(My friend Andrew is going through a very difficult time. This is a summary of our recent conversation.)
Me: Hi, Andrew. Good to hear from you. How’s everything?
Me: I’m really sorry to hear that. What’s going on?
Andrew: Nothing good. My spiritual life is cold and distant. My marriage is about like that. And I feel like a worthless pig. Other than that, things are fine.
Me: Are you still in counselling with your pastor?
Andrew: Yes, we are. But I don’t know if it’s helping.
Me: I don’t know what to say. I just want to cry.
Andrew: I’m thinking I should have stayed living the gay life. Everything was so natural then. Now I feel like I’m trying to be something I can’t really ever be.
Me: You’re breaking my heart, man. I remember how happy you were last year at this time. What happened?
Andrew: I don’t really know. A little here and a little there…like we talked about last time.
Me: Then it’s by a little here and a little there that you get back to where you were. I’m your friend and I’ve been with you through your journey, so I’m going to talk straight to you. OK?
Andrew: How can you talk straight to a gay guy? HA!
Me: Funny boy. But listen to me. You know if you’re honest with yourself that there was nothing ultimately good about that gay life we used to live. It was full of deceptive pleasures that ate away at our souls like a spiritual cancer. The end of it all was spiritual death, and that’s all it has to offer if you go back to it. It may feel natural, but it’s really quite unnatural and degrading.
Andrew: I didn’t think that when I was living that way.
Me: Of course we didn’t. We were deceived by sin. But now you know better. Do you really want to turn your back on God and leave your sweet wife and go back to that stuff? Do you know how many hearts you would break if you did that?
Andrew: But how can I live like a Christian and be a real husband when I have so much lust for other guys still in me? It doesn’t stop and it’s always there. I can’t pretend to be straight when I’m still so gay.
Me: Man, I can’t believe that you’re talking like this. Have you forgotten all the things we worked through in the past and even what you yourself used to say about these things? And what about Trisha? How do you think she’s feeling about all this stuff you’re saying?
Andrew: I’ve hurt her deeply. And she’s so cold towards me now. I should never have married her and brought all this junk into her life.
Me: Hold on, man! You did marry her, and now you have a responsibility to be the best husband to her you can be by the grace of God. I know it’s not easy. But the Christian life isn’t easy. It’s a life of self-denial and cross-bearing and following Christ even when it seems like it’s going to kill us. You know that.
Andrew: Sometimes I feel like I just want to die.
Me: Yeah, I’ve been there. I don’t know how your pastor is counselling you, so I’m hesitant to say too much. But if I know him, he’s probably telling you similar things. And I’m talking to you now as one converted gay dude to another. We have to deal with our sinful desires and thoughts just like any other Christian has to. We’re not special because we have this particular sin to combat. We have to put it to death like any other Christian has to put their sin to death. Also, gay guys tend to be very emotional, and we bring that into the Christian life with us after we’re converted. And that leads to a tendency to be very introspective and depressed. But we have to take ourselves in hand and deal firmly with these dispositions. You following me?
Andrew: I’ve tried all that and it hasn’t worked.
Me: It seemed to be working for over a year. Just because you’ve had a setback doesn’t mean you weren’t making some progress. Andy, let me ask you something. What in your heart of hearts do you really want? Do you really want to turn your back on the Lord and go back to the life you were living? Do you really want to leave Trisha for a gay fling? Do you really?
Andrew: I just want things to be like they were last summer. (He starts to cry)
Me: (after a pause) Then go back to where things started going bad and make some adjustments. The Christian life is often a ‘two steps forward, one step back’ experience. But God gives us the grace we need to keep moving forward. That’s the only reason I’ve made it this far. And it hasn’t been without a lot of setbacks. We may not be where we want to be, but we’re moving in the right direction. Whatever you do, don’t give up and go back to the slop. Sin can be enticing, but remember what it leads to. Remember what it was like when you lived there.
Andrew: I feel so worthless.
Me: We’re all worthless. But God gives grace…even to former homosexuals. Get back to loving him and loving your wife.
Andrew: I’m trying.
Me: Well, good. That’s better than not trying. Please keep in touch. You have a big part of my heart, you know.
Andrew: Thanks for saying that. It means a lot. I will keep in touch.