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I called myself a gay Christian until The Holy Spirit challenged that belief.  “I see plenty of gay in the your life, but I don’t see a lot of Christianity”, He said.  “Gay Christianity” was the religion I had crafted around the scriptures I chose to obey. The sin of homosexuality took precedence over any holiness in my life.  My daily goal was to proselytize about homosexuality.  Salvation through Jesus was often an accessory rather than a mantra.  My faith took a backseat to my sexuality, as it does with many gay Christians.  Some may disagree, but how many Christian pride parades have you seen lately?  Jesus prefers to be Lord of our life, rather than to share our heart with sin.  “…Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’ Matthew 16:24.

In March of 1999, I was three months into leaving my gay life and returning to God.  I moved back home; a small, Oklahoma town, population 1500.  I started attending the church I grew up in.  Sunday services were a necessary shot to my pride.  My spirit screamed Yee-haw.  My flesh was like “What the…?”

I wrote my pastor a letter about my past.  I wasn’t sure how he’d respond, but I was learning to trust God.  The pastor handled it better than expected.  Two weeks later he preached a sermon in response to my letter, to a small town, sheltered, mostly older congregation.  I’m sure they had there own “What the…?” moments that Sunday.  He spoke with great wisdom.  He defended wounded people and championed us to love people equally, but he stood firm against the sin of homosexuality.  The Holy Spirit led me to love Jesus.  Pastor Phil led me to love the bible.  I want to share my letter, written over 10 years ago.  I’ve learned a great deal more about the development of homosexuality in a person’s life.  My opinions are no longer filtered through the veil of my broken sexuality.  Hopefully this letter will help with your own walk out of homosexuality.

“Dear Phil,

There was a time, I thought, at the end of this trial I would be able to stand as an example to other men and women with the same plight.  I would wear my healing as a badge so that others on earth could see what I had accomplished.  I would be the light at the end of the tunnel.  I alone would give them hope.  I was wrong!

Ten years ago, when my journey into unrighteousness began, there were no real warning signs.  I knew right from wrong.  I also knew that I had never felt understood, loved or necessary.  I heard the message of God’s love all my life.  I learned of its power and unconditional nature.  It went in one ear and straight to my heart.  I never thought how those precious words might save my soul or light my path.  I held them as weapons to use against people who judged me.

If I told you I was an alcoholic, you would pray for deliverance from my addiction.  If I told you I was a smoker, your reaction would be similar.  You see redemption for these sinners.  These sins are prolific in our society.

My sin, however, is that I am a homosexual.  What is your first reaction: prayer or disgust?  Are you still concerned for my soul?  Would you put me into a class of sinners for which there is no hope?  A decision solely based on the belief that all homosexuals, not homosexuality, are a product of the devil?   That is the way a lot of Christians see it.  They see it as a sin that a person has taken on to themselves.  In essence, a lot of people view it as the “second unforgivable sin.”  When these beliefs became known to me God’s love suddenly become conditional.

The difference between a smoker or alcoholic and a homosexual, in my opinion, is very simple.  Although they are all sins, smoking and drinking are voluntary in the beginning, homosexuality is not.  One can stop purchasing alcohol or cigarettes or refuse to buy them in the first place.  Homosexuality lives in ones mind as a parasite,  “a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour”.   Homosexual acts are voluntary.  A homosexual can chose to remain abstinent.  However, the desires still persist.  Temptation is there, below the surface.  The fight becomes harder each day.  I am not justifying the sin.  I want you to look at it from my viewpoint.

Homosexuality is a “Cadillac” among sins.  The devil weaves it into a person’s life through natural processes such as puberty, sometimes through sexual abuse and as in my case, it appears as inherent knowledge.  Some scientists have even proposed it to be genetic.  If it is indeed genetic, then the devil has done his homework.

When the heterosexual world looks in from the outside they seem to believe that somewhere along the road, a person has chosen to become homosexual.  No one chooses to be a part of a group that is ridiculed and persecuted for their beliefs.  The only decision that homosexuals make is a decision to stop hiding their feelings; a decision to have the same opportunities as everyone else in society.  The only decision made is the decision to be happy.  They call the process “coming out of the closet”.  They herald this event as the start of life; a single defining moment.  “Coming out” is not a victorious triumph.  It is a way to give in to the temptations without feeling the guilt.  It is a pure and simple surrender to the forces of the devil.

The world is full of Christians who’d forgive you for murdering their firstborn before they’d help a repentant homosexual.  So many times a preacher will be delivering a sermon about redemption.  The expressions on his face demonstrate the love of God issuing forth from his heart.  Then the expression changes to a scowl, blood vessels arise on his forehead and his voice intensifies.  In disgust he utters the vilest words ever to be voiced in a church house, “Homosexual”!  For many years I endured situations like this.  Never once did I hear them identify the sin of homosexuality apart from the person that was a child of God. There always seems to be more people willing to convict than there are people willing to help.

When you are a little kid these feelings do not seem unnatural.  I remember seeing an adult male that I found attractive at the age of seven.  Well before the age of accountability.  I told my brother that if the man were a girl I would date him.  Somewhere in my mind I knew I was supposed to like girls, but with the innocence of a child I saw beauty in a man.  As I grew older these unnatural feelings persisted.  When someone tells you its wrong, you need answers.  The number one question that every child asks is “WHY?”.  No one was ever willing to give any answer other than “Because.”  I think one reason so many homosexuals have embraced the sin is because the world is full of answers as to why it is normal.  They are all the wrong answers, but they are answers nonetheless.  The churches I have been to have not provided any answers, but seemed to have a healthy amount of judgment for the taking.  At every corner it seems they have washed their hands of it altogether.

