Before I share my thoughts, I think it's best to tell you a little about myself. I was born in 1961 in the state of Florida and remained there until 1982 when I left for the army. Being raised by my mom, a strong black woman, I had to take on many roles when she was at work: cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping on occasion and taking care of my 2 younger sisters. Most of these roles one would call feminine roles or women's work, but I never looked at it that way; maybe it's because it's all I knew. When I think back, I realize that I also picked up a few feminine mannerisms:
*Holding my school books up to my chest instead of down by my side like a guy should,
*Getting into a car butt first instead of leg first,
*Making sure my nails were long and clean,
*Crossing my legs at the ankles,
*Taking an interest in interior design & fashion and
*The dreaded "prissy" walk.
Not one of these occurred to me as being wrong or improper for a male. Again, it was all I knew. Being that I had no strong male role models in my life, I never played sports or had interest in them. The same is true for working on cars or any other "manly" jobs.
On May 5th of 1979, I had sex for the first time with a woman (notice how I remembered the date there?). Being that I never had "the talk" with anyone and I wasn't allowed to attend the school's sex education classes, I really didn't know what to do or expect. I knew absolutely nothing about foreplay or lube or condoms. Needless to say, it could've been better. A few days after that, I had this overwhelming urge to try sex with a guy. (I think this stems from being forced to take group showers for the first time in grade 8 after gym class.) Not knowing where to go or what to look for, I just thought about it. Then one day while waiting on a bus to go home, I saw this guy looking at me. We started talking and he suggested we go somewhere to have sex. And I must say, I enjoyed it. I really did, but now I was torn between what was expected of me as a black male and what I wanted and was easier to get, so I tried sex with the same woman again.
During the summer, I kept going out looking for sex with men. In August of 1979, I'd become a Christian. And during the first few months, the guilt of having these feelings for men was overwhelming. It just felt wrong. I wasn't sure what to do. When you grow up as a black male in the Bible Belt, there's a lot of pressure to fit a certain image. You're supposed to be strong and very masculine. That wasn't me by any stretch of the imagination. I wanted to be with men, but also wanted to live the life of a good Christian. There was so much conflict within me.
I tried talking to my then best friend about what I was going through; hoping he could help in some way. He didn't know what to say to me, so he talked to the singles pastor about it. The singles pastor came to me and told me that I needed to leave the church. All I was doing was seeking help...advice, but instead, I was turned away from the very people who I thought would accept me and help guide me through this struggle.
For months, I would leave home giving my family the impression that I was still going to church every Sunday and Wednesday. I was "dating" a girl from church at the time who knew of my struggle. The following summer, I went down to the church to see her off the church's summer camp. The security guards at the church called police and had me escorted off the property. It was truly embarrassing. After that, I stopped pretending to attend church. Even though I wasn't going anymore, the desire to be close to God was strong, but also was my desire to have sex with guys. I'd go to malls, parks, clubs and anywhere else I could think of to find it. The thing is, after I'd have sex with them, I felt overwhelmingly guilty about it and would buy Christian music immediately after to help relieve the guilt. The more sex I had, the more music I bought. Needless to say, I'd become a regular at the Christian music store.
For the next couple of years, I kept going back and forth between sex with guys and the Christian music store. One day I decided to go into the army. My thought was it'd make me more of a real man and I wouldn't have feelings for them, but for women. It worked for a while, but I found myself doing the same old thing. Over the years, I'd joined 2 more churches and explained my situation to each, but again I was rejected instead of reaching out to help me. My faith in Christians, God and church was thrown out the window. I went on a 4 year sex binge.
One thing I couldn't understand was how could all these churches be such hypocrites? For years I'd go to church and see other guys who were effeminate--guys who obviously had to be gay--singing in the choir, working as a choir director or playing the piano. Why are these guys allowed to remain in the church, but a guy like me who's actively seeking help/support for this gets turned away time after time after time? The only thing I could come up with is maybe I should've just kept it on the "DL" (the down-low). For those who aren't familiar with that term, it means that certain guys in certain ethnic groups have sex with other guys but don't look at themselves as being gay. It's just sex. Two of the most prominent ethnic groups are the Black and Latino cultures. It's been going on for decades and decades and most of the churches have just turned a blind eye to it all. It was true back in the '70s/'80s and it's still true today. The church body would rather ignore what's going on instead of reaching out to guys/women (of all ages) dealing with SSA (same-sex attraction) or struggling to get away from homosexuality. And the sadest part of it all, those sneaking around hooking up/having sex, don't see anything wrong with it. And without strong leadership in their lives, it'll just continue. What does this say about their faith or the guidance from other Christians?
