13. With God Anything is Possible
by Martin Hallett
Please study this disclaimer before reading further
I often hear Christians say that God is a God of the impossible. Whilst we know it to be true in theory, we can fail to appreciate this fact in our experience. Writing this testimony has reminded me that all things really are possible for God - the Creator of the Universe. The fact of my writing this testimony is certainly proof of that!
Twelve years ago, I was completely immersed in a homosexual lifestyle. I had no desire to change and felt quite happy and secure. My many homosexual friends were loyal and kind to me. Most of my sexual relationships were casual, although there had been some long term love affairs. If I felt depressed and lonely, I only needed to contact one of these close friends to get love and support. My life was very sex orientated and therefore promiscuous, but I didn't seem to have a problem with guilt. I had a vague idea that there might be a God and therefore prayed, probably as a safeguard against misfortune. I also kept my fingers crossed and didn't walk under ladders - just in case!
A newcomer became a part of my circle of friends. He seemed a bit confused about the whole idea of his homosexuality and was certainly very new to the social scene. He told me that he was a Christian, and seemed filled with uncertainties about the righteousness of homosexual sex. I thought he was simply very new to the whole idea and would change once he had been around for a while. I became more and more attracted to him and his gentle humility. His standards in many areas seemed totally different to those of the rest of us, but he was not trying to impress in any way.
One night, alone on my way home from a gay pub, I was feeling a bit depressed and started asking God, "Why?". A voice within me seemed to be saying, "I have brought this friend along - for you." I suddenly felt a surge of joy and hope. Maybe this new friend would be the "perfect lover" I had often searched for? It also struck me that, if this voice inside was really God, I should start taking Him seriously, and to seek to please Him. "If I don't," I thought, "He may change His mind!" I started learning more about what it means to be a Christian, and why Jesus died for my sins. I had sometimes questioned the purpose of the Cross, but guessed it meant that I could do as I pleased, within reason, and still get to Heaven. I had not realised that sin is anything which displeases God. I also saw, for the first time, that my sins (including homosexual sex) had separated me from God, because of His holiness. Now I realised why Jesus, as God and man, was the only person pure enough to pay a high enough penalty for the sins of the world, and mine. I had to ask Him to take control of my life, as my Saviour and friend.
Now my lifestyle changed quite dramatically, and I became convinced through Scripture, that homosexual sex was wrong. I was given a strong determination to turn away from sexual temptation. As I got more involved in the Christian lifestyle, the Holy Spirit changed the desires of my heart, and many attitudes and ideals were transformed. I had my new Christian friend as an incentive at first, but then he moved away, and I knew that Jesus must be my "first love". I experienced a tremendous peace and security knowing that God was now in control of my life. Life was sweet and running very smoothly, with lots of exciting experiences of God. Even my gay friends seemed to accept the situation and my clumsy efforts to convert them; although they didn't seem to understand what had happened to me. They have kept in touch, but I have found it difficult to identify with them because our lifestyles are obviously totally different. Following Christ seemed fairly easy and straightforward, without any sexual problems and frustrations.
Sometimes another Christian would share personal struggles and difficulties with me. Whilst I would try to appear sympathetic and understanding, underneath I could not really identify with their struggles. "Surely," I thought, "they should be able to experience Jesus' victory?" I know that some of this lack of real understanding and judgmental attitude came across to people I met.
Then, after four years as a Christian, I became aware of sexual feelings and temptations. I was shocked and horrified, but my attitude towards others changed quite dramatically. I was learning something of a lesson in humility, a bit like the "thorn in the flesh" the Apostle Paul talks about in 2 Cor.12:7-10. This was to be a part of my healing, in terms of wholeness, as it helped to teach me more about myself in an unexpectedly similar situation where I can't understand why a person should be reacting in a certain way. It can easily lead to a judgmental attitude. Then I find myself in an unexpectedly similar situation. Jesus is helping me to understand, and therefore be more of a "whole Christian". It is all part of God's unique relationship with me. We are all different and infinitely special to God. His movement in our lives through the Holy Spirit bringing healing and wholeness, is therefore going to be individually tailored to our own needs and feelings. God understands all our fears and difficulties, and we are commanded to love one another with that sort of understanding and love (John 15:12).
Every Christian has a ministry and the Lord led me into this ministry of "TFT", and introduced me to other Christians whose lives have been transformed by Him in many different ways. Some have found heterosexual feelings develop, as homosexual feelings and influences were overcome. God has brought fulfilment, direction and purpose to their lives, and homosexuality has ceased to be of any importance. This involves hurts from the past being healed and unmet needs, especially emotional ones, being met through Christ and His Body, the Church. The ongoing transforming and healing process that is a vital and exciting part of our relationship with Jesus, should always be experienced within the context of loving Christian fellowship and service (the Body of Christ).
