possibly have to give us same-sex attractions?
Maybe those same-sex attractions allow us to communicate with people on a level and in a depth that other people do not have. Note that this has nothing to do with better or worse just with being different. Maybe God wanted us to be different, because with our same-sex attractions we have the key to the hearts of those that nobody else can reach. Those who have been tremendously hurt, rejected and dumped like garbage for instance. Those society has given up on and that have given up on themselves as well. How about our same-sex attractions help reaching their hearts and unlock them so the love of others and of God Himself can pour in?
Maybe you are an elderly man who is attracted by younger men. You can go for it, have sex with them and/or fantasize about them in an inappropriate way. Or you can use your attractions to get through to them, love them as Christ would, guide and nurture them as Christ would. Maybe your same-sex attractions allow you to make true disciples out of them. And maybe God does not want you to change, but to use those attractions for His glory!
Think about the two radical approaches:
Instead of considering yourself a sick and disordered person, whose every thought is sinful and who is constantly struggling against what he or she wants and yearns for most in life, you can see your attractions as a God-given gift, something that might bless many other people and allow you to go new ways in all areas of your life. These attractions might be both a curse and a responsibility. God does not want you to use them to lust after your own sex or for your personal pleasure, but to reach out to those nobody else gets through.
What a completely different way of looking at the same subject this would and could be!
Think about Jesus and John. The Bible mentions every detail for a reason. Remember when John leaned against Jesus breast and also how John is called the apostle Jesus loved? No, they did not have a gay relationship or anything like that. Also remember how John is said to be the apostle Jesus loved? I am NOT saying any of them had same-sex attractions, but why is it mentioned there? I would say because it should point out some things to us. We see things sometimes in a very distorted and fallen way. God sees it His way and also can tell what a person really could be like if he walked the right path. So when the Bible talks about deep and strong relationships between two men (look also at David and Jonathan!), this has nothing to do wit something gay. The Lord made people with same-sex attractions very special and He wants them to bless many others.
Think about it.
Lets go back to David and Jonathan: I never really knew what this is all about. Even as a Christian this sounded kind of strange to me until the Lord brought men into my life that bonded with me the way David bonded with Jonathan. Only then I understood what this true love was all about. It is our fallen state that sometimes lets us see something homoerotic in it. However, David was a man who ran after the women like few others and yet he managed to relate to Jonathan in a way that led him to say that this love was more important to him than the love of women!
I guess what I am trying to tell you is that we need to stop seeing same-sex attractions as only negative. If you do that, you might come to the conclusion that your every thought and desire is sinful, that you are only bad on the inside and that your inner struggle will go on till the day you die. As a Christian, you will have to fight against these temptations, but it also means that your life is a constant inner struggle which leads some to unhappiness, loneliness or worse.
Now there is some truth in the above. Of course, we are all fallen people and our lives definitely are long inner struggles against temptations. Jesus Himself told us to deny ourselves, take our cross upon ourselves daily and follow Him. Also a feeling of happiness is in no way a sure sign that we are on the right path. Yet if we only see ourselves as completely messed up, as sort of sick or disordered, we might completely miss Gods plan for us and that could lead to emotional and spiritual pain and confusion.
If we see same-sex attractions only as some sort of a curse or at least as something gone wrong that we have to constantly fight against, try to change or at least put up with, then we only look at them from our perspective. We only see the sinful, disordered aspect of them that leads us to lust after people of our own sex or even start inappropriate relationships with them.
Maybe we need to see same-sex attractions the way God sees them and like that turn a curse, a temptation or pain into a blessing.
Think about the potential of this radically new approach! Think about the many good things that the Lord could then do with your life and the different way you might look at yourself then!
Yes, we always need to watch our heart, mind and flesh when we use those attractions for His glory, as satan will not miss his chance to tempt us. There is nothing worse than becoming the stumbling block for those we are responsible for, those who trust us, look up to us for guidance and rely on us. But with a daily spiritual and relational structure (like what we are doing in Homosexuals Anonymous or in JASON) that can be done!
I just returned from the local prison where I serve as a volunteer. None of the inmates that I have been allowed to take care of myself knows of my same-sex attractions. However, it looks like I can get through to them. They open up to me and we bond and connect on another level than maybe other volunteers might connect. This is not about better or worse, but about using your gifts for His glory.
Do I think that there is no need for change or that we all should stay the way we are? Not at all. Our sexual and emotional attractions are shaped by many different factors and so is our identity the way we see ourselves. We need to address every one of those factors a different way. However, this approach will be much different if you do not simply follow set commonplaces or simple (however well-intentioned!) explanations, but let God show you your personal design and His call for your life. God has given each one of us different gifts and talents. Yes, some have become disordered in the course of time, but this does not take away from Gods original plan.
We are different, thats for sure, but this does not have to be all bad! If we understand those parts of our gifts that have gone astray and ask the Holy Spirit to change our hearts in that, then we open ourselves for Gods vision for us and become all His. Then we can leave everything behind and give Him our all and let our gifts bear rich fruit.
May the Lord lead us to a deeper understanding for how He shaped us and what He blessed us with and how we can use those blessings to bless others in return.
I realize this is a completely different and radically new approach to same-sex attractions. However, I would ask everyone that feels that way to meditate and pray upon that.
THINK ABOUT THE POTENTIAL!
May the Lord continue to guide and bless us always,
An Online Discussion
Don’t read this if you are concerned about getting discouraged because I am letting off some steam. I think you are right on all of this you just wrote on a purely practical level. I cannot have what I want, what I need. There is this experience though. Other people get it all don't you see. They get to fall madly in love, the love at all those levels, emotionally, sexually, and can bond and enjoy every aspect of oneness with another person. So in principle it isn’t evil to be in love and to enjoy sex and to bond and to live with another person. It is called falling in love and getting married. It is a well respected practice in Churches everywhere. We just don't get to have those emotions or enjoy that connectedness with another human - that one special unique person that we are completely and utterly joined to and with whom we share everything. We are at the window of the candy store and all we can do is look, maybe just a sample so that we really really know
exactly what we are missing, while the others get to go inside and feast - all with God's blessing. It isn't just that it is unfair - it is cruel. How does God do this. How do I reconcile this internal wiring in me with a personal all powerful loving God who hates sin. God has created me a social animal with social needs to bond in this way and yet tweaks me so that the need is more intense than it is for most and then says - sorry guy - the desire that I gave you you are not allowed to fulfill because it is a sin. Don't say God didn’t give me the desire because at so many levels He did. First He is sovereign and whether it is nature or nurture or a combination this sovereign God certainly managed to orchestrate my being born to a bastard of a father and an overbearing domineering mother and set me in a group of peers that treated me like a fag pariah long before I knew what either of those words meant. Good grief, who do I blame for orchestrating all the things
necessary for this - the tooth fairy. It was God's doing - now was it for my sin or my parents sin that I should be born or be nurtured into faghood - or was it for the Glory of God - well thank you very much but hey Mr. God how's that working for you. Not a lot of Glory noticeable down here. How does God not answer this prayer? I have been a born again Christian for almost 40 years. I have been at various levels of personal devotion and faith, I have gone through long periods of a deep and close walk and gone through periods of great struggle. I have had periods where I was accepting of my condition and periods where I cried out to God in the deepest anguish and desperation. I have devoted myself to service to God and thrown myself on his mercy depending only on his grace. I have walked the walk of devotion to God. I do not think God should have answered this prayer because of what I have done for Him. I don’t expect God to be impressed by me. I expect God to
answer this prayer because that is the only action consistent with what every word of the Bible breathes about the nature and character of God. God designed us and gave us the need for human closeness and the need for sex. I was wonderfully and made inside my mother's womb (my genetic origins) and nothing I experience is not filtered by God's will (my problem’s environmental origins). God created me and created the circumstances of my environment - put in place the structures necessary to create this need and then unlike 98% of the population make it impossible to fulfill the need without committing a sin which God hates. Hey God, there is this little peculiar thing going on here. You went to a lot of trouble to orchestrate things so that Don would be a fag - don't exactly know what eternal plan that was supposed to further but he is about to turn 50. Not much time left to get in on this so since he really is not likely to go chasing skirts all around town at his age
how about giving him a chance at some of the pleasures in life that everybody else both takes for granted and couldn’t imagine living without. Pardon the sarcasm but really the whole thing is ludicrous. I have to admit that as I read the posts lately with all the flowery stuff it just hit me the wrong way and I just couldn’t stand it and I found myself getting more and more angry. God has either given or orchestrated in me this need. I don’t want to fulfill the need – I want to get rid of it and have the same need everybody else has. I want to be fixed. I don’t really care whether God designed me this way or took a perfectly good model and smashed me to bits in my childhood – it got me to this condition as a very young child when there was not a thing I could have done or not done to cause it or prevent it or to deserve it one way or another. You know what really irks me. In high school my classmates – lots of them churchgoers – were screwing girls right and left.
