(Photo: REUTERS/Andrew Winning)
Christians struggling with same-sex attraction and homosexuality are finding support in a nonprofit called Hope for Wholeness. The organization specializes in helping people with unwanted same-sex attraction to live Christ-centered lives.
Following the closure of Exodus International last June, McKrae Game, president and founder of Hope for Wholeness, and his team have continued to provide scriptural guidance and loving mentorship to Christians who are dealing with the sin of homosexuality.
Earlier this month, Hope for Wholeness hosted its first four-day conference in North Carolina called "Hope Rising" that was attended by 150 participants, including teenagers who were accompanied by their parents.
Game, who's an ordained Southern Baptist minister, founded Truth Ministries in 1999, which was a ministry of Exodus International until its closing. Even though he's been married to his wife for 18 years and has two children, Game speaks openly about his ongoing recovery from the homosexual lifestyle, which he left 23 years ago to embark on his journey with Jesus Christ.
Christians who have same-sex attraction don't have to accept the gay identity, according to Game, who emphasizes that same-sex attraction, or any other struggle, does not define who a person is.
"God never promised to take away our struggles, temptations and unholy behaviors, but He did send an answer, and that is Jesus Christ," he shared.
The following is an edited transcript of The Christian Post's interview with Game, in which he describes how family, friends and church members should and should not react when a loved one announces their struggle with same-sex attraction. He also explains why people should stop using the term "gay Christian," and talks about whether homosexuality and same-sex attraction is a choice.
CP: What are helpful things that we can do and say to encourage a friend or family member who opens up to us about their struggle with same-sex attraction?
Game: I tell people all the time to just say: I don't know all the answers to your problems. I can help you find help, but what I want you to know is, No. 1, I'm here for you. I've got my own problems, I've got my own struggles; I'm not perfect and I want you to know that I'm here for you.
Too much of what we say at church are falsities, where we all say that we're fine and fantastic. We actually need to be real with one another. In my talk at the conference, I said one of the great things about opening up is the opportunity for reciprocation. For someone to hear what we have to say, to then reciprocate and then share back with us.
Now, not everybody does that. And I said, if they don't do that, then feel sorry for them, because they have secrets.
I also shared with the group that I had texted a confession to one of my accountability partners the day before, and I read them his response back to me. And it was a very encouraging text back to me, and he said: "Just remember that the robe of righteousness that you wear is not your own."
And I said, now just think, if I had not been vulnerable with him, I would have not gotten that back in which I could share with you.
We all have blessings that we share with one another, but we have to be vulnerable first.
If we know somebody's got a problem but they're not going to tell us, or they're a little scared to share, we can make ourselves vulnerable to them in hopes that maybe they'll share and we can help one another. Do this instead of taking the approach of, "Oh, I can fix you. Or let me tell you about your problem." Doing that will just make people's defenses go up.
CP: What are some of the wrong things that we do and say when someone tells us they're struggling with same-sex attraction?
Game: We don't say anything a lot of times. People give a look and that look says it all. Or we don't say anything. And that's always going to happen because other people have issues.
We're always going to experience that, where people don't know what to say and they do something wrong. But when you've got a couple or an individual whose heart is right, it's about building a relationship. And what we don't want to do is judge them.
Usually we're always going to do wrong if we're in the flesh and we're prideful. That's usually people's biggest issue is pride and when they're judging people. And it's all around — people think that people are gay because they choose to be gay. Believing that they're perverse people who choose to be homosexual, and they get angry and they get disgusted.
Nobody chooses to have same-sex attractions. And it's a cruel argument to say, "But you chose to act out on it."
What does it matter whether they chose to act out on it or they fell into it? The fact is: they're dealing with this. Are you going to help them or not?
If somebody wants help — and there's a difference between somebody who wants help and somebody who doesn't want help – but either way, the question is: How would Jesus handle this?
We have a pretty good example of this with the woman at the well. Jesus treated her extremely lovingly. And so, we don't have an example of Jesus talking to a homosexual, but I don't think it's any different than Jesus talking to an adulterous woman.
CP: If we have a friend or family member in high school or college who we know has same-sex attraction because they've already told loved ones that they're coming out as gay, and we want to introduce them to Hope for Wholeness, what is the best way to introduce it to them?
Game: We first have to know what being gay means. If it is attraction and temptations that's one thing, but to be a practicing homosexual is something else.
There are college kids I've worked with who are devoted to Christ and are struggling with this issue. They still have their falls and failures, but they want to submit themselves. So we first have to know what you mean by gay.
The culture is pushing people to not just accept the label, but to accept the lifestyle. The question is: Are you going to serve yourself or are you going to serve God?
Every person, not just homosexuals, every person has to answer that question because we serve God with our whole life, not just when we go to church on Sunday.
We serve Him with every part of our life.
You have to be as loving as you can and try to encourage them. If Hope for Wholeness is having an upcoming conference, say, "I went on this website and I looked around, and I just want you to know that I'm praying for you; and if you want to look into that and if you want to be a part of that, I will go with you. I'm going to look into this. I'm going to be praying for you and I want you to know that I love you regardless."
But remember, it's about relationships, because nothing is done overnight.
We can say a prayer to invite Christ into our life in an instant. And He can do what He wants to. He can change us all in an instant. The problem is that we get involved and it takes a little bit longer for us to submit sometimes. That's why relationship is so important, and walking with your kids, neighbor or friend does take time.
Like I tell people, you don't really need me and my ministry because you have the Holy Spirit in your life and He will guide and direct you.
There are, however, people like Matthew Vines and Justin Lee who try to piecemeal the Scripture away, and I'll tell people, "Spend time in prayer and seek the Holy Spirit on this issue, and ask God to give you a peace about homosexuality because I don't believe it's possible [that God condones homosexuality]."