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A Church’s Unconditional Love by Debora Barr
My life was completely transformed by the Word of God and the unconditional love of a church body exemplifying Christ to me in a tangible way! By 1994, I had been living as an atheist for 16 years and a homosexual for six years when my lesbian partner invited me to go to church. I eventually decided to give it a try and began attending a Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) – a gay church. In 2000, I moved to a different state, and began another lesbian relationship. We entered into a Civil Union in 2001 and settled into life together as we built our dream home and fully integrated into the gay community where we lived. Over time, I became dissatisfied with MCC, and sought another church to attend.
In 2003 we walked into a church in our small town in West Virginia where we were welcomed with open arms. We joined a women’s Bible study, and the women graciously overlooked the obvious and accepted us with no judgment and no mention of the way we were living our lives. We were taught how to pray, and how to study the Bible, and I experienced love and acceptance. Soon thereafter, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and was baptized.
Over the next two years, I became more and more involved in the church, serving as a volunteer and participating in the women’s ministry. I also developed a love for the Word of God, which is where the REAL transformation in my life began to occur. My lesbian partner and I started to read the Bible together every day, and began to experiment with applying biblical principles to our lives (fasting, praying, tithing, etc.).
In the fall of 2005, I approached the women’s ministry leader and said that my lesbian partner and I wanted to ‘come clean’ with the women in our ministry (believing that nobody in the women’s group knew we were gay). She suggested that we meet with the pastor to discuss this before talking to the women’s group, so we began a series of meetings with them. The pastor asked me why I labeled myself as homosexual. I answered that I was born that way and felt I needed to tell him who I was because my lifestyle didn’t conform to what the church taught. He said he simply saw me as a child of God and I needed no other label. The women’s leader and he confronted our beliefs in a gentle and loving way, never backing down from their convictions, but gently showing us what the Scriptures said about the way we were living. Over time, the Lord convicted us through his Word – the Truth.
On January 1, 2006 we publicly confessed to the women’s group that we had been living in sin and were now turning away from our homosexual identity to follow Jesus Christ. After 18 years of homosexuality, I repented of my sin and aligned my life with the Word of God. As I began to apply biblical truth to my life, with the support of nonjudgmental Christians who loved me unconditionally, my life was completely transformed! Though it isn’t everyone’s experience, my same-sex attraction diminished as I experienced the love and acceptance of Christian men and women, and I am now attracted only to men. If the church had responded any other way to me at that crucial point in my life, my salvation and healing would have been unnecessarily delayed.