It was really good to see young people, who on the outside at the very least are down to earth, not crazy, flamboyant, or just plain weird--and they struggled with same-sex issues.
I noticed a theme in two of the stories.
First, there's Jason Yolt:
He talked about the joy he had when he shared about his same-sex struggles with his small group of fellow-believers. However, he then admitted that he would still indulge in his same-sex desires. He would still fool around.
Confession of his sins, his struggles, did not set him free.
Then there was Raphael. His story is quite poignant, too.
He talked about the struggle with same-sex desires as early as 13 years old. My, such pain that he had to face as a youth, and the sense of emptiness which must have overwhelmed him, and for so long!
He later found a mentor, or it seemed that this mentor found him. Raphael later shares how this man helped him to understand the struggles of his father, how he was doing the best that he could. Raphael also commended his mentor for showing him a father's love, something that he did not receive from his own father.
Yet like Jason, Raphael continued to struggle with loneliness, the lack of love in his life, the hurt and pain. He still went after same-sex relationships, one-night stands, and chance sexual encounters.
Once again, confessing one's sins, sharing one's hurts, is just not enough. It does not set us free.
Let me clarify: sharing one's sins, hurts, and pains with others is a start, in that we stop feeling ashamed. But it does not solve the problem, resolve, the issue, dissolve the pain.
So, what does?
The Love of the Father!
"15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." (1 John 2:15-17)
No offense to Raphael's friend and mentor Jason, but his love could never rise up to, let alone equal, God the Father's love!
It just can't. It's not the same love. It never can be enough.
What changed for these two that delivered them?
I notice first of all that they came to God directly. Nothing held them back. They admitted to their loving Father, they came boldly to the throne of grace in time of need (Hebrews 4:16)
Second, they began to experience a greater love, the love of the Father, and we can experience that when we just come to Him, just like the prodigal son!
"20And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him." (Luke 15:20)
Just one little move toward your loving Father, and He will rush towards you with His love!
It's not enough to confess that we have bad feelings, bad thoughts, bad desires, and bad actions.
It's not enough to get rid of the bad. We need something better.
Why else do so many of us, do ALL of us, choose to run after lusts of the flesh, the eye, and the pride of life? We don't have, we don't know, we have not allowed in THE BEST!
And that is the Love of the Father. Not the Love for the Father, i.e. our love for Him, but His love for us!
This is an enriching, never-ending love!
Confessing our sins is not enough. Why are we sinning? Why are we resorting to these empty lusts which cannot satisfy us? We should not get down on ourselves to confess our sins. We need to deal with that deeper need within ourselves.
We need to let the love of the Father in!
That's what is most needed! And that's what both of these men did!