Recently at Beyond Ex-Gay we received the following e-mail:
Although I have been out for many years and have had a relationship for 13 years, I have always had this inner guilt due to my religious beliefs and what the bible says. All this time I thought I had to leave by faith behind and deny with much anger God – and that hurts just as much too. I know longer want to do that – I guess you could say I am searching for answers. I am glad you have had this information on the Internet because, I have recently renewed my faith and have thoughts about going through one of these “healing” programs to be right with God – although inside I believe I am the way God made me.
I am confused still, and so torn.
Could someone help me find the answers I am looking for so I don’t feel the pain and guilt?
I post my response below:
Reading what you write about the confusion and the pain you have felt reminds me of my own struggle now 10 years ago when I first acknowledged that I was gay and that I could not change that (even though I tried mightily for 17 years). People told me over and over, “You can’t be gay & Christian!” So when I first came out, I assumed I could not be Christian any longer.
For a time I aspired to be atheist. Turns out I was a rubbish atheist, always praying and thinking about God. That led me to have a heart to heart with God. So many toxic thoughts filled my mind, much fear, guilt and dread that I was doing something so horrible in accepting that I was gay. This had nothing to do with sex or a relationship, but simply the act of accepting my orientation.
That fear can so cloud the mind. It was difficult to discern if it was really the Holy Spirit convicting me or if I was getting battered by many years of sermons and teachings pointing me in a particular direction. Then I remembered, “God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.” God doesn’t lead by fear. Fear led me astray. Fear led me to go to war with my own body and mind. Fear caused me to go down a path that nearly destroyed my faith as I begged and badgered God to fix me, heal me, change me, contain me. I spent years coveting my straight neighbor’s life.