I have had fewer sex partners than any heterosexual man I know. What the hell did I do before I was 11 to deserve this. I have prayed for this for 40 years and it is pretty clear that not only did God orchestrate my environment and or genes to get me here but that He has no intention of doing a damned thing about it. He likes his handiwork. How hard can this be? A little rewiring in my limbic system and I am as straight as John Wayne. Oh yes, God is all powerful so of course it isn’t about how hard it is, it isn’t a matter of what God can do – it is a matter of what He wants to do – HE WANTS THIS – IT IS HIS WILL THAT I WANT SEX AND LOVE FROM A MAN AND IT IS HIS WILL THAT I NEED SEX AND LOVE FROM A MAN AND IT IS HIS WILL THAT I NEVER GET IT BECAUSE THAT IS SIN. IT IS HIS WILL THAT I CAN NEVER NEED OR WANT IT FROM A WOMAN AND IT IS HIS WILL THAT MY PRAYER TO NEED IT AND WANT IT FROM A WOMAN IS NEVER FULFILLED AND IT IS HIS WILL THAT I NEVER GET IT FROM A WOMAN. IT
IS APPARENTLY HIS WILL THAT I LIVE IN ISOLATION FROM ALL OTHER HUMAN BEINGS UNTIL I DIE. That is what makes this all so different than any other kind of problem. There is nobody to blame but God and I have really tried for a long time to find some way to get around it. A sovereign God could have remedied this so easily – a stable group of affirming male friends – a different mix of stress hormones during my mother’s pregnancy – my parent’s early divorce and my mother’s remarriage to a decent man. A little tweaking of my brain. Whatever the cause God could have easily prevented it and God could have at any point easily fixed it. It wasn’t like I was asking for wealth – I was asking for God to take away a condition whereby the only way I had to meet a basic human need (which he had given me) was through a channel God had declared to be sin. To make it possible to meet a basic need without sinning. Sounds like a pretty reasonable request to me. And God’s silence on
the matter tells me something about God. There is something about my view of God in the bible that simply has to be false. Either God is not so powerful, or he is not so loving or he simply isn’t paying any attention to us one way or another. Giving us a basic need for sex and emotional closeness and then orchestrating our lives to make the only channel we can get that met through a sin is a cruelty on the order of a child plucking off the wings of a fly to see how the fly will react. Will the fly still love me? Something about the sweet loving God of the Bible is just plain wrong. God does not particularly love me or care about my pain or my situation. Either he doesn’t give a damn or he doesn’t have the goods or he is interested in more important things than me. This is not just a pity party – these are serious ethical and theological issues that place my theology I have been taught in direct conflict with the God that created my universe. This is not at all
helped by the concept of original sin a fallen world or the biblical doctrine of suffering. I have read Job, I have read the problem of pain, I have read The Imitation of Christ – none of that theology that explains suffering applies or makes this make sense. It makes a lot of sense if God does not exist at all – is a figment of wishful thinking – and homosexuality is an evolutionary way of creating males who do not leave the pack and therefore who provide ongoing protection for members of extended family groups assisting women in the rearing and protection of children while most males are pushed out after puberty. Or it even could simply be a recessive genetic trait – be what it feels like – a mistake – a genetic screwup that is not bad enough to be eliminated because it is carried by the mother to son, or it could be a way of limiting the passing of particularly antisocial male aggression. Aggressive males should produce more offspring but allowed to be selected for
exclusively the species would eventually fail due to the inability of groups to work together as successful social units. Destructively aggressive violent males successfully procreate, but they produce disproportionate numbers of homosexual male children and so they don’t produce as many grandchildren as the more mild mannered men do. Genetic mistake that has not been eliminated or adaptive genetic mutation with some benefit for the survival of the family group – either way it makes more sense than a loving all powerful god who gives the gift of sex and the need for human bonding and yet hates the sin of homosexual activity and goes to all this trouble to produce me with all those needs and no way to get them met without sinning.
I thought a lot about what you wrote here.
You think there was too much flowery stuff in here?
You know what? You sound SO MUCH like myself some time ago. Sometimes even today those thoughts are coming up again.
And I guess everyone in here can relate very well to that.
So, D., if you remember:
I had what you are looking for so desperately. I was one of the very few gay guys that had a longterm love relationship. I stress the word LOVE - because there was a lot of love involved. The wrong kind of love - and looking back at it now, it had a lot to do with narcissm, being self-centered and just wanting someone to fulfill your emotional and sexual needs and stuff. But it was love. Sort of. Kind of.
And that's where we get to the point: Sort of. Kind of.
So if this all that we really want, why did it not fulfill me and make me happy? Why did I lay night after night beside him in our common bed, after we just had sex and felt terribly alone? Why did I always feel that this was not what I was looking for (and I am not just talking about THIS relationship - I am talking about gay life in general)? Why did it even change my personality - much to the worse? Also my moral standards?
Why the heck did it NOT fulfill my basic needs? Actually, I had it all: a hot, masculine man, lots of "great" sex, someone to love and share my life with till the end... So what's wrong with that?
Let's start with some of what you said:
Forget about the hormones. They have nothing to do with your same-sex attractions.
As to the genetic thing: well, let's assume that it IS in our genetic code. That there is a "gay gene". So what? First, the next thing they'd invent would be a "cure" for it. Then: we are NOT the slaves of our genetic code. If you have diabetes caused from your genes, that does not mean you should go for it. It means you have to take care of what you're eating and how you live. Also certain forms of criminal behavior and also alcoholism are said to sometimes have genetic causes. Now does that make alcoholism or criminality "normal" or "right"? I don't think so.
So why did He "make" me that way? Why did he put me in such an evironment/family?
Dear D., my ex was an Israeli and we sometimes talked about the Jews under Hitler. He told me that many of them lost their faith when they had to suffer so much. And how they chased all of his relatives in Poland into the synagogue and set it on fire. The dying Jews cut their arms till they bled and wrote last messages on the synagogue walls. They wanted to be taken revenge of. They wanted not to be forgotten.
Why did He let that happen? Why putting them in such an "environment"?
Why not just putting us all back into paradise?
And why did He "make" you that way? Why did He set the love and lust for men into your heart?
I have come a long way, Don. I've been there. I've done that. And I hope I'll never be back there again.
There is no answer to that question. An ex-gay ministry would tell you now that God did NOT make you this way. He gave you the free will and he does NOT make you sin. Only you do that.
But I won't come up with that now.
I've been there. I've done that. And I hope I'll never be back there again.
You know how much I yearned for the "perfect" man, the one that truly loves me and will never let me go? That lives with me till the end of my days?
You know how many times I cried out: "I WANT SOMEONE TO LOVE ME BEST!"??
I've been there. I've done that. And I hope I'll never be back there again.
Really, D.: forget it. It just doesn't work the way you think it does. Heterosexuality is so deeply engraved in our hearts, that even if you feel nothing for women, you do feel VERY strange and weird when you enter a same-sex relationship. Even if everyone of your family members and friends and the people at your job fully approve of it: you feel VERY strange and weird. And at least one of you has to change or bend or something to make it somehow work. Heterosexuality is just too deeply in us.
Even if you have such a relationship: you will soon find out that this is not what you were looking for. You will get embittered, sad, disappointed and the gap between you and the male world will become bigger and bigger. Your way of talking, your personality, your moods, your attitude, even the way you walk and talk, your thinking and behavior patterns, the way you look and dress - EVERYTHING will change. And certainly not for the better.
