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Having had a spiritual awakening,
we tried to carry this message to people in homosexuality
with a love that demands nothing
and to practice these steps in all our lives' activities,
as far as lies within us.
Have you noticed that the steps repeatedly call us to balance in our lives? No where is this more evident than in Step 14.
Some of us got so involved with our own recovery and with other people that we nearly forgot God. Step 14 warns us that a "spiritual awakening" must undergird all recovery work if it is to be fruitful for us and for others.
Many of us were so wrapped up in ourselves and the pursuit of our own recovery that we scarcely gave a thought to anyone else. We could hardly wait till we could put the whole, distasteful business behind us. We wanted nothing more than to get the matter over with so we could get on with our lives. While we would never have said it, our attitude was: "I don't care what happens to others with this problem as long as I get free."
Small wonder we made poor progress in our struggles. Dr. Arnold Washton and Donna Boundy, both specialists in treating addiction, write: "Preoccupation with one's self is probably the most predominant trait of the addiction-prone person." [Willpower's Not Enough, p. 69]
Bill W., co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, experienced his spiritual awakening and enjoyed about ten months of freedom from alcohol. Then came trouble! A business deal he had been counting on fell through and his partners left him in Akron's Mayflower Hotel with only about ten dollars in his pocket.
He wrote: "...I was pacing up and down the hotel lobby, wondering what I could do. The bar at one end of my beat was filling up rapidly. I could hear the familiar buzz of conversation.... I was seized with a thought: I am going to get drunk. Or no, maybe I won't get drunk; maybe I'll just go into that bar and drink some ginger ale and scrape up an acquaintance. Then I panicked. That was a real gift! I had never panicked before at the threat of alcohol. Maybe this meant that my sanity had been restored. I remembered that in trying to help other people, I had stayed sober myself. For the first time I deeply realized it. I thought, 'You need another alcoholic to talk to. You need another alcoholic just as much as he needs you!'" [Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, p. 65-66]
This realization led him to an alcoholic named Dr. Bob. As a result, Bill W. stayed sober, Dr. Bob found freedom, and together they started Alcoholics Anonymous. The rest is history.
Bill W. discovered a great secret. Recovery is something you have to give away to enjoy! We in HA have learned that there is no freedom from homosexuality without freedom from self-centeredness.
Further, those of us who have entrusted "our lives to our loving God" (Step 7) accept His ultimate goal for us as our own--conformity "to the image of His Son" (Romans 8:29). Christ "did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45 NIV). He said His purpose in life was "not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me" (John 6:38), "to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10). Carrying the message to others in homosexuality gives us an opportunity to love them as Christ loved us. It is a wonderful part of that "good" which God brings out of all our trouble and which gives meaning to our suffering (Step 3).
Not only can carrying the message help free us from being obsessed with ourselves and enable us to grow more like Christ, it can also provide us with an excellent safeguard against self-deception. I know a person who claimed she had been delivered from homosexuality for over ten years, but, when she started trying to help others find freedom, she had a serious fall. What happened? She had simply refused to think about her homosexual struggle for ten years. When she sought to help others, she had to think about the problem. What she had only pushed out of consciousness was still there and came over her with all the old force.
Repression is not recovery; forgetting is not freedom! Regularly helping others in homosexuality find hope and help in Christ guarantees that we cannot live in that kind of denial because it forces us to face the problem of homosexuality daily as we are ministering to others. It is a tremendous reality check!
Selfishness is one extreme. Being so concerned with others that one does not take proper care of oneself is another. It is also possible to use helping others as a substitute for facing one's own problems and resolving them. That can only lead to tragic disappointment.
So, Step 14 reminds us that as we seek to help others we must also continue to "practice these steps in all our lives' activities." In doing so it echoes the Bible when it says, "Take heed unto thyself, and unto thy doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee" (I Timothy 4:16).
Lest we begin to focus too much on our own efforts to help others and practice the steps, Step 14 reminds us that we can only do so "as far as in us lies." We are still finite. We are still imperfect. We do not know everything. We do not have all power. We are limited. We have not yet arrived. We will always be dependent on God's grace and power.
Be certain that all of these threads are a permanent part of the fabric of your life. Walk daily with God. Care deeply for others. Proclaim liberty to the captives. Continue working your own program. Always remember your utter dependence on the God of all grace! That is recovery.