I have to ask myself, "Why do we allow this to happen?" They have groups for gambling addiction, alcohol and drug abuse, support for those who have committed adultery, and so on, but THEY ABSOLUTELY REFUSE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THIS EVER GROWING PART OF THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY. As one who has seen the effects first-hand, and have heard of others who are afraid to share because of being ostracized, it's very evident that the need is there for support, encouragement and the love of Christ to these hurting and lonely people.
When will the church open its eyes and ears to see the damage they are causing amongst its own? Every day more and more people go to work, school or family functions pretending everything is hunky dorey when it's not. Most of them go home alone and spend hours crying because of the pain and rejection they deal with. Some even go to the extreme and commit suicide because they don't know who they can trust with any of this. I myself, tried suicide over 50 times. The need for help is real. The need for love is real. The numbers grow daily and so does the pain. Wake up church. Wake up!!
The desire...the need for acceptance in the Christian community, with family and friends is so strong that those dealing with SSA or struggling to leave homosexuality, that many would rather give the appearance that they're happy in a heterosexual relationship or at least looking to be in one when the actuality is they're miserable inside. Sometimes the SSA becomes so strong that it ears away at them, but they're willing to tough it out as long as humanly possible because of all the pressure placed on them. They go to family functions or get-togethers with their friends who are married or dating and think things like: "I wish I could be in a relationship like this." or "Will I ever have a family of my own?" The world, especially that of the Christian community, gives the impression that one isn't whole unless they're married and have a family. That couldn't be further from the truth. Many a person has shown how productive, successful and happy they can be living a life of singleness, but many of the Christians in our lives insist on fixing us up and/or making comments about when we're going to get married, especially to men in ethnic cultures because it's expected of them. If you're not married, especially at a certain age, something's wrong with you. It's completely unfair! Again, I say, wake up!
I lived with sexual addiction, depression, anxiety, loneliness and so much more for almost 3 decades, but that's all behind me now. The last time I was with a guy sexually was March 26, 2008 and haven't regretted it once. Sure, there are times when I reminisce about it all, but I wouldn't go back to it for a minute. God has done some great things in my life since putting all that behind me:
*Given me a great church family
*Opened doors for me to share my story with others without feeling afraid or ashamed
*Finally found true Christian male friends (something I longed for for years) and
*Given me the opportunity to work with other guys dealing with SSA and/or trying to leave homosexuality and even straight guys dealing with porn and masturbation addiction.
As one who'll be 53 in a couple of days, I feel closer to God more now than I ever have. Do I regret any of the stuff I did? Sure I do; at least most of it. But you know, it's made me who I am now.
Those struggling with SSA or homosexuality should be loved, not turned away. The latter has being going on for far too long. Why does the church body insist on judging those who aren't like them--who make them feel uncomfortable? Christ talked to AND died for the lame, the broken, the hurt, the sinner. We are ALL those people. Don't forget that.
2 November 2014
"I can only pray that they forgive me for the wrong that I have done, the ones that I have given AIDS, even murdered. The families I have broken and torn apart purposely. The lives I have destroyed. The souls I have led into
darkness. Oh Father, God, please forgive me for the lies I've told, for committing adultery, for stealing from so many, for worshiping money and sex and the pleasures of sin, for cursing Your Holy Name, my parents and my neighbors, for desiring, coveting, taking and hurting others to have what was not mine. For engaging in detestable and disgusting acts. FORGIVE ME ! In Jesus' Holy & Precious Name Lord, forgive me and come into my heart, my soul,
my life. Mold me into the man of God that You created me to be. Amen !"
He carried me through the storm and made it possible for me to tell you my own story so that I have a part in crushing everything that satan has told you and led you to believe. You have accepted complete sin as a "way of life" or a "lifestyle." And I am here to let you know that there is no "way of life" or "lifestyle" called homosexuality, or transgenderism, or prostitution, or sexual promiscuity and there is no tolerance for living that sin when in your heart you KNOW it is wrong. You KNOW that those feelings you are having are not right. You KNOW this because it is the truth. Now I know we are in a society where most of these things I have mentioned are not looked down upon, as a matter of fact some have been accepted as lifestyles. Homosexuality and transgenderism is considered "natural" and "normal". They are everything except natural OR normal! Sexual addictions renamed. Sin.
I am constantly under attack by demons trying to take me back to the darkness that I dwelt in for too many years, but my strength is through Jesus Christ and He will, and does, give me strength to carry on. That pesky devil has no power over me.