So why did He "make" you that way?
Think about it, D.: is it REALLY so bad?
I have come to the conclusion that it ain't that bad at all. Sure - I am different. No way of denying that. And sometimes very lonely. And hurting. Very much so. But is it REALLY so bad?
We are different - but that's not a bad thing. It does make us lonely at times, but we have qualities no straight man will ever have to that extent. We can see and feel things so deeply every hetero guy would envy us if he only knew how that felt. Like every blessing that can feel like a curse.
But it's not. Really: it's not.
I just worked at a brother's house doing some construction works with other brothers from my church. And you know what? They all love me and I love them. Honestly. They know about my same-sex attraction and they know about my past life. They know I am struggling. So what? Everyone out there is hurting. If you don't realize that, you're either very naive or believe in other people's fassades (see our workbook for that)! And they love me like they love each other. Even in a much deeper way sometimes: the men hug me, touch me, take care of me - and have no problem with that. That is such an incredible feeling!!
And I do not feel like a relationship with a man would satisfy all of my needs anymore - because I know it won't. I have come a long way and I know I can have a satisfying life. Now I needed to change a lot of my old thinking and behavior patterns and also attitudes to come to that point. But it works! I can have a fulfiiled life as a man with same-sex attractions!
I also came to know a lady now. I do not know where this will lead up to, but it sure is a very good feeling!
Dear D., if I have learned one thing, then this:
We need to trust the Lord. Even if we do not understand at all, even if the world and especially science and "modern psychology" tell us other things. Even if our human "wisdom" or "common sense" or the genetic code tells us something different: we need to trust Him. That is what faith is all about.
Just for discussion's sake: let's assume God exists. Now He should know what's best for us - He created us and knows where this will lead us to if we don't obey. But He alsoe knows how stubborn we can get.
So all the feelings you described: loneliness, unhappiness, anger, self-pity and so on come if you turn away your face from Him and try to do it your own way with your own wisdom.
I KNOW you resist to act out and have sex with another man - but it doesn't seem to be in your heart yet. And that's where the Lord looks first!
Dear D., I know how hard it is. I really know. You think for just a moment how I felt when I came here: For so many years I shared my life with another man. Every night he slept by my side and I could hear him breathing regularly. He was there when I went to bed and when I got up. And we had sex together. Lots of sex. Now do you realize how lonely you can feel at night in your bed after that? How much you miss him - or just someone - in your bed?
I cried many tears. And I prayed the Lord would help me and give me back "my man". Or some other good man.
Well, He did help me - though not the way I wanted Him to.
And I am truly thankful for that. Honestly. He saved my life.
And He can save yours - if you just let Him and forget about your own wisdom and reason. Let Him rule your life - even if you don't understand it.
And read my lips, D.: HE LOVES YOU. HE IS TOTALLY KNOCKED OUT ABOUT YOU!
Thank you for your reply. Your effort and your concern for me that comes through here does help a lot to make me feel less isolated and a little loved. I have no problem with you using anything I write if it can help someone else - I suppose this was textbook self-pity and angst for people like us in this stage of things. You don't have to convince me that the lifestyle does not satisfiy. That is part of the frustration with God - He has created me a being who cannot get any of these ordinary human needs met anywhere. The emotions I feel in limited ways only hint at what others are able to enjoy. I appologize for specifics but the only kind of man I can be drawn to at an emotional or physical level is hetero - which means I am not just not able to find true fulfillment due to the inherant falicy of the gay option, but I am not just dealing with ssa, but with attraction to same sex heteros - completely unavilable icons. I have to find meaning in the relationships
that are possible - and sex with a man is a fantasy in the purest sense. Like the fantasy of making love to a Martian. There are no emotionally self confident, handsome, morally outstanding hetero guys who want to sexually assault me - they are a species that does not exist. So the gay option has never been an option. When I was young and would cruise I would fantasize about the guys I encountered but any willingness by them to actually act out immediately meant I no longer was interested in them. They were only intriguing when I could imagine them to be hetero. So when I say I have to seek meaning in the relationships that are possible I mean the relationships that are possible and by coincidence those that meet the God seal of approval. The difficulty of course is that these relationships seem so surface, so shallow, so limited. Limited by this male blindness to any sense of need on their part, but it is all that is available. Thank you for your prayers. You
can pray very specifically that God gives me the grace to find meaning in these relationships and that God grants me the mercy of meeting and bonding with men who have a capacity to and desire to reach for the limits of male to male bonding. Did you see Lord of the Rings. The profound thing in those movies was the love those little men had for one another. I want to be somebodies Sam, which means I need to meet a Frodo. That is what I am praying for, and it will take God having mercy on me for it to happen. Time is going by, Lord I am almost 50. Please give me some real years of a friendship of this calliber.
no, I have not seen Lord of the Rings.
D., do you realize how common your attraction is among people with same-sex attraction?
For some reason we lost the contact to the male world when we were boys. Maybe we witnessed physical, verbal or emotional abuse from our father. We were both disgusted and frightened and decided we just didn't want to be like him. Or he didn't do his job - for whatever reason. He was either away (divorce, death) or emotionally distant. So we withdrew to the world we felt comfortable in - the women's world - and adjusted our thinking and behavior patterns to our environment. We became the "kitchen window"-boy, that sits at the kitchen window and watches his peers playing rough and tumble plays outside.
Maybe we still desperately tried to get in contact with our daddy or the male world in general, but at some point we just gave it up. The heck with it.
The male world became a myth. Later on we will say that we've always felt homosexual. But think about it - what does a young boy know about sexuality (homosexuality above all!) unless someone told him or left some magazines laying there or whatever. So far there is not a single proof for the "gay gene" (not that this would matter for a Christian, but it does indicate that this is a man-made thing!).
We already spoke about all of that.
Tha male world became a myth to us - and with upcoming sexuality during puberty we sexualized the "other" - those who had what we thought we didn't have: masculine men. Hetero men. REAL men!
We already spoke about your image of a perfect bonding partner, too (hetero, unavailable - the perfect myth). And that the first step towards real bonding would be to give up your image of a perfect man and let the Lord guide you in this. Acknowledge your own helplessness and that your human wisdom lead to nothing so far. You're still alone.
You keep on telling us that you could never bond with someone who has same-sex attractions himself. Only with a "hetero".
Did the thought ever cross your mind that we are all "hetero's"? That such a thing as a "homosexual" does not exist - only heterosexual people with a homosexual problem? And that even your "perfect hetero's" sometimes have sexual experiences with other men, too (like in puberty - which does NOT make them homosexual!!)?
I am serious, Don: forget about your own image of how your perfect bonding partner should look like. Don't keep on telling yourself that he HAS to be like this or like that. Looks like a self-fulfilling prophecy: that man simply does not exist and like that you'll forever be alone, while getting more and more embittered, desperate, angry and sad.
Also work on developping your own masculinity. You need to see yourself as part of God's heterosexual creation: as one of the guys. The more your masulinity develops, the less you will eroticize other "masculine" men. Because you will see yourself as masculine, too!
What has really helped me is Robert Lewis' material (I started reading "Raising a Modern-Day Knight" and then went on to his other stuff). You'll find more on www.mensfraternity.com or www.rmdk.com.
Sometimes I do get the image that the Lord really wants to bless you, but you are so busy in running away from Him that He has a hard time doing so - you just won't stand still and let Him do His job!
Don, you don't have to believe a word I'm saying. But you might believe the creator of all things. Just show enough patience and trust Him enough to let Him heal your wounds, build up your self-esteem by showing you your true identity as a heterosexual, masculine man and blessing you richly by letting you use your talents for His purposes.
Maybe wqe are just a bunch of homosexual guys for you - but maybe the Lord reached out to you and brought you to HA to help you restoring your relationships with others and with Him. And who could help you best in this than those who know EXACTLY how you're feeling?
May the Lord continue to bless you always ,
On we go...
No, This has been a very difficult week. I struggled with issues like how much more my life makes sense if there is no God and merely evolution - I seem to be an engineering mistake resulting from some engineering compromise that makes more sense if a purposeless evolutionary process does the designing instead of a loving perfect God is doing the work. I struggled with whether or not God was telling me this is as good as it gets and I am not going to ever have a friend and I just have to learn to be content with the current situation. I really struggled with self pity and depression. Why would God dangle this in front of me and then snatch it away.
you are certainly not a mistake. You are different. Not better and not worse than anybody else. And you are loved in spite of all that you are and have done! The sooner you understand that, the better.
