I met Gene when I joined a small Christian self-help group. We were part of a seminary community where we were each finding new meanings to life in those oft-sung words of that old hymn that reminds us there is “strength for today and hope for tomorrow …”
Dismissed from his church after his third arrested, Gene had lost both his job and his family. Until joining this small circle of close-knit Christians, the former church musician existed as a man without a country, Only in his eleventh hour did Gene find healing through a group of people that loved him.
In spite of Gene's homosexual behavior, our group accepted Gene for who and what he was. We loved him as a human being created in the image of God and we extended to him unlimited grace that supported him as he was until he could become who he wanted to be--in Christ.
Gene tediously scratched and clawed his way out of his pit of self-disparagement and social abandonment. By the grace of God, and with the encouragement of his widening circle of supporters, Gene’s life turned from its repetition of defeat after defeat and launched into a full recovery.
Conversion became personal, powerful and productive. God’s transforming power became obvious in all that Gene did. His group-family taught him how to face himself openly and honestly, as well as how to interact with them. The group became the conduit for God’s grace, channeling living waters of health and healing into Gene‘s life.
With the help of his new friends, Gene found new reasons for hope. Christian discipleship and reading of the Scriptures, brought him Biblical reassurance when he read, “And such were some of you” (I Corinthians 6:22, RSV, italics added).
Supported by this circle of friends, Gene took the necessary time to work his way painfully through responsible restitution. As a result, Gene discovered new peace that replaced his former turmoil. New possibilities for transformed living invigorated Gene as he found renewed satisfaction in productive behavior and wholesome relationships.
Gene found himself a new man--a man after God’s own heart, like the Psalmist David. Through faith, he overcame his earlier failures. And like others whose stories the Bible tells, Gene found that in his new-found companionship with the Lord Jesus Christ, he had tapped into an undiscovered power line that the disciple John described as power “to become children of God” (John 1:12 RSV).
From Warner’s World, I am