I need to make this clear. Do not get offended because I use the word: “homo” in describing homosexuals. You see, I was a “crackhead”. The operative word, “was”. I do not honor having had been a “crackhead” and would take offense if somebody described me by that word today. However, the same applies to homos if they’re continuing in that lifestyle. I cannot accept you while you are “in” your sin. The Bible equates all “sin” as being, well, sin; however, the Bible is also very specific and God specifies what sin He hates, all sin, but there are names for sin, such as being a thief, liar, sodomite or homosexual. So, I will continue using the word “homos” to demonstrate my non-acceptance and call it what it is.
It was about this time of the year, the first week in August, in 1991, when I began the walk up this drive to the Newburgh Tabernacle SDA Church, Grand Street, Newburgh, New York. I knew church services would have already been over because for many years I was an elder in this church. I began going to this church in the late 60’s when I was a teenager. I had fallen in love at this church. This church holds many memories of my childhood, youth and young adult life. Nevertheless, it would be the sanctuary I would need while in the midst of my drug addiction.
I left home in June and lived on the streets wanting to either conquer my addiction by facing it or letting it ultimately kill me. After nine weeks I had had enough. I needed help. When I left home I was about 180 pounds and when I walked up this drive way, I was less than 130 lbs, less than what it was when I graduated high school some 17 years prior! My father even confessed, “Had I passed you on the street, I would not have recognized you as my son.” My father had his van parked and opened and it was there I went. I had too much shame to go inside the church where I used to preach and teach and was respected. An older woman, Sis. Williamson, a dear friend and mother to all came to greet me and as her usual custom went to secure a plate of food for me. Other members came to van when they heard I was back, perhaps out of curiosity, but I am sure for most, it was genuine concern and they wanted to verify their prayer, for me, was now in the process of being answered.
Nobody called me, “elder”. Nobody invited me inside to give my testimony or to listen to my teaching. Nobody dared asked me to offer a testimony because at this stage of my life there WAS NO TESTIMONY. When you are existing in your MESS, there cannot be a MESSAGE. How can there be a testimony when you are still living in the “test” stage of the ‘mony? To have done otherwise would have meant being accepted in my sin and even God does not do this. So, with what is happening in churches all over the United States and elsewhere and sadly what is creeping into the SDA church today is truly an abomination. WE DO NOT and SHOULD NOT ‘ACCEPT’ people while IN THEIR SIN. We need to “help” them but not “accept” them. As a crackhead, I never expected or even wanted to be accepted. GIVE ME SOMETHING TO STRIVE FOR because if you will accept me as I am, then I don’t have any reason to change. The Bible states repeatedly for us to “COME OUT”, because if it were not necessary to “COME OUT” and we could be saved “WHILE IN”, then God would have never made the mandate to leave our lifestyle behind.
Homos should NOT be accepted while in their sin. They should NEVER be behind the pulpit as practicing homos. They should not be in leadership capacities, where their influence can contaminate the church and God forbid the innocent minds of children. If nothing else, people, parents should point their finger at the crackhead, the homo, the ‘ho, the thief, the whatever it is we do, and be made an example to the children, “You don’t want to end up like this!” God can use us as a “witness” in one way or the other, but we as members of God’s church cannot invite them in, saying, “Stay awhile, and don’t change. God loves you as you are.” He doesn’t. He loves us, but not as we are. We are to “come as we are”, but not “remain as we are”. The Bible speaks about a renewing of our mind which will cause a renewing in our body. Just as my father would not have recognized me, God does not recognize me until I begin to become more like the character and image of His Son, Jesus Christ. Then He can begin to smile upon us and bring us back to the place where when He thought about you from the beginning should be once again.
This might be a hard message but messages are hard when they need to be. They’re hard to either crush you or to break away the shell to find the soft spot which can be reached, can be touched, and where lives are changed for the better. Yes, it was a long walk up that driveway to reach safety and listen to this, even though I received a plate of food, the comfort of the shade from the terrible sun of August, and the security and love of family, friends and church members, I would leave that van having lied to them and myself, and would spend another night in my search for drugs, and it was not until the following morning, where I would begin another walk, a walk toward the Newburgh/Beacon bridge, which would lead me away from Newburgh to find that beacon in the darkest of night and that was when my recovery, my restoration began.
Do not deprive the homo of their chance of change and of being saved. Never accept someone while in the midst of their sin, depriving them of the opportunity to change, to become human and normal once again and not contaminated within and without with sin and then to be told, “you’re doing just fine.” You’re not!
August 6, 2017