But I do know what you're talking about.
After some months in here in HA, one of my best friends (up to this day), Christopher came from the USA to pay me a visit for a couple of days.
He knows about my leaving the gay life and accepts and respects it. He is the one out of a million who would not try to seduce you (we had sex many years ago) or talk you out of it. He would even prevent me from doing it with anothr man. A wonderful guy.
Now we spent some incredibly great days. We had deep conversations, lots of fun and good times.
The day he left, I broght him to the station. We sat at a café and talked.
We were both hurting. And when he had to go, we just couldn't stop hugging each other. That was early in the morning.
I had to go to my job afterwards. It was November and raining.
I had a meeting with a customer this day and I went there with the subway. When I walked to that place on the rainy streets of Munich, it hit me like a truck. I felt like someone opened the door a little to show me what life could be like and then slammed it in front of my nose.
I didn't care about the sex (though I was tempted), but for Christopher's love and affection. We just had a great time.
So on my way to that customer I couldn't control myself anymore. I went into the entrance of a building where nobody could see me. There I stood - wet with rain and crying heavily. I felt like I would be forever alone and missed the chance to ever find love. Boy, that hurt.
And now? I found great friends. Godly friends. And I have learned to love the right way. To bond with other men like God wants me to. And I learned to fill my need for male love and attention the right way.
I do not feel alone or unoved, because I am not. Any relationship that is not according to God's will, will end up in total disaster.
Hope that helps,
Yes, That is exactly what I am talking about. The relationships I have had let me taste let me know the intensity and the emotional wonder of emotions I will never be in a place to fulfill in a free and acceptable way.
I feel so lonely and isolated. A question. I know exactly the kind of emotional connection you had with this guy. No sex was really needed for you to feel the love I know you felt. Do you truely feel the same wholeness, the same connection with your current friends as you felt with this guy?
even more so:
I have learned to break the gay thinking and behavior pattern:
I do not check people if they kind of turn me on and then I start bonding with them. The Lord brought me all kind of men - some would have turned me on in earlier days and some were totally against my usual pattern. And what was most surprising to me: I really learned to overcome my gay way of thinking and looked at them and loved them like the Lord would. I also still love Christopher - but not in a gay kind of love.
Sure there is always something that doesn't belong there. Temptation has to be in this world. But if you turn to the Lord, He will guide you!
There is no gay stuff involved in my current relationships with men - and this is what really makes them so dear and precious to me! I really love each and everyone of them - and this time the right way!
Sorry to keep asking for clairification but I am trying to understand myself and a bit of the universe as well - what is, what can be, what
should be, and the difference between them. When I talk about the intense feelings I am not talking about sex. I am talking about the kind of intense in love feeling with someone with absolutely no chance of anything ever getting physical. I presume that if I have a "healthy" relationship with a male friend I will not be "in love" with them. None of the brain chemistry that normally and appropriately bonds heterosexual couples will be creating any of the euphoria that I feel at those times because I won't be feeling those feelings. I won't feel either the intensity or the sense of bonding that I do when "in love" but at the same time I wont be feeling the intense longing for reciprocation that is so painful because I know he cant reciprocate the same feelings. I have to achieve three challenges first, that I must not allow myself to have that kind of bond with another man, This will require me to go through a grieving process for some feelings and experiences I will never have again, and some I will never have period. Second, that there may still yet be an intense level of intimacy and bonding that is less stressful and less painful because it is something that can be reciprocated. This is a faith process. I have a hard time believing right now that such a relationship can be as satisfying as this other "in love" feeling seems to have the potential to be. Third, I have to walk a tightrope. Allowing myself to trust and bond without falling in love. That is a lifeskill issue.
that was probably the hardest part in my recovery:
Changing from that "love feeling" that you describe to something godly.
Had you told me back then that such a thing exists - forget it. No way ever never.
But again: once you break that wall (yes, that truly is a wall that hinders you from seeing people with God's eyes) and get it over with (deal with that "love feeling" and ask the Lord to turn it into something good), it will change the way you look at people and life in general.
I've been on both sides. And let me tell you: the second one is so much better.
To love someone for what he is, for the wonderful person he is on the inside - WOW!
To learn to see someone like God would see him and love him just that way was something that was totally new to me. A totally new way of looking at people and relating to them.
Yes, Don, that can be learned. And prayed for.
What it takes to do that? I don't know a cool advice for that.
You might pray about it. Be more open for new ideas and new ways of looking at things. Try out new things and new ways of relating to other men. Hang out with them (I am talking about hanging out in the sense of having fun, going to a football game, playing cards, going fishing, hiking, doing sports with them or whatever...).
Also try to find some fun time in your life. Sounds simplistic, but seems to work pretty well. Try not to see yourself and the whole world so dead-end serious. Watch some good dvd's (take some sitcoms: "King of Queens", "Home Improvement" or stuff like that). Learn to laugh at yourself, at others (a healthy way! lol) and don't see your problems so seriously...
I KNOW how dumb that sounds. But I also know the incredibly positive effect such a new way of seeing things can have.
Don, you are truly a great guy. And I am honest about that. You are something really special. And you could be an incredible blessing for many others - including yourself.
I'd like to ask all of the guys in here: pray for your brother Don. That he finds someone to bond with. That the Lord opens his heart to see things a new way. That He finds hope and comfort.
Thanks for this clarification. I got some encouragement from this letter - that is I got a glimmer of faith that maybe there is a different way of bonding with other men that can be really emotionally satisfying without quite the in love thing that comes from erotisizing the relationship even subconsciously. Right now for me it is this emotional wall keeping out strong emotions - this emotional wall is up there to protect me from falling off the edge of the world and I think at some point I can let it down, but right now the wall is so high that I am a bigger impediment to bonding than the other men are. The reason is the really difficult time I had with several men in the past few years, particularly a guy named Jeff. I can't go through that again, and so I don't know how to proceed or more accurately I am hesitant to allow myself to feel.
can I ask you something?
If you haven't done so far, watch the movie "Pay it Forward" with Kevin Spacey and Rachel Hunter (and the little boy from "Sixth Sense).
Mr. Simonet (Kevin Spacey) is so much like myself some years ago - and you now - that it totally broke me up when I saw it the first time. How that grown man is so locked up in his sad and lonely world. And how that little boy says in the end that some people feel so secure with that even though it means lots of hurts and loneliness for them that they would rather hold on to their private prison than to reach out and accept other people's love.
And Mr. Simonet runs out to the women he was just about to leave, but that he loved so much and told her in tears that he doesn't want to end up like one of the guys that little boy was just describing and would she please get him out of this prison and save him.
THAT WAS SO MUCH ME!!!
Dear Don, sometimes we are like little babies who desperately grab on to the next best thing they can find instead of trying the first steps on their own. Trying to walk in spite of all their fears and insecurity.
Somebody once tole me he feels like someone that jumped off the edge of a cliff and doesn't know if somebody will catch him down there or if his parachute would open - or waht's down there at all.
Or like an eagle baby that is sitting on the edge of its nest and doesn't dear to jump off, spread its wings and FLY!!
Because that's what we truly are: eagles - bound to fly.
As I said last week I have given myself permission to initiate meetings with friends. I called Alan over the weekend and it was a washout. I suggested working out together, he didn't feel like it, I suggested a movie, nothing was on he wanted to see, I suggested going to have some overpriced coffee at Starbucks and he said he would check on his wife's plans for the weekend and call me back - he didn't. Apparently it was too soon since I had seen him the week before and I am still dealing with some arms length issues there. I called Vic Wednesday about getting together after he got out of choir practice. He said no that he would probably be visiting with his friends in choir afterward. Well this chain of events just felt like a real slap down. Not that I had done anything wrong, but that I had made a terrible mistake. How had I misread the signals God was sending me. I had recalled two issues I had grieved through - been done with. First I would never have a really close intimate friendship with someone who knew and understood and liked being with me. I had accepted that God simply would not allow that and now I had been stupid enough to get my hopes up. Why would I put myself through this again. And then Vic. I had grieved for years, been suicidal after Vic abandoned me and went on with his life. After having been through that hell how could I allow myself to think that friendship could be restored. I was lonely and I was isolated, but I was not being stupid enough to let anybody hurt me, I had resigned myself to the situation and knew it was the best path I could take and now I had reached out to some guys and gotten put in my place. I was pretty low. Thinking frankly that this whole thing of attempting again to get into HA and work the steps and seek out this friendship thing was a big mistake.
