“Behold, my servant is dead. Arise and cross this river” (Joshua 1:2). This is a most difficult letter that must be written. I have put it off long enough and in direct opposition to God’s leading. I must cross this river. This letter is going to family members and to those who have known the past. The outcome from this letter, I hope, is that you will discover enough evidence to convict me of just being a believer in Christ, striving to be pleasing to God alone.
Now to place these thoughts and prayers on the table. The best way is chronologically, so please do bear with me. The beginning. Something happened. I really do not know exactly where it began, but I got into pornography when I was a teenager. With the accumulation of porn in my mind during those adolescent years, came acting out those gathered fantasies. The outlet I sought was sexual acts with other males for reasons unknown and baffling to even me. Unfortunately there were times I committed wrongs against family members.
The porn and “acting out” was with me through high school and college and into the Navy. I was given an “honorable discharge via administrative separation due to personality disorder for the convenience of the government” from the Navy after getting caught in an illicit situation. Following the discharge, I purposed to live my life my way without giving regard to family or to God.
When I ended up in another situation with another man, I decided the only way to escape from the mess I had gotten myself in was to commit suicide. God had other plans, needless to say. Through so many prayers and much listening from a pastor in Minot, I came to full realization that I was living a sin filled life completely apart from God. None of my “good” acts through my 22 years (such as going to church, being baptized, doing communion, being honorable to my parents, etc.) were giving me a right relationship with Christ, nor even entry into heaven.
In August of ’88, I gave my life over to Christ’s control and there began a most awesome relationship of growing closer to God. The first couple years were rough because I thought that I could still travel both sides of the fence: giving in to my lusts while following Christ. Well, God allowed me to, for a period of time, to prove to me how foolish I was. After another tryst with another man, I came running back to God; and by His grace, have not been with another person (male or female) sexually since then.
During a period in 1992 and 1993, the Holy Spirit and I wrestled over some deep personal issues that threatened my pride. But was it going to be my pride or His glory? He prompted me to apologize and seek reconciliation with those I had sinned with and against in the years prior. It was a long and arduous process; but with God walking with me along the way, it was a needed renewal process in my relationship with Christ.
Through it all, I was continually striving to live down my past. People were continually judging me according to what I had been before Christ and not the new critter in Christ. Oftentimes, it was like when Paul was before the disciples in Jerusalem without Barnabas: an advocate who knew and seen the work of Christ in Paul’s life (Acts 9:26-37). That is until I entered Columbia Bible College. There I learned trust and grace. And it was there I learned I don’t need to live in the past. God has given me a new life in Him and the future is His.
Does any of the past issues make me gay? No, just like going to McDonald’s doesn’t make you a Big Mac, nor does going to church make you a Christian. I acted out my sexual frustrations the only way I knew how. Our sexual preferences do not determine who we are. And I full well know that if I did have preference toward men, it would be a total blatant sin against our Creator, but not a greater sin than any other would. All sin is regarded as equal – a defying opposition against God. For all that God has given me and grown me through, I could never willfully choose something that separates me from Him, or my family.
I’d be a fool to say that I still don’t struggle. The letter Paul wrote to the Romans has been a great source of hope for me as I grow in Christ. Currently internet porn and I have been wrestling as described in the 7th chapter, the latter 12 verses. Is this my thorn in the flesh? But the hope is in chapter 8 verse 1 – “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Yes, daily I must apply 6:12-14 and 12:1-2, among so many other scripture passages describing the true way for a right relationship with the Triune God. It is a struggle, but thanks be to Him, He has the victory.
Chapter six of Romans illustrates for us the nature of sin. A prof. at CBC described it rather simply. He said that when a pilot prepares for takeoff, he doesn’t flip the anti-gravitation switch to get airborne. No, the plane is designed to be aerodynamic to be able to fly against the forces of gravity. So it is with our Christian nature. Sin is ever present. Yet God has designed us as Christians to be “aerodynamic” to withstand the forces of sin. We must continually do a flight check and keep our Christian walk in top condition for flight. We are never to switch from Christian living to non-Christian living either.
How has the internet porn struggle been as of late? Well, now that we have the net here on the farm one would assume free access. No, thankfully I have the “fear” of family keeping me in check. For one thing, it is an evil that I need not bring into this house. But I must continue keeping that fear, and yes also the fear of God. I have purposed to put things of the flesh behind me and live a life worthy of the calling of Christ.
I can throw scripture and cliches out left and right, but what does this all mean? All I am trying to say is that I am trying to help people and myself to understand that the past is no longer in control of me. I have screwed up in my life and I have sinned against you and I have sinned against God. Never is sin just “between God and me.” No, my sin inevitably has effects on those around me and yet even greater effect on my family. Just read in Joshua 7 about Achan’s family aching after his “private” sin. All I can do now is to ask for forgiveness. And beg for your prayers and accountability as I continue to grow in Christ.
But I do realize that humans are unable to forget. That is the reason why Wycliffe rejected my application with them. I cannot dwell on it and become bitter. I just continually strive forward to discover how God wants me to be part of His Great Commission. For all I can tell, it will be stateside as a hometeam supporter. However He chooses to use me, I pray that I will be willing and ready to serve.
What does your brother ask of you beside your prayers? We can either dwell on the past and let that be the determining factor in who I am, or we can purpose to forgive & forget the past and live in Christ’s present seeking to live a life glorifying Him alone. I do not want to be an offense to you nor a stumbling block. I want us to be able to grow stronger together in our faith in Christ so that we may be His light to those around us who do not have His salvation and grace. Whatever may come—rejection, understanding, or acceptance—please do realize that you are my family and I will always love you. I remain open to communications.