This story struck a cord with me. As many of you know I dealt with being bisexual for years.
I can attest as to how difficult it is dealing with the mixed emotions growing up while being attracted to the same sex.
I praise God for what He has done, what He is doing and what He will continue to do in my brothers life and heart.
For those struggling with this type is issue I hope this reaches your heart.
Hello, I am a believer in Jesus who is in recovery for drugs, alcohol, and sexual integrity; my name is Mike.
I grew up in a home where Jesus Christ was not Lord, but a swear word, and the concept of God’s grace was unknown to me. When I did entertain thoughts about a Higher Power, the God in my mind was a stern taskmaster who constantly evaluated my performance and held me to a standard of perfection I could never attain. I grew into a child with a keen sense of shame and an inexpressible understanding that something was wrong with me. At that age I couldn’t tell you what that thing was, but I knew that I was different from everyone around me.
We were a military family and never really had a place to call our own, and by the time I was 10 years old we had moved 10 different times. Our moves were always stressful affairs, and at the end of it all I was constantly adjusting to a new house, a new school, and a new set of neighbors. This lifestyle was difficult for me as I was very shy and did not make friends easily. When I experienced several episodes of inappropriate sexual contact I retreated into a place of fear, guilt and shame; this resulted in me becoming an easy target for neighborhood bullies.
During the years when I was supposed to be bonding with boys my own age I was intent on doing the opposite and would avoid other children by retreating into my bedroom to read library books and do homework. When I learned that good report cards drew praise from parents and teachers I put most of my energy into becoming a good student. The lyrics from a popular song describes this behavior quite well: “Perfection became my enemy”.
As we moved yet again, to a new military base in the Hawaiian Islands, I started high school and realized that I was at a new disadvantage: not only was I was a military brat but I was also an outsider. There was even a Hawaiian word for me – haole. Imagine my surprise when I was warned to not go to school on “Kill Haole Day”. I don’t remember how my brain reasoned it out, but in an attempt at self-preservation I joined a group of students known as the “stoners”. My substance abuse started with marijuana and progressed to barbiturates, amphetamines, and psychedelics. No drug was off limits for me as I sought out the comradery of students who would recognize me at school and call me by name. As I skipped school and partied, I was learning to hide my fears and insecurities by pretending to be someone else. I was putting up walls around my emotions and I worked hard so that no one would ever know who I really was.
At the end of my senior year, I found Jesus in the simplest way. Take a seeking heart with a believing next-door neighbor and you have the foundation for a daily drug user to receive Jesus as Savior. God led me away from destructive influences and towards a church that gave me a solid foundation in the Word. But my walk with Christ lasted only a year or so. It was interrupted by the same hurts that surfaced in my childhood, precipitated by the breakup of a dating relationship. Old feelings of unworthiness and rejection resurfaced, and I didn’t know how to handle them. Like a “dog returning to his own vomit,” one backward step led to another and it wasn’t long before I was back in the rebellious lifestyle I had been called out of, only now I was angry at the church and at God. I felt worse off than before I became a Christian, much like the man with unclean spirits whom Jesus describes in Luke 11.
My descent into darkness had only just begun.
During my freshman year in college I added sexual promiscuity to my list of available medications and spent the next ten years living out the anthem of the 80’s: sex, drugs, and rock & roll. During these years, I had my first consensual same-sex encounter, and with the help of “friends” reasoned that I must be bisexual. The decision to take on that identity gave me a green light to explore my sexuality and eventually self-identify as exclusively gay. As I aged out of the gay club scene, I started a same-sex relationship that would last for twenty years. I joined the culture around me and proudly came out to co-workers, friends and family.
The seeds which God planted inside of me as a youth did not sprout for decades, but they did grow, and a longing for God eventually overcame my aversion to Christianity. Repentance for me was not an event I could point to on the calendar, but a process, and it started with me listening to Christian radio. As I listened I was overwhelmed by the message of God’s love and acceptance. I later subscribed to a podcast to read the Bible in a year, and I fell in love with Jesus all over again. As I began filling my heart with God’s message, however, a storm brewed within me. What was I to do about my identity as a gay man, or my relationship to the man I had married? These questions became the lever that God used to push me into the great church debate about what God and the Bible say about homosexuality.
I had been living an openly gay lifestyle for decades and was comfortable with my identity as a gay man. In my mind, homosexuality was a genetic trait and the idea of me being different didn’t even seem possible. What else could account for those feelings from my childhood of “not being like other boys”? This thinking led me to embrace alternative interpretations of the Old and New Testament passages that address homosexuality.
I reasoned that God would not condemn any committed, loving relationship, even same-sex relationships, and so for a while I believed that my sexuality didn’t matter to God.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NLT)
Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.
As I grew in my faith, my conviction that God would bless committed same-sex relationships faltered. I was no longer certain that sexual relations were permissible outside of a traditional marriage, and these doubts brought about a crisis of conscience with my partner. I was casually sharing my faith with him when he asked me point blank, “What do you believe about the Bible and homosexuality?” That was my moment of reckoning. I answered him by saying that I believed I was born gay, and a Christian, but that God was calling me to live a celibate life. Soon afterwards, he moved into another room of our house and we became housemates. I pretended to be happy with this arrangement, still believing we were in a committed relationship, but I was blinded to the fact that that our lives were moving in different directions. I may have been in denial about the state of our relationship, but my partner knew exactly what he wanted and he eventually took control by ending our relationship, moving out of our house, and leaving me alone for the first time in 20 years.