Then I looked on my phone and Vic had called me back. When I got hold of him he said he could go out with his choir anytime and since I was free tonight that we should go out tonight. It took a while for me to realize what had happened, but God had worked me over a bit. I got to see that I am still really vulnerable to some really destructive dependency issues, that I had already handed over to someone else my sense of self worth and allowed someone else to be a trigger for self pity and anger at God, myself and my situation. We had a really good visit. I did some self talk on the way over, managed to think through and therefore avoid doing anything stupid like talking about how I had reacted to the initial turn down. I had wanted to ask him why he had changed his mind - had he felt sorry for me - had
he heard the hurt in my voice when I had said "no problem I will catch you next time see you later" and quickly hung up because I didn't know if my voice would crack. But I didn't. He actually talked about himself in a why he had not in a long time. Talked about the stress in his life from all the changes he was facing - empty nest with last child moving out this summer - the special needs school he teaches at being dissolved and the remnants being split into two entities and not knowing if he still had a job, his oldest daughter getting married, the death in the last year of both his mother and his father. I don't remember the last time any male friend has opened up to me at all about how he was feeling. At the end of the evening he reached over and gave me a hug. I still couldn't receive it or even reciprocate. I still don't fully understand that, but it is a fear compounded by the public nature of the thing - getting a hug out in front of a restaurant. I so want to just be able to let loose and get and receive a hug from this guy. To any who have been praying thanks and keep it up. This is a war in me and there are battles going on in places I cannot see or know about that are affecting this.
ok, now you really got me with this. You moved me to tears.
Seeing that little boy in you coming up and crying out that he wants to be loved and being totally insecure and desperate once someone would get a little closer... Boy, that's something to break the hardest heart...
D., you might stop analysing every move someone makes and being totally insecure about what it means - if it ends your frienship with that person.
Just try to relax in those situations and not think about it at all.
Also you might have realized that other - hetero - men are hurting, too, and the want someone they can talk to and hold, too...
Please never give up hope, D..
And trust. Trust in Him.
You are right - I need to not mull over what people do - not ascribe motivations to what they do - when I let my mind work that way I always come up with rejection at some level as an explination - I see rejection everywhere and most of the time it is just people and their own self absorbtion.
THAT'S my man!!
One other thing. I am glad for this group because I have a place to go with all this instead of just having to stuff it down. It helps to
release it and it helps me be able to have a conversation like I had with Vic last week and not bring up all my craziness and scare him. Thanks.
that is the best compliment you could have ever made us.
Either this is God's will or it is His will for now and somehow I have something I have to do or accomplish or something before God has mercy and changes me. I just don't think He is going to change me, it isnt that I have to do anything, it is just what he has decided I have to go through. Somehow I am supposed to endure it.
it all depends on the question: do we consider homosexuality (acting out or pursuing it on purpose) sinful? If so, then of course God can overcome it - like any other sin!
Basically, this is a question of faith. We do not heal by our own efforts, but by our faith - and the grace of God. Now does that mean we can lean back and wait what happens? NO! He is a loving father who teaches us - sometimes the hard way. It is a long and painful process, but it is so much worth it. "Deny yourself, take your cross upon you and follow Me!" - doesn't sound like all that much fun being a Christian, huh?
It is a yoke - but a the only yoke that can give life. True life.
I know, D., how hard it is at times. When we are so lonely and "those" feelings are still there and we'd like to raise our fist against the sky and yell up to Him: "Why can't you do something about it? I don't want to be that way!"
Yes, sometimes I have my downs, too. Satan does a great job at times lying to us.
But then again I have those dear friends that have become lifetime friends to me: good men I am bonding with and that fulfill the need behind my same-sex attractions a healthy way.
I am not alone. It is hard sometimes - but it is hard for everyone out there. At some point, it will all make sense, Don.
I guess when we are with Jesus we will realize how much it was worth it.
should know that I have not been idlely standing by the past 40 years waiting for God to heal me. I have dedicated myself to the process of healing, including 2 or 3 years in HA at very nearly the inception of the online groups (I do remembe Bill) and about 5 years of therapy as well as some years of pastoral counciling and continual bible study and attendance at a number of excellent teaching seminars from "Exchanged Life" to Gothards Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts to the Purpose Driven Life. There are many more but I have absorbed and adapted to and understood a lot of good teaching and through this I have enjoyed a lot of healing of the emotional hurts, develped a greater sense of my place in the world of men as an equal to any of them and largely through therapy to think of myself as "one of the club" so to speak. Despite all this, the fundimental sexual urge is utterly unchanged. I had dealt with this over the past couple of years with a sense of resignation.
I would make the best of it, find meaning in my life as it was, remain resolute in no acting out and make sure I did not fall into another destructive codependent friendship. I was ok for a while, but the isolation was beginning to create a real emotional problem and I frankly reached out again to HA specifically to explore again the hope - or at least the possiblity of actual healing. That is the place I find myself. I find myself wondering if healing is a rational pursuit or if I am not simply putting myself through a lot of unnecessary pain and emotional trauma and I should simply return to my strategy of acceptance. The jury is still out I suppose. I have seen considerable evidence that God wants to provide me with some contact with a male I can bond with, but frankly that has not manifested itself with a new friend or with additional contact with old so much as tring to see value it the limited friendships I currently have - essentially just finding acceptance
and contentment with the situation as it is, which is my old strategy. I know coming here has helped me do that.
read "A Life That Wins" by Watchman Nee if you would, please. I am honest: read it. It isn't a big one.
you think way too much in an intellectual, human way. Human wisdom. You are so busy fighting any attempt to help or change you that you're not even at step one yet: admitting your own helplessness. Admitting that the way you've tried to work things out hasn't lead you to anything good so far. Letting everything out which is "you" and let God in.
What does "healing" mean? First, it means obedience. Following God's will. Then, it means refinding your God-given heterosexual identity. That does NOT mean you should marry and have kids. It means to realize there is no such thing as a homosexual - there is but heterosexuals with a homosexual problem. Thus the goal is NOT to lead a pure, chaste life. That would mean missing it. Some will develop feelings for the other gender, other will stay single.
Why do you feel that ongoing lust? Well, welcome to the real world! You think that is an exclusively homosexual problem? How do you think a married hetero guy feels when a hot girl offers herself to him? Or when he has marriage problems, the lust, however still being there?
Temptation has to be in this world.
So why are we this way? Why didn't He make us all "perfect"? Why are there "unperfect" people in this world? Why do bad things happen (being a victim does not mean you have to be raped. It means that homosexuality is always pain-driven. ALWAYS. Yu find something in everyone's past).
To help you think about this, read the following little story.
God bless you.
Here we go:
People always say how mean kids can be, never how nice they can be. This story will either make you cry, give you cold chills or just leave you cold, but it puts life into perspective!
At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning-disabled children, the father of one of the school's students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all that attended. After extolling the school and its
dedicated staff, he offered a question. "Everything God does is done with perfection. Yet, my son Shay cannot learn things as other children do.
He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is God's plan reflected in my son?" The audience was stilled by the query. The father continued. "I believe," the father answered, "that when God brings a
child like Shay into the world, an opportunity to realize the Divine Plan presents itself and it comes in the way people treat that child."
Then, he told the following story:
Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, "Do you think they will let me play?"
Shay's father knew that the boys would not want him on their team. But the father understood that if his son were allowed to play it would give him much-needed sense of belonging. Shay's father approached one of the boys
on the field and asked if Shay could play.
The boy looked around for guidance from his teammates. Getting none, he took matters into his own hands and said, "We are losing by six runs, and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and
we'll try to put him up to bat in the ninth inning." In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.
