The first time I told someone that I had a girlfriend it was more like a confession, a declaration of guilt. Something I had to say. I sat across from my bible study leader at the time and told her the truth. She was calm, relaxed almost. She assured me that it wasn’t a big deal that there were other women in the church that had dealt with same-sex attraction and were married now. They were married. I don’t know that she meant it this way, but I consider this to be the inception of my belief that marriage was proof of deliverance. That once a person gets married, they have been fully and unequivocally delivered from their sin. Could it be this easy? Could it be marriage and not the gospel that saves? And once saved, does that mean the struggle is over?
I won’t say that we have all experienced church hurt, I’ll say many of us have. When people use their power and influence for evil, people will inevitably get hurt. Here's my story.
It was an interesting time in my life. I was returning to the church. After seven or so years of pursuing myself, living in the world, acting a fool, I decided to come home. But the home I came to was lacking. No church is perfect, no church is without its failings, but it should be without scandal. Some time ago, I was attending a church where the Pastor and his wife were abusing their power. They would present their thoughts and opinions as gospel and pretended to possess spiritual gifts to further influence those who followed them into submission. It was interesting. When I voiced my concerns about certain practices they were always assuaged followed by the texting or reading of a biblical passage that had been taken out of context. While I was living in the world, pursuing myself, I’d gotten myself a girlfriend. To be clear, I knew what I was doing was wrong. And I was trying to figure out how to get out of the hole I dug for myself. I’d opened up to one of the bible study leaders who then took what I told her in confidence to the pastor’s wife. Fast forward a bit and the situation escalated in such a way that I found myself sitting across from the pastor and his wife listening to them tell me that I had a demon that needed to be cast out of me. It was wild. What happened to me was heinous. I ended up leaving that church, and I haven’t been the same since.