Helping Others Walk Away From Homosexuality

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Helping Others Walk Away From Homosexuality

By McKrae guys huggingGame

A few months ago, I shared that I wanted to start educating our readers better on understanding homosexuality and same-sex attractions. A big part of my ministry is encouragement to those who, like myself, continue to struggle despite their devotion to Christ and their seemingly best intentions to do right. This is the purpose for my book, The Transparent Life, where I vulnerably share that, despite struggles and failures, I fight on.

This January 27, my wife and I will celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary. On February 24, I’ll be celebrating my twenty-fifth year in the Lord and twenty-fifth year out of the homosexual life I led for over three years. Yet, despite these incredible milestones, my wife is the only woman I desire and I’m okay with that—and she’s thankful for that. Next month, I will be writing about what all I’ve gone through to get to where I am today.

Throughout my Christian life, I’ve noticed that many do not seem to want to hear about ongoing struggles. I feel that many leaders and pastors are very nonchalant in how they refer to the Christian life as seeming to be easy. As if, all you have to do is follow Jesus and your problems go away. He lifts your burdens, right? All things are old, the new has come, right? And those of us who have a past in homosexuality need to just give it to God, walk away, get delivered, go to counseling, read some books, go to a conference, or all the above. And then it’ll all be in the past. It’s no big deal—just do it and you’ll see, right? This is the message that I, and many others I’ve heard from, are irritated by.

It seems like it’s not proper church etiquette to admit struggles. The reality is, our burdens don’t disappear when we follow Jesus, but they are now shared with Him. However, the old thought patterns and struggles don’t just go away. It’s not as easy as getting “delivered” and never having another problem again. There is the reality of struggle with the mind, the body, the enemy, and the world we live in every day.

I often feel alone, like The Lone Ranger. Am I the only leader sharing about having ongoing struggles with the flesh—specifically with same-sex attractions? I rarely hear others talk about their own struggles, the struggles that we ALL experience.

I get frustrated when men and women give up on their faith, or compromise their beliefs, because their struggles haven’t changed to their satisfaction. I hurt for them. I want to help them, but many have given up. What you and I can do differently is why I’m writing this article. 

Why do we continue to struggle? Why is it so hard for people to walk away from homosexuality? It’s my personal belief that it’s so hard to walk away, because this issue is taboo to talk about (for a related article, see Homosexuality: The Leprosy of Christianity). It’s taboo to admit struggles, period, much less homosexuality. People want to be normal and to fit in. Many in the church don’t make it easy, though. I and others are doing our part to be real. How about you? Are you ready to step out and allow yourself to be vulnerable so that others may be free?

Many in this type of ministry will tell of their journey, but they leave out the hardship. And worse, I rarely hear them tell the whole story of where they are today. They say, “I’ve changed,” but typically are not specific.

I think every day about the men and women who are on this journey, who are listening to us, reading what we write, and desiring what we have. What do we have? Do they think we have a struggle-free life? Do we act or talk like we have a struggle-free life? Have we become just like every other shallow man or woman who is vague about their temptations and falls? Far too often, our vagueness leads to very wrong assumptions. I don’t want to do that to people. Maybe I did that in the early part of my ministry, and if I did, I apologize.

Because I’m not vague, there are people who accuse me of being gay, all because I’m honest of where I’m at in my journey. They say, “See, it doesn’t work, listen to him…” That’s fine. I’d rather be honest than tell half-truths, leading to false assumptions. To tell half of the story is to tell a half-truth, and in my book, to tell a half-truth is to tell a lie.

The truth is—this journey isn’t easy. Regardless of your struggle, following Christ as Lord and dying to self is NOT easy. Coming out of a past of homosexuality is wrought with identity struggles, past hurts of abuse and neglect, insecurities, debilitating fears, and compulsive habits as coping mechanisms for the pain.

The reality, though, is many people have these same issues, just not related to same-gender attraction. 

We don’t make it easy for people who are attempting to walk away by keeping our struggles to ourselves. When we don’t admit to others what we came out of and what we currently deal with, we contribute to the ongoing fear of sexual issues, especially the phobia of homosexuality. Notice I didn’t use “homophobia.” I’m not saying we need to be “okay” with homosexuality. I am saying we need to be a safe person for men and women who experience same-sex attraction to be able to admit their struggles, as well as their failures. How are any of us EVER going to win this fight if we are supposed to keep it all inside?

I know many men and women who feel ashamed for simply being tempted towards homosexuality. I firmly believe that JESUS IS NOT ASHAMED OF OUR TEMPATIONS. We shouldn’t be ashamed, either! He’s not ashamed of what He has brought us out of and what He is walking us through. As in Isaiah 61:3, where He says He makes “beauty from ashes…for the display of His splendor.” What makes your struggle with pride, anger, judgmentalism, adulterous thoughts and possible actions, sexual compulsions, gluttony, blasphemy, greed, and on and on, any better? It ISN’T! But, if we would share our past, our burdens, our struggles, and help the person who experiences same-sex sexual attractions know they are not alone, they will be able to bear their burdens more easily. It will make this life doable, and we’ll hear fewer people say, “It didn’t work.” We’ll have fewer suicides, fewer people returning to homosexuality, and more people finding victory over their compulsions.

Does this sound crazy? Good. In a recent interview, Bono of U2, was asked about his belief of Jesus. He said, “Jesus was either the Son of God or He was like Charles Manson-crazy. He couldn’t have just been a good teacher and say all those things.” The gospel message is crazy to the world and to our flesh. If we’re going to live successfully, we will need to daily die to self, share each other’s burdens, and confess our sins to one another. That is the Christian life!

You may think it’s crazy, or I’m crazy, but if you love people, then you’ll stop hiding.  And if you want people to find victory, then you’ll stop treating this issue as worse than your issues. Please do not stigmatize people for having a struggle that’s different than your own! If you do, then you are rejecting someone who needs your help. Whether you’re a pastor sharing a message from the pulpit, or a regular person in the community, please share your story. We all have an opportunity to be real and share our story—our whole story. Will you join me?

A few scriptures on sharing our stories are: 1 Corinthians 10:13, Rev. 12:11, James 5:16, along with Matthew 5:14-16:

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” 

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