At the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the outfield. Although no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him
from the stands.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base. Shay was scheduled to be the next at-bat. Would the team actually let Shay bat at this juncture and give away their chance to win the game?
Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball. However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least be able to make contact.
The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly toward Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball to the pitcher. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could easily have thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have ended the game.
Instead, the pitcher took the ball and threw it on a high arc to right field, far beyond reach of the first baseman Everyone started yelling, "Shay, run to first, run to first." Never in his life had Shay ever made it to first base.
He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled. Everyone yelled, "run to second, run to second!" By the time Shay was rounding first base, the right fielder had the ball. He could have thrown the ball to the second
baseman for a tag. But the right fielder understood what the pitcher's intentions had been, so he threw the ball high and far over the third baseman's head. Shay ran towards second base as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases towards home.
As Shay reached second base, the opposing shortstop ran to him, turned him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "run to third!" As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams were screaming, "Shay Run home!"
Shay ran home, stepped on home plate and was cheered as the hero for hitting a "grandslam" and winning the game for his team.
"That day," said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, "the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of the Divine Plan into this world."
And now, a footnote to the story: We all send thousands of jokes through e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to sending messages regarding life choices, people think twice about sharing. The crude, vulgar
and sometimes the obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of decency is too often suppressed in school and the workplace.
If you are thinking about forwarding this message, you are probably thinking about which people on your address list aren't the "appropriate" ones to receive this type of message. The person who sent this to you believes that we can all make a difference. We all have dozens of opportunities a day to help realize God's plan. So many seemingly trivial interactions between people present us with a choice; do we pass along a spark of the Divine-love that God gives to us every day? Or do we pass up that opportunity and leave the world a bit colder in the process?
So, please do not be discouraged thinking hat you will always struggle with this, or that God wants to keep you there. Those types of thoughts come from only one place, and that is from the father of lies himself, Satan. John 8:44 He will do anything to keep you where you are at, to discourage you and to drag you down. He does not want you to change.He is working on you big time because you pose a threat to him these days as you are struggling to do the will of God. He hates God with a passion. He hates you as you struggle with change because you are a likeness of God and he hates anything that reminds him of God.
Therefore, do not give up, keep working on believing that change is possible and will happen though not perhaps as fast as you would like. God is not finished with you, but has only just begun. Be sure of this; ".....that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." Phil. 1:6
have a great and Godly week, keeping you mind and heart firmly fixed on Him.."...setting your mind on things above not on earthly things. " Col. 3:2-3
This dialogue appeared in the HA Newsletter:
If you’ve never struggled with same-sex attractions, you may find it difficult to understand the pain that those who do are going through. If you do struggle with homosexuality, you know that pain all to well and may be having a difficult time not allowing that pain to overwhelm you and damage your relationship with God, with others, and with yourself.
The man in pain, D—., writes, “I cannot have what I want, what I need. Other people get it all, don’t you see, They get to fall madly in love, the love at all those level— emotionally, sexually—and can bond and enjoy every aspect of oneness with another person. It’s called falling in love and getting married. It is a well-respected practice in Churches everywhere.
“We don’t get to have those emotions or enjoy that connectedness with another human being—that one, special, unique person that we are completely and utterly joined to and with whom we share everything. We are at the window of the candy store and all we can do is look and, as we watch others, see exactly what we are missing while they get to go inside and feast—all with God’s blessing.
“God has created me a social animal with social needs to bond in this way and yet tweaks me so that the need is more intense than it is for most people and then says—sorry guy—the desire that I gave you is something you are not allowed to fulfill. It is sin.
“Don’t say that God didn’t give me the desire because at so many levels He did. He is sovereign, and whether it is nature or nurture or a combination of the two, this sovereign God certainly managed to orchestrate my being born to a bastard of a father and an over-bearing, domineering mother and set me in a group of peers that treated me like a fag pariah long before I knew what either of those words meant. Good grief, who do I blame for orchestrating all the things necessary for this—the tooth fairy?
“It was God’s doing. Was it for my sin or my parent’s sin that I should be born or be nurtured into faghood? Or was it for the glory of God—well thank you very much, but hey, Mr. God, how’s that working for you? Not a lot of glory noticeable down here.
“How does God not answer this prayer? I have been a born again Christian for almost 40 years. I have been at various levels of personal devotion and faith. I have gone through long periods of a deep and close walk with God, and I have gone through periods of great struggle. I have had periods where I was accepting of my condition and periods when I cried out to God in the deepest anguish and desperation. I have devoted myself to service to God and thrown myself on his mercy, depending only on his grace. I have walked the walk of devotion to God. I do not think God should have answered this prayer because of what I have done for him. I don’t expect God to be impressed by me.
“I expect God to answer this prayer because that is the only action consistent with what every word of the Bible breathes about the nature and character of God. God designed us and gave us the need for human closeness and the need for sex. I was fearfully and wonderfully made inside my mother’s womb (my genetic origins) and nothing I have experienced was not filtered by God’s will. God created me and created the circumstances of my environment—put in place the structures necessary to create this need for closeness and for sex, and then, unlike 95% of the population, makes it impossible for me to fulfill this need without committing a sin God hates.
“Hey God, I am about to turn 50. Not much time left to change this. How about giving me a chance at some of the pleasures in life that everybody else both takes for granted and couldn’t imagine living without. I don’t really want to have sex with another man. I want to have the same need everybody else has. I want to be fixed.
“Do you know what really irks me? In high school my classmates—lots of them churchgoers—were screwing girls right and left. I have had fewer sex partners than any heterosexual man I know. What did I do before I was 11 to deserve this?
“I have prayed to be fixed for 40 years and it’s pretty clear that not only did God orchestrate my environment and/or genes to get me here, but that He has no intention of doing anything about it. He likes his handiwork.
How hard can this be? God is all-powerful so of course it isn’t about what God can do—it is a matter of what He wants to do. It is his will that I want sex and love from a man and it is his will that I need sex and love from a man and it is his will that I never get it because that is sin. It is his will that I can never need or want it from a woman and it is his will that my prayer to need and want it from a woman is never fulfilled and it is his will that I never get it from a woman. It is apparently his will that I live in isolation from all other human beings until I die!
What makes this so different than any other kind of problem is that there is nobody to blame but God. I have tried for a long time to find some way around it. A sovereign God could have given me a stable group of affirming male friends, a different mix of stress hormones during my mother’s pregnancy, may parent’s early divorce and my mother’s remarriage to a decent man. God could have easily prevented my homosexual struggle and God could at any point have easily fixed it. I was asking God to make is possible to meet a basic need without sinning. Sounds pretty reasonable to me.
“And God’s silence on the matter tells me something about God, There is something about my view of God in the Bible that simple has to be false. Either God is not so powerful, or he is not so loving, or he simply isn’t paying any attention to us. Giving us a basic need for sex and emotional closeness and then orchestrating our lives to make the only channel we can get that need met a sin is cruelty! Something about the sweet, loving God of the Bible is just plain wrong! This is not just a pity party—there are serious ethical and theological issues that place the theology I have been taught in direct conflict with the God that created my universe.”
The man to whom D—wrote, Robert, answered: “Dear D—., You sound so much like I did some time ago. Even today such thought come up. But I had what you say you are looking for. I was one of the few gay men who had a long term, love relationship. I stress the word ‘love’ because there was a lot of love involved. But it was the wrong king of love, and looking back at it now I see that it had a lot to do with narcissism, being centered on self and wanting someone to fulfill my emotional and sexual needs. But it was love—sort of, kind of.
“So if this is all we really need, why didn’t it fulfill me and make me happy? Why did I lie night after night beside him in our common bed after we had just had sex and feel terribly alone? Why did I always feel that this was not what I was looking for? Why did the gay life change my personality—much to the worse—and lower my moral standards? Why did it NOT fulfill my basic needs? I seemed to have it all—a hot, masculine man, lots of ‘great’ sex, someone to love and share my life with to the end. Why did I still feel so empty?
“Forget about hormones. They have nothing to do with your same-sex attractions. And even if we assume that there is a ‘gay gene,’ we are not slaves to our genetic code. If you had diabetes (which is genetic), would that mean you should inundate yourself with sugar? No, it would mean you should to take care of what you eat and how you live. If, as some argue, certain forms of criminal behavior have genetic causes, does that make them right? Neither of us thinks so!