I lived in homosexual sin for many years and I was one of those "very gay" flamboyant people who, if you didn't know I was homosexual then you had to be blind, deaf and not paying attention. Did I have sexual encounters when I was a child with males older than me ? Yes I did. Was I molested ? Yes I was, even though I never refused or stopped them. In fact, I desired the attention as much as I could possibly get it. But I do not feel that I became homosexual because I was molested, or because I did not have a father in my life. I was very young when I had my first homosexual experience and I was 37 years old when I had my last. Over thirty years of detestable sin. I keep saying "detestable" because that is what homosexuality is to God, it is an abomination to Him. There is no in between, or acceptance in ANY Holy Bible that would allow anyone to think otherwise. You were not BORN that way and it is NOT okay to be that way. It is NOT okay for you to have those feelings and whoever told you that it is okay, is employed by the devil and the truth is not in them!
From the moment I was conceived I was on a rough road. I wasn't three months in my mother's womb when my father committed suicide, and that moment changed everything in my life. I grew up in a house full of women, my two older brothers were never around so I was always with my mother, sister or female cousins. And my only two friends were girls to. I never had a father figure in my life and I may have longed for that. Is that what caused me to like the sexual advances from other boys and men ? I don't know and frankly it doesn't matter now. What matters now is that I know the Truth and I let you know the Truth, in hopes that you will SEE & FEEL the conviction of your sin as I did and turn away from it, repent and believe. I went from being a cute little boy to a very smart, manipulative, sexually suggestive and conniving little person, and I did so before I was even 10 years old. I had no clue I was on a path that would eventually bring me to a crossroad of death or God's Almighty Salvation !
And there is no doubt which road I took as I am here today to tell you of my own journey to God.
It is our choices that lead us astray. We CHOOSE sin. Granted, we are all born into sin and shaped in
iniquity, but we have free will to make choices as we grow up, and those choices are
what lead us down the paths we are on in life... some have tragic endings.
Not only did I have feminine mannerisms about me but I looked very feminine also, actually I passed for a young girl very easily on more than one occasion. Once I figured this out and realized I could receive even more attention and physical encounters, I used it to my advantage very quickly. By the age of 11 or 12 I was cutting school and heading to the local mall where I would put on a little bit of make-up that I stole and go on the hunt. I had a few very short lived relationships with other males who actually thought I was a young girl. I performed as many sexual acts for them, and with them, as I could without going all the way to keep them from finding out my "secret". When it got to the point where they wanted to take it "all the way", I just simply stopped seeing them and vanished from their lives. I never knew, or realized, the harm I was putting myself in. But here I was a 12 year old boy passing for a 15 or 16 year old girl and I was getting so much attention from so many different men that I knew I did not want it to end. After a few years of getting deeper and deeper into trouble with my mom and family, my mom was at her wit's end with me so she took me to live in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love. Well, out of the frying pan and into the fire, as they say. First we stayed with a family friend in an area of the city that was flooded with drugs & crime, which is where I discovered cocaine and started using on a weekly basis. At 15 years old I robbed the neighbors house, eventually getting caught but no charges were filed. My mom had met a nice man and they began dating on a regular basis, eventually moving to the Northeast section, which was definitely a nicer area. I was spoiled and never could do any wrong in my mother's eyes,
so I got away with much more than I should have.
I quickly found the downtown section, called Center City, where all of the homosexuals hung out. I saw how open they were about it and how it was okay there. I was taken under their wings almost immediately and was part of something. I wasn't sure what I was a part of but it sure felt good to find people that felt, and acted, like me and to be accepted by them so quickly. They made me feel like I was in a brand new "family" that I never had because they were always hugging and holding hands, always so close together. Then, I met the "drag queens" & the "trannys", the ones that I felt more of a connection to because they "understood" my feelings of not wanting to be who I was. They agreed with my passion for acting like and dressing like a woman. They assisted in my growth in this new world and they made sure I understood that what I felt was normal. Assuring me it was OKAY to dress like a woman, it was definitely OKAY to engage in these sexual acts with other men and that it would be an even better idea to charge these men for letting them have their way with my body. It wasn't long before I was running away from home, staying out all night, dressing up like a woman, drinking, doing more drugs, taking female hormone shots and pills, prostituting myself on the streets all night long, sleeping in parks, motels and eventually getting arrested for numerous things. Finding myself in trouble with the law several times I ended up going to a juvenile detention lock-up facility where I realized I was even more special because I looked and acted so much like a girl. It seemed as if almost all of the other boys wanted to show me "affection and love" and those who didn't pretty much just stayed away from me. I did have a few really bad and scary encounters like being forced to engage in a sexual act in the bathroom by a few different boys. After being sent to a court ordered home, running away and then going from place to place, I was eventually sent to an all boys school by the court where I graduated high school and tried to get a handle on my life. I still wanted to take female hormones and dress like a woman but I didn't want to do it while living in parks, motels and where ever I could lay my head at. I was 17 years old when I graduated from high school and after my mom split up with her boyfriend we moved to a neighborhood, called Frankford, it was definitely not the Northeast but we all fit in quite well. At this point in my life I had engaged in sexual activities with well over a thousand men and I pretty much knew that I was HIV+, because so many of my friends and past lovers were. I went from living at home and being the feminine gay guy to living with friends or in motels, dressing like a woman, prostituting and partying. Then I would move back home and just be the feminine flamboyant gay guy for awhile. It was a never ending cycle for me. I would take off to New York City or Florida or Virginia, survive
for a few months and return home to the safety and comfort of mom & home.
