Depressed gay and the Church

I don’t remember a lot of things from my childhood but some of the events from my past life are profound and shaped a lot of things in me, I guess that is why many people today say “I’m what I’m today because of what I went through”. I was this kid who cried my eyes out like most kids before getting ready to go to school, I would cry endlessly begging my mother not to send me to school and as soon I reach the local school it is either the constant teasing from my peers or the educators, yes sadly some of my teachers were involved in this. I was the only one waiting outside the classroom refusing to enter because I felt I never belonged. For whatever reason it felt as if I was obligated to fit the mold and that never worked well for me, don’t get me wrong it is not that I wasn’t willing to because I so wanted to do exactly what the other kids did and make my parents proud but little did I know it was only the beginning of what was awaiting me, failing my classes, poor grades and reputation well I had none anyway and no one listened to my bleeding heart, not even my own family. I knew with a rebellious teen brother my family was having a hard time dealing with that and the judgments from the church family as we all call it. So I decided with whatever strength I had in me to endure and be nonchalant. The church family or the community was everything, especially to my parents, they breathed and lived that life and it was of course something I and my brother had to embrace with open arms. I only heard sermons and advice from the elders of how we ought to live our lives and that even thinking outside the box was absolutely spiteful, well there you go I thought I could lean on the church for a support system but there was one thing that never exited my spirit, it is the love of Christ. I just knew God wasn't like any of us, I don’t know how but I just knew.

This one particular day I will never forget for the rest of my life as time passes I realized the scar became a story to tell. I was only 12 and in 7th grade, my math teacher was one of the most arrogant people I have known and on this day I had lost my pencil to take notes, and when he came to know about that assuming I didn’t get a notetaker from home he asked me to stand in front of the class which had about 35 students and next thing I can remember is him grabbing me by the hair, having me bend over and slapping my back few times and then again with his hands still grabbing me by the hair pulled me back up and slapped me on the face and threw me into the trash can which was next to his desk and asked me to sit in it because that was my rightful place. Since then throughout my school years and early adulthood, I talked less and lived with the hope that someday I’ll know what it is like to be happy finally.

Depression was not something I was born with for sure but it stuck with me, I still deal with it today, and with a bad reputation at school and somewhat of not having a branded image at church the unthinkable happens my affection towards other guys wasn’t just “normal” but beyond that, it was easy to not think about it to be honest because I thought it was just a phase and I pretended to like girls and would also have “crushes” just so I can tell the few friends I had in my neighborhood at the time, thought about telling someone at church? heck to the no. I’m already a loser at this point why would add more to what I have on my plate.

Over the years I was surprised with how my journey has been, to graduate college with a degree, working at some of the finest corporations however there were two things that never left me though, depression and my interest in men. I was active at church as soon as I started my career and I enjoyed this new church because it felt a lot better than my home church, I had friends, fellowship and it was great for sure but I was empty on the inside. The men in my church would get married or would be dating other women at church and they shared about their crazy love for each other and there I was still thinking and hoping this also happens to me with another woman of course.

Oh I know all about the clobber passages in the Bible about homosexuality, I knew all of that very well I mean it wasn’t even something I had questioned and when I finally shared it with an associate pastor he told me what I need to do to get the gay out of my life and start working on this before it is too late and I don’t want to miss out on the blessings of a godly marriage. The sermons I heard from the pulpit were only how they would welcome gay people but will not allow them to live that life and they believed in the power of God to change anyone. During my time at the church, I had witnessed a number of strange incidents, and most churches are of course conditioned this way even today about sex or divorce, alcohol, etc and I have heard stories of folks who had extramarital affairs and some divorces but with time these were seen as exceptions or that some of the passages in the Bible were meant for that time in history, one example would be the covering of heads for women or them preaching but when it came to homosexuality it was seen as perverse and atrocious all the time. To be honest I think for me personally I did not mind this because I never found worth in myself, to begin with, and I thought someday all this will just go away.

I moved to a different continent because I knew if I didn’t I would succumb to the pressures of my family and the community and give in to marrying another woman and having a loveless marriage. Did things get any better? No, because when I talked about my battle with depression and loneliness I would get comments like “Look to Jesus, He will change everything”, or “serve God and try to talk good things to yourself”, “Declare God’s promises over your life” etc. All I could think was I’m not doing enough to serve Christ which is why I’m being punished for going through this burden so I tried to serve God more and live by the rules, no sex, cut down on anything that could take me away from God and tithe every month or else I would lose out on my opportunity to be blessed and also attend church on Sundays and read the Bible as much as I can, years passed by and I’m still stuck. A few months back I had shared about my sexuality with a friend from my current church expecting the cliche response “I will pray for you, Ben and God still loves you and he has the power to transform you” but instead he said, “I love you Ben and there is nothing wrong with your sexuality”.

When John told me that for the first time in my life I felt I was normal and not disgusting but I would still not give in because I stuck with what I had in my heart however I wanted to meet someone else who walked my path and is also a man of faith. When I did on an online dating site, he opened up about his life and encouraged me to look at some of the resources he shared with me. I started to read and watch a ton of them, especially on folks from the LGBTQ+ who shared the same Christian values I carried as a child and talked about the clobber passages in the Bible explaining about the context and the culture or the era it was written in fact I was taken aback when I came to learn that the term homosexuality wasn’t even a word until the 19th century and the original Greek word has a different meaning or origin.

So what is it for me? I don’t know. I haven’t figured it out and I’m not sure if I will have answers to many things in my life but for the first time in my life I can say to some people, I’m gay. Why did I decide to write this down because writing is therapeutic and this is my second article on Medium with about 1–2 followers (thanks so much btw, I love y’all) but if someone stumbles upon this piece, I have to say this, you are so much more than you think, the church unfortunately and even today spiritually abuses with the scriptures from the Bible leaving no room for anyone to think for themselves or make a decision that can help towards a healing process. If you are depressed and divorced and closeted and identify as LGBTQ+ or have had a tumultuous life then you must know God loves you, Jesus is crazy about you. He desires the heart and He has always wanted that and for some of you reading this let me tell you I have no Ph.D., neither am I a licensed counselor nevertheless please don’t forget we ALL have fallen short of God’s glory and are saved by what Christ did on the cross. Let’s be open to learning and more importantly to be a people known for compassion.

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Delusional and unpredictable but sincerely passionate

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Benji

Benji

Delusional and unpredictable but sincerely passionate

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