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Some time 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 bring huge amounts of pain – even now, some thirty-three years down the road of being a Christian and same-gender attraction no longer being an issue.

Frankly, it does seem a bit unfair. I suppose to some degree that shouldn’t be all that surprising when you still remember clearly words being hurled at your 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 certainly be painful, they can also be strangely wonderful. 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 many wonders of life and the possibilities that God has to offer. Frankly, I did not become a Christian to leave homosexuality. I became a Christian because Jesus just makes sense.

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 places like Guyana, South America; and have every need in my life met. Not too bad for someone who thought his life was over many years ago 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.

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 seek 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 women to discover the reality of God’s love for us an 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 years ago, I found that my true identity would never be found by looking backward to my past or towards my sexuality. Past events, regardless of how many or to what 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, that 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, we all have them.

However, in choosing to view them as a steppingstone rather than a stumbling block, you just might find the view from where you sit looks pretty dog-gone good.

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