1. What must happen before I can help others?
"In the third century, Cyprian, the Bishop of Carthage, wrote to his friend Donatus: 'It is an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and holy people who have learned a great secret. They have found a joy which is a thousand times better than any of the pleasure of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. These people, Donatus, are Christians . . . and I am one of them.'" [Billy Graham, "The New Birth," Fundamentals of the Faith, p. 199-200]
"Would we know the test by which we must try ourselves?... If we have really received the Holy Ghost, we shall show it by a meek and childlike spirit. Like children, we shall think humbly of our own strength and wisdom, and be very dependent on our Father in heaven. Like children, we shall not seek great things in this world, but having food and raiment and a Father's love, we shall be content." [J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Matthew, p. 220]
"...In one sentence He sweeps away all that Nicodemus stood for, and demands that he be remade by the power of God." [Leon Morris, "Commentary on the Gospel of John," The New International Commentary on the New Testament, p. 212] "...The man who is not reborn will not even see the kingdom." [ibid., p. 214]
"The change which our Lord here declares needful....is not merely reformation, or amendment, or moral change, or outward alteration of life.... It is the calling into existence of a new creature, with a new nature, new habits of life, new tastes, new desires, new appetites, new judgments, new opinions, new hopes, and new fears." [J. C. Ryle, "John," Expository Thoughts on the Gospels I, p. 122]
"On account of sin the whole human race lives trusting in itself. We are...born that way. Therefore, every person has to be born of the Spirit so that we will trust solely in God's grace." [S. G. De Graff, Promise and Deliverance IV, p. 27]
"The expression 'the world' here represents everything in which a man would wish to 'boast,' that is...on which...he would suppose himself able to depend, as, for example, the law... It is denoted as 'world'...because it pertains to the life-context...before and outside Christ. All this has for Paul once and for all...been crucified through the cross of Christ. When Christ was crucified, all this was seen to be inadequate, as a vain ground for boasting, indeed as a power threatening man. On the other hand, Paul is able to say that he has been 'crucified to the world.' When Christ was crucified his own were also snatched away from the world as a power dominating and fascinating them." [Herman Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology, p. 210-211]
"After having shown the true source of temptation..., he points out how incredible it is...that God should become a tempter. How can the Source of every good gift...be also a source of temptations to sin? How can the Father of lights be one who would lead away His creatures into darkness.... It was 'of His own will' that He rescued mankind from the state of death into which their rebellious wills had brought them and by a new revelation of Himself in 'the Word of truth'...brought them forth again born anew as Christians." [Alfred Plummer, "The General Epistles of St. James and St. Jude," The Expositor's Bible VI, p. 579]
I John 5:1
The new birth issues in faith that Jesus is the Christ and in love for God and His children.
"To believe that Jesus is the Christ is to acknowledge that He is the Messiah promised in the Old Testament.... The term means literally the anointed. This...awakens our attention to the associations connected with the practice of anointing with oil. We find that it was used in the appointment of the prophets, priests, and kings. Hence when applied to Jesus it....presents Him to us as the prophet, priest, and king of the church.... Is Christ the prophet of the church? Then....He is the great teacher at whose feet we sit whilst He proclaims--'He that hath ears to hear let him hear.' Is He the priest of the church? Then in His sacrifice alone can we trust, and by His intercession alone can we draw nigh to God.... Is He the king of the church? Then we submit to His authority.... We trust in Him for protection and deliverance." [James Morgan and Samuel Cox, The Epistles of John, p. 385-386]
2. What is an excellent way for me to help people in homosexuality?
God does not want our suffering to be wasted. His desire is that our "scars of pain...become beauty marks that" He can use "to touch others." [Chap Clark, The Performance Illusion, p. 56]
Until now you may not have done much to help others. If that is so, now is the time to change that pattern. Pray about starting a new chapter in your area, or serving as a step coach, or starting an auxiliary reading group to supplement what is currently available for people in your area. If God has in measure or in whole delivered you, He wants you to share that with others so that He may receive the glory He deserves. He wants you to be His instrument in making things better for those who struggle than they were for you. Will you serve Him, or think only of self?
"I love your meetings for prayer, you cannot have too many of them: but we must work while we pray and pray while we work. I would rather see a man, who has been saved from the gulf below, casting forth lifelines to others struggling in the maelstrom of death, than on his knees on that rock thanking God for his own deliverance; because I believe God will accept action for others as the highest possible expression of gratitude that a saved soul can offer." [Thomas Guthrie in C. H. Spurgeon, My Sermon Notes, p. 533]
If we are disobedient here, we face this judgment: "You know the balm for the wounds of sinners, and you let them bleed to death." [C. H. Spurgeon, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit XXXIII, (1887), p. 673]
"The glory of God, and, as our only means of glorifying Him, the salvation of human souls, is the real business of life." [C. S. Lewis, Christian Reflections, p. 14]
"We are not told to be successful, but to be obedient. It is the work of the Spirit to make men believe; we must deliver the message." [D. L. Moody, Notes From My Bible, p. 29]
II Corinthians 5:18
"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one, the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy." [George Bernard Shaw in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, p. 680:15]
"Sometimes the question is asked, 'Which is more important in witnessing, the life I live or the words I say?'... It's like asking which wing of an airplane is more important, the right or the left! Obviously both are essential and you don't have anything without both. Life and lip are inseparable in any effective witness for Christ." [Paul Little, How To Give Away Your Faith, p. 35]
II Timothy 4:2
"The testimony of the true follower of Christ might well be something like this:.... The multi- tudes that were so dear to Christ shall not be less dear to me. If I cannot prevent their moral suicide, I shall at least baptize them with my...tears.... I seek no spirituality that I must win at the cost of forgetting that men and women are lost and without hope. If in spite of all I can do they will sin against light and bring upon themselves the displeasure of a holy God, then I must not let them go their sad way unwept.... I choose a broken heart rather than any happiness that ignores the tragedy of human life and human death. Though I, through the grace of God in Christ, no longer lie under Adam's sin, I would still feel a bond of compassion for all of Adam's tragic race, and I am determined that I shall go down to the grave...mourning for the lost and the perishing." [A. W. Tozer, The Next Chapter after the Last, p. 36]
"Even if I were utterly selfish and had no care for anything but my own happiness, I would choose, if I might, under God, to be a soul-winner, for never did I know perfect, overflowing, unutterable happiness of the purest and most ennobling order, till I first heard of one who had sought and found a Savior through my means.... Beyond all controversy, it is a joy worth worlds to win souls..." [C. H. Spurgeon, The Soul-Winner, p. 231-232]