I always remembered the attention I got when I had gotten locked up and put away, it stuck in the back of my mind like a dream or desire. I was arrested after turning 18, for beating some woman in the head with a railroad spike, kicking in her door and busting out her windows to her house because she disrespected my mom and my sister. I was not in juvie hall any more, I was sent to the adult facility where there were even more men that wanted to engage in special activities with me and I enjoyed it. I found myself liking it and wanting to actually stay in jail. It was like a safe haven for me because I had no worries and no competition because the men in there saw me as the closest thing they were going to get to a female. The female hormones had begun to work awhile back and I started to grow breasts and my body was getting more feminine in it's appearance. I spent a month or so in the county jail and then I was ready to go back
to the free world where I could enjoy all of the same things but in the comforts of my own home.
At 19 years old I decided I wanted to do something with my life and get some job training, so I enrolled in Job Corps and was sent to W. Virginia where I started enjoying the everyday hustle of going to classes, job training and then back to the dorms for the activities that I enjoyed most of all, being the feminine & girly looking boy that other boys wanted to use for their own enjoyment, and I was okay with that. In my mind that contact was attention, which was affection, which meant they were showing me love, some type of love. At least that is what I would tell myself and convince myself of. Well, my experiences at Job Corps came to an abrupt end when I was called into the nurses office to be told that I was, in fact, HIV+. Now it is one thing to THINK you are PROBABLY HIV+, but believe me, it is a whole different story to be told that you ARE HIV+. I left Job Corps, returned home and went into a deep depression. I was only 19 years old at the time and had lived the life not many had gotten to endure yet or even some have yet to make it through. Then to top it off my best friend, Michelle, was murdered. She was shot, execution style, during a drug deal gone bad in N.Y.C.. It all just tore me apart. I became very angry and I decided to go back downtown and see some of my so-called "friends" and see what they thought about my being HIV+. I was told that it didn't matter and it was nobody's business. I was told to not tell anyone else and, don't worry about giving it to anybody because nobody worried about giving it to me. And so, that became my new motto. I continued dressing like a woman and prostituting myself knowing that I was HIV+. I took more female hormones and my breasts got larger, larger to the point where I couldn't hide them from my family with big sweatshirts or baggy clothing anymore so I got an apartment and gave up the part time motel and part time home thing. I spent a lot of time escorting also, which is just another word for prostituting, but I didn't have to walk the streets when I was an escort. The clients would call me or page me, from an ad I would run in a newspaper or magazine, and I would go to them or they would come to my place. However, I was still drawn to walk the streets. I guess it was just for the excitement of it all. I would call party lines or date lines to meet guys for my personal pleasures.
Whether for money or for free, I spent the majority of my time engaging in sexual activities with as many strangers as I possibly could. Homosexual men didn't want no parts of a "drag queen" or a "tranny", so I was left with the "straight" men who were in reality the bisexual men. It was the bisexual men who would come to see me. I met a lot of men who never had a homosexual experience until they met me. Some of whom I think of from time to time and wonder
if I gave them HIV or if they were ever saved and born again. How many were dead because of me ?
How many went home to their wives and girlfriends and gave them HIV also?
How many babies were conceived and had HIV due to my actions ?
How many LIVES had my selfish ways ended, ruined or altered ?
At one point I went down south, and all that changed was my surroundings, because it sure wasn't my actions. There came a point when I once again found the wrong crowd of people. I befriended a lesbian who abandoned her son at my apartment. When I called child protective services and reported her, word got back to her that I did so and she came and got him. The next day I was greeted by two detectives who wanted to ask me all types of disturbing questions. They were accusing me of attempting to molest the boy who was left in my home. The boy whom I fed and treated as if he was my family. A young boy that was obviously coached as to what to tell these detectives because they truly thought I was guilty. They didn't arrest me at that point, but they did tell me not to leave town. So I went back home on the next thing smokin', back to Philadelphia. I now had warrants for the charge of 'lewd and lascivious act in the presence of a child' and I had a warrant in Philadelphia for prostitution, I was 22 years old, a "tranny" and HIV+.
Why would I change now ?!? I just kept on doing the same old thing until eventually I was caught and sent to jail.
I was a "commodity" in jail, I knew it, I played the part so well and I could have anyone or anything I wanted
by doing the same thing I was accustomed to doing, having sex and acting as feminine as I possibly could.
