Word from the Heart ....

And Such Were Some of You

 Today we hear so much about gay rights and homosexuality being just an alternative lifestyle. Some of us have struggled with homosexual feelings for as long as we can remember. Others just felt that they were somehow different. We hid the problem out of fear of rejection by friends, family, even the church. With no one to turn to, many of us eventually give in to our homosexual feelings, robbed of any hope for change. The message of the apostle Paul to the church in Corinth was: "And such were some of you." It is a message of hope which seems lost in the church in the 20th century. If change was not required the Bible would not speak against homosexuality; if change was not possible the apostle Paul could never have written: "And such were some of you."

Homosexuality is not a new issue; it has been known in every society that has ever existed. When the Christian faith spread to Greece it encountered a society that accepted homosexuality. However, God said it was not acceptable to Him. The apostle Paul made it clear that it is not possible to be both a Christian and homosexual.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor ldolators, nor adulterers, nor effeminant (passive partner..r.f.), nor homosexuals (active partner..r.f.), nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers shall inherit the kingdom of God (I Corinthians 6:9-10).

The Christians did not persecute those who engaged in homosexuality, but instead they shared the message of Jesus and His power to change the lives of those who would surrender to the will of God. The key word is surrender. Jesus does not force Himself on anyone. He will do nothing in our lives if we insist on being in control. That has been a hard lesson for me to learn.

For years I knew I was "gay." I tried to deny it, I tried to change it, and I tried to hide it. Nothing worked, so after a failed marriage I felt it was useless to pursue a heterosexual relationship and became involved in the "gay lifestyle." I thought I was finally free. I tried to reconcile my new found acceptance and freedom with God. I was sure that since I had never consciously chosen homosexuality there must be some other interrelation to the passages that spoke against it. The arguments and justifications of Troy Perry (founder of the Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches) and others who say you can be both gay and Christian didn't hold up when compared to the Bible. An honest reading of the passages that spoke on the subject of homosexuality kept leading me back to the traditional interpretations. At this point I was angry with God, the "church," and though I wouldn't admit it, I was angry with myself. Well, to make a long story short, I walked and then ran away from God.

As I look back, my actions were not so different from the Old Testament account of Jonah. Jonah tried to run from God, but God had other plans for him. The Lord had to bring Jonah to his knees before he would surrender. It took several weeks of high fevers and no answers from the doctors before I quit trying to run from God. It is strange, but so often we don't look up until God has put us flat on our backs. God had brought me to my knees in surrender and within two days my fever had improved to the point where I could start back to work. The most important change, however, was that I was no longer insisting on being in control. Until now I had left God no room to work in my life. Instead I struggled on my own and I failed. Defeated, I surrendered my being gay to God to change.

Today there is a peace within that I have not known in years. It has not always been easy, but the temptations become fewer and fewer as each day passes. God, for whatever reason, chose not to immediately free me of temptations, but He has given me this promise:

"No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond which you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it (I Corinthians 10:13).

Maybe you are struggling with being a homosexual, maybe you have come to see the shallowness of the "gay" lifestyle. Maybe you sense there is something missing in your life. The answer to loneliness can't be found cruising in bars, and there aren't enough tricks to eliminate the pain. The answer is God and His Son, Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul followed the verses mentioned in the beginning with these words of hope:

And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God (I Corinthians 6:11).

Jesus, He is the same today as He was yesterday and He will be the same tomorrow. He changed the hearts of homosexuals (gays) and heterosexuals nearly two thousand years ago and He is still changing them today. You don't have to buy the lie that says homosexuality cannot be changed. Jesus is waiting to heal the pain and the loneliness.

Behold I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him, and will dine with him, and he with Me. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne (Revelation 3:20-21).

"And such were some of you" a message of hope, a message of love, a message of freedom.

To those who are struggling with homosexuality (there are some reading this paper) my question to you is: "Would you be free?" You can easily walk away out of frustration, rationalize your place before God but when you and I and all we know has turned to dust, God will still be there. We need to get to know the God of the Bible, the God who is active and working in the lives of His people, not the god that too many of us are acquainted with, the god who has its hands tied, the unmerciful god of bootstrap religion. The world may laugh and self-professing Christians may shun and never forgive, but God stands waiting for each and every prodigal son and daughter to come to Him. Please don't think I'm saying it will be easy because it won't. Only One can set you free and He is the only One you need to please. Freedom can only be found in a personal, trusting relationship with the One who paid your ransom on the cross.

Into Thy hands I commit my spirit; Thou has ransomed me, O Lord, God of truth (Psalms 31:5).

Give it over to the Lord, let Him be all your hope and righteousness. Ask God to free you from your struggle but remember...He knows what is best for you and may just say: "My grace is sufficient for you for power is perfected in weakness" (II Corinthians 12:9). It may be God's way of keeping you humble and depending on Him. --R. U. Willing.

 (If you choose to write, your identity will be kept confidential or you can use a pen name as I have chosen. I have chosen a pen name not so much out of fear of what anyone might think but so as to minimize distractions to what the article says and to avoid revealing in print what others don't know about me yet.)