(This is the 3rd dialogue in this series. It’s an edited and reconstructed version of the actual talk, but it accurately represents the essence of what was said. This is done with his permission, provided all personal references are omitted. I pick it up after the opening formalities.)
Me: I was a little disappointed that you didn’t go to the Men’s Breakfast with me on Saturday. I was really hoping to finally meet you in person.
Him: I did think about it. I drove home from college on Friday to spend the weekend at home. And I really was planning to come to your meeting on Saturday. But everything ended up so bad that I just wanted to be by myself.
Me: What ended up bad?
Him: Home did. I wish I hadn’t even gone there. My dad is so cold and distant towards me. Before all this came out we were so close. He would have hugged me and talked and laughed. He did hug me when I came home on Friday, but it was stiff and short. Then he hardly spoke to me after that. I talked to my mom and my sisters, but things were strained because my dad was such a butt.
Me: I’m so sorry.
Him: Why is he treating me like this? I could see him being upset if I had come home with a male lover or if I had said I was identifying as gay. But I just was opening up about the attraction I felt for other guys and how much I struggled with it. I wasn’t ‘coming out’ or saying I felt it was OK to be this way. My dad treats me like I’m some kind of pervert or something, or like I have some kind of disease. I don’t get it.
Me: Do you think your dad would be willing to talk to me?
Him: I doubt it. I know he would think you have major problems if you told him about yourself. And if you tried to change his attitude towards guys like us, he’d just get more stubborn.
Me: Well, he’s the reason I’m talking to you. I told ______ that I wouldn’t unless I had your father’s approval. And he gave it. He knew about my own past, so it didn’t deter him. Maybe he just needs someone to help him work through the issue.
Him: I don’t know. He’s pretty convinced he’s right about the whole thing. Sometimes I feel if we were living in Old Testament Israel, he’d be OK with having me stoned to death.
Me: Whoa! That’s an awful accusation. Do you really believe that?
Him: Sometimes. You should see how he looks. Really angry.
Me: So I wonder what’s really behind such an extreme reaction. That kind of anger usually betrays some deep-seated problem.
Him: He never acted like this until I told him about my homosexual feelings and desires.
Me: Hmmm. I wonder what’s lurking in his past. Well, maybe we should talk about you. How are you doing with these feelings?
Him: Well, I’m trying to live like a Christian. I read my Bible every day and pray and try to stay away from things that would tempt me. I have a couple of Christian friends at college I hang out with. But the feelings are almost always there. Sometimes they’re stronger than at other times, but anywhere I go I’m always aware that good-looking guys are out there. It’s not like I intentionally stare at them and lust and fantasize about them…though sometimes I admit I do. It’s just this ‘guy awareness’ I have, like a magnet that draws me to them. You get what I’m saying?
Me: Oh, yes, completely. You have the affliction for sure. HA! And you’ve felt this way for as long as you can remember? There was no traumatic or specific incident that brought it on?
Him: I’ve felt this way forever. I remember when my friends and I were going through puberty, they would talk about girls all the time and would get all excited when any girl was around. But I never felt anything for girls. I was attracted to my friends! But of course I never said anything. I acted like them so they wouldn’t think I was weird. But it was all for show.
Me: You were never sexually molested or emotionally abused by an adult male? Or belittled and made to feel emasculated by a female?
Him: No. Never. And I had what I thought was a great relationship with my dad…and my mom. We talked all the time and were very expressive emotionally to each other. I know where you’re going, but I never felt neglected by my dad or smothered by my mother. Until I opened up about myself, we had what anyone would have thought was a loving biblical family. But not anymore.
Me: I’m just asking these things to get a feel for your reality. I’ve interacted with a lot of guys who have same-sex inclinations to one degree or another, but not all of them are what I would call ‘really gay’. I think you are, and the way to approach this is different than if you were feeling or ever have felt these attractions along with normal attractions to females. Dealing with it is going to be much more difficult for you. At times it’s going to be agonizing.
Him: Agony I know. It would sure be easy to just give in to it and stop the intense struggle to resist it.
Me: Well, that’s the ultimate temptation. But often we resist in cold blood, when everything inside us screams for satisfaction, to give in and do it. And if you rely on your own inner resolve to resist it, sooner or later you will fall. And once you do, it’s very hard to recover. Only the power of God can keep us from falling.
Him: That’s the only reason I haven’t. Sometimes I want to do it so bad that I know the only reason I don’t is because the Lord is restraining me. I’ve never talked to anyone so freely about this before. Just talking is a big help.
Me: Yes, it can be. Especially because you have never opened up about this before. It’s like releasing a pressure valve. And it feels like a relief. But you will need to do a lot more than just talk.
Him: Why did God make us like this?
Me: Well, now there’s a question. But my time is over for today. Let’s pick up there next time…if you want a next time.
Him: Oh, I do! Maybe I’ll call you at your home so we can talk longer.
Me: Good! Do it. And keep up the fight of faith.