I was eventually extradited to a county jail down south where I was once again a commodity. I really believed
that some of these men truly cared for me. I truly thought they had my best interest at heart. Well I was
used and abused there as well. During the next few years I was back and forth between home and
going down south, violating probation, getting arrested for prostitution, staying in motels, being violated,
beaten by lovers, stabbed once, shot at a few times, raped more times than I can count and just tossed and battered by life itself. I did some drugs like cocaine, marijuana, crack, meth, pcp, pills, alcohol, even snorted heroin a few times and I survived to talk about it. I went to prison twice, each time being the rag doll for more men than I could ever count. I was diagnosed with full blown AIDS while in prison and I thought I would die in prison. I KNEW I wanted more. I knew I had compassion and goodness inside of me, so why was I always ending up in bad situations? I mean, I know it was due to my own actions but I just never could understand "why me," a question I asked many times over. Even through all of this, I did manage to keep a smile on my face and make the most of any situation and of every day that I was alive. I never dwelt on any given situation because that just didn't make any sense to me. If I was going to be in that situation then I might as well make the most of it and then my time would go by quicker than if I felt sorry for myself everyday. I remember a correctional officer trying to be sarcastic and asking me if I was "happy" to be in prison because of all the men, she said I probably felt like a "kid in a candy store". I told her that I wasn't "happy" to be in prison but I
sure was happy to be alive and I explained to her that me being gay had no bearing on my happiness.
A concept I was starting to understand slowly but surely.
The last time I was in prison there was an officer, I forget his name, but we called him "Bishop". He was a Christian and he let you know it to. I used to talk with him from time to time and I remember him telling me that WHEN I was saved my testimony would help so many people on so many different levels and walks of life. I now think back and realize he said WHEN I get saved and not IF I ever get saved. I think it may have been that moment that my life started to change, not completely, but he definitely planted that seed. I wanted something more, I just wasn't sure what that was. I was used to being battered and tossed through life, I had relations with more men than I could ever begin to count. There was one Man that I never attempted to get to know or have a relationship with, Jesus Christ. That was around the time I would argue with people that God MADE me gay and I was living the life that He created me to live. After my release from prison in 2006, I thought more about doing the right thing and staying out of trouble. I slipped up on more than one occasion but I sure did think about it a whole lot more. I did a few things that took me back to my old self, but one thing had changed, my appearance. A few years in prison with no hormone shots or pills will definitely do that. My breasts had almost gone away and so did the wideness of my hips, and I became David again. I dressed up a few more times after my release but I just couldn't get comfortable as much as I did years earlier, so I just stopped. I started going to places where gay men wanted to meet other gay men, and prostituted myself a few times but mostly
just engaged in as many sexual encounters as I possibly could...spreading AIDS and not
caring about it either...or those who I was infecting, just as I had done for so many years before.
I had purposely lied to people who asked if I was HIV+, or "sick" and there were also some I purposely broke, poked hole is or removed the condom during sex. I just had absolutely no value for the lived of those who I
was engaging in sexual activities with at all. Reckless. Stupid.
However, regardless of how much harm my actions could, and would, cause I still knew that I wanted God in my life but I also believed that I was MEANT to be homosexual. I wanted a better quality of life. At this point in my life I knew it was easy enough to come by money, as I knew all of the different ways to get a hold of money, whether it be criminal or sexual, or both. I knew how to get physical or sexual contact easy enough. I knew how to escape from the daily trials and tribulations of life with narcotics and alcohol, but none of that mattered because THAT was no longer what I was seeking in my life and in my heart. I wanted the peace that I heard so much about from Christians that would express to me their own compassion for me and my situation. I wanted my life to be whole and at peace. I not only wanted God in my life, I also wanted that peace that I saw in the faces and the eyes of so many Christians I have met through the years. I decided to do what I could to stay out of trouble. I got a job delivering newspapers at night and it worked for me for awhile until faced with the temptations of being able to steal peoples mail and find money, credit cards, gift cards, information, etc... back down that path I wanted to get away from. Then the trials of having very bad dizzy spells and a lot of balance problems caused me to have to give up that job. Turns out I had an infection in my brain. My virus was taking over my body and my immune system was failing. My doctor didn't know if I was going to survive, and neither did I. It was around that same time when I started feeling a lot of pain in my back also, it would come and go like it had for many years, but now it was beginning to be constant & excruciating pain that kept me from moving most of the time and walking became a task I could only accomplish with assistance. I was back and forth to the doctors & hospitals for tests and pain medications for months. Finally being diagnosed with Osteoporosis, Degenerative Disk Disease, herniated disks, and arthritis. I spent months in bed and had to use a walker when I was able to walk. I was ordered a hospital bed as I could no longer lay flat. It was terrible. I was on some very heavy narcotics for pain. So I spent a lot of time in bed doing nothing. This gave me some time to really do some soul searching and find myself. There was definitely a battle going on there. I was spending equal time on the internet between seeking God and watching homosexual pornography, I was definitely torn. I was definitely seeking CHRIST to come into my life. This is the time when I knew I had to make some major changes in my life, and in my thoughts & beliefs. But I stopped seeking Him once I became well enough to get up and get out of the house on my own. I would sell some of my narcotics and go to the casino to gamble, drink and engage in sexual acts wherever and whenever I could. The entire time, knowing I was wrong.