3. How will I know what to say?
"An unwilling mind will take up with a sorry excuse.... Moses knew that God made man, but he must be reminded now that God made man's mouth.... Those whom God employs to speak for him ought to depend on Him..." [Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible I, p. 287-288]
"This passage does not affirm that all who are...smitten (with dumbness, deafness, or blindness) are smitten of God. Rather it means that if God wills He can affect the organs of man. There- fore if He wills He can make Moses' tongue eloquent." [Bernard Ramm, His Way Out, p. 34]
When we tell others what we used to be like, they feel less alone and less different. They feel it is safe to share their own fear and pain with us. When we tell others what God has done for us, they are given hope and are encouraged to seek His grace for themselves.
Everything is of God. We must turn to Him for help so we will know what to say. When we have shared His message of love and grace, we leave the matter with Him. While we are always ready to offer help and encouragement to others who want it, we do not try to "fix" them, for that may make things worse for them. We acknowledge that only God can save people.
Carrying the message to others helps us. As we reach out to men and women who are suffer- ing, we are reminded of our own vulnerabilities and deep need of God. As we share the 14 Steps, we come to understand them better ourselves and are thus able to apply them more effectively in our own lives. We also find people along the way who will share with us in our recovery. Lasting friendships often develop as we walk the road of freedom together.
Note, we must first open our ears to God before we can open our mouths for Him.
"...Though a sense of our own weakness and insufficiency should make us go humbly about our work, yet it should not make us draw back from it when God calls us to it.... God can, when he pleases, make children prophets, and ordain strength out of the mouth of babes and sucklings." [Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible IV, p. 400-401]
"Christ's servants must not be perplexed what to do or say in his cause, for Christ forbids us to be anxious (ordinary means of preparation are not forbidden, but anxiety only)..." [David Dickson, A Brief Exposition of the Evangel of Jesus Christ According to Matthew, p. 130]
I Peter 3:15
"...The sanctuary in which Christ is to be acknowledged as holy and worshipped is the heart." [Alan Stibbs, "The First Epistle General of Peter," The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, p. 135] This command assumes "that Christians...have 'a hope in them;' that...a reason can be given for it...; that this hope ought not...be concealed; and that for this hope Christians...are likely to be called on to give an account;--and it calls on Christians...to give an answer to every one that asks them a reason for their hope: in others words, to state and defend the grounds of their hope; to be always prepared to do this; and finally, to do this, whenever it is done, with meekness and fear." [John Brown, Expository Discourses on the First Epistle of the Apostle Peter II, p. 331-332]
"...They are not required to be always disputing about their hope...without regard to the propri- eties of time, place, and person, but to 'be ready'...; 'ready always'...; 'ready always for an answer'...; 'ready always for an answer to every one'...; 'to every one...that asketh of you' ...; 'that asketh of you...an account of...the hope that is in you'..." [John Lillie, Lectures on the First and Second Epistles of Peter, p. 224-225]
"...Of all dangers, that of angry, arrogant and irreverent demeanor on the part of men closely, and often captiously, questioned, is the most common and subtle. Sweetness coupled with awe, remembering whose cause is defended, will commend true reasoning, and they will be in them- selves evidences calculated to impress and often to win opponents." [F. C. Cook, "The First Epistle General of Peter," The Bible Commentary X, p. 203]
"Many have...suggested that there may...be an implied allusion here to Peter's own failure when he denied the Lord. When he was unexpectedly asked by an unfamiliar person in an unusual place in a passing, superficial way he was not ready with his answer and what he did say was spoken neither with meekness nor with reverence." [Alan Stibbs, 'The First Epistle General of Peter," The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, p. 136]
4. What do I need above all else if I am really to help others?
Dr. Elizabeth Moberly says, "A defensive detachment from the same-sex love-source, and conse- quent unmet needs for love, constitute the homosexual condition. Love is the basic problem, the great need, and the only solution. If we are willing to seek and mediate the healing and redeeming love of Christ, than healing for the homosexual will become a great and glorious reality." [Homosexuality: A New Christian Ethic, p. 52]
"...As a people endued with three great gifts of God--elect, consecrated, beloved--clothe... yourself with tender and truly human emotions of compassion, with goodness to others, humility in your own mind, gentleness, long-suffering--forbearing one another, and forgiving each his fellow-partaker in the body of Christ.... And above...all..clothe...yourselves with that love which...is the enclasping garment which holds together the various parts that make up the fair completeness of the Christian life. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts....that peace which faithful Christians should make one to another, and allow to rule in their hearts." [W. Alexander, "Colossians," The Bible Commentary IX, p. 676-677]
To say that Christian love is unconditional is not to say that it does not encourage the one loved to do what is right. It is to say that Christian love continues even when that person fails to do what is right. Christian love is encouraging rather than demanding.