“My ex was an Israeli and we sometimes talked about the suffering of the Jews under Hitler. He told me that many of them lost their faith when they had so suffer so bitterly. He told my how they chased all his relatives in Poland into a synagogue and set it on fire. The dying Jews cut their arms until they bled and wrote final message on the synagogue walls. They wanted to be remembered and avenged.
“Why did God let that happen? Why did he put them in such an ‘environment’? Why did he put lust for men into your heart? Why didn’t he take it away? Why doesn’t He put us all back into paradise? I know of no simple answer to these questions.
“What I do know is that I’ve been where you seem to want to go. I’ve done all you seem to want to do. And I hope I’ll never be back there again! Forget it, D—, it doesn’t work the way you think it does.
“Heterosexuality is so deeply engraved in our hearts that even if you feel nothing for a woman, you do feel very strange and weird when you enter a same-sex relationship. Even if everyone in your family and all your friends and the people at your job fully approve of your choice, you still feel very strange and weird. And at least one of you have to change or bend or something to try to make it work. Heterosexuality is just too deeply in us.
“Even if you find the relationship you long for, you will soon find it’s not what you were looking for. You will become embittered, sad, and disappointed; and the gap between you and the male world will become bigger and bigger. The way you talk, the way you walk, your entire personality, your moods, your thinking, your behavior patterns, the way you look, the way you dress—everything will change—and not for the better.
“It’s not a bad thing to be different. It makes us lonely at times, but it also enables us to see and feel things so deeply that many heterosexual men would envy us if they knew how that felt. Everything has its up side and its down side.
“I recently worked at a brother’s house doing some construction work with other men from my church. They all love me and I love them. They know about my homosexual struggle and they know about my past life. They know that sometimes I struggle. So what! Everyone out there is hurting. If you don’t realize that you’re either very naive or believe in other people’s facades.
“And, as I said earlier, I know that a sexual relationship with a man won’t satisfy my needs. I’ve come a long way and I know I can have a truly satisfying life. I needed to change many of my old ways of thinking, attitudes, and behavior patterns to get to this point, but it works! I have a fulfilled life as a man who still has some same-sex attractions.
“Just for discussion’s sake, let’s assume God exists and knows what is best for us. He created us and knows what happens who we choose to disobey. He also knows how stubborn we can be. Don’t all those feeling of loneliness, unhappiness, anger, self-pity, etc. come when we turn our face away from Him and try to live our own way according to our own wisdom and/or feelings?
“D—, I know that you have resisted acting out by having sex with another man—it just doesn’t seem to be in your heart yet. Believe me when I say I know how difficult this struggle is. When I got into recovery it was after sharing my life with another many for years. Every night he had slept by my side and I could hear him breathing regularly. He was there when I went to be and when I got up. And we had sex together—lots of sex. Can you realize how lonely you can feel at night in your bed after that? I cried many tears.
“And he can save yours—if you will only surrender to him and forget about your own wisdom and reason. Let Him rule your life—even when you can’t understand what He is trying to do with it. And as you do this, never forget that He loves you with a love that passes knowledge.
What follows are some additional reflections which came out of my own struggles that I thought might help D— (and you) as he tries to hold his footing on the sometimes painful, confusing, difficult and treacherous road to recovery.
Thank you for your good letter to Robert, for permission to share it with others, and for the honesty with which you wrote. Your letter brought back memories of things I felt in my first days of recovery and again and again I found myself saying, “Been there; thought that; felt that.”
Let me stress, D—, these feelings and thoughts are now memories. I can assure you from my own experience that things will not always seem so grim. If you stick it out with Christ, work your program faithfully, things will get better—much better if my experience is any guide.
As you read, please remember that I do not know anything about you save what you wrote in your letter. If I inadvertently step on a land mine in your soul and you are wounded, please forgive me and believe me when I say it is totally unintentional. You have enough pain to deal with now without anyone adding to it, and that’s the last thing I want to do.
Also please remember that I am not writing as someone who is or was better than you are. I am only writing as one God has mercifully brought through the darkness you are battling now. I have thought much of what you are thinking; I have felt much of what you are feeling. Neither one of us has any hope of standing before the judgment throne of God except that found in the blood and righteousness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I regret all that now that I am enjoying sunnier days, but it was there when I was in darkness. As someone has said, “When God takes us through the fire, dross is what comes out!” The result, in my case, is not yet pure gold, but it is purer gold than it once was. I’m sure you too will find it so in the not-too-distant future if you “keep yourself in the love of God” (Jude 21).
It seems to me that you are struggling with the doctrines of the love of God and the sovereignty of God. I’ve struggled with those doctrines too, so please bear with me as I share the things that have helped me and hope will throw at least some light on the path you are walking.
Back in my own dark days, I’m afraid I often reacted toward God much like a sullen, spoiled child who storms out of the room, shouting at his parents, “If you don’t give me what I want, if you don’t do what I think you ought to do, you don’t love me!” Like a child who assumes he knows what is best for him, I assumed I was wiser than God and surely knew what was good for me better than He did.
You’d think my own childhood would have taught me better. I had been told by my parents never to ride double on a bicycle because it was dangerous and I might get hurt. But I, in my great wisdom, thought I knew better. “I’m tired of being treated like a little kid,” I told myself, “I’m going to act like a man!” So I got on the back of a friend’s bike and we took off down a steep hill. We were flying! Everything was fine until we got to the curve at the bottom of the hill. We were going so fast we couldn’t make the turn. The bike crashed and I landed on my face. I broke my two front teeth and my face looked like a cross between hamburger and a skinned knee! So much for knowing better than my parents.
Fortunately, I knew the Bible was the Word of God and even in my worst moments continued studying it. As I did so, I found something that at first seemed strange. The Apostle Paul could write that “the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (II Corinthians 5:14,15 ESV). Yet this same man who says the love of Christ controls him also, in this very letter, describes his life as involving “far greater labors [than the false teachers who attacked him], far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure” (II Corinthians 11:23-27 ESV). How could he be controlled by—even believe in—the love of Christ when his life involved so much hardship and suffering? It didn’t seem to make sense!
And then I read this: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present not the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35-39 NIV).
While I was puzzling over these seemingly strange verses, I came across the story of a Bible-believing pastor’s wife who was dying of cancer and was in considerable pain. Her doctor was not a Christian and, forgetting her own problems, she sought to be of help to him by telling him of the love of God in Christ Jesus.
The doctor was irritated and responded with that cruelty which only those who despise God and His people are capable of. He shouted at her, “Love of God! Love of God! How can you talk about the love of a God who lets you suffer so? How can still talk about God’s love?”
The woman was taken aback and leaned back on her pillow for a moment as she prayed for him, and then she smiled gently and quoted two verses to him: “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him” (I John 4:9 NIV). “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation (the word means wrath removing sacrifice) for our sins: (I John 4:10 ESV). I don’t know what the effect of those words was on that doctor, but they made a light go on in my head and that light dispelled the fog of confusion and doubt.
Another passage popped into my head: “When we were still helpless, Christ died for the wicked, at the time that God chose. It is a difficult thing for someone to die for a righteous person. It may be that someone might dare to die for a good person. But God has shown us how much he loves us: it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8 TEV)!
There are other passages that teach the same truth, of course. I won’t tire you by repeating them. If you wish, you can look up the cross references in your Bible for the passages I have quoted. I picked these because they were the ones that helped me.
Later I read that others had seen the same truths that God had used to help me (surprise, surprise!). Dr. James Moffatt wrote: “One of the surprising results yielded by any close examination of Christianity as revealed in the New Testament literature is that apart from the redeeming action of the Lord Jesus Christ the early Church evidently saw no ground whatsoever for believing in a God of love.” [James Moffatt, Love in the New Testament, (London: 1932), p. 5 quoted in Leon Morris, Testaments of Love: A Study of Love in the Bible, (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1981), p. 129]
To be honest, as I think of the things of which I am deeply ashamed, and think of the great love God showed someone like me—a rebel, unclean, a sinner—in allowing Christ to die in my place and take the punishment that I deserved, I feel ashamed of my former “what have you done for me lately” attitude.
