Some of your readers will be aware, but not all, of a public talk I gave entitled ‘The Man In White’ in the Marine Court Hotel in Bangor on October 27.
The talk which was a frank testimony of my life as a celibate Christian who has struggled for many years with homosexual feelings – or Same Sex Attraction (SSA) – was convened to clarify misconceptions about the subject.
This was in answer to a swathe untrue allegations that I was leading a ‘double life’ combining both lifestyles and which resulted in me being told I was not welcome back to a certain congregation I attended until they “knew where I stood”.
I was asked as far back as 2011 to confess publicly in front of the congregation about the matter, but my father intervened by commenting that if I had to confess my (past) sins publicly so should the rest of the congregation. The idea was shelved.
However rumours still persisted and I was approached again to similarly confess by the same Christian leader, to which I tentatively agreed (although I was undergoing a kidney transplant at the time).
The suggestion was shelved again as it would reveal the identity of those who were complaining about me.
In the end I decided to do a public testimony in a neutral venue for all such doubters about the veracity of my claims to attend and hear ‘from the horse’s mouth’ and to ‘put the record straight.’
This I did with the intention to emphasise my repentance or turning away from the ‘gay’ lifestyle or any of its involvement for many years now.
Some understood, others continued to doubt.
I shared how I came to faith in Jesus through Bangor YMCA at age 15.
But once I had matured I began to face the feelings of SSA from about the age of 17 or so, although I had always some indefinable inklings even from school age.
This eventually led to me going to England to lead a more openly ‘gay’ life – or, as my uncle put it, “taking a holiday from God”.
The two draws always stood at an uneasy tension, quite a dichotomy.
After losing a Christian job in Israel over the issue I became quite disenamoured with the Church and it took several years for me to gain confidence in Christians again, and it is still an uneasy co-existence at times when folk still question my motives or actions.
Actions speak louder than words, however. Which is why I decided to commit to a celibate life serving God, but the ‘gay’ label sticks when people dig into the past and dredge up mud.
Hopefully, with the matter out in the open my brothers and sisters in the Lord will see that I am sincere in my walk before God and view the homosexual lifestyle as a past experience, if not a very poor choice.
The ‘Man In White’ theme speaks of God’s power to cleanse even the vilest sinner through the grace and atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and make him “every whit whole”.
This is the message I want to take to others, including those caught up in the LGBT lifestyle.
The Bible has only one clear message concerning homosexuality: it is wrong, in fact it is an abomination.
This has to be shared but with empathy and compassion. “He who is forgiven much, loveth much, but he who is forgiven little, loveth little.”
A truthful proverb from the Master. He is the true Man In White whom all mankind will face one day, homosexual or not.
Then him without sin can cast the first stone.
Colin Nevin, Bangor