This is illustrated by Paul Tournier's struggle with a friend's decision to divorce his wife. "I cannot approve of his course of action... I should be betraying my belief if I were to hide it from him. I know that there is always a solution other than divorce to a marital conflict, if we are really prepared to seek it under God's guidance. But I know that this disobedience is no worse than the slander, the lie, the gesture of pride of which I am guilty every day. The cir- cumstances of our lives are different, but the reality of our hearts is the same. If I were in his place, would I act any differently from him? I have no idea. At least I know that I should need friends who loved me unreservedly just as I am, with all my weaknesses, and who would trust me without judging me. If he gets his divorce, he will no doubt meet even greater difficulties than those he is in today. He will need my affection all the more, and this is the assurance I must give him." [The Person Reborn, p. 71]
I John 4:11,12
"...Psychiatrist...Harry Stack Sullivan says that 'when the happiness, security, and well-being of another person is as real or more real to you that your own, you love that person." [John Powell, Happiness Is an Inside Job, p. 57]
II John 5,6
"'First he tells us that to love is to keep the commandments; and then, that to keep the com- mandments is to love.... His constant antithesis between Law and Love is intended to teach that love must clothe itself in forms of obedience, and that obedience to law becomes perfect liberty when inspired by love. He married Love to Duty, Duty to Love, and forbids us to put asunder those who God has joined. Love, as mere passion, is very strong and urgent but often reacts into even fatal languors. Duty, as mere obedience, is very constant, severe, authoritative; but often breeds weariness and repugnance. But...Love and Duty...hand in hand...were 'made for each other,' the one coming to the other's aid just...when it is most in need of help.... Love and duty must both be ours, till we rise into that happy world in which love and duty are one." [James Morgan and Samuel Cox, The Epistles of John, p. 80-81, 83]
5. What else must I do to enjoy spiritual health?
"The central thought in self-denial is a...sustained willingness to say 'no' to oneself in order to be able to say 'Yes' to God." [William Lane, "Commentary on the Gospel of Mark," The New International Commentary on the New Testament, p. 296]
"The thought is simple enough, and plain to every child playing 'follow the leader', of which there is only one rule--that no follower shirks going to any place where the Leader has first gone." [Alan Cole, "The Gospel According to St. Mark," The Tyndale New Testament Com- mentaries, p. 138]
Many of us have been proud and defiant in the past. Working the 14 Steps helps develop in us humility and obedience. We learn to acknowledge our limitations and weaknesses and to let go of self-will to do the will of God.
Doing the will of God does not mean a trouble-free life. Life is often difficult, filled with problems which can lead to doubt and confusion, turmoil and pain. The presence of Christ, however, enables us to face our problems with a new set of values and a deep, inner peace. Since we no longer run from problems in fear, we are released from much suffering as we learn to "practice these steps in all our lives' activities" and thus resolve our difficulties. We seek God's help to change what can be changed, accept what cannot be changed, and to learn to tell the difference. Each problem becomes an opportunity to walk more closely with Him and to rely on His wisdom and power. Thus our difficulties become stepping-stones for emotional and spiritual growth.
"St. Paul was the last man in the world to undervalue human effort, or disparage good work of any sort. It is, in his view, the end aimed at in all that God bestows on His people, in all that He Himself works in them. Only let this end be sought in God's way and order. Man's doings must be the fruit and not the root of his salvation. 'Not of works,' but 'for good works' were believers chosen.... God has not raised us up to sit idly in the heavenly places lost in contem- plation, or to be the useless pensioners of grace. He sends us forth to 'walk in the works, prepared for us'..." [George Findlay, "The Epistle to the Ephesians," The Expositor's Bible VI, p. 33]
"...The foundation of all Christian character and conduct is laid in the knowledge of the will of God.... He does not show Himself to us in order that we may know, but in order that, know- ing, we may do.... Knowledge is sound when it molds conduct. Action is good when it is based on knowledge.... Again, progress in knowledge is the law of the Christian life.... The progress does not consist in leaving behind old truths, but in a profounder conception of what is contained in these truths.... We are to grow in knowledge of...Christ by coming ever nearer to Him, and learning more of the infinite meaning of our earliest lesson that He is the Son of God who has died for us....
"The purpose and outcome of this full knowledge of the will of God in Christ is to 'walk worth- ily of the Lord unto all pleasing.'... 'Worthily' seems to mean in a manner corresponding to what Christ is to us and has done for us.... We say that we are not our own, but bought with a price. Then how do we repay that costly purchase?... The Christian should act in a manner corresponding to Christ's character and conduct. We profess to be His...: then we should set our watches by that dial, being conformed to His likeness, and in all our daily life trying to do as He has done, or as we believe He would do if He were in our place. Nothing less than the effort to tread in His footsteps is a walk worthy of the Lord....
"Another thought as to the nature of the life in which the knowledge of the Divine will should issue, is expressed in...--'unto all pleasing,' which sets forth the great aim as being to please Christ in everything....
"There are four participial clauses here, which...present an analysis...of the component parts of this worthy walk. In general terms it is divided into fruitfulness in work, increase in knowledge, strength for suffering, and, as the climax of all, thankfulness." [Alexander Maclaren, "The Epistles of St. Paul to the Colossians and Philemon," The Expositor's Bible VI, p. 200-202]
I Timothy 4:7,8
Timothy is urged to refuse "the fables...more fitted for old women than for ministers of the Gospel.... For the training of the body, on which so much importance was laid by the Greeks, ...has its uses, but they are comparatively unimportant." [H. Wace, "Timothy and Titus: The Pastoral Epistles," The Bible Commentary IX, p. 782] Godliness is that to which we should give our attention and bend our efforts. We must not give our addiction an inch, but continue to walk the road that leads to freedom for as long as it takes.