My use of drugs & alcohol increased as I tried to cover up feelings of abandonment, rejection, and shame. I became consumed with suicidal thoughts, but I told no one about this life changing event for almost three months, preferring instead to suffer alone and in silence with my best friends, the bottle and the bong.
I now realize that my reaction to this breakup is exactly like the episode I experienced as a teenager. I wasn’t any more emotionally mature than I was at 19, and just as before, my coping mechanisms were to medicate with chemicals and check out of reality. I didn’t realize that God was calling me to something new and He was using difficult circumstances to bring me to the end of my rebellious lifestyle.
I heard about Celebrate Recovery from the church I was attending and decided I needed to check it out, but during that first meeting I decided that CR wasn’t for me. The ministry leader kept talking about facing my hurts and stepping out of denial. I wasn’t in denial, I thought, I knew exactly what my problem was: I was a gay Christian whose 20 year marriage had tanked. As I left CR that first night I told the leader that I didn’t belong in his group, but he encouraged me to come back the following week to give it another try. I was unconvinced that CR could help me, but I was hungry for relationship, so I came back the next week, and the week after that. I soon started a weekly CR habit that turned into a Bible Study that the leader called a “step study”. I really was clueless, and did not know what was in store for me!
I remember one day making it clear that I thought it was “OK” to drink a glass wine with dinner. The unspoken truth was that I was drinking not a glass of wine with dinner, but a whole bottle, and sometimes two, and I was smoking dope every day. The reality was that as soon as Celebrate Recovery night was over I could not wait to get home so that I could get high. How do YOU spell DENIAL?
As the Step Study progressed I learned that I had to choose an “accountability partner”, but I didn’t want to be accountable to anyone. Nobody at CR knew about my past and I wanted to keep it that way. I put off the deed as long as possible and promised to pray about it. I looked at my fellow step-studiers and ranked them in order of preference. God was laughing at my choices because he wound up choosing the guy at the very bottom of my list. He was a womanizer, a felon, and a former alcoholic. What could we possibly have in common?!
After months of secrecy it came time to write out my moral inventory, and this became one of the most difficult parts of the recovery process. It was difficult because I had a lifetime of hangups bottled up inside of me, hurts that were hidden under a haze of drugs and alcohol, and I was still in denial about my substance abuse. Before this time I never had a reason to examine those hurts, so putting them down on paper was a long and painful process. If it hadn’t been for the encouragement I received from my accountability team I would have walked away from the program during that time.
Taking an honest inventory of my life was painful, but real healing started when I confessed to myself, to God and to my sponsor about the train wreck that my life had become. Instead of being labeled an abomination like so many in the church had done, my sponsor made sure I knew that in Christ I was fully accepted by God and that He had adopted me into His family. After coming clean with my sponsor I was finally able to receive the message in Isaiah 1:18:
“Come, let’s talk this over, says the Lord; no matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool!
Working through the Christian 12-steps has helped me take responsibility for my sinful past and recognize the behavioral patterns that led me to disobey what I knew was God’s will for my life. I’ve stopped playing God in my life and have turned my life and will over to the care of Jesus. Am I healed from those childhood hurts today? Not completely, but I know that with Jesus I can overcome them one day at a time. Today, because of Jesus, I am drug and alcohol free and I also serve at CR, helping others find the same freedom in Christ.
It wasn’t long after sharing my inventory that I went on a spiritual retreat with the express purpose of turning over my failed relationship to God. That weekend I received a text message from a CR friend that changed my world. It simply read: “You’re a believer in Jesus Christ, God’s child, filled with His Holy Spirit, born again…I don’t think there’s any room left for the word gay”. That weekend I was prepared to surrender an old relationship, but after receiving that message I was convinced that God wanted me to surrender something bigger: my gay identity.
That powerful weekend was the start of my journey out of sexual brokenness and into my true identity as a child of God in Christ. I no longer identify myself as a gay Christian; each day I am more convinced that my identity is not based on who I’ve slept with but on who God says I am. Today, because of Jesus, I proudly proclaim that I am the Father’s beloved son. And not only that, I know that just like Jesus, I am well pleasing to Him!
If there are any newcomers or skeptics hearing my voice today I would like to encourage you to consider attending a Celebrate Recovery Step Study to help you find your identity in Christ and freedom from your own hurts and hang-ups. The program works, IF YOU WORK IT.
For obvious reasons, my favorite bible story is found in Luke 15, it is the parable of the prodigal son. You all know the story, a man has a son who decides the grass is greener in another pasture so he leaves his family in search of it. He takes his inheritance with him and while gone, wastes it all on wild living. When he is broken, hungry and thirsty, he comes to his senses and realizes how much better he had it back in his father’s house. He heads back home expecting to be treated like a hired servant. Listen to the Father’s heart:
While he was still far away, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, threw his arms around him, and kissed him affectionately. …the father told his servants, ‘Hurry! Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let’s eat and celebrate! Because my son was dead and has come back to life. He was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.
I believe this is God’s heart for you and for me. Thank you for letting me share it with you
Originally posted December 1st, 2015