BORN GAY OR NOT: PART 2—DESIRES IN CONFLICT
Looking for acceptance. Tittering over the abyss of rejection. My world was in conflict—Christian & Gay. Two communities that couldn’t be reconciled. What a conundrum!
My Christian world was a community of church goers. Some true believers (i.e., real followers of Jesus), and others not so genuine. I suppose that’s life. Some are true, some twofaced. Some both. My early professions of salvation at ages 6 or 7, then 9 or 10, then 12, and onward about every three years into my teens and young adult years were guilt driven, yes. But often festered from a manipulative heart that burst into attempts at lies and exploitation. Trying to make friends and influence people; so, I could get away with my inappropriate secret life. Desperately in search for significance. Acceptance. Belonging. But unwilling to give up my depravities.
By gay I mean, a community of friends with LGBT values. Friends who approved of me, and my known and legit sexual choices. The reoccurring problem wasn’t my sexual orientation, rather, my profession. You see, everyone I met—gay or not—became ‘a mark’. As a chronic liar and a professional thief—really, a con-artist—I was always looking for my next $10-to-$50K or so; only to be found-out and exposed. So, I had to always keep moving, to avoid the consequences. It doesn’t matter who you are or how you live. No one—straights nor gays—likes being deceived. Manipulated. Conned. I used people to get whatever I wanted.
As I reached my twenties, the pull between these two worlds—Christian & gay—collided in a marriage of pretense. At age twenty-two I married a woman. I wish I could say, the woman of my dreams. But really, it was a con. My hope at finally being straight. An adult man with a little-boy’s mind, convinced that I could be both husband and father. What a fool, I was!
Few knew about the passions in conflict haunting my soul, and if they did, they weren’t talking about it. So, I wasn’t proving anything to anyone; because the biggest con—yes, that’s right—the biggest con was played on me! Yet I lived out that pretense in heterosexual marriage for a while; only to find myself overwhelmed by an uncontrollable lust for men.
Porn kept the tidal waves at bay for a bit. I wouldn’t risk being outed, by engaging adult gay men. Fearing exposure, my curiosities turned toward adolescent boys. And since I was an emotional adolescent myself, it just felt more real. Wrong, but safer. Less risky. Baiting the developing hormones of teens and grooming the curiosities of preteens seemed like easy prey for my narcissistic greed and raging lust. Then my first wife discovered my dark secret and divorced. Now, that’s a no brainer! But this crisis in community—rejection—propelled me out into an open gay-life with men of an appropriate age; in which I would have continued living happily-ever-after, if God hadn’t intervened. But for a time, I was happy.
A Dream Come True
Being outed turn out to be a dream come true. No more hiding; at least not over sexuality. Living in several resort towns, I immersed myself into local hospitality and gay communities. Where naturally, I setup a con—a life story with a lot of lie and just enough truth to not get caught. Always with a plan to score big and get the hell out of dodge before I was made. Or worse, apprehended.
Sex. Money. More sex! More money! (Violence nor drugs were my vice.) But the high from sex and money kept me on cloud nine for years. Where I had lots of friends or for what I took as friendship. The con, the setup was such a way of life, engrained and deep-seated. Well-established and fixed. Entrenched. So much so, that if I stopped running, I would get caught, and that meant legal consequences—jail/prison. Yikes! So, I stayed ahead of those repercussions. I ran for almost three years; living as a gay man, supported by whatever con I was pulling at the time. Until I met him… … …
There were four different guys that captured my heart between 1982 and 1994. A red head, two chocolates, and a black-haired fellow.
Red was a high school thing. We fooled around a little, but it didn’t really go anywhere, because he was straight. Both Brown hairs were delicious. The second was a five-year relationship; on and off, then on-again, etc.; until I became a fugitive of justice. Finally, Black was the one God used to confront me with—choose this day whom you will serve, a man’s body and comfort or God’s grace and truth? (Joshua 24:15, special emphasis mine).
My last gay lover believed I was guilt-ridden and double-minded. Unable to find peace, with so many desires in conflict. Causing our closest friends much distress and misery. He was right, of course. So, Black conditioned our relationship. There came a time, when he required me to choose between being a Christian and being gay.
Black made me—him or God! Using the people and events of my circumstance, God had drawn the line. I knew how rebelliously disobedient I'd lived. I also knew I couldn’t deny the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I’d heard it my whole life and knew it to be true. As I drove away from that drowning darkness, I realized I could never go back. God would not allow it! The gay life. The lying. The stealing. These were all things of the past. At the same time, I realized I could not stop sinning in such ways:
- Same-sex desires occupied every recess of my soul—i.e., my thinker, my chooser, my feeler.
- Lies diseased every thought and word, every reaction. I lied before I was aware I was lying. People. Places. Things. All were just a game of chess for me; a playground I strove to control; a means of personal gain. Lying was my game and my fame.
- Fraudulent theft provided a lifestyle I felt I deserved and wasn’t sure I could ever give up.
But that day, something was different. God had done something inside me. Holy Spirit spoke from deep within my spirit into the heart chamber of my soul, saying—
I (God) will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean.
Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols.
I will give you a NewHeart, and I will put a new spirit in you.
I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.
I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow My decrees and be careful to obey My regulations.
And you will live in (peace)… You will be (Mine), and I will be your God.
(Ezekiel 36:25-28, NLT… emphasis mine)
And you know what? There was a new desire igniting a real desire for purity. For right living. So, I did whatever every good-intentioned fellow would. I started making promises to live pure, even if my struggle with SSA never changed. To live right, even if it meant being poor. But very quickly and with a loud fiery tension, Holy Spirit showed me how shallow my vows really were. He showed me almost two decades of trying to change, but of complete failure. The evidence was clear, I would fail again. Driving away, I cried out with an angry broken heart—
‘I CAN'T DO IT!’
And a swelling deep inside, I've come to recognize as God's voice, crescendoed like THUNDER, whispering—
‘RON… I CAN DO IT FOR YOU!’
It took right at three months to drive away from that old life. Literal driving, up and down I-95 and across I-10 with a little northern stretch on I-17—from Gatlinburg over to Savanah south to Miami, back north to Jacksonville… west to Phoenix, and finally a little north to Flagstaff. God spoke. I argued. Who do you think won?
It really wasn’t an audible conversation, you know; it was more impressionable, suggestive even. As God spoke and I wrestled, the Lord began to fill my emptiness with the reason of His presence, and I believed—repentance igniting a Life of saving faith. Eternal Life flooding the void of my sin-dead spirit, making me alive with Jesus’ Life. Forgiven and free. Jesus began to change me from the inside out. He took my dirty, ugly, immoral life and made me clean!
He. Set. Me. Free.
If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!
(John 8:36, ESV)
The gay life had served as a filter for my thinker, chooser, and feeler for two decades (from age 6 to 28). Yet, Holy Spirit lead me graciously into Jesus’ Life, shifting the paradigms of my heart. Using the stress, the paranoia, the consequence—the fugitive years, the four-and-half years incarcerated (over the course of a decade and across five states)—to change me from the inside-out (1994-2004). Using these emotional tensions, Holy Spirit crowded me to the Cross, where I met Jesus—the Savior—for the first time.
He gave me a NewHeart!
tender & responsive
He gave me a New Spirit!
with new & right desires
He made me a New Creation!
all of grace; faith in Christ
And the most amazing journey began!
A NEW LIFE!