“If someone had confronted me with even a hint of condemnation, I would’ve turned away. What I needed most was an active demonstration of God’s love and mercy breaking into my prison.” —Janet Boynes
There is a dark and destructive lie that the enemy is perpetrating in the world today, a lie that keeps many in bondage and despair, preventing them from becoming all that God has called them to be. While the devil seems to have no shortage of ways to deceive people and drive them even further into hopelessness, one of his chief tricks is to convince them their sinful lifestyle is in reality, an integral part of who they are— part of their very DNA. “You can’t change”, he whispers. “You were born this way, and whether you like it or not, this is the way you’ll be until the day you die. You might as well just accept the way you are and make everybody else accept it too.”
Does that line sound familiar? It should, because it dominates our culture today. Particularly in the area of sexuality it convinces millions of individuals— even many of God’s people— they were born with an attraction for those of their own sex. And it assures them there is nothing they can do about it.
I’m very familiar with how the enemy works in this area. Even as a born-again, Spirit-filled Christian, I was deceived into believing this lie. It dragged me into living a lesbian lifestyle for many years.
It was only by God’s direct intervention— through the witness, prayer and compassion of some godly men and women— that I was able to find deliverance from the bondage of same-sex attraction and come into true wholeness by the power of the Holy Spirit.
I’m convinced that in this day of increasing confusion and moral chaos, it will take a church filled with God’s Spirit and authority to effectively battle this tidal wave of evil that threatens to sweep an entire generation into destruction.
In short, it’s going to take an army of committed, praying, fasting and warring saints who believe in the power of the blood of Jesus to bring salvation, sanctification and victory to those confused and decried by the enemy.
I believe emphatically in God’s power to transform even the most hopeless individual because I’ve experienced it so fully in my own life. I know that if Christ can transform me, He can bring that same change to anyone.
There is nowhere Satan can have his way more completely than worse where sin and confusion reigns. That describes perfectly the atmosphere in which I grew up.
As it is with so many people who have struggled with same-sex attraction, one of the major factors that pulled me into the homosexual lifestyle was the pattern of emotional, physical and sexual abuse I witnessed and experienced as a child.
My story began in Norristown, Pennsylvania, where I was born, and grew up. Growing up was not easy, especially since I had to live with very scarce resources which had to be shared with six other siblings. My mother worked very hard, but it was not enough to fully support us and we had to rely heavily on welfare. I never had a relationship with my biological father. He was married with his own family and my mother had a brief relationship with him. I was starved for love in that household as I was not my mother’s favorite and many times I wondered if she loved me. There was also a lot of physical abuse in my home as my stepfather would severely beat her. They fought regularly, and I too started beating up on my own siblings, as well as other kids at school. I was known as the school’s bully and tomboy and wore those labels with great pride.
My life took a horrible twist when at age twelve I was molested by the father of two of my siblings and a few months later raped by an altar boy. These immoral acts committed against me seemed to have sealed my faith to the inevitable. I got into trouble a lot and my downward spiral continued at the age of thirteen when I started taking diet pills, smoking marijuana and turning to hard drugs such as cocaine, PCP and LSD (acid). I stole repeatedly from my stepfather and an older brother to support this drug habit. I graduated from High School and went to Cheney State College in Pennsylvania where I played basketball but got involved with drugs and partied a lot. When my life started spiraling out of control I accepted an invitation from my eight grade English teacher to move to Minneapolis and enrolled in Concordia Bible College. There I continued to play basketball. Eventually I gave my life to Jesus Christ when I obeyed an altar call at a Jesus People Church and started faithfully serving God and getting involved in street evangelism and ministering in various places.
My walk with Jesus Christ was what I needed as my life became rich and wholesome, although there were times when I slipped back into the trap of sin, but the loving hand of God continued to mold me as a faithful potter does with his lump of clay. I fell deeply in love with a Caucasian male and was engaged to be married. Everything seemed to be going well with my life until one night I had a sexual encounter with a female friend from work. Even though my fiancé forgave me, I couldn’t forgive myself, which led me to call off our wedding and isolate myself from those who could truly help me. My life was drastically changed that night I left the loving arms of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to live the homosexual lifestyle for the next 14 years.
At a time when I really needed the security and compassion of the church, as well as mature believers who could stand with me, I made a devastating choice to turn away from God. I had such a strong fear that He had turned His eyes away from me that I never even gave a thought to the possibility there were people who could help me through this and even help me find answers to why I had fallen in the first place.
For the next 14 years I gave myself over to living a lesbian lifestyle, drifting from one unfulfilling relationship to the next and finding nothing but confusion and despair. I can tell you from personal experience that no matter what people living a homosexual lifestyle say about how happy and fulfilled they are, deep inside they know what they are doing is wrong and destructive. For me personally, no matter how hard I tried to justify my sin, I never had a moment of true peace.
Because I’d once known the Lord and His saving power, I knew that only He could rescue me. I’d see people on the bus reading their Bibles, and I’d want to run up to them and say: “Could you please help me? I’m a backslidden Christian, and I don’t know how to get right with the Lord!” I know now that while I had let go of God, there was no way He was going to let go of me. He still loved me, He still wanted me, and even while I was deep in sin, He was working behind the scenes to bring me back to Himself.
The Lord made His move very early one morning through a woman I just happened to meet in a grocery store parking lot. She invited me to a woman’s Bible study at her church. It was through the committed, accepting, loving women in this group that the Lord led me back into His arms. They answered my questions, prayed with me, stood with me and helped me in every way they could. They mentored me in spiritual warfare and helped me break the devil’s stronghold over my life.
One of the women even invited me into her home to live for a time, where I was able to see how a spiritually and emotionally healthy family lived. God used these women, their families and their church to reach out to me at just the right time. I really did want Jesus, but I had no idea how to get back to Him. The truth is, these women were my way back— and that is what I want to emphasize to God’s people, to the church.
The only way we can find effectively help those bound by homosexuality to find forgiveness and freedom is to be there for them and to reach out in mercy. I can say with certainty that even the most militant gay activists, at their core, are crying for understanding. They want someone just to accept them where they are and not condemn them.
I’m convinced that the active, prayerful, Spirit-anointed compassion of God’s people is the key to bringing deliverance and hope to those caught in the homosexual lifestyle. If someone had confronted me with a judgmental attitude or even a hint of condemnation, I would’ve turned away. You see, I already had enough condemnation boiling deep inside me. What I needed most was an active demonstration of God’s love and mercy breaking into my prison of sin and guilt.
As Christians, we have a call to actively and aggressively reach out to those who are bound by sin and iniquity, and to offer God’s forgiveness and cleansing. That’s the only way our faith can be relevant to this world. Mercy is the sum total of our message.
My name is Janet Boynes, author of Called Out: A Former Lesbian’s Discovery Of Freedom (Creation House), I minister around the world in churches and conferences, helping others find freedom in Christ. I have now been walking with the Lord for 19 years. What was my demise has now become my voice.
Walking away from homosexuality was not easy but I wanted to leave the lifestyle and God helped me. I would like to use my story to encourage those persons who feel that they are irredeemable or if you are going through a difficult period in your life and feel a sense of hopelessness, then, you need to know that there is hope through the power of Jesus Christ. He has given you power to get through any tough period of your life. His holy word says “Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you” (Luke 10:19, NLT). When we made the decision to take up our cross and follow Jesus, we will have wonderful times but also know that there will be challenging times. However, the Heavenly Father reassures us that He is with us always even to the end of the age (Matthew 28: 20).