"Sexual addiction has been described as 'the athlete's foot of the mind.' It never goes away. It always is asking to be scratched, promising relief. To scratch, however, is to cause pain and to intensify the itch." [Patrick Carnes, Out of the Shadows, p. vii]
"Many Christian men and women who have struggled with homosexuality are courageously facing lives of comparative loneliness and complete chastity. They hold my deepest admiration. They have recognized their problem, committed to God their special vulnerabilities..., and are prepared to face life as they are until he should see fit to deliver them. And like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego their attitude is that whether God shall intervene to deliver them or not, they will not, by God's grace, break their vow of chastity. They will live lives of sexual abstinence. I praise God from the bottom of my heart for such soldiers of the cross." [John White, Eros Defiled, p. 130-131]
We do not merely seek avoidance of what is ungodly, but real growth into positive godliness. We know that our sins are forgiven and that God counts us righteous in Christ as we are. We are no longer driven by guilt, shame, or fear; but we are drawn by a love that longs to see as much of the image of God restored in our lives as possible. We are not anxious or impatient. We feel no need to prove anything. We are willing to walk with God along the road of recovery as long as it takes. We simply want to experience as much of what God has purposed for us and Christ has purchased for us as possible.
And we have good reason to hope. Dr. Reuben Fine, who received his Ph.D. in clinical psy- chology from the University of Southern California and was Director of the New York Center for Psychoanalytic Training, says: "I have recently had occasion to review the results of psycho- therapy with homosexuals, and been surprised by the findings. It is paradoxical that even though the politically active homosexual group denies the possibility of change, all studies from Schrenck-Notzing on have found positive effects, virtually regardless of the kind of treatment used.... Whether with hypnosis..., psychoanalysis of any variety, educative psychotherapy, behavior therapy, and/or simple educational procedures, a considerable percentage of overt homosexuals become heterosexual.... If the patients were motivated, whatever procedure is adopted a large percentage will give up their homosexuality. In this connection public information is of the greatest importance. The misinformation spread by certain circles that 'homosexuality is untreatable by psychotherapy' does incalculable harm to thousands of men and women." ["Psychoanalytic Theory," Male and Female Homosexuality: Psychological Approaches, p. 84-86]
6. Do I have limits?
"...Faith is a gift of God, given in different measures, according to the capacity of each man's nature and the work to which God calls him, and..., as the receptive faculty, faith regulates and measures all the powers of the spiritual man." [E. H. Gifford, "Romans," The Bible Commen- tary IX, p. 206]
"The standard of action which each Christian ought to propose to himself should be in propor- tion to the amount of faith he has been given by God." [William Sanday, "The Epistle to the Romans," Ellicott's Commentary on the Whole Bible VII, p. 252]
I Corinthians 10:12
"The devil never says 'Good-bye.'" [D. L. Moody, Notes From My Bible, p. 32]
"In this life we are never beyond the reach of temptation.... Our suppositions regarding our-selves are often untrue.... We think we stand secure when we are on the point of falling.... If determined wickedness has slain its thousands, heedlessness has slain its tens of thousands." [Marcus Dods, "The First Epistle to the Corinthians," The Expositor's Bible V, p. 679]
"When we feel ourselves beginning to dislike those who warn us against sin, and when we find ourselves measuring with minute casuistry what is the smallest distance that we can place between ourselves and some desired object of indulgence without actually sinning, then 'let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.'" [T. Teignmouth Shore, "The First Epistle to the Corinthians," Ellicott's Commentary on the Whole Bible VII, p. 324]
"All growth in grace has its root in humility." [Canon Evans, "I Corinthians," The Bible Com- mentary IX, p. 311]
I Corinthians 12:12-21
In December of 1982, Katharine Hepburn had a serious automobile accident. "She had to be hospitalized for three weeks and spent two months more recuperating at the Connecticut home of her sister Marion.... 'I'd always led a life that might be considered totally emancipated,' she says, 'but when you run into a telephone pole and can't move, you learn that it's nice to have a place to come back to--your real home, and your own dear ones.' Despite her reputation for being independent, Katharine realized she wasn't truly a loner--and that made her change the way she looked at life...and at other people. 'Wasn't I lucky to run into that telephone pole. Hitting it may have smashed my ankle, but it has opened my eyes.'" [Jeff Rovin, "Katharine Hepburn: No excuses, no remorse," Ladies Home Journal, (September 1986), p. 33]
I Corinthians 15:10
"When sinners are by divine grace turned into saints, he makes the remembrance of their former sins very serviceable, to make them humble, and diligent, and faithful.... We are nothing but what God makes us... All that is good is a stream from this fountain.... Those that have the grace of God bestowed on them should take care that it be not in vain. They should cherish, and exercise, and exert, this heavenly principle. So did Paul... And yet the more he labored... the more humble he was...and the more disposed to...magnify the favor of God towards him.... Where pride is subdued there it is reasonable to believe grace reigns." [Matthew Henry, Com- mentary on the Whole Bible VI, p. 586-587]
The 14 Steps are a lifelong program of spiritual growth intended to be practiced on a daily basis, one day at a time, at ever deepening levels. "This assertion may irk those who think of educa- tion or development as a one-shot deal. We go through twelve or sixteen or twenty years of schooling; then we're done.... Or we go to a psychiatrist for one or five or ten years, and then we're well. Actually, just as we never finish our intellectual education and our emotional devel- opment, we never complete our spiritual development either. Though we can kid ourselves that we are finished, all of these growth processes are open-ended. They continue as long as we are willing to let them. We certainly can and do arrest them, but only at the risk of dying pre- mature deaths at least spiritually and emotionally, and often physically as well; or of living long but dull and miserable lives." [The Twelve Steps for Everyone Who Really Wants Them, p. 83-84]
MY EXPERIENCE WORKING STEP 14
My first real experience of carrying the message came when my pastor asked me to visit a young man who had come to him for help. My pastor explained that this man had been deeply involved in the homosexual lifestyle, but, because of his faith in Christ, had come for help in getting free.