At this point it didn't even matter the age or looks, I just wanted to engage in the pleasures of sexual contact. Well this only lasted so long before I would end up back in bed unable to move. I started to think that my time spent in bed when unable to move may actually be some type of warning, or wake up call telling me something. Then after a few times of feeling better, hanging out, doing wrong and ending up back in bed, in pain, I realized there was some kind of pattern. Summer of 2009 I quit smoking cigarettes when I was told that my next step was an oxygen tank if I wanted to breath correctly. Having so much down time in bed gave me plenty of time to find me and examine myself. I spent a lot of time searching for my father's family who had no clue I even existed. I found myself having the desire to read and to listen to the Bible. One day I just knew in my heart and soul that homosexuality was wrong, it was an "addiction", a sexual addiction, sin, and I had to get away from it. Once I accepted homosexuality as an addiction, it was much easier to actually see that it was SIN. I learned more about God and then I had come under conviction of His Law. It was God's Law that put me under conviction and caused me to repent of my sins and give my life over to Jesus Christ. I opened my heart & soul to Him in October of 2009. I also found my father's family. I had a brother & sister who never knew I existed and a few aunts and cousins also. Wow, I was an emotional wreck. You see, my father, who committed suicide when my Mom was pregnant with me was not in touch with his family at the time so they had no idea of my Mom's existence let alone her being pregnant. Well, after his suicide my Mom moved back to the U.S. from Canada and was never in contact with my father's family. It seemed to me that my actions of doing good and learning about God allowed something great to happen in my life, I thought, "imagine what He can do in my life if I have this desire and drive everyday of my life!!!" I couldn't wait. I erased almost all traces of who I WAS, (photos, emails, letters, etc...) of my past life. I did save a few photos of the "old me" for use in the future if needed for reference to show those who needed to understand just who I WAS. To show WHERE I was and that no matter how deep you are in sin there IS a way out. I decided no more gambling, no more crime, no more homosexuality, no more sin ! I started telling others of what God has done in my life in such a short period of time, and what He can do in theirs also. It turned out I had to let my friends go also, as they just did not want to hear it. It was my birthday 2009 when I hit my breaking point and acted upon temptation for the next to the last time. I found myself in a suite in a casino for my 37th birthday looking into a mirror on the ceiling and wall watching myself engage in sexual activity with another man and I was not only turned off by the whole scene but I was actually disgusted. I could not perform or go through with the whole ordeal. I stopped immediately and told him to leave. I packed up my belongings and went home which is where I thought, prayed and found a way through the whole situation. Shortly after that my mother and I decided to move back up to New England, more so for her to be closer to my sister and grandchildren but for me, it was a fresh new start where I could begin my new life as a man of God, as David. The quality of my life has changed tremendously and I have been able to see more clearly what is right and what is not. I notice a lot of characteristics in myself that I still struggle with and correct when I notice them. It is a daily struggle and I thank God I know the difference between what is good and what is nothing but evil. I like having a feeling come over me that tells me that something is wrong, or bad, because it lets me know I am on the right path because if I wasn't then I wouldn't be feeling guilty or like I need to stay away from certain things or people. Since I have given my life to God on my 37th birthday I have only actually fell and committed the act of sin one time. Yes, one time was all it took for me to feel the guilt and to be ashamed of what I had done, to ask God to forgive me and tell Him I will NOT do it again. That one time was early 2010, during our move to Maine and early in my walk as a Christian, a man of God.
He has given me such a strong will and purpose in life that I refuse to let satan win ever again.
I know that I must die daily, I must lift & carry my cross daily.
Now I can't tell you about your life or what you have been through but I CAN, and will, tell you what The Holy Bible says about sin, living in sin, and being "given up to sin".
Leviticus 18:12 says, Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
Leviticus 20:13 says, If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 tells us that, Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
I love you and I sincerely care for you and your eternal salvation. You must learn God's Law and know it well, then you can understand what is coming at the end of that path you are on. I truly want you to be able to see the sin for what it is, darkness and death. I learned God's Law and I also came to know that I was guilty of sin and that I was also living with a serious illness, an addiction, a sexually immoral and deviate nature that needed healing, the healing that only Jesus Christ can provide.