In the beginning I prayed nightly for God to make me normal.  I believed that if it was such an abomination God would remove it.  I thought Christians might be wrong about it.  Everything I had prayed for had come true, except for this one request from God.  God didn’t seem to want to take it out of my life, so it must be His will.  I carried this weight around.  I also carried those Christian principles with me.  At one point I attempted to meld the two.  I just knew that since homosexuality and Christianity were such an integral part of my life that God would accept me.  I called myself a gay Christian.  I helped other gay youths with their trials and tribulations.  With the unusually high rate of suicide among gay teens I thought for sure I was sent to “talk them down from the ledge”.  I would tell them that what they were feeling was not unnatural.  I would relay my own experience.  All the while my father was praying.

You talked about gay marriage the other day.  I have to look at the fact that these people in their own confused way seem to be reaching for spiritual normalcy in their lives.  Much the way I once believed.  They feel that by entering into marriage and living a Christian life that all will be well.

I was one of those couples.  I was dating someone who made me the happy.  I felt love and acceptance.  I wanted to have a union with this person.  My partner did not agree with my beliefs.  He did not believe in God.  Also sex was an important part of his life.  I thought God had sent me this person.  How could we not want the same things?  The Holy Spirit began to minister to me once again.  I was searching for God, but in the wrong places.  Dad paid us a visit and I got back on track.  The relationship ended.  I prayed my prayer again.  “Please let me be normal!”

There are a fair number of couples, gay and straight, living in sin with no plans of marrying.  Homosexual couples trying to make their union holy in the sight of God, are people who seem to want God in their life. The couples who do unite, don’t see homosexuality as the binding sin that will send them to hell.  The churches accepting them are doing it for the wrong reasons, mostly financial.  I simply wish there was a way for them to find the right church where God could begin to minister to their lives.  They are people just like you and I.  They need a voice going up to God for deliverance of their soul.

I met one young man who was the son of a Baptist minister.  He told me that there was no place in his life for his Christian beliefs as well as his homosexuality.  He chose the latter.  Once again, the tiny amount of hope I had in my heart died, along with it the belief that I would ever be normal.

Ultimately it seemed if I was going to get right with God, I would be walking the road alone.  My gay friends could not understand why I just wouldn’t accept my homosexuality.  I was afraid to tell Christians for fear of judgment.  I struggled with the idea that I would be alone.  Once I became clean and new in the Lord, Christians would accept me when the homosexuals rejected me.  No one wants to be alone.  Though we always have God, there is still that part of us that craves human companionship.

God was kind enough to send me an angel in 1992.  A wonderful person who had endured similar trials.  She listened to my story, prayed for me and most of all, refused to judge me and add to my pain.  I just received a letter from her.  She is still so in love with God and professes His love for me.  My dad has also been the spiritual light in my life.  I know there has not been a day that has gone by that he has not prayed for me.

When I began this letter, I had written ten pages before I came up for a breather.  I was angry at first.  The spirit of the Lord arrested that anger and allowed me to speak my mind in a calmer fashion.  The entire letter was written as I endured the voice of the devil placing mental images in my mind.  He also tried to make me believe once again that God had not taken this sin out of my life, because it was my calling in life.  It was who I am.  He tried to pit me against the church that “judged” me and also the Lord that loves me.

I didn’t want to have to wake up everyday and pray, “God please don’t let me be gay today!”  What kind of a life would that be?  Would that be true healing?  I thought if I prayed about this that one day it would go away.  The day I realized it was something I might have to pray about each day, I wept uncontrollably.  I still cry about it from time to time.  In the case of the smoker, there is program after program about how to quit.  Alcoholics have AA, drug treatment hospitals, halfway houses, family intervention and a wealth of other avenues.  What does a gay man or woman in today’s society have?  Judgment!

My goal in writing this letter is not to promote acceptance or tolerance.  I simply would like you to have an idea what it is like to have this sin in one’s life.  A sin that for a time seemed as natural as breathing; as natural as a man’s love for a woman.  What men take for granted each day, something as simple as love for a woman, I find unattainable and foreign.  I have to pray for that love to manifest itself in my life.  When you preached that message about a besetting sin.  I felt God had finally heard my cries.  There could have been 5000 people in that church and I still think that message was meant for me. This was another prayer I prayed for a time.  “God if it is wrong for me to feel love for a man, then let me only have love for you.  I could not feel love for a woman.  I will do as you wish God.  I will not express this love for a man, but I do not wish to feel the same love for a woman.  I would have to start all over.  I do not want to do that.  I simply want to live my life loving you.”

In essence I was praying for God to make me a Catholic priest, I suppose.  It was a horrible prayer.  I can see that now.  I was trying to punish God, because I felt slighted that I could not be a homosexual and it was unnatural.  If he didn’t want me to be gay I did not want his natural plan for my life.  I have since stopped using that prayer.          Although I want people to begin to pray for the homosexual community, I don’t think that should be our focus.  There are plenty of besetting sins out there. Mine was homosexuality.  Believe it or not, there are gays out there who are searching for the spiritual truth.  I know I am not alone.  They need to know that someone cares.  I think we as a church need to reach out and pray for God’s will in their life, instead of just assuming they are already headed for hell.

I have a long way to go, but I continue my daily walk towards the Lord.  I have learned so many things over the years about God’s love.  The scripture about bringing your child up in the way of the Lord and when he is old he will not depart from it, holds true.  God held onto me for 10 years, because someone cared enough to mention my name in prayer.  I simply want others to have the same chance that I have.”