I was only in fourth grade when I realized that I was attracted to men and, at the time, I thought it was just a sexual problem. But as I began to explore the roots of my homosexuality I discovered that my sexual attractions were actually the result of an emotional need. When I reached adolescence my body started telling me I wanted sex from a man, but in my heart I knew it wasn't really about sex. Even before adolescence I didn't fantasize about sex. My fantasy was that a man would just wrap his arms around me, look me in the eye, and tell me that I meant something to him.
That's what I was Missing.
It wasn't a desire for sex, it was a desire for genuine love and affirmation from someone of my own gender. In fact, the most healing experience I've had since realizing that I didn't have to be gay was meeting a man named Lenny Carluzzi who walked away from homosexuality 28 years ago.
When I first met Lenny at an Italian restaurant in Chicago, he instantly wrapped his arms around me, looked me in the eye, and told me that he loved me. That moment was the beginning of my healing process and, since then, God has put dozens of men in my life to provide the non-sexual love and affirmation that I need in order to heal the wounds of my past and grow into heterosexuality. These relationships have meant the world to me. They nurture my soul. Like a light in an underground tunnel, they provide a path of escape from the prison of disconnection and abandonment. It's a prison that I still remember, although the memory fades a little more each time one of these guys opens his arms, and I walk right in.
Many of the men that I counsel are desperate for this kind of healthy male intimacy. They will not share their homosexual struggle with the men in their church because they fear rejection. These men dream of being held in the arms of another man and hearing the words "I love you." Indeed, some them will literally cry into the phone when I tell them that I love them because they have never heard these words from another man before. One man put it well when he said, "As a gay man, I've found it's easier for me to get sex on the streets than to get a hug in church."
If you're not sure how to hug someone who is struggling with homosexuality, just open your arms. If they need your touch, they'll walk right in. Allowing someone who has struggled with homosexuality to get close to you is the greatest gift you can give them. Whether this takes the form of touch, talk, or even something as cliché as going to a movie, learn their love language, and then speak it!
Randy Newman of Campus Crusade for Christ wrote: "For far too many [homosexual strugglers], a crucial missing ingredient in the healing process is friendship with a heterosexual Christian who will accept them, pray with them, and embrace them..."
When we learn to do this, we can rest assured that God can use us to set the captives free. I know because I was one of the captives, but God set me free. And it all started because one man loved me enough to open his arms.
And I walked right in.
Chad Thompson is the author of Loving Homosexuals as Jesus Would, published by Brazos Press. He has also
produced a DVD called Bringing Christian Love Out of the Closet. For more information on his ministry to the
gay community, visit www.LovingHomosexuals.com. (If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy this one.) - See more at: http://lovinghomosexuals.com/gay-pride-meets-christian-humility.html#sthash.sAki821S.dpuf