Restoring Wholeness: Freedom from Homosexuality
Sometimes I love to just walk in a field and enjoy the breeze blowing around me and look at God's awesome creation - whether it is a rock, a flower bulb, a sunset or an ant. It is then that I think of my life and what God has done for me. I can just smile and nurture the knowledge of a Spirit who did not just raise the Almighty Jesus from the dead, but who also renewed me, forgave my sins and anointed me. I am privileged that He has not only given me a profound, solid promise, but also given me the right to live to see it being fulfilled.
On 11 September 2002, just a year after the twin towers fell in New York, my little world fell apart. This day, at the age of 25, I was diagnosed with full blown AIDS. At first I thought it was malaria as I had just returned from an overland trip through Southern Africa. It was already in such an advanced stage that I could literally feel myself dying every day. My hair fell out and I weighed about 59 kg, my mouth was covered with open sores and I had a constant fever that could not be brought down. I had non-stop diarrhoea. When your immune system is measured it is done by measuring the white blood cell count - sometimes called a CD4 count. A healthy person has an approximate white blood cell count of 1200 and once it decreases below 200, you are classified as not just being HIV+, but someone having AIDS. My CD-4 count was 12 and my only option was to go on anti-retroviral treatment. I did this immediately and my health improved miraculously.
But this is not where my brokenness started or finished, in fact this was just a mere wake up call to let me realise how broken I was.
When I was about five years old an older child in our neighbourhood sexually abused me. I do not remember it as a traumatic experience, but rather that my curiosity fuelled it. This became my usual playtime game and, through these experiences, the door opened and brought in shame and self-loathing. I could not speak to my parents about this, let alone warm to them or accept their love. Instead it just distanced me from them. Before I knew it, all that went through my head was that I was a gay teenager addicted to sex. This was the only affection that I allowed myself to take in and trust. This was where I found safety and strength. My only perception of value was to give my body to whoever was asking.
I felt incredibly guilty and ashamed, so I closed myself off to the most important time in any child's life in which we are suppose to bond with our parents and find our identities. Instead, I stayed with the only form of intimacy I knew. This festering wound just grew and I kept this life as my means of finding power, love and a sense of self. I was not even aware of my own big secret - my fear of rejection.
It became a feeling of ambivalence, hating myself and searching for that connection that I was supposed to have with my dear parents at such a critical age of my life. Although they reached out, I did not allow them to reach me and these experiences caused my mother and father pain.
I grew up in a church going,Spirit filled Pentecostal Christian family where I was familiar with the Bible and God's truth. I knew that homosexuality was not in God's will but I also knew that I had never made a conscious choice to be attracted to men. I hated being attracted to men and really wanted to be the good heterosexual boy. I gave my life to Jesus as a teenager with the hope that, if I got saved and baptised, I would be a straight heterosexual man the moment I came out of the baptismal water. But I was still as gay as I was before I got baptised. My life became a struggle between what I read in His Word and what I felt in my heart. For years I prayed every night asking that God would heal me and make me like other men - but nothing happened except I was more drawn to men.
The insecure teenager gave way to a young and restless adult who entered a promiscuous life of sex and drugs. Two lives lived in one heart - and the destruction became worse. Moving to Cape Town, the gay capital of Africa, I met the wrong friends and drugs became one of my escapes. I needed to obtain drugs to survive. Two drug overdoses later, one resulting in a near heart attack, and a yearning to fit in and be accepted by someone (unfortunately the wrong crowd), became my in-between-studies existence. I was a student in the day and sometimes by night selling myself to fill the void. I was drenched in guilt and shame and it blinded me to the truth. God's truth! I knew God existed but I did not think that He would heal me, and if He did not heal me then He surely must have no problem with me being gay - or so I thought.
I knew that with all the addictions I got myself into, using them as a crutch, still did not fill the one thing I longed for the most - unconditional love! Lovers and drugs, eating disorders, lies and deceit were my only consistency and all the time I longed for God while still wearing the perfect mask of the innocent, smiling, studying Christian boy. Briefly I would have intervals where I would serve God, only to relapse when 'walking the Truth' became just too annoying. Once during such a time God gave me Jeremiah 30:12-18. Little did I know that this was a promise to me that would be kept by the faithful living God. But every time turned my back on Him, seven demons would return for every one that had left while I was serving Him.
