For years I have had a practice when speaking in a church or conference to eventually make my way to the back of sanctuary or auditorium, look toward the front and think to myself – “This is good. This is decent. This makes sense.”
The years I lived as a gay-identified man within the gay communities of Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City produced anything but a good, decent and sense-filled life. The futility of homosexual practice enabled and produced a false self, a half-person, and left me with a perpetual question mark.
Ultimately, it was the Church that helped me to face reality honestly, compassionately and courageously. With time, a sense of value, a sense of being loved and accepted, and a sense of living a meaningful life produced the best value of all – human well-being.
Honesty requires I acknowledge there were times of moving into my new life, my new identity and a new community that was by no means easy. Thankfully and gratefully, within the process, I received an abundance of wise counsel, encouragement and support.
Today, if I allow myself to look back, I marvel at how easily I became consumed by and locked into a false identity not knowing and realizing I was hopelessly and endlessly searching for “me” in all the wrong places.
The Church that surrounded me treated me with dignity and respect while at the same time being abundantly clear in stating and showing me from Scripture that homosexual behavior is just one of the forms human fallenness can take with divine forgiveness and restoration available to all that surrender to the Lordship of Christ.
To this day, I remain grateful to the Church for helping me to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy desires. It is a fact that truth can hurt, if not cut deeply, before it heals. However, truth offered and presented compassionately is more than liberating. When truth becomes known, and acted upon, truth frees.
Yes, indeed, Church is good, decent and makes sense. Where I came from made no sense whatsoever. Truth and reality dictates that until each person comes to grips with this central ethical question – whether and why anything is either right or wrong – they will wander needlessly, hopelessly and God forbid, disastrously adrift.
To speak the truth in love is not to condemn the one to whom it is spoken. Truth is good, truth is decent, truth makes sense and will defend itself. I remain grateful the Church spoke truth to me.
“Let love be without dissimulation…” (Romans 12:9)
Pastor Phillip Lee
His Way Out Ministries
Member of Restored Hope Network