(My friend Andrew is going through a very difficult time. This is a summary of our conversation today.)
Andrew: Hi, Dennis. I wanted to call and let you know how I’m doing.
Me: I’m glad you did. I haven’t been able to get you off my mind since our last talk. So what’s going on?
Andrew: Well, I’ve been to hell and back over the past couple of months. It might have been the worst time of my life so far.
Me: To hell and back? So this means you’re back?
Andrew: I’m back, but with a lot of battle wounds. And I think with some real breakthroughs in my thinking.
Me: Like what?
Andrew: Let me say right off that it’s the things that you and Pastor Dan said to me that were finally used by God to bring me to repentance over my sins. I mean, I think I was really a Christian and all, but I just couldn’t think right about what it is to be gay…or rather what it is to be a gay man who became a Christian. But I think I’ve got that straight now, thanks to what you two kept saying to me.
Me: So what in particular are you talking about? I said a lot of things to you.
Andrew: Well, the one big thing was that day we talked and I referred to myself as a gay man that will never change. And you told me there are no such things as gay men or gay women, or any other kind of sexually-defined people. You said God created us male or female, and that’s the only kinds of sexual people there are…one or the other. So I am a male…a man, not a gay man. I might be a man who is attracted to other males, but that’s a result of the fall and what sin does to some of us. And because ‘gay’ is not what I am, but a sinful distortion of what I am, then it’s not something that is an essential part of my maleness. That was huge in changing my thinking about this stuff.
Me: Yes, that is huge…but not an easy place to come to for guys like us who lived unbridled gay lives before our conversion. That’s why you almost crashed and burned.
Andrew: And Pastor Dan helped me to understand that even though I still feel attraction to guys, that in no way means I’m not a Christian or that I’m not a real man. It’s a sinful feeling and therefore can be changed by the Holy Spirit. If it was an inherent part of me, then it would define me and couldn’t be changed. But it’s not. I may have to battle with it all my life to some degree, but I can know a lessening of it as the work of holiness progresses.
Me: Absolutely right. So you didn’t go back to the gay life like you told me you were thinking about doing. I was afraid you did because I hadn’t heard from you in a while. You don’t know how relieved I am to hear this.
Andrew: I got as close to the line as I could, to my shame. I even went to the gay club where I used to hang out with the intention of going home with some guy.
Me: Oh, man. So that didn’t happen?
Andrew: No. I was sitting in there and suddenly I started feeling real sick inside…not physically, but sick in my soul. I looked around and wondered how I ever used to like that stuff. Some guy came over and started flirting with me and sat down at my table, but I just couldn’t go through with it and got up and left. Then I sat in my truck and sobbed and cried out to God to help me. That’s when what you said came to my mind. Then I thought about how you witnessed to me for those two years and how I came to be a believer, and I thought about Trisha and how much I loved her, and I thought about how sad I would make so many people if I turned my back on Christ. And then I started to feel this peace inside and knew I couldn’t go away from the Lord.
Me: (crying now) So how are things between you and Trisha?
Andrew: Well, I was sitting in my truck in the parking lot of that gay club and I called her and sobbed and asked her to forgive me and to please take me back. I knew I didn’t deserve it and asked her to please come back home. She was crying too and agreed to let me come over and talk. So we talked and talked and cried and she came back home that night. I hurt her deeply by what I did and know she is going to have to get back to a place where she can really trust me, but we’re really working on it with Pastor Dan’s help.
Me: I almost came out there on a rescue mission, my friend. But I knew this was something God had to do if you were going to be delivered from the temptation you were in. I kept how I was feeling inside, so no one knew the grief I was experiencing over you. I am so relieved to hear from you.
Andrew: I’m sorry I caused you so much pain. My pastor said sometimes things like this have to happen to bring us to a place of desperation where we have no place to look but to God. I’m pretty sure I was there.
Me: Been there, my friend. We come to a place where we pray that God will help us…whatever it takes.
Andrew: Wow! Those were the very words I prayed! I felt so completely helpless and hopeless.
Me: And there we learn that God is our only real help and hope.
Andrew: Exactly. You always understand.
Me: That’s because we have had such similar experiences. There are a lot of other things that I don’t understand very well. Like myself…
Andrew: Well, I just wanted you to know how I’m doing. It’s always good talking to you. But I have to get in. Lunch is over. I’ll keep in touch.
Me: Do that. I love you, man.
Andrew: I know. Likewise. Bye.