I want to tell you the story of a broken young man that grew up in Dallas, Texas. His parents went to church not because they wanted a relationship with Jesus, but because that is simply what one does in the south. His father was disengaged emotionally, though he tried his best to encourage his son through sports and the Boy Scouts.
His parents believed that these two extracurricular activities would be all their son needed to develop healthy bonds with other boys. However, what the young man actually needed was the affirmation and affection that only his parents, and specifically his father, could provide.
This young man was me. This is the beginning of my story. But praise God, it is not the end.
Like all boys, I had a deep desire to develop strong relationships with other males. Within the context of my strained paternal relationship, though, this good and right desire for male friends became corrupted. Satan loves to use what is good and twists it into something devastating and destructive. And I’m sad to say that I acted on those corrupt desires. At the time those desires felt like “new” feelings. Throughout the rest of my time at home, I fed the sin beast in the dark.
Around the time I graduated from high school, I came out of the dark and told my Dad that I was same-sex attracted and that I was going to live out my life in accordance with that identity. I will never forget his words to me. He said, “Jameson, I don’t know what all is going on with you, but this is not who you are and I am going to find help for you.” To this day, I am indebted to my father who held true to that promise.
Satan loves to use what is good and twists it into something devastating and destructive.
My Dad found Living Hope Ministries and I became involved immediately before I began my freshman year at university. I am so glad that I did not wait to get plugged in. Every week the guys at Living Hope reminded me about the source of my identity. Our identity does not come from our job, education, or sexual desires. No. Our identity comes from Jesus. And because of that, we can walk in the light.
I’m so thankful to know where real and long-lasting truth comes from and how to practically embrace that truth in my life. Because of the support of Living Hope, I was able to walk toward holiness, though imperfectly, throughout college. After I graduated from college, I knew from what I learned at Living Hope that I had to wholeheartedly seek a solid church that preached the Bible and encourage the body to be involved with each other. I came back home to Dallas, again got involved with LHM, and even became a small group leader helping others discover the truths I had been taught and now practiced.
Today I live in Washington, DC, a city where your individual “truths” rule and your identity is wrapped up more in what you do and who you know than anything else. Daily, I practice the things I learned at LHM and I continue to keep in touch with LHM leadership and others through the online forums. It’s a challenge to push against the beat of this city and how people interact with each other. I praise God that I became connected with one of the many healthy churches in DC where I am regularly reminded where to find my true identity – in Jesus Christ. These
brothers and sisters repeatedly remind me that we can’t walk toward holiness by ourselves. They prayed with me against shame, guilt, and the lies the devil constantly throws at me.
When you battle with this particular sin, there is a real proclivity to feel alienated and condemned by the other members of the Church.
I want to encourage you, brothers and sisters who do not struggle, to keep loving those who do struggle with same-sex attraction. When you battle with this particular sin, there is a real proclivity to feel alienated and condemned by the other members of the Church. Keep loving on them and encouraging them. It makes a difference!
To those of you who do struggle, I speak the truth of Romans 8:1 over you: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” You can have healthy, God-honoring same-sex friendships where you are both deeply known and deeply loved. Our passions can indeed change. Even though I still struggle, God has shown me that the darkness will not overcome the light. Remain steadfast brothers and sisters. Press hard into Him as we eagerly await His return.