Calling Out the Man
“Teach me how to be a man.” This has been the cry of my heart, the desire of my life since my memories began. My journey has been one out of homosexuality, a life of devouring men in fraudulent hopes of someday becoming one. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to kill and steal and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” My path has led to a life of abundance and freedom, promises my Savior has made to counter the enemy’s deceitful ploys.
I had a father who was in the home, but was very distant. As I grew up, I was always a Mama’s boy and had very few male friends. I had always associated with girls, but I never truly fit. These friendships with girls made me feel accepted at times, but I was often left out because I wasn’t a girl. This only fueled my isolation and ended with a desire to be a girl.
Early on there was an incident that some might believe was a sign of me being homosexual. When I was three or four, while watching wrestling on TV, I said, “That is making my ‘pee pee’ hard.” A phenomena, I found with later study, is common to many young boys, whether they end up struggling with homosexual feelings or not, and should not alarm the parents of any “emerging tendencies.” However, it could be an indication of a need to connect to the masculine, or “father-hunger,” which I will discuss in greater detail later.
The first man I recall looking up to was my 5th grade teacher. He took great interest in me as a pupil and allowed me to help him out a lot. This grew into my first infatuation. I didn’t know what I was feeling, but I really liked this man being proud of me and giving me a lot of affirmation. This was also my first experience of “wanting more from a man,” but since I hadn’t been introduced to sex…I didn’t know what I wanted.
What I wanted was someone or something to meet a legitimate God-given need (sometimes referred to as “father-hunger”): the need for affirmation as a boy emerging into manhood. Proverbs 4:1 says, “Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding.” Since I was not instructed in how to be a man, and because this teacher was the first to show me anything about “real manhood,” I had a desire to consume him, and somehow claim everything I admired in him as my own.
Adolescence is the time a boy discovers a lot about his body, and his body does things unintentionally. For me, this was the time all of my feelings of inadequacy around boys went through a sexualizing filter. I knew I wasn’t supposed to be attracted to boys, but I was, and I wasn’t about to tell a soul. Similarly, I was introduced to masturbation at this time, which did nothing but turn my emerging homosexual fantasy life into a reality of being. You see, Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he” (New King James Version). The more I gravitated to fantasy and masturbation as an outlet for my emotional distortions, the more I began to believe this is what I was to become. In other words, masturbation strengthened my homosexual feelings, because I was practicing a sexual release while thinking of men.
One day I was sitting on a city bus with some friends and I had an erection. I tried to hide it, but a man across from me noticed and flaunted his erection. He took an interest in me and coaxed me off the bus into my first molestation. I was devastated at first, but as time passed, I began to believe I liked it. I began to believe I was supposed to be like him.
Around the same time, a minister in my church took a similar, perverse interest in me in a similar bus situation. I later found him watching me undress and glaring at my genitals. This began a six-year hobby of his looking and my undressing. I allowed this to continue because I was finally getting attention from a man and I loved it. I thought this was the only way I could gain a man’s attention. For the next several years I lived a double life: one active in church and Christian activities, the other going to get my “fix” wherever I could find a willing man. I began seeking out people and places where life was secret and others wanted the same thing I did. It didn’t take me long to find places where faces had no names.
Just before college, the Lord opened the first door of freedom. On a youth trip the Lord put a man in my path – a pastoral counselor from my church. At this point I had been totally engulfed by my secret desires and actions, and had been carrying around shame for years, but Jesus had a plan as in Isaiah 47:3, “Your nakedness will be exposed and your shame uncovered” (New International Version). This man was very encouraging to me and I felt comfortable talking to him. I told him of my struggle, but only with my desires – not my actions. His words were, “I don’t believe anyone is gay unless they have acted out.” This statement put me back in the prison of my brokenness, believing the lie that I was what I did. Little did I know, that a man is not defined by his actions, a man is defined by what his Father says about him. In Hebrews 10:14 the Father assures me that I am perfect and holy, “For by a single offering He has forever completely cleansed and perfected those who are consecrated and made holy” (Amplified Bible). And in I Corinthians 6:11 the Lord even addresses my past homosexual state when He says, “There was a time when some of you were just like that, but now your sins have been washed away, and you have been set apart for God. You have been made right with God because of what the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God have done for you” (New Living Translation).
