From the jocks’ bullets of ridicule about being gay, to the grenades of pressure and acceptance of the gay lifestyle by the theatre kids, to the nuclear bomb of falling into temptation and everyone finding out by the cute gay guy in your school: I might as well have been fighting in the United States Marines. That’s the battle I felt every day at school as a youth struggling openly with homosexuality.
My name is Cole, I am eighteen years old, and just graduated high school. I have struggled with same gender attraction for as long as I can remember. But in high school the struggle became immensely more difficult.
Being a sensitive boy in high school brought a lot of negative attention to myself. I played tennis, was involved in theatre, and was not very interested in females at all. These characteristics were noticed by my classmates and they quickly began labeling me as gay. There were four types of groups that appeared in my life: the jocks who made fun of me, the drama kids who wanted me to embrace homosexuality, the judgmental Christian kids who abandoned me, and the kids who didn’t care either way.
When I would walk down the hallway or in the cafeteria I would hear words from the football guys like fag, queer, and any other derogatory word for gay you could think of. Hearing this on a daily basis really began to make me believe I was gay and that I would never be one of the guys like them.
Then there were the kids who were excited about me being gay. Suddenly I was their best friend. They sat by me, told me how funny I was and tried to hook me up with every gay person they knew. They persisted in that no matter how much I told them I didn’t want to embrace homosexuality as my lifestyle choice.
At the beginning of my senior year I finally caved. I started dating a boy on the cheer squad and came out to my whole class. While some were ecstatic, some were not. Kids in my church stopped wanting to hang out with me and I felt abandoned by them. This made it difficult to even entertain the thought going back to God, because I felt like no one would help me. However, I eventually decided to break up with my boyfriend because I felt convicted about my sin.
Then when I tried to follow Christ, I was hated by all the kids who were my friends when I was gay. So I lost all of my Christian friends who still wouldn’t talk to me because of my homosexual behavior, and then I lost my gay friends because of my Christianity. I was so broken and alone. Trying my hardest to lean on God was all I knew to do, but I began to receive texts and messages from people harassing me telling me I was gay and should just accept it. I was ridiculed and persecuted by my peers and I had nowhere to turn. I had to lean into God.
Being ridiculed and laughed at for trying to walk out of homosexuality in high school is like trying to deactivate a bomb blindfolded. That is why I was floored when I finally found Living Hope. For the first time in my life, I felt like I wasn’t alone. I found hope. Hope that God is big enough. Hope that God can truly do all things. And hope that the Lord is my Shepherd and He won’t allow me to go through any experience that He won’t give me the strength to walk through with Him. God has all the battles we face in His hands and will never forsake us. I made it through high school by leaning not on my own understanding but trusting in Him.
Before I came to Living Hope I had no, well, hope. I didn’t know why I had these attractions. I didn’t know what I needed to do to change my situation. I definitely had no idea that there were other people experiencing the same tension between homosexuality and Christianity. Living Hope has given me the tools I need to cling to God and resist temptation.
Before the Lord led me to Living Hope I was beat down and tired. Now I am beginning to be restored. I have people who not only love me, but I have people who understand me. Living Hope has given me a community of believers who know how to help me walk this stuff out. They are bold enough to call me up and love me enough not to hesitate. I am unbelievably grateful for Living Hope and the believers I’ve met through this amazing ministry.