Roman 1:26-32 is very important... For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, spiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Do you know what it means to be given up to a reprobate mind ? A reprobate mind is a mind that has become so ingrained in evil that it is not able to stop – even in its own best interest. Once you are "given up to sin" there is no other chance to get right with God. To become righteous is to have a right relationship with God. I mean seriously people, do you want to burn in the Lake of Fire for eternity ?? Do you want your mother, father, brother or sister, your family and friends to burn in hell ? Does this not concern you ? Do you not want to do whatever you can do to make it right and turn away from sin ? Do you not want to learn what God did for you ? How he sent His only Begotten Son to die for you, for your sins, and mine. Now trust me when I say, I have been there and I have done that. God DOES have a plan for your life and He DOES love you but if you continue in a life of sin then His Goodness and Love will give Him no other choice but to find you guilty and punish you. It took me thirty something years to allow Jesus into my heart, my soul, my life. Do I ever battle with those feelings or emotions ? Of course I do, but I know that those "urges" and "attractions" are simply and easily nothing but temptation. In order to accept sin for what it is you MUST
realize that it IS SIN and you are a VICTIM of that sin.
I know this to be true and I can guarantee you that even though it may be hard in the beginning, it DOES get easier as time goes by. I have much pleasure and joy being a man of God, knowing that I belong, Amen.
I would like to give God ALL of the Glory
for allowing me to use my testimony & life
experience to reach out to others in
hopes of giving them the courage to
open that door to allow Jesus Christ
to come in. There is nothing that I do
not do while giving God thanks,
glory and credit. He has graciously
given me life when all I deserve is death.
His Grace & Mercy have brought me
through and now my time to be that
man of God that I was created to be, has come.
There will be NO HALF-STEPPIN' ! My life is not mine, but His.
I will be in His Will and I will press on until He calls me home.
There will be many that do not like what I have to say, GOOD!
There will be many more that attempt to hurt me with
their words and maybe even with their fists,
but NOTHING or NOBODY
can stop me from doing God's Will.
In His Love, David Arthur
(Source: http://www.ibelongamen.com/my-testimony--photos.html Used with permission)
The best scene was after Jonah gave his message to the people of Nineveh. They repented, stripped off their outer armor and royal robes and sang the following song:
By Don Harper
I was shackled in the chains of my own making
Drowning in a sea of all my woe
Somehow I knew a reckoning was coming
Bitter tears would only sting this ravaged soul
Then the God of earth and Heaven
He showed Himself among us
And falling to my knees, I finally prayed
“Jehovah God on high
If I live or if I die
Take this burden of my sin away”
And now I am free
I’m finally free
With a mercy amazing
A miracle’s been given me
‘Cause now I’m free
By the hand of my Savior
My debt has been redeemed
And far as the east is from the west
This God alone is the difference in me
For now I’m free
I am free, oh yes I am free
I am free, thank God I am free!
In the mercy and grace that You give each morning
We will sing Your praise
Every voice we will raise
To the end of our days
We will bless Your name
And now I’m free
I am finally free
With a mercy amazing
A miracle’s been given me
‘Cause now I’m free
By the hand of the Savior
My debt has been redeemed
And far as the east is from the west
This God alone is the difference in me
For now we’re free
Free, we’re free
Oh we’re free
Now we’re free
Yes we’re free
Free, we’re free.
Oh we’re free
Now we’re free
Yes, we’re free
Free, we’re free
Oh, we’re free
They sang this song twice. The second time, Jonah led it as the closing song of the production. The song is powerful and I cried both times. It loses some of its power on a CD. It was so much more seeing people in repentance singing it. It really hit me hard.
I had some thoughts I wanted to get down as I watched the show, and will do my best to get them across in my bumbling way:
1) Everyone has a Nineveh.
At some point in any Christian's life, there is going to be something He fears to do, yet knows that he needs to. There is going to be something God wants him to do that he doesn't want to do.
Right there in that theater, my Nineveh came to me. Homosexuality. I know God wants me to walk away from it forever, yet it is so hard to do so. It has woven its chains around my heart, soul, and mind.
And they aren't the only chains I wear. I told someone recently that I am in bondage to my family, especially my parents. They want to keep me close by where they can monitor me, make sure I am living up to their expectations. I have had this strong feeling lately that I need some space between them and I to be what God wants, not what they want. That will be hard, and although I can't claim to be where I need to be with God yet, I am already praying to Him about it. I made the statement to a friend of mine, and it is true: if it came down to knowing God wanted me to do something, and my parents didn't want me to do it....... I'm not sure I could do what God wanted me to do.