I grew tired of living these two lives and gave up on God - but He did not give up on me. I lost all sense of morality and through each sexual encounter (to which I became fully addicted) I found love and acceptance while it lasted.
The shock of the Aids still did not bring me back to God. I kept on telling myself that the Bible was translated incorrectly and that I could pick and choose what was really wrong or right. I believed that I was fine as I was and kept living the homosexual life. I had one relationship after the other and kept praying for 'the perfect love'. Then I met someone who I thought was it, the perfect love that would complete me at last, to fill that movie fantasy that a human being will complete me. But after this brief relationship with the 'love of my life' I was dumped abruptly and unexpectedly. I was so broken hearted that I attempted suicide which ended in physiological therapy. I realised that all I wanted was love and acceptance. I broke down one night and prayed to God to just take away the pain. I prayed and asked Him for the perfect love and in my sinful thinking I even described him to God. But then the turning point came… loudly, as if God the Father was in my flat, the Holy Spirit's voice came to me…”It has been staring you in the face all your life but you were just too blind to see it.”
Wow! Talk about a Damascus road experience! I was dumbstruck and decided that I had had enough pain, sadness and shame for ten lifetimes. I did not care any more how difficult the journey of healing was going to be, I just longed for God and all of Him. I didn't care what I would be asked or where I would be sent as long as God's perfect Will for my future could come into place. Whether He would keep me gay or make me straight I just wanted Him to love me. I surrendered completely and asked the Holy Spirit for His Will be done in my life. Not my will anymore - but His!
Then the healing road started. Within a month I was retrenched from my job in ‘gay’ Cape Town. God was gently clearing out all the unrighteous areas of my life. I was unemployed and deep in debt - yet I began serving God purely to get to know Him, to just sit at His feet.
I searched desperately and found a wonderful church that was so compassionate to sexual brokenness. It was here that I was introduced to the Restoring Wholeness Ministries and started my one-on-one journey with an understanding, compassionate counsellor. Through this and the power of the Holy Spirit, my masculinity started growing like a tree next to a river. I had to take off all the masks and go back and face all my shame and guilt. My God was so faithful and slowly I could see Jeremiah 30 coming to life in me - the miracle promise that He gave me years before.
”Wounded and near death…covered with sores that no medicine can cure…your lovers have forgotten you…even I have acted like an enemy… and I have beaten you like an enemy because of your sin…
But…if your enemies rob you I will rob them and destroy them… no one wants you as a friend…but I will heal your injuries and you will get well…I will be kind to you and let you come home because they call you the one that was chased away…Jerusalem now lies in ruins but you will rebuild it and the city will be rebuilt on the rubble… and the palace will take its rightful place…”
The biggest challenge coming out of brokenness is to really live and to steer clear of the comforts of self-pity and self-hatred. This is the place where you huddle in the victim mentality wanting to stay in those safety zones where you do not have to take a leap of faith, where change is feared and where you stay in bondage. We do not trust God's promises and fear the breakthrough. We rather choose to live and die without ever crossing through the river Jordan into our promised land.
God told Joshua, “Do not be afraid or discouraged; I am the Lord your God and I will be there to help you wherever you go.” Josh 1:5.
It has been a difficult and painful road so far and still the journey is not complete. I am constantly learning something new about myself and am seeing His healing power as my masculinity is being healed and my wound is redeemed through the wounds of Jesus Christ. His grace is new every day. I am growing and yes, I am constantly being pruned but I have found an unconditional love. The road will be finished the day I die, but already I see that if God promises healing He will give it - and He promised it to all of us. The emotional healing in my soul and spirit is tangible and I now know that there is a life free from the bondage of the past.
The sexual attraction to men has decreased and is still dying every day. I know that this wound will leave a scar and that I will carry it for the rest of my life. Already I am attracted to women and am so excited to realise that this comes from that fountain of living waters which only the Creator has opened in my heart. The personal relationship that I have with God is a million times more rewarding than anything I ever had in the past. I give God all the glory for this healing so far and know that what God starts He will finish.