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Broken Hearts Can Heal In Surprising Ways
I received this email from K a good long while after I came out again. I will post the whole message (it’s short) so you can see the full context. Then I will parse out each point they are making and respond. First, the complete message:
Randy, I cannot begin to tell you the pain, hurt, and confusion that you caused me. I went to Exodus conferences. You were my favorite speaker. I have your DVD’s from the conference. I trusted you. Now you are saying that everything you said, and all the promises you made, were all false. That may be good for you, but what about people like me? The ones that are now living with the fall out of what you did. Living daily with all the confusion and pain. What are we supposed to do? K
First off, thank you for emailing me. Given what you have written, you have been upset with me for a long time and needed to get this off your chest. I am glad you did, and while my responses below may not be in alignment with your current beliefs. I hope that you will know I never intend to cause pain. Plus, the following may not be to your liking, but I cannot ignore the truth; the exgay world is one I believe we all need to leave. It is possible to accept ourselves as LGBTQ+ and Christ followers.
Randy, I cannot begin to tell you the pain, hurt, and confusion that you caused me. I went to Exodus conferences. You were my favorite speaker. I have your DVD’s from the conference. I trusted you. Now you have broken my heart.
Thank you for sharing that; believe me, I trusted what I was saying was the truth, too. It was very hard and still is, to realize that I spoke about and taught so many erroneous things.
Now you are saying that everything you said, and all the promises you made, were all false.
Not everything I said was false. God is good. I love Jesus, and He loves me. My spiritual intimacy with Him was and is true; probably deeper now. I overcame whole hosts of dysfunctions like emotional dependency and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (outside of Exodus, diagnosed by a true professional counselor). I also learned much about spirituality, personal responsibility, my skillset (calling), and maturing as a person. But, saying that being gay is “broken” was untrue. Being gay is not “sexual brokenness” or sinful. Being in a loving, mutually life-giving relationship with someone of the same or opposite sex is not sinful. Living out your core sense of relational being is not sinful. I no longer believe you can find freedom from being gay because it’s not something to be freed from. It’s not something we should view through systemic stigmatized religious views. I don’t remember making any “promises.” Still, I know I said many things that gave people hope that they could “overcome homosexuality, ” and I regret having passed along erroneous and harmful teaching. It’s cliche but still true; now that I know better, I intend to do better.
That may be good for you, but what about people like me? The ones that are now living with the fall out of what you did. Living daily with all the confusion and pain. What are we supposed to do? K
Don’t empower the wall of noise and smiling people on stage to tell you what to think or believe. Scrutinize everything you hear. Many people with sharp opinions are more than willing to tell you what to do and think. I do not have the ability to think on your behalf and tell you what you are supposed to do.
Each person comes into their authentic selves in various ways. In my experience, the process started with being honest with God and self. After losing a friend of 23 years to suicide and being accused of all manner of evil and ill by people over my view of God’s grace, it was like blinders had been ripped off. As a result, I began a search for the real manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
I discovered that the genuine fruit of the Spirit was not to be found in The Gospel According to Conversion Therapy (conversion therapy adapted for “ministerial” use.) I realized all my old “favorites” didn’t have an ounce of grace, respect, or unconditional love for those that disagreed with or questioned them.
However, I found that true health, wholeness, and fruit of the Spirit did exist with the LGBTQ+ people I started having honest and open conversations with. This led to a personal epiphany that God will never leave or forsake me. He knew that my relational sense of being (to know and be known, to love and be loved) would be as a gay man. He knows this is part of how I reflect our Creator’s beauty into the world. Once I received that truth, I realized that finding peace with being a gay man in Christ wasn’t “going back” to brokenness and dysfunction. I was moving forward with the Good Shepherd leading me out of the ex-gay world.
The freedom to embrace who I honestly am in Christ is not what I thought it would look like back when I spoke at Exodus conferences. It’s even better. And please, do not let my response add to any confusion. Who you saw on stage years ago was being as honest and free as I knew how to be at the time. I am still the same person in many ways but with eyes fully open now.
You may think I am deluded and “fallen, ” which is fine. However, I hope you will hear me say that whatever honestly manifests the fruit of the Spirit, while being mindful that there is never too much grace, hold on to that. Keep looking for good evidence of the Spirit. Looking for those qualities in everything around us is a great filter and will heal a broken heart.
I trust you will find your way to peace.
If you would like to message me, please feel free to leave a comment below or contact me privately. If you are considering leaving the ex-gay/conversion world, I have a list of resources with plenty of helpful information. Check it out and reach out. I would love to hear from you.