As I entered college, with a definite calling on my life into ministry, I suspected that I was going to live my double life forever…in the hopes that I would never be found out. I got a job as a part-time music minister in a small rural church and did very well at “performing” my way through worship, making everyone think I was the perfect, talented, Baptist boy. While operating out of my brokenness all through college there were many unhealthy emotional relationships, plus a few I totally destroyed through emotional idolatry. Until my church called a new pastor, this was my normal mode of operation. I had prayed about the change, but all I really prayed for was “a man that I wasn’t attracted to.” Initially, my prayer was answered. This man had a great love for God, and desired for all to enter a true place of repentance and intimacy with Him. On top of all that, he became my best friend. I grew to adore this man and I began to fantasize about him. I was scared to death; I knew what was next in my cycle. I would smother him and then force him to confront me on the issue.
You see, even though I didn’t have a name for it at the time, I understood my cycle. I now know that it is called “emotional dependency” or “emotional idolatry.” It would begin with a few affirming comments or gestures from a man who would legitimately want to be my friend. But in my broken desire for male attention I wouldn’t be satisfied with a few kind words, I wanted the man to meet my every need for affirmation and encouragement. This would lead to my smothering him. I would soon reach a point of wanting to be around him all the time…but when I was around him the situation would be awkward. These relationships would, most often, end in severing the friendship altogether.
I cried out to God, “Don’t let this happen with this man! He belongs to You and He is so good for me!” The Lord replied, “Tell him.” “No!” I said, “No one knows about this at this church! I could get into big trouble!” This was just after a men’s group I had completed entitled “The Man God Uses” by Henry Blackaby. I had never been through a study like that and I wanted to go through a study that dealt with my issues, which, at that time I thought to be just homosexual tendencies. Little did I know that I had never lived out of the “new creature in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17) in my relationships, and my next step would be turning away from relationships that were based on serving my own needs.
Finally, I made this issue known to my pastor, and it put a new spin on the relationship, something I had never experienced before. He cared so much about me that he was ready to drop everything and concentrate on “getting me healed.” A wonderful response, but at the same time, he wanted me to be totally truthful about all of my homosexual involvement up until that point. I was not ready to divulge such information, as I feared it would greatly incriminate my standing as a minister. But as time passed, and my desire for change grew, my pastor found a ministry that would help me, called First Stone Ministries. I began to understand Proverbs 10:9, “The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.”
First Stone was a place where I shared all my “stuff” and received no condemnation, only love and help. And after submitting to the authority the Lord had placed over me, I began to experience freedom little by little. Jesus took issue after issue, encounter after encounter, and feeling after feeling and began a work that would never end until the day He completes it, and that is the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6). Christ has been faithful to minister to my every desire, whether it be sexual, prideful, mournful or otherwise. The abundance of life the Lord has imparted to me has come primarily from the truth that “power is perfected in weakness. “Most gladly, therefore, I would rather boast of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (2 Corinthians 12:9). My weakness was a stumbling block for years, but what the enemy intended for evil, my Heavenly Father has used for good. My Lord is doing a new thing in me, and that is a complete desire for transparency, a new gift that I would have never known if I had not seen the Lord display His strength through my weakness.
Now, although heterosexual desire is not an end in itself, it has been a byproduct of seeking holiness in my life. In recent years God reintroduced me to the woman who soon became my wife. In truth, we met eight years earlier but God had a great deal of work to do in both of us before we were to be together. My walk in marriage has proven to be the next step in believing God concerning my masculinity, as He continually calls me "husband" and challenges me to believe all the truths that go along with that title.
So, was I ever gay? No…I am a man who was greatly deceived. I was born with legitimate needs. Needs that went unmet for years. Needs that I carried into adolescence and were sexualized. I was deceived into thinking that I was longing for men because I was just made that way, when the truth was that I always needed a man to pour part of himself into me…only not sexually or sensually, but spiritually, in a fatherly way. Since I’ve asked Him to, my Heavenly Father has filled that void. He has also gathered men around me to teach me more about manhood (since I got a late start). He is transforming me into the man He created me to be, and that is a man after God’s own heart. I am promised in Proverbs 23:18, “Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.”
“Teach me how to be a man.” The desire still stands. I have learned that a man is created by the Father to simply “function in His will.” “How can a young man stay pure? By living according to your word” (Psalm 119:9). Therefore, a man is only what the Father says he is and the way to be a man is to believe it.
Chris M is married, has two children and they are pursuing the Lord wherever He leads.