Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Men Pursuing Purity

Is God calling you to abandon the gay lifestyle? This is a personal testimony of Bro. Rollie's journey from the gay lifestyle towards the path of purity. I hope that this post will help to inspire you to say 'yes' to God's call and begin your personal journey towards healing and holiness.

Loving Well by Rolando C. Delos Reyes II

Growing up, I thought love means that "kilig" feeling you have when you see someone – I equated love to attraction. However, as a young boy I was disturbed because I have "kilig" feelings not towards girls but towards boys and men. I tried to stop these feelings by burying myself in studies and prayer, but it won't go away. Then through suggestive romantic stories I got the idea that when people are in love, they do stuff with one another's bodies – I then equated love to sex. At 14 years old I had my first homosexual experience with my schoolmate who happens to be my neighbour. My father caught us one time during the act, and even though I was trembling with fear, deep inside many questions were left unanswered – "Why am I doing this?", "Am I gay?", "Is this love?".

I hid myself in my innermost shell, turned to religion, and decided to enter the seminary after high school. With high spirits, I thought I had finally escaped that dark part of my childhood. After a year, we had a subject on counselling – little did I know my Pandora's box will be opened – my dark spirit came back with a vengeance. My hunger for love, which I equated with sex, grew out of proportions, and two of my fellow seminarians became victims of that hunger. I was advised to leave the seminary – my dream of becoming a priest was shattered, and I felt my life in shambles. I came home shattered – I equated love as evil. I pronounced an inner vow that I must be careful about loving someone.

I came to UP Diliman and was shocked by the liberal thinking that pervade the learning halls. With a spirit of rebellion, I embraced this new way of thinking and began exploring the homosexual lifestyle. After graduation, I came to teach in a school were most of the teachers are practicing homosexuals. They introduced me to the gay world – going to movie houses, gay clubs, bath houses – and began involving myself in indiscreet casual anonymous sexual encounters with other men. I was like a vampire looking for men to devour to satisfy my insatiable hunger, from my waking hours to my wildest dreams. My friends taught me not to get seriously involved because men will just hurt us. I then equated love to a game, a game of seduction and control. And I did exactly that. However, each night I return from my escapades feeling empty within. One night I ask one of my friends the most profound question: "Ganito na lang ba tayo?". My friend responded "Masaya naman di ba?". But I know I wasn't happy.

To balance my sinful life, I also joined a choir at our parish. Every Sunday, I served in the choir to pay back the week of sinful acts. I know it wasn't good enough, but I felt better. A choir member invited us to a Christian Life Program of Singles for Christ. I relented thinking this might earn me more good points before God. I finished the program and began attending some activities. Our care group of men showed me kindness, but I did not receive it. I thought to myself – I do not deserve this kind of love. I left SFC and isolated myself once more. I came back to my sinful ways.

In 2001, after working 3 years in a corporation, an officemate told me they are opening SFC in the office, and they wanted to invite me to be part of it. Full of pride, I asked to have a talk with the chapter head, and I told him that I was gay and he needs to accept me as such. He just smiled, shook my hands and embraced me. I didn't know how to react, but I said to myself "Lets give this another try". I attended the meetings and quickly became friends with most of the people. At this time, I also got acquainted with the support group Courage, who helps persons with homosexual attractions. For the first time, I felt I was not alone in this struggle with sin.

In SFC I met two heterosexual men who asked me to be part of their accountability circle. At first I hesitated – how can I relate with you, and how can you relate with me, we live two different lives? But eventually I yielded. As we shared one another's struggles and problems, we found out we were no different from each other. Benj and Biboy became my best friends. However, in time they got married, and though in my mind I know that's ok, in my heart I felt I lost a big part of myself. I held an agreement – love will eventually leave you alone. At the same time I had a Courage brother who has resentments towards me and spreads ill accusations against me. I held another agreement – love will eventually betray you.

That's when I met Living Waters. It is here that I learned that our need for love is so much greater than our capacity to love. I surrendered to be the victim of the Father's unfailing love, and it was then that I began to gain knowledge of my true self in God's eyes – that I was Forgiven, that I am God's son whom He is well pleased, that I am not just a man but God's knight whom He calls to serve in front of His army. In every program I let God take full control and He flooded me with torrents of love – and I discovered that it is only when I am full of God's love that I can truly love others well.

I am incapable of love outside of God's love. Without God, I can easily treat others with envious lust or rash judgment. Without God, I tend to isolate myself and go back to my false self. As God fills me with His love, I am able to love another out of the abundance of the love He gives me. God's love enables me to be secure in my identity as His son. As I am secured in His love, no unlovable act of others affects me. Sin becomes meaningless in the face of perfect love. As I continue to recognize God's presence in me, a positive sobriety begins. And I begin to understand the meaning of Jesus' command "Love one another as I have loved you" – we are able to love another only in the degree that we experience God's unfailing love and mercy towards us. As we grow in our love relationship with Jesus, we slowly become united with him, and it is then that we become another Jesus to others.

"If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts" - Hebrews 3:15

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