I visited him, heard his story and shared mine, answered his questions and explained the steps as best I could. I went with him to our HA meeting and sat with him in church. I encouraged him to move away from the man with whom he had been living and find a place of his own. We met several times a week and became fast friends. We helped each other work our program.
Then one night, when we were both depressed and trying to comfort each other, we had a fall. We were deeply distressed. I took full responsibility for what had happened (over my friend's protests) and took our problem to my counselor. However, our addiction had been loosed, and despite my counselor's best efforts, we continued to fall for the next three weeks. When we were able to institute strict boundaries, agreeing not to see each other except in public places, our relationship got back on a proper footing. After about three months we felt it was safe to meet together alone again. My counselor agreed but asked that I report any problems that might occur at once. That was more than six years ago, and we have not fallen with each other since.
My friend did not accept Steps 5 and 6. No matter what I said, he simply could not believe he would ever be able to change. Since he knew homosexual activity was forbidden by God, he determined to live a celibate life without seeking change. That seemed to work for a while, but then he began thinking, "I'm going to be alone for ever. I'll just get older and less attractive and soon no one will want me. I'll never have anyone." And so, after more than a year in the program, he went back into the lifestyle.
He did not tell me of his decision but was not in church on Sunday and did not show up for our time together the next week. I went to his apartment, rang the bell, and, when he answered, said, "I thought we were supposed to get together tonight." He replied, "I thought you wouldn't want to." "What made you think that?" I asked. "Haven't you heard?" he queried. "Heard what?" I asked. He seemed nervous and somehow sad as he said, "I've gone back to the life- style."
As we sat together on the porch I said, "Yes, I know, but what does that have to do with our being friends? You know I think you're making a wrong choice. I'm scared to death when I think of what might happen to you. But--win, lose, or draw--I'm your friend as long as you want me to be."
He told me he had company that night but agreed to get together the following week. Again, he did not show up. I went to his apartment, the light was on, but no one answered the bell. I telephoned--but no answer. This continued for several weeks. Finally I decided to write a note summarizing what had happened and telling him I could only conclude that he wanted to put our friendship on hold, at least for the present. I wanted to respect his wishes and therefore would not be coming by or calling. I did not, however, want him to think I was angry with him and so was explaining my decision in the note. If, at any time, he wanted to renew our friend- ship, he had only to call and I would get together with him as quickly as possible.
I went to his apartment to drop the note in his mail box. The light was on so I rang the bell once more. He answered and I asked him to read my note. He assured me that he did not want to end our friendship and we began meeting together again regularly.
Had this man tried to pull me back into homosexual activity, it might not have been possible for us to continue meeting together. But he was a friend, not a seducer, so our friendship continued unabated. I prayed for him a great deal, trying not to force the issue. I did, however, look for opportunities to share whenever he seemed open. At times he asked questions and I worked hard to find answers.
After several months, he slipped into the back of our church one Sunday, unnoticed. At the end of the service he went forward and confessed to the church that he had been back in the lifestyle, sinning. He said he had asked God to forgive him and had now come to ask if the church would forgive him. When the service ended, he was surrounded by some fifty laughing, weeping people, welcoming him home. I was one of them and was filled with joy!
Today my friend is not engaging in homosexual activity and is seeking to walk with God. Yet his story is tinged with sadness, for he is now HIV positive. The thought that I may one day lose him has increased my sense of the urgency of carrying the message while living the life. For some, it is literally a matter of life or death!
HOW YOU CAN WORK STEP 14
1) Listen to the tape Out of Self-Centeredness under "STEP 14" and How To Deal With Masturbation under "FOR THOSE WANTING TO GIVE OR RECEIVE HELP WITH HOMOSEXUALITY" on the "HA Book Ministry" list. Finish reading Experience, Strength and Hope and the books recommended by your step coach. Read the brochure Finding Good Counseling and the Homosexuals Anonymous Policy and Advisory Manual under "FOR THOSE WANTING TO GIVE OR RECEIVE HELP WITH HOMOSEXUALITY" on the "HA Book Ministry" list. Continue to journal and share your responses with your step coach.
2) Discuss with your step coach why it is you think you have had a spiritual awakening.
3) In your journal, make a list of things you might do to help carry the message of freedom in Christ to others. Examples might be providing refreshments, setting up a chapter library, planning recreational activities for the chapter, serving as a step coach, leading step discussions, setting up an auxiliary reading group, or starting a new chapter in your area. Discuss these possibilities with your step coach and take on at least one of these responsibilities for which you and your coach think you are best fitted.