You might ask, why is the cross the only place we can look to be sure of the love of God? First, our experiences will change from day to day. We live in a sin-cursed world and therefore we can expect that, because of God’s mercy, things will sometimes go well; but, because of the curse, things will also sometimes be difficult. We must learn to rejoice in all that is good and to accept that which is difficult until heaven (where there is only good) is ours.
Again, we live in the midst of sinners who hate Christ and may hate us (see John 15:18-21). Their rejection and persecution can be a real source of pain. We must accept that, “deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him,” and remember that to save our life is the sure way to lose it (Mark 8:34-38).
Finally, while I cannot speak for you, I know I am still a sinner with many rough edges that need to be smoothed down. God sometimes allows difficulties in my life to, like sandpaper, get rid of those things that make me unfit, at present, for the inheritance of the saints of light. He is not only preparing heaven for me; He is preparing me for heaven. I suspect it is so with you as well. So we can learn to obey the injunction of Scripture: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance (the ESV translates this steadfastness). Perseverance must finish it s work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4 NIV).
Dear brother, I know I have not answered all your questions. I will take up the question of the sovereignty of God next time. These are tough questions you raise and I hope I can help with them. But do look to Calvary and see the heart of God toward you and me with all our weakness and folly and rebellion and rest your weary soul there. If you can do that, it will be well with you. God bless you, D—.
A Different Approach to Same-Sex Attractions for Ex-Gay- and Purity Ministries
Seeing same-sex attractions not as all wrong in and of themselves, but also considering the blessings they can bring will necessarily need to a different approach in the everyday work and the visions of ex-gay ministries as well.
So far, at best all we could scratch together was something like Same-sex attractions alone are not sinful only acting upon them is. There is one problem with that (well-intentioned) argumentation: it just does not work. If same-sex attractions are not altogether and just because they exist bad, then there obviously is also a potential positive side to them (there is no such thing as neutral). That is, they might also have good and valuable consequences! It is only what we make of them in our fallen state what makes them sinful.
Same with sexuality in general: we can go for the hookers or we can regard it as something holy and wanted by God, as something life- and love-giving where a man and a woman become so much one they will have to give that one a name nine months later.
Think about the resources we gave them and the help we offered them: We wrote books with lots of practical advices of how to control our sexual desires and how not to fall, action plans, we made sure they find out their triggers (persons or objects that sexually arouse them in an inappropriate way) and how they could avoid them or focus on Bible verses once they get exposed to them. We explained in great detail how a broken relationship with their same-sex parent, a dominant mother, a perceived unloving environment in childhood with self-pity as a sort of medication and substitute for love and against pain, a distorted view of ones own identity led to their same-sex attractions. We showed them various psychological theories of how that could have happened and how they can deal with this now. We told them to pray when their temptations came up and run for Christ once it gets too strong and overwhelming.
Do not get me wrong: all of that is good and necessary. There is nothing wrong with any of that (aside possible flaws in some secular psychological explanations and theories maybe. Like any theory some might prove to be wrong or only apply to select individuals).
So whats my point?
Well, we put people with same-sex attractions in a no-win situation. Yes, those resources where useful to some degree, but they fell short in many cases in the end. The problem is more the image we have of people with same-sex attractions that seems to be behind all of that: We saw them almost as ticking time-bombs that needed a constant daily structure not to explode. We told them how messed up they were psychologically, how broken their relationship with the Lord was, how insufficient their (healthy) bonds with other members of the same sex were, how one thing led to the other and put them into a situation that they need or want to get out from now. A change of perspective, behavior, attitude, identity issues, understanding of the past and of family matters, and the like was the goal in all of that. Again: a lot if not all of that is true and necessary at least to some degree. It is necessary for every Christian.
What is not necessary, however, is to see people with same-sex attractions only as that and/or to generalize certain aspects (one size fits all). With much of what we have been doing so far, we almost put those we wanted to reach out to into a position where they almost felt like jerks, falling constantly short of what and where they should or wanted to be. Yes, that is the case for every Christian we all fall short when it comes to being the men and women God designed us to be. Also there definitely have been changes in the lives of many individuals in various areas of those lives, including the spiritual areas. So yes, a lot of our work was and is useful. The thing is, that if that is where it stops, then people who to some degree always struggle with same-sex attractions might see themselves almost as something like disordered, weak individuals with no self-discipline and/or constant inappropriate looks and/or thoughts/acts, even though they definitely make progress in many aspects of their lives and learn to satisfy their needs a better way than maybe before.
If we fail to help people with same-sex attractions see the positive side these attractions might have and the potential that may lie within them, we definitely have missed the mark big time.
I am not talking about a feel-good approach that says its okay to be gay in the sense that as long as you feel good about it something is morally acceptable and if not then we help you feel good anyway. All of us have to do our part in becoming the men and women God wants us to be.
So in that sense all the resources and means mentioned above certainly are useful in helping people leading a godly life and understanding why they are the way they are. Also there definitely is a need (for everyone!) to understand what a real man and a real woman is all about and what our individual masculinity and femininity is all about and how we get there. What our real needs are and who we really are.
Some might seek to strengthen those traits within us that are an expression of experiencing heterosexually as to sexual and emotional attractions.
Yet all of that will not be enough. No wonder some gave up, went back into the gay life or built a new theology around their not being able to do all what needed to be done to live a life they considered godly. Constantly struggling against what must not be and yet is.
What we need to do us help people find out what Gods plan for their lives is and how they can use whatever gifts He has given them for His glory and that may include their same-sex attractions.
How can they begin to see themselves as God sees them and love themselves as God loves them and from there reaching out, preaching the Good News and make disciples?
How can those same-sex attractions help them do just that and become a blessing for the world? How can they focus on what those attractions might have been intended for and not on what our fallen state has made with them?
Being attracted to the same sex means a lot more that simply having a crush for someone or lusting after him/her. It also means to be able to bond with him/her on a much deeper level than a mere heterosexual attraction would allow. And that definitely is a gift not just as to the same sex, but also as to the opposite one.
It also means that those people might have a much deeper understanding of what is going on inside of those of the same sex. That they have the missing keys to their hearts which allow them to open their hearts.
What we have taught them so far (and can still teach them) will help them watch their own hearts so they do not become a stumbling block for those they are responsible for.
How about we come to an understanding that it can be perfectly okay to have same-sex attractions. As every other Christian people with same-sex attractions are called to lead a godly life, but they also have other gifts and talents than other people. Gifts that can and should be cherished and used as a blessing and thus bear rich fruit. That help others see things from another perspective and reach out to those that others wont reach.
What a blessing we as ex-gay- and purity ministries would be for people with same-sex attractions then and what a blessing they could become for themselves and for the rest of the world!
God Continues to Hold Out His Hand...
God firstly sent our greatest hope, Jesus Christ. And He continually sends us help by way of friends, family, acquaintances etc. But all to often we reject the help God sends us.
Oh how much better it would be if at first we reach out and grab the hand that wants to rescue us. I am so grateful that God does not stop sending out rescuers only three times, but continues to hold out His hand every day for us and sends us hope and help by ways of friends, family, acquaintances. And most importantly by way of His Son Jesus Christ.
Let us never give up hope of rescue, never let us refuse help sent our way, and let us grab hold of the all saving, wonderful, powerful hand of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ.
Trust and obey folks, there is no other way, keeping our eyes focused on Him.
Hang in there friends One and All
We Are All Unique to Him
"I believe in the sun
even when it is not shining
And I believe in love,
even when there's no one there.
And I believe in God,
even when he is silent.
I believe through any trial,
there is always a way
But sometimes in this suffering
and hopeless despair
My heart cries for shelter,
to know someone's there
But a voice rises within me, saying hold on
my child, I'll give you strength,
I'll give you hope. Just stay a little while.
I believe in the sun
even when it is not shining
And I believe in love
even when there's no one there
But I believe in God
even when he is silent
I believe through any trial
there is always a way.
May there someday be sunshine
May there someday be happiness
May there someday be love
May there someday be peace...."
(Written by a Jew on the wall of a cellar in the Cologne concentration camp during WW2)