After my brother Brad was publicly outed as gay and mistreated by some Christians, I kept making efforts to stay closer to him and be more of a blessing to him instead of as a brother in name only. A few years after college, I moved to a large city far from the Bible Belt where I had grown up. There were more job opportunities there, and I also knew of a church I liked there.
By that time, I had regained my brother’s trust and he felt close enough to me that he also moved to that new city. I was still a committed Christian and had found some Christian roommates, but Brad went back and forth between a Christian and a gay identity.
A few years later, Brad found out not only that he was infected with HIV, but also that it was an extremely aggressive form of HIV that did not respond well to treatment. He was an assistant manager of a retail store, and his doctor had called him at work to tell him.
Believing he was dying soon, Brad closed the office door and cried for one minute until store employees kept banging on the door demanding his attention. He told himself, “I’ll think about it later” and calmly went back to work.
Can you imagine my gay brother’s pain?
The next year, Brad was in and out of the hospital with one nasty infection after another. He was living in an apartment with a male prostitute who would bring guys into the bedroom while I was there visiting with Brad in the living room. Condom wrappers were scattered on the floor; it was not exactly a healthy Christian environment.
I invited Brad to move in with me and my Christian roommates, and he accepted. Many people from my church came to the house and helped him out when he was sick with HIV.
Then after one near-death experience in the hospital, Brad turned to Jesus Christ. God had changed his heart, so he turned away from his sin and believed.
For the first time, my brother clearly told all his gay friends that he was a Christian now, and they promptly abandoned him.
Shortly after his spiritual experience, I was sitting next to him, hugging him, and asking him if he knew that I loved him now.
And he said yes! That meant a lot. I couldn’t help but see the change from his previous “unloving Christians” comment.
I thanked God.
To be continued…
Have you or someone close to you experienced HIV / AIDS and/or a returning to Jesus after a long wandering away? How were you or they received — both by former communities and by the Church at large?
* Photo courtesy rmampongan, Creative Commons.
I read this with great angst and was not reassured by the end. Why is it that you insist that you have to be either gay or Christian and cannot be both a Christian and a gay person at the same time? And you insist on calling being gay a sin too. I really think this might totally end my little time on this site. I had hoped for a broader more accepting attitude from the bros here, but it seems that I was kidding myself all along. Very sad about that, but seems little point in dialoguing with you if you constantly regard me as being in sin because I am gay. It’s like telling me I’m a sinner because I have blue eyes. I do apologise for not answering your suggestions, but they seemed totally irrelevant in view of what I have said and I have no response to them.
Jeremy, none us claim that “being gay” is a sin, as all of us blogging here are obviously attracted to the same gender, our labels of choice varying. But do we believe gay sex and an erratic sexual lifestyle is outside God’s design for humanity? Yeah. We do. It’s why we’re all here, why we’re all together, why we’re all “Side B” or whatever label of choice we each prefer. If that’s too hard to accept, I’m sorry brother. But we believe what we believe about this issue, as we have from the start. It’s not about the attractions themselves but what we do with them. Hope you’ll continue journeying with us as I’ve always appreciated your perspective, but I understand if you feel the need to step away. Blessings either way.
Jeremy, we are all sinners and in need of forgiveness and love from our Creator – blue, green or brown eyes. It sounds like these men have found that love and forgiveness and desperately want to love Him back – no matter what He asked. No trying to fix you – just honestly sharing their stories so others can find that love and forgiveness too.
Jeremy, like Tom said here, when I referred to my brother’s gay identity, I didn’t mean his attractions. I meant his whole way of lfe, especially his pattern of promiscuous gay sex and random unprotected anonymous encounters with other guys.
I believe someone can be attracted to the same sex and still be a Christian, as long as they are resisting the temptation to entertain or act on their feelings.
I lived an active gay lifestyle for just over 20 years. I had been in relationships and even lost a couple good friends and one partner to AIDS. I eventually caught HIV in Nov 1989. It changed my whole life and I quit drinking, quit smoking and everything else bad and I gave my life to Christ. Most of the people in my church knew about me and I was completely accepted with open arms.
It hasn’t been easy being single and I really can’t be in a relationship so I’m glad for all the support I have. I just found this blog last month and it’s a great support to me.
Thank you for all your words. You have wisdom beyond your years!
Indeed they do.
Thanks for your compliment Brian! It is so good to hear that you found a church where you receive the support you need. I thank God for the Christian friends who give me love and support instead of rejection. That kind of church actually does exist!
Marshall, thanks for sharing. I have never known anyone close to have HIV. This site is the first time I have openly discussed my same sex attraction issue. In the past I told some about a porn addiction and others I did mention that it was of a same sex nature but then that was it – they loved me and we stay friend many and a leader in my local church but I never was able to talk deeply about it. Even when I went through the “Setting Captives Free” website program called the “Door of Hope” for men seeking freedom from SSA; I received much biblical truth (for which I am grateful) but no one really talked like you guys and just shared their stories and let you share yours. No fixing needed to be here – just read and just share. Jesus does the fixing and so far – sharing at this site – He has done much fixing in me. I am sorry to hear you brother has HIV but I am very joyous that he received the Lord Jesus – the Fixer of all things. :0) I wait for the rest of the story…
Yes, David, it really helps all of us to share our stories and to hear others’ . Not only do we know that we are not alone, but also we can all learn from others’ mistakes and success.
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