Written By Risky Samuel, originally in Bahasa Indonesia
Although I was born into a Christian family and lived in a majority-Christian city, my life wasn’t easy. Like most young people, I struggled with many problems, especially the search for a personal identity. My family was a mess, and since I was a child I had lost the love of my parents, especially my father. I grew up thirsting for love, and was easily influenced by friends to find love in the wrong places. My desire for a father’s love led me to become involved in a homosexual relationship.
At first, everything was fine. Isn’t it normal for us to find a community that accepts us, loves us, and satisfies our needs? This became the defence for my behaviour. I was only looking for the love that I never received from my family. I was thankful for my partner. My spiritual life was faltering, and it was my partner who invited me to search for God again. I followed him to church, and even received Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. Both of us were active in ministry. I even celebrated Christmas with his family. Nobody said anything, because they didn’t know that we were a gay couple.
But the Word of God rebuked me. The Bible clearly states that homosexual relationships are a sin and abomination in the eyes of God (Leviticus 20:13; 1 Corinthians 6:9–10). However, it was very difficult to exit the world I had lived in for so many years. I tried to justify myself in many ways. Didn’t God create me this way? I wasn’t hurting anyone. Wasn’t it more important for me to live in “love”?
Proverbs 16:2 reprimanded me strongly: “All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.” God knew well what was in the deepest part of my heart. God knew that I trusted my own heart more than His Word. God knew that I loved my relationship with my partner more than I loved Him. I feared that I was too far gone in my homosexual relationship to turn back, and despaired of ever being restored to God.
I am thankful that God never abandoned me. When I finally sought to obey Him with all of my heart, He gave me the strength to break free from my old lifestyle. For three years, I struggled with the temptation to engage in homosexual relationships. It didn’t help that the people who showed care and concern for me were, in fact, my homosexual friends while family members as well as some others who knew my past would constantly say things that embarrass and hurt me. And to be honest, these temptations still bother me today, but the Word of God has become my refuge. I’ve also realized that God’s acceptance is more important than that of human beings. When I nearly despaired and started blaming my circumstances and those around me for causing my problems, God’s Word reminded me that even my personal dilemma could be transformed, “so that the works of God might be displayed” in me (John 9:3). As a result, I was encouraged to continue depending on God alone. I realized that the purpose of life is not to satisfy my own desires, but to glorify God, my Creator.
In today’s culture of instant gratification, we insist that everything happen quickly, including in our spiritual lives. We expect that by trusting in Jesus, all of our problems will be solved, everyone will support us, and we will obtain success with little effort. In reality, we live in an imperfect world, and the Word tells us that our journey will not always go smoothly.
God’s transformative process will be different for each of us. My experience may not be the same as yours’. But a common truth for all of us to bear in mind is that we have to be patient with the process. A beautiful piece of jewellery can only be created after a long period of refining and shaping. Oftentimes our lives fail to change at all because we are too impatient, and either give up prematurely or refuse to open up to God at all. Thus we end up returning to our old way of life. Proverbs 16:32 encourages us to persevere: “Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.”
No matter what you’ve experienced in the past, let’s renew our determination to live our lives in accordance with God’s will! Let’s take some time to fill our minds with the truth of God’s Word, wherever we are, so that we are not so easily influenced by the thinking of the world. There will be times when we falter or stumble, but God always extends His hand to help us rise again. He knows and understands all of our struggles and will not abandon us.