Another chain is religion. I was raised in a strict conservative church. A lot of focus is on the outward. Too much. I grew up judging people's Christianity by how they look. Is the outward important? Yes. The Bible does talk about modesty, and I believe it is Biblical that men should look like men and women like women. If you can't tell what gender someone is, how is that pleasing to God........ but should men tell us how to dress? What to do and what not to do? If people really want to please God, they won't need rules from their church. They will let God show them. And if they really love God and want to please Him, they won't try to get as close to the edge of what is right or wrong.
The day may come when I need to change churches, or just get away from the church and seek out what God expects from me. I would face a lot of pressure and be fought on that, but can I run from that? Should I just do what my church says and what my parents expect to keep others happy?
Another Nineveh: I have felt for some time that God wants to use my struggles. That scares me. I don't mind talking about them on a blog where I am anonymous or even talking one on one, but to come out in public.... yikes. I feel like running already.
2) When you are running from something, you are running to something else, and often that is worse than what you are running from.
This thought isn't original with me. That statement was made in the Jonah production, and it really hit home. And it is true. Not just for Jonah. I thought about this, and it is true for me.
This may sound I like I made it up, but when I heard that statement, it was if God leaned down and told me that I had been running toward homosexuality all these years, and it was worse than what I was running from.
For years, I have been running. Running from loneliness, from negative feelings. Any time I felt those emotions, I'd turn to pornography and anonymous sex to ease the loneliness and emptiness within me.
But the thing is, what I ran to was worse than what I was running from. I cannot describe the feelings I have experienced with so many sexual encounters. Many were with guys whose names I didn't even know. There were times I dabbled in things that I never thought I would, just to fill a void. But the void got worse.
Can a gay guy find a solution to loneliness in homosexuality? Can they find love? Some may for a while. Gay relationships just don't last very long. And I have to wonder about the ones that do. Is it really love, or is it just a really close friendship. From what I have seen, most gay relationships that last a long time have a few things in common:
1) One or both of the couple is cheating on the other.
2) The couple has a 3rd or more in to have fun with
3) Sex is rare and sometimes non-existent
God has never, and will never, ordain a sexual relationship between people of the same gender, and that is why I believe the relationships don't last. I have thought about totally walking away from what I know is right, embrace my gayness and seek a relationship, but it wouldn't last. In the end, I would be worse off than ever, and more broken.
How much better off I would have been if I had run from homosexuality instead of running toward it. I haven't escaped loneliness or emptiness. I felt more lonely than ever and more empty and broken than I was before I took those steps to pursue my desires, instead of God's. What I ran toward is indeed worse than what I ran from. And in running toward my sexual desires, I ran from God and what He wanted for my life.
3) God gives second (and more) chances.
Through Jonah. God said He was going to destroy Nineveh in 40 days. After they repented, God let them live and did not destroy them. And Jonah got a second chance to do what God had commanded him to do. Where would any of us be if God did not give us more than one chance? Most of us would not be alive. And He has given me countless chances.
4) We don't always get what we deserve.
Jonah didn't deserve to get out of the whale. He was a prophet of God who was determined to not do what God wanted him to do, yet God gave him a wake-up call instead of death. And the people of Ninevah deserved to be destroyed. They were wicked, yet God forgave them when they repented and did not destroy the city.
I hate to think of what I deserve. AIDS, death...... yet I am healthy. I've had a few scares, yet I am alive and healthy. After having sexual encounters with 200+ men...... could it be because God has a plan for my life in spite of all my mess ups, all my sin, all my running?
5) God can and will forgive anyone.
The devil is a powerful and smart enemy and strategist. He doesn't just have one weapon, he has countless weapons. One is lies. If he can get us to believe certain lies, most of his battle is won. He had had me convinced that God didn't care, didn't love me, that I had sinned to badly and too often to ever be completely forgiven. But that is a lie.
God can and will forgive anyone. He forgave the wicked people of Nineveh. He has forgiven me. Yes, I sinned and was far from what God wanted, but I was not beyond redemption, I have not done anything God will not forgive. And I need to remind myself of that daily.
6) God can use anyone. After running from what God asked him to do, and being swallowed by a fish, Jonah didn't seem like someone that God could use, but he was. And a whole city repented and found God.
When I look at myself, I can't see anything that God could possibly use. My talents seem few and small. I have failed him more than I haven't. I feel below average. But if I surrender to Him, who knows how He could use me.
The story of Jonah is much more than just a story about a man that ran from God and got swallowed by a big fish. Read it and think about it.
It has really resonated in me. I wanted to run to God and beg His forgiveness after the production. I didn't do that, but it changed me, and was one more thing God used to bring me back to Him in a whole new way.
I hope I got across the thoughts I have had on my mind since seeing the production of Jonah. It truly was a powerful message.