4) Make a list of people you know who are in the lifestyle to whom you might carry the message. Pray for each regularly. Journal answers to questions you think they might have. Share this with your step coach.
5) Choose one person from your list with whom you will share the message. Discuss how you plan to approach them with your step coach asking for suggestions. After you try to share the message with them, discuss your experience with your step coach. Determine together whether you should continue working with that person or move on to another name on your list.
6) Ask your step coach for suggestions on how you can continue to work the steps. Work out a definite plan with him or her and begin following it under his or her guidance. Discuss whether or not you should consider professional counseling at this time. List pros and cons and come up with a definite plan for your continuing recovery.
7) Memorize one of the verses you found helpful in this chapter.
--John J., Reading, PA
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-----, Lesser Parables of Our Lord, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1884)
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-----, Life and I, (Boston and New York: Houghton, 1928)
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-----, The Practice of Godliness, (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1983)
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-----, An Exposition of the Epistle to the Galatians, (Marshallton, DE: The National Foundation for Christian Education, n.d.)
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-----, Disciples Indeed, (Fort Washington, PA: Christian Literature Crusade, 1955)
-----, The Highest Good, (Fort Washington, PA: Christian Literature Crusade, 1938)
-----, If Thou Wilt Be Perfect, (Fort Washintgon, PA: Christian Literature Crusade, 1941)
-----, If Ye Shall Ask, (Fort Washington, PA: Christian Literature Crusade, 1958)
-----, The Love of God, (Grand Rapids: Discovery House Publishers, 1985)
-----, Not Knowing Whither, (Fort Washington, PA: Christian Literature Crusade, 1934)
-----, Our Portrait in Genesis, (Fort Washington, PA: Christian Literature Crusade, 1957)
-----, The Shadow of an Agony, (Forst Washington, PA: Christian Literature Crusade, 1934)
-----, So Send I You, (Fort Washington, PA: Christian Literature Crusade, 1973)
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-----, A Short History of England, (London: New Phoenix Library, 1951)
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-----, Pursuing Sexual Wholeness: How Jesus Heals the Homosexual: Guide, (Lake Mary, FL: Creation House, 1988)
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Cooke, Joseph, Celebration of Grace, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1991)
Cory, Donald Webster and John P. LeRoy, The Homosexual and His Society: A View From Within, (New York: The Citadel Press, 1963)
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-----, Recollections of a Long Life: An Autobiography, (New York: The Baker and Taylor Company, 1902)
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-----, The Death of Christ, (Minneapolis: Klock & Klock Christian Publishers, Inc., 1902)
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-----, Pepper 'N Salt, (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1956)
-----, Seasonings, (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1970)
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-----, Commentary on the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, n.d.)
-----, Systematic Theology [3 volumes], (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, n.d.)
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-----, "Paul's Second Epistle to the Corinthians," The New International Commentary on the New Testament, (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1962)
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----- with Dave and Neta Jackson, Overcoming Homosexuality, (Elgin, IL: David C. Cook Publishing Company, 1987)
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-----, "Psalms," The Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries [2 volumes], (London: InterVarsity Press, 1973)
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-----, Luther's Works edited by Jaroslav Pelikan and Walter A. Mansen, [55 volumes], (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1955-1967)
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-----, How To Say No To a Stubborn Habit, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1979)
-----, When a Good Man Falls, (Wheaton IL: Victor Books, 1986)
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-----,The Lord's Prayer, (New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1942)
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-----, Pat Springle and Jim Craddock, Your Parents and You, (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1990)
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-----, "The Epistle to the Romans," The New International Commentary on the New Testament [2 volumes], (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1959)
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-----, Crisis in Masculinity, (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1985)
-----, The Healing of the Homosexual, (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1984)
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-----, "The Gospel According to S. Luke," The International Critical Commentary, (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1922)
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----- and Loretta Brady, Will the Real Me Please Stand Up?, (Allen, TX: Argus Commun- ications, 1985)
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1:27 9, 115
2:18 117, 169
2:24 9, 10, 97, 118
3:1-24 79, 131
20:13 125, 270
139:23,24 177, 235
8:36 14, 307
10:12 223, 276
12:15 20, 256
13:10 274, 307
13:20 272, 273, 275
15:22 20, 256
17:17 169, 277
20:9 123, 206
27:6 169, 280
27:10 169, 271
27:17 169, 271
28:13 53, 200
30:5 74, 257
64:6 171, 251
13:23 16, 207
17:5-8 20, 286
17:9 26, 173
11:28-30 23, 75
19:4,5 10, 124
7:21-23 61, 250
9:23 132, 154
9:24 38, 162
19:10 47, 312
1:12 44, 143
1:29 88, 219
3:16 99, 105
8:31 149, 182
14:27 158, 187
3:26 64, 129
13:38,39 88, 170
1:24,25 12, 104
1:24 99, 105
1:25 103, 147
1:26,27 12, 104, 105, 126
1:28-32 104, 107
3:23 12, 124
3:25 45, 85, 140
5:6 16, 87
5:8 40, 105
6:11 86, 93
8:1 84, 87, 170, 235
8:2 23, 91
8:7,8 62, 207
8:33,34 53, 171
10:17 39, 141, 166
14:4 174, 230
15:13 57, 75
6:12 252, 253
13:7 246, 286
5:14,15 86, 152
5:21 85, 130
2:16 88, 89
2:20 87, 140
5:22,23 73, 92
6:9 94, 157
4:15 18, 235, 267
4:26 188, 189
2:8 45, 210
3:12-14 167, 172
4:6,7 50, 159
6:12 83, 133
1:7 226, 244, 262
2:22 26, 250
13:5 85, 195
13:8 13, 99
1:5 179, 235
5:16 205, 247
5:7 159, 309
5:8 78, 80
2:4 78, 80
1:7 48, 84, 85, 218
1:9 54, 92, 199, 201
3:2 90, 131
3:8 78, 81, 132
4:16 11, 65, 199
5:14,15 179, 301
3:20 41, 143
12:9 78, 110
20:10 81, 104
Russian video that made the whole world cry
With Reagan seated behind, Pastor James Robison delivers powerful Speech
Should we play victims to be noticed as ex-gays and win in courts?
