In the fall of 1981, as an 18 year old aspiring artist with a dream, and a freshman at one of New York’s art schools, I reached one of the darkest periods in my life. On a cold rainy night, far away from home I acted out on feelings I had throughout my entire childhood and teen years – I had my first homosexual encounter with another student. After drinking alcohol at a school party and getting drunk for the first time ever, something I swore I never would do because of my family’s past, my life literally changed in one night. I was plummeted into the deep dark world of homosexuality.
After only a few short months in art school, I suffered from a very severe depression and dropped out of school and returned home to my family in Connecticut.
I found many of my old high schools friends had also “come out” as homosexuals, and became very active in the homosexual bar scene. I lived for the night – my drinking became worse, I started using cocaine to help alleviate my mental turmoil, and found much love and acceptance by other men. I had many numerous one night stands. I felt I was finally “me.” However, my drug addiction got worse to the point where I became a cocaine dealer just to support my habit – I lost my art business to drugs, as well as my dignity to a life based upon a perverse, sensual and decrepit lifestyle I couldn’t break free from. It was at this point many of my friends and one night encounters were getting sick and dying, and no one knew why. This sickness was the beginning of the AIDS epidemic.
Things only grew worse and for a period of 6 years I declined morally, mentally and physically. It was in the winter of 1987 after a 3 day cocaine and alcohol binge I cried out for help. After being up all night and running out of cocaine, I looked in the mirror and was shocked at the reflection. Due to my cocaine abuse, as well as years of bulimia, at almost 6 feet tall, I saw a 135 lb. living skeleton staring back at me, and I began to cry. I ran down to a payphone on the corner and called for help. I admitted myself into a drug rehabilitation program, and began my recovery as an impatient for 3 months at a nearby facility. It was at this point I began to see God working in my life.
Within a few short months I was alcohol and drug free, as well as freed from my bulimia. I had gained about 25 lbs and was feeling great. However, I still had a deep dark secret past hidden inside of me. What was I to do with my homosexuality? Deep down inside I knew it was wrong, yet I was just suppressing it. After dating a few girls, I found myself one night back again at a local gay bar. I didn’t drink – but that night I met a man that I fell in love with, and began a 3 year live in relationship with him.
I seemed I had it all – my homosexual lifestyle and love, without the drugs, alcohol and bulimia, a great job, beautiful home, and great homosexual friends. I attended church faithfully every week – and felt I had it all. But God wasn’t done with me yet – in fact, He had just started.
My doorbell rang, and it was my friend Kathy, a friend for years who had seen me through the good and bad times of my life – and she had a Bible in her hand, and asked if she could come in. She had told me she left her religious background and became a Christian. She told me how Jesus changed her life, and how according to the Bible homosexuality was wrong – it was a sin and an abomination in God’s eyes – how according to the Bible I was not “born that way” — and that Jesus could set me free – today. I listened intently, and something inside of me told me she was right. I told her I would take the Bible and she left.
That day, the Word of God cut right through me – I saw my homosexuality for the first time as God saw it – as sin. Anytime something would happen between me and my partner sexually, I found myself praying for forgiveness to God on my bathroom floor. God was tugging at my heart strings, and I knew it.
The tugging was so hard and clear, I left my partner, my job, my family – everything and headed off to Provincetown, MA – a homosexual subculture – to live for a summer, to see if I could reconcile this pull between being a homosexual and a Christian. Did I have to choose one or the other, or could I be both at the same time in God’s eyes?
Well, in that summer of 1991 God opened my eyes to the truth and perverseness of the homosexual lifestyle. I saw it all in full swing, in all its glory – transsexuals, transvestites, sadomasochists – men and women doing things one would never even imagine.
After 5 months in Provincetown, I returned home to my partner asking for forgiveness for leaving him – I was sorry and I was going to put this “Christian” business aside. After only 4 short months at home in his house, by myself while wrapping Christmas presents, I happened to flip through radio stations and came across a Christian one. A man was singing a song and I heard the lyrics about “men marching for their right to sin”. I knew exactly what the song was talking about – it was talking about me. I may have put God on the back burner – but He was still chasing after me.
On New Year’s eve I attended a homosexual party with my partner, and for the first time ever in my life – I felt “dirty.” I hated myself. I hated my lifestyle. But I just couldn’t break free…
I called my friend Kathy on the telephone, and told her I was going to move back to Provincetown, MA for good and completely give myself over to the homosexual lifestyle. I felt as if I lost my soul – I was crying out for help – and that’s when Jesus Christ stepped in.
She read to me from the Bible, from the book of Romans, how God will “call” you – and if He keeps calling you, and you hear, yet harden your heart, it may come to a point where He will make you a “reprobate” in His sight and give you completely over to your sin, and allow you to believe “the lie.” At that point, according to the Bible, you have basically sealed your destiny away from Him forever.
It scared me so much, I asked her what I needed to do, and she told me right now to pray to Jesus – ask Him to deliver me from the homosexuality – and Him to forgive me for my sins, and to come into my heart and life, be my Lord and Saviour, and to take control. At that moment, I did and physically felt the peace of God upon me. That day in January of 1992, on the telephone, I asked Jesus to come into my heart – and He set me free. That day God changed my life forever and I will be eternally grateful to Him for what He did. Within 2 weeks of that time I moved out of my partner’s home and was on my way and walk with Jesus Christ.
Within 2 months of accepting Jesus Christ as my Savior, I knew deep down I had to deal with the root cause of my homosexuality in order to move on with my life. For me, it was a broken relationship with my father.
For years, I only desired one thing: my father’s love. I knew as Jesus had forgiven me for all of my sins – past, present and future – I now needed to extend that forgiveness that I received – to my father. After confronting him one day, pouring out my heart and really talking for the very first time — our broken relationship was reconciled. Forgiveness was extended and the chains that bound me for years were unshackled.
Today, my father and I have a wonderful relationship. I love my dad and I know he loves me. I realized for all of those years, I was vainly looking for the love of my father in the arms of other men. Today, the search is over:
I have the real thing.
I must say, it is incredible how my journey has been. Within that first year, I was engaged to a beautiful Christian woman, Irene, who knew me as a homosexual, and was praying for me for years. We were married on June 13, 1993. Today, over ten years later — and very happily married — God has blessed us with two other miracles – my beautiful daughter Chloe Catherine who is 5 years old, and my son Blake Stephen, 3 years old, born on Chloe’s birthday. Chloe’s middle name is in dedication to my friend Kathy who never gave up on me – a vessel of God, who He used to change my destiny forever.
Today life is wonderful – I am free, and it is all because of Jesus Christ and His love for me. Jesus is the answer for all of our needs, no matter what they are. You may be, know or live with a homosexual, a drug addict, or an alcoholic. Understand – God loves the sinner – He just hates the sin.
Remember, with God, nothing is impossible – believe me, I know. I do believe in miracles – I believe in miracles, for I’ve seen a soul set free… for that lost soul was me.
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“God’s Amazing Grace: The Miraculous Story of Stephen Bennett”
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