Not along ago I was asked, “When will my ‘past’ stop being my present?” The question caused me to re-examine and ponder some of my own thoughts regarding the past and even how I see myself today.
To be honest, it seems that regardless of how much time has gone by, too often my past does it’s best to enable huge amounts of regret and pain to surface – even now, some twenty-five years down the road of being a Christian and same-gender attraction no long being an issue. Frankly, it does seem just a bit unfair. I suppose to some degree that shouldn’t be all that surprising when you still remember clearly words being hurled at you like: fag, queer, sissy, pansy, and gay.
Tragically, even today, many men and women struggling with homosexuality or lesbianism continue to be viewed and labeled as the most sinful, and the most despised. Is it any wonder the homosexual community devised a powerful and dramatic paradigm to win public approval and acceptance in doing their utmost to convince the world they were created with an unchangeable sexual orientation?
While memories can be painful, they can also be strangely wonderful. More and more, I find myself regularly reflecting on just how gracious God has truly been to me. In many respects, it’s as though my eyes opened fully. I know, I know. Some times I’m a bit slow, but I’m still worth waiting for!
Admittedly, there are times when I still find myself riding the emotional roller coaster of being HIV positive. However, I have been challenged to really live life to its fullest, to embrace the wonders of life and the possibilities God has to offer. To date, I have been places, met people, and done things that most men and women will only dream of doing and experiencing.
Yes, I have been up and down the sliding scale of wondering what news or disappointing test results would send me wondering – “Where do we go from here God?” I have known and know the overwhelming love, encouragement and support of friends, family and partners in ministry, had the privilege of witnessing God’s restoration and healing power at work in many lives, shared the Gospel and love of God with hundreds and thousands of people through the power of testimony and teaching, seen the establishment of ex-gay ministry in Guyana, South America and the Caribbean, and have every need met in my life. Not too bad for someone who thought his life was over in January of 1993 when diagnosed with HIV. Yes, God has been good to me and it really has been through the tests and trials of life that God has refined and brought healing and closure to much of my past. Yes, would I, like so many others, like to “go back” and have a second chance at doing some things over? You bet ‘cha! While that is not possible, I have found that some memories do at least fade with time. Also, a person can hasten their demise by choosing not to dwell on them or seeking avenues to reinforce them.
The lies of our past must be replaced with the truth of God’s Word. It’s not just the reading of God’s Word but the application that enables a man or woman to discover the reality of God’s love for us as individuals and His desire to forgive us for all sin – including homosexual thoughts and actions. The wonderful truth’s contained in the Bible, when acted upon daily in our lives, can and will profoundly change the way we see our past and serve as a compass for our future.
Trust me – there was a time when my entire identity was wrapped up in homosexuality. However, when I became a Christian some twenty-five years ago, I found my true identity would never be found by looking backward to my past or toward my sexuality. Past events, regardless of how many or to any degree, do not have to control us forever. Although the process of healing from the past may take much time and effort, it is entirely possible to find inner release and freedom.
I never thought I would be free from some of the haunting memories of my past. While I can still recall certain events, in many respects it’s as though they happened to someone else. I thank God I am free from the power of my past; my past no longer controls my life. With God’s help, the kind of freedom remains available today to any man or woman.
God desires that we all live free from the harmful effects of our past. Free to love and serve Him with purpose and full of hope, joy and expectation for the future.
“What would have become of me had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait and hope for and expect the Lord: be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14 (Amplified)
Memories? Yes! However, I choose to view them as a steppingstone rather than a stumbling block. Right now, the view from where I sit looks pretty dog-gone good!
From All of Us at His Way Out Ministries…
To each of you who continually bless us by your encouragement, ministry participation monthly financial support, offerings and prayers…we remain truly grateful!
Pastor Phillip Lee
His Way Out Ministries
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