Well, God did yesterday just what He said he would do–He pointed out a huge area of selfishness He wanted addressed by me. Yesterday morning following my devotions and writing this blog I read chapter 6 in the book Jesus The King, by Timothy Keller. I’m going through this with a pastor at our church. We had started this last fall but my work kept me so busy we couldn’t meet regularly until yesterday. The book is a study of the Bible’s book–Mark. In this chapter Jesus is addressed by the man who wants him to come to his home and heal his 12 year old daughter who has an intense fever. On the way to the home a woman touches the hem of Jesus’ garment and is healed. Jesus finds out who the lady is and has her speak the reason she did it. (I thought I knew this story through and through until yesterday.) She wanted to be healed of her bleeding and didn’t want to bring any attention to herself in so doing. However, Jesus wanted her healing to be known to the crowd even though it was delaying his healing of the 12 year old girl who had died by this time. So, the lady told the crowd of her bleeding and how it had stopped the moment she touched Jesus garment. When I read this I was told by God that I was to change how I introduce myself to the others in our Celebrate Recovery group. For our entire time of almost 10 years I’ve said: “Hi, my name is Earnie. I’m a grateful believer in Jesus who struggles with the effects of childhood sexual abuse and physical/emotional abuse.” God went onto say that my very personal bleeding was no longer this, but it was the fact that I struggle with homosexuality. I’ve want to privately have this healed and then move on with life saying what I’ve been saying. Even though I have made it know that this is a struggle, I don’t want to have to repeat it so often. It has always felt safer this way. God wasn’t happy with my selfishness. He needed others to know my personal struggle so they would feel safer in addressing their own. Amazingly, Jesus did all of this for the lady and the crowd and then he went on to heal the 12 year old girl.
Here I am starting a group this fall on homosexuality called Taking Back Ground, and I am going to lead it for the men. Yet, I am struggling to say to a crowd of people I struggle with this. God told me to look at my intro words which are: “I struggle with…” and not “My identity is…”. I fought this all day long in my mind but last night as I addressed our group at Celebrate Recovery I told them what God had said to me and then I introduced myself as, “Hi, my name is Earnie. I’m a grateful believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with homosexuality.” They applauded! As I write this I want to weep with tears of thanksgiving.
Today I go to a day long workshop being conducted in Boise on homosexuality in the church and how we should be addressing it–the people. I am going to this today free to listen and not hide. Wow, I would never had known this about myself if God had not confronted me yesterday as He did. I am so grateful.