In short: NO WAY. Victimization is a strategy the gay activists have been using for years successfully. Make yourself look as a victim and the opponent as a bad guy and you’ll win people over. Should we do the same now as it promises quick results?
The end does not justify the means. The means have to be a reflection of the end and victimization certainly is not a proper means - especially if it is used to make some progress.
One of the crucial points in recovery of same-sex attractions is to free oneself of feelings and attitudes of being a victim. We learn to take full responsibility for our life as is now. Whatever contributed to our same-sex attractions, we are now adult persons who can and need to take over their own lives and stop playing the blame game. Yes, the family, the relationship with our same-sex parent, our peers, abuse experiences, personal traits, and many more played a role in that – but if we keep on blaming others for what we are experiencing and doing now, we will never get a step forward as we can only change ourselves and not other people.
To copy gay activist tactics just because they paved the way for the gay movement is pathetic in my eyes. If we are like the world, why would anybody have what we have?
I am an ex-gay and I am HAPPY and thankful to be so! I don’t have to play the victim – even if that would bring me “advantages” (like winning court cases). I want to stand in front of people with the head up high and tell them there is a way out and no, you won’t get me down. I will make myself heard and if you fight me, I will take the blows and fight back. Why should I wine? I have God on my side, so who can be against me?
If we as followers of Jesus do not have something to be proud and happy about, I don’t know what.
Even if we communicate scientific facts, we don’t have to prove that we are persecuted and put down by mean gay activists. We can stand our ground and demand that our rights be observed as well. Even if that causes us to loose court cases, I am willing to do so. I am not interested to win in court at the expense of giving up for what I believe in.
Yes, our primary focus should not be to attack gay activists, but to show other people what we are all about, that there is another option than embracing the gay life. However, we should also stand firm when we are attacked and not shy back. We are an army strong!
Let’s not become cheap copy cats. We don’t need to do what others do to succeed. Jesus didn’t go for publicity either – and look what came out of it.
We are free because Jesus died for us and we will shout it from the roofs!
Attacking Gay Activists and Fighting for Ex-Gay Rights?
Sounds good to me. But, why is it so awfully quiet out there? Thankfully there are organizations like Voice of the Voiceless that face gay activists head on and stand up for ex-gay rights. What about all the other ex-gays though? What about the Church? Silence.
Bing German, I find that very interesting. Not so long ago we had times where many Germans – and the rest of the world – stayed silent too when the Jews where being taken away. Why bother? I ain’t no Jew. Even most of the Jews stayed rather passive and offered no resistance (not that I reproach them that). Like sheep being taken to the slaughterhouse.
How is it we get paralyzed like deer standing in the flashlight of a car as soon as times get rougher?
How is it people who formerly self-identified as “gay” and found freedom later on stay silent and hide?
Most in the Church probably think that’s none of their business. Let the gays do what they want. We don’t have that problem.
Really? Each Church from a certain size on has that “problem”. And even if they don’t – you cannot escape a political force anymore that is strong enough to bring the mightiest men in the world to their knees. Why stop at churches? Why not force them to allow gays on their staff, to perform gay weddings? Not to even mention what’s behind the curtain once the gay kid is out.
As to the ex-gays themselves: Well, I guess you can find a thousand good reasons why you are not the right guy to stand up for ex-gays and share the joy and freedom that the Lord has blessed you so richly with.
But there is one good reason not to: Jesus.
If we call ourselves followers of Jesus, we need to accept His radical call for discipleship. “Follow me” is a battle cry, not an invitation to come and watch a nice church program. He called us to hold unto Him – even unto death! And He warned us never to deny Him!
I remember a Bible study I did years ago. We talked about the persecution of Christians in the last days as I wanted to make sure that each one that passes my Bible studies should be prepared if that day comes up. One lady said, “Why, there is no way I can withstand persecution! I am too scared!” I told her I was scared too and I shared a story of the early martyrs that has been passed on through the centuries.
Beneath the circus of Rome Christians were held in captivity waiting to be taken up and fed to the lions. Among them a pregnant woman. When she got in labor pains she started to scream as the pain was so intense. One of the guards said, “If you scream like that already now, wait till you are up there with the lions!” She answered, “Now it is me that suffers, up there it will be Christ suffering in me”.
That’s how I feel about it. There is no way I can withstand the devil and his followers through my own force. I am certainly not the guy to do that. But, when the day comes, I know that Jesus is with me. I need not suffer alone.
“Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.” (Col 1:24 NIV)