I came busting out of the closet in 2009 in a desperate attempt to finally find some peace in my life. Some happiness. Some joy. Some freedom. But as most of you already know, the "freedom" that my coming out and adopting a gay identity bought me was a freedom that only brought me into more bondage.
But, even so, I would do it all over again. Coming out, that is. I really do believe that finally letting the people around me glimpse into the secret parts of my life was a necessary step in my God-led journey toward the hope that I now have in Jesus Christ. I am not saying that living a gay lifestyle was a necessary step toward my embrace of the gospel, but only that coming out and letting people in on my inward reality was.
Prior to my self-ejection from that wretched closet, my plan had always been to forever conceal the state of my sexuality from the world. I would try my best to find a girl that I could muster up some attraction for, marry her, and cross my fingers I would be able to have relations with her. And I hoped that the more that I had relations with her, the more that I'd actually start to want to have relations with her and – "poof" – become straight.
So basically, my plan was just to "fake it 'til you make it."
I am so deeply relieved that my life didn't go according to this plan. Not merely for the sake of my own mental and emotional health, but for the sake of the poor woman I would've married and, without her knowledge, made my own personal homo-to-hetero project. And then if I would've been able to have relations with her and bring children into the world with her– ugh. My stomach drops just to think of the horrific way things could have possibly gone for them. I hear of way too many stories where non-Christian men take the path I planned on taking – the secret fake it 'til you make it path – and then later on in life have a complete nervous break down, leave their wives, their kids, and pursue the sexual relationships they really desire.
Again, I am so glad that my life didn't pan out this way. I am so glad I didn't reek decades of havoc on my mental and emotional health by faking it til I made it. And I am so glad that I didn't hurt any innocent people in pursuing an "ethical" sexual lifestyle apart from the transformation and power of the gospel.
And no, I'm not talking about using the gospel to be "transformed" from homo-to-hetero…that's another topic for another column. But just stay with me here.
Instead, I grew tired of living my life in absolute secrecy. And I began to see the futility of my pretense – thank God. So I came out. And to this day, I don't have one ounce of regret about coming out. The total secrecy needed to cease, for the sake of my own wellbeing. Now, what I do regret is the direction that I went when I swung open that closet door. I regret that at that point, I believed the only option that I had was to embrace my homosexual desires as good and right. I regret that I believed being open with people about my sexuality equated adopting a gay identity. The two do not go hand in hand, as they are so advertised by the world. But at this point in my life, I believed they did.
There was a brief spurt in high school when I became fully aware that my sexual desires weren't right and in response to that revelation, I started taking small steps toward a spiritual resolve. I began going to Church, reading the Bible (which I didn't understand in the slightest) and doing the things that I thought Christians were supposed to do. But I did so while simultaneously holding onto my "fake it til you make it" life plan. I was just throwing God into the mix – hoping that maybe if I did the right things, He would take away my desires for other guys and I could go onto get married, have kids, and live a normal life. You can read more about this time in my life in my book to come out in just a few months.
It didn't take long to realize that going to church didn't result in heterosexuality, so I soon jumped off the church-tracks. But I wish so desperately now that I would've entrusted a believer with my secret back then. At that time in my life, my heart was much softer soil for the gospel. I believed that my homosexual desires were wrong and truly desired to find a solution. I was open to hearing what the Bible taught. And if someone would've explained to me the truths about man's sinful nature and the hope that is in Jesus for salvation from sin (a salvation partially experienced now, but fully experienced in the age to come), I might just have believed it! I might have actually been transformed by the gospel — not into a straight person but into a saved person that found more comfort in knowing Jesus than the comfort I would seek down the road through embracing my homosexual desires and living a gay lifestyle.
But that didn't happen. 1) I wasn't exposed to solid biblical teaching in the church I was attending and 2) I wasn't willing at that point to be open about my sexual desires and give anyone the chance to teach me what the Bible actually taught.
I write this blog to urge you, Christians, to live your life in such a way that the young people (and maybe even older people!) around you who are wasting away in secrecy will view you as a safe place to talk about these things. I never was around anyone that I viewed as safe. The people I knew either didn't talk about things of the gay nature, or they talked about it in such a way that made me want to dig my own grave.
Christians, secretly struggling same-sex attracted people need you.
Being transparent about one's struggle with homosexuality is vital. I'm not saying that everyone needs to be as transparent as I am – the whole world doesn't need to know about a person's sexual desires. Maybe not even more than a couple of people need to know. But somebody needs to know. These people need other people to walk alongside them, encourage them and strengthen them. They need people who will teach them what the Bible actually teaches. They need to know they are not an anomaly, but a child of Adam – like the rest of mankind. They need to know that while their specific sinful tendency may not be the so-called "norm", sin is the norm. It's a virus that plagues us all and kills everyone who refuses to throw him or herself upon the mercy of God in Christ.
If you're someone who is not a Christian and still in the secrecy stage of your struggle with same sex attraction, please know that while your sin fleshes out differently than others, you are no more (or less) of a sinner than anyone else. You need Jesus just like everyone else. He was God in the flesh, yet died in the flesh for your sin and rose again that you could be cleared of your guilt, reconciled to God and saved from the power of your sin — a salvation that begins on this side of eternity and will be experienced in its fullness on the other. Find your hope in this good news and join a group of people who love Jesus. Be transparent with them about your struggles and pursue the face of God with them.
If you are a Christian who is still in the secrecy stage of your struggle with same sex attraction, please find a believer in Christ whom you can trust and tell him or her. Stop fearing their possible – not probable – negative reaction or rejection. If the first person you tell gets all-weirded out and doesn't react lovingly, man just dust of your shoes at their ignorant self and move on and find somebody else! There are Christians out there who will love you and walk with you. I promise you that. I've experienced it myself many times over in the past four years.