Such Were Some of You


The apostle Paul in 1 Cor. 6:9-10 mentions the people you’d find in a cross section of Corinthian society. His list of ten doesn’t make nice reading. God’s Kingdom has not yet dawned on these lives. The first five describe sexual immorality, that is if we take idolatry to include the temple prostitution that was rife. Of these five, two are forms of homosexuality. There were a lot of Jews in Corinth, and on the whole they  would have nothing to do with the Gentile abominations. But the rest of Corinth would hardly bat an  eyelid. Indulging in these things was no more than anyone’s private choice of “life-styles”. Of course, if you were caught in a robbery, your head might be off, but for the rest…, society was very permissive.

     But what about that new sect that had arisen, the Christians? Now they  were an altogether different kettle of fish. There were Jews among them, but a growing number were Gentiles: Gentiles, that is, who embraced the Gospel and then, decidedly, turned their backs on their traditional “life-styles”. In verse 11 Paul makes it clear that if you were a Corinthian saint, you might have had a pretty sordid past. Some of them had been practicing homosexuals. That’s right, it had been their “life-style”. But no more – they had been washed clean, they had been set apart, and God considered them “just”, i.e. they could not possibly be condemned now for the way they had lived in the past. A very drastic ‘operation’ had taken place; it affected not only their desires and aspirations, but also their public life styles. AND… that operation never stopped occurring, it is still happening today!!!

Richard’s world came crashing down. He had been living with his new friend for a month. Only a month, but what a month! And now? His friend was found to be HIV positive; then, shortly afterwards – full-blown AIDS! Richard thought he was losing his mind. Fortunately his family was there. They cared, they had accepted his life-style from the beginning, and  his friends. Now they were there to help him care for his slowly dying friend.

Richard had found out that he was gay when he was 14. It had been a great shock. He was bewildered and ashamed, and for 7 years it remained a closely guarded secret.

But Richard knew something about prayer, not from his folks – they were not religious – but rather from the public school where he went as a kid. The pastor who came in to teach ‘religion’, always finished his lessons with a prayer and his last line always was: “In Jesus’ Name. Amen.” It had left a mark on his young mind and these words had become his secret evening prayer to finish the day. And when he discovered he was gay, he prayed: “God, if you can change this, then, please, do so.” He hated to be different from everybody else. However, God didn’t answer the prayer, not yet, and so, for many years, he fooled his family and friends. No one suspected a thing.

At 21 he got into a steady relationship and decided it was time to get things out into the open. There was no opposition. Both his family and his friends accepted him as he was. It was very reassuring, and so, finally, after much struggling, Richard himself acquiesced. If the God who made him meant him to be different, to be gay, then so be it. He was born gay and he would always be gay… The one thought he hated about it was having to get old all alone, for he understood that homosexual relationships, on average, don’t last beyond three years.

As the number of homo-friends increased, so his commitment to promoting the gay life-style grew. As a Dutchman he threw himself into organizing “homo-swimming” in Holland. Later he traveled to New York for the “Gay Games”. What a time that was: so many people, and all on the same wavelength!

Back in Holland, he got into that ill-fated relationship with his friend. Caring for him, when AIDS was taking its toll, took him through some very difficult years. He remembers the sweat and the tears, and yet… there are beautiful memories too.

Once his friend had died, Richard threw himself onto the gay scene as never before and built up a wide circle of friends. Hearing that the next Gay Games were going to be held in Amsterdam, he moved there himself.

And yet, something seemed to be bothering him. He realized that the things he was involved in weren’t exactly good for him, nor were they without risk. There was a voice inside that kept on telling him that this way of life was not what God wanted. That voice seemed to get louder, and it was as if ropes were pulling him back. The sensation was almost physical.

Richard brought it up with an ex-boyfriend and found that this friend was having similar experiences. He also bought a Bible, but not understanding a thing of what he read, he decided he might as well go to some Christian meeting. He had heard about one and so that is where he went. To his surprise there was no dusty or boring atmosphere. The people seemed genuinely happy. The meeting was followed by coffee and he intended to slip out after that, but before he could, a lady approached and started asking questions. Richard gave honest answers, half expecting her to be shocked, but instead she reacted positively. She asked if he was aware that he could invite Jesus into his life. Then she explained the Gospel to him. That very day Richard gave his life to his new-found Lord. In the week that followed he experienced a peace he had never known before. The clamoring for all the excitement of the gay scene seemed to have left him. He made sure he was back the following Sunday. The same lady explained to him that the peace he experienced came from the Holy Spirit, who had entered his life when he surrendered to Jesus.

Then she brought up what the Bible said about his homosexual life-style. Of course, up till this point he had been incredibly involved, yet, now, seeing what the Bible had to say about it was all he needed to realize that his life-style ran counter to God’s plans for his life. He was given the advice to contact the folks from E.H.A.H., a Christian help program for homosexuals.

Richard’s world was truly turned on its head. His sports, his escapades, his vacations, his style of dress – 90% or so of his life went out the window. It could have landed him a huge identity crisis, but God’s love enveloped him and more than made up for what he might have felt was missing. From the EHAH conversations he learned very much, especially about his new identity in Christ. In this period of restoration his heterosexual feelings developed, but, just as he had been told, it was not an overnight transformation, rather a drawn-out process and at times he had to cope with renewed homosexual feelings. But Richard found that his Lord and Savior was always near, ready to lead him on.

At present he is engaged full time among the down-and-outs and the addicts of Amsterdam, yet his longing and vision is to be back on the ‘gay-scene’, this time to give God’s Good News to those still floundering there. As he keeps this before the Lord in prayer, he is looking for the proper preparation for such work.

Last year Richard got to know Noêmia from Brazil, also in the Lord’s work, they got married, and the last and very happy news is that little Pedrowas born on Nov. 6, 2002.