I know many Christians long to experience heterosexual feelings and desires instead of homosexual ones. People say to me, "I'd much rather have a heterosexual problem than a homosexual one". That isn't God's answer! He firstly longs for us to relate in a much more deep and meaningful way to Him and one another. He wants to teach us how to love. This will involve learning more about God, through Scripture and personal experience of Him (in ourselves and others). Our needs will be met as we walk on the road of learning how to love, through Christ, in obedience to Him. We will realise that any change is possible with God, as the Holy Spirit transforms us into the individual that He wants us to be! The way we relate to ourselves, others and the world around us, is the result of innumerable influences that we have absorbed throughout our lives. God can change and transform our lives and lifestyles (He has mine). Even our position on the so-called "sexual spectrum" is not as fixed as we are often led to believe. We can change. I do not believe we are born either homosexual or heterosexual.
God created within us various needs (e.g. to work; to love and to be loved, etc.). The most important need is a need for God Himself. We are created for Him to please Him. I know I often fail and fall short of God's desires for me, as I seek to obey Him. I can experience His forgiveness and victory over sin, through the Cross of Christ. This means that, when I am sorry for my sin and seek God's forgiveness, through Christ, as far as He is concerned, it is just as if I had never sinned.
When I look at what it cost God to enable me to love Him, my life must be filled with a love and desire to serve Him and His Word, that makes every other need pale in comparison. Following Jesus is the only answer to life - for it is life - ETERNAL LIFE.
When True Freedom Trust was formed in 1977, it was a vision I had for a twofold ministry. Partly counselling people seeking to come out of homosexuality, and also a ministry to help the Church understand and minister more effectively in this sensitive area. In England, many Christians were strong in condemning the sin, but weak in terms of loving and helping the sinner. We also wanted to know of church fellowships to whom people coming for counselling could be referred. I was soon to realise that speaking on this subject to church fellowships is easier said than done!
I am by nature, very shy, and at one time to hear my own voice speaking to a room full of people (even in my own room!), was terrifying. Now God was putting me in situations where I had to talk to hundreds of people, and many of them were very angry and militant. It was not easy, but as I was able to realise that my fear was really of making a fool of myself, it was much easier. I had to totally depend on the Lord, and to seek to "die to myself".
As I sought to minister to others the help I had received from God (2 Cor.1:3-7), I realised how much I (and therefore probably they) needed to exercise a ministry from the Lord. It was a part of the healing process in terms of being made more whole as a person. God had created the need in me to give to others and be valued and affirmed. There are many times when I feel that I must be the most unlikely person to minister to someone else. Perhaps in a particular situation I would like to opt out of ministering because of my own feelings of inadequacy. The problem is I can't! God has thrust me into the situation! I have no choice in the matter! Then, to my amazement I find not only that I have really been used to minister to someone, but that God had clearly made sure that I would. He had chosen me! Weak incompetent me!
Then I feel encouraged, blessed and stronger in my own walk with the Lord. The counsellor has been ministered to by the counselling!
Throughout my life and ministry as a Christian, I have believed very strongly in the importance of deeply committed Christian relationships as ways in which God wants us to bring His healing to others and to ourselves. In this way, emotional needs are met, hurts healed and insecurities made secure. We can only relate to a limited number of people on that level. Jesus, ti seems, was especially close to just three disciples, although He loved them all, of course. When TFT started, a very Godly sister in Christ said that I needed a "brother in Christ with whom to share a fellowship in the Light...never make any decision without this brother knowing." She also shared the tremendous spiritual battle in this area of ministry (how true I now see that to be). For a long time, all this talk about relationships was based on some past experiences, but it was mainly ideology. However, many TFT supporters recognised my deep rooted emotional needs and loneliness in the ministry and prayed that the Lord would provide such a Brother in Christ.
Several years later, in 1983, Peter - who had originally contacted TFT for help and support, believed the Lord was calling him into more full-time involvement with this ministry. At a conference in England, the main speaker confirmed so much of what we had been teaching about loving relationships. Peter and I had been, to some extent, talking about his working more fully with TFT and maybe even living together along with his wife, Annette, and their three children. It seemed that this could be the answer to prayer, but I had not thought of such a Brother being married. Talking it through during this conference helped put my mind at ease in many ways.
We all made a "family commitment" to each other and the Lord provided a large house. The vision being that, as we experienced God's healing through meeting one another's needs, so people would see God's love in action through us, and be inspired to find such relationships themselves.
The reality of living and working together has not been as sweet as the ideal. I, for one, made a lot of mistakes in my relationships (especially with Peter). I failed in many ways, and especially as insecurities and fears that I thought had gone, resurfaced. If I could start all over again, I hope I would be different. However, thankfully, life isn't like a tape you erase and start all over again. We can not only learn from mistakes, but grow through them. There are many ways in which I have experienced healing through my family, and my love for them seems immeasurable. We had sadly often hurt one another, usually because of our own hidden wounds which come to the surface. Hidden wounds can be healed by the Lord and this is happening. I am learning now to love people of both sexes and even myself, and also the need to find my fullest security in Christ. So His truth sets me free to love God, others and myself.
TRUE FREEDOM TRUST
Merseyside L49 6NY, U.K.
Martin's full story can be read in his book titled, "I AM LEARNING TO LOVE" (Marshalls) which is available from the address above and in British bookshops.
This page was created on 30 January 2001
Last updated on 30 January 2001
Reproduced with Thanks