As the years have unfolded, two truths have repeatedly been impressed upon me: the goodness of our Lord and the brokenness of humanity. Rising up on one side is Christ’s indescribable, undeserved gift saturated with hope that transforms, nourishes, and sustains our souls. Crashing at the other end is the aftermath of a life twisted by sin.
I have beheld the lifeless expressions of chronic liars, the pathetic, blind drivenness of the greedy, as well as the glutton engaged in gorging. Yes, the prism of sin, which has at one point enveloped all of our lives, has many faces.
But today, I am recalling the self-confessed pain experienced in crossing a sexual line, whether that be the transvestite or the homosexual.
For perhaps a variety of reasons known only to them, a series of people have shared with me their depression and pain associated with their lifestyles. As I write, one story stands out in particular. I’ll call him Tom.
When Tom and I first began studying the Bible together, he seemed to be like a blinker oscillating between being engaged and disinterested. Rather than discontinue the study, I trudged on knowing that, if the seed was being sown, God was capable of making it grow. Finally, a prolonged illness brought our studies to an end, or so it seemed.
Nearly a year after our studies had ended, the phone rang with Tom requesting to resume our classes. But now Tom was genuinely thirsty to learn. This new-found desire to delve into scripture was soon accompanied by confessing both an active homosexual lifestyle along with painful feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing.
For Tom, what the Bible really taught was more important to him than what he wanted it to say. Candor displaced denial. And so, when he grasped what Paul meant for someone to be washed, made holy and justified before God, and furthermore this was available to him, tears flowed. He wanted this new life that Jesus makes possible for all of us.
Following his baptism, Tom’s decisions revealed the fruits of repentance while his questions were gritty about how to live daily for Christ. Whenever he would periodically acknowledge temptation, invariably this would be accompanied by affirming his resolve to press on because of the joy he was experiencing in his new life in Christ. Tom had tasted that the Lord was good.
When I think of Tom, I recall someone expressing joy over leaving his former life behind. I remember his determination to persevere.
If only everyone responding to Christ would likewise rejoice over their new freedom and determine to abandon the routines of their former life!