By Paize Fiddler
My youngest brother was sexually abused by two gay men when he was very little, not even nine years
old yet, I believe. The event was psychologically so powerful and strange that (I’ll call him Mike) Mike shoved it way
down deep into his sub-conscious, unable to think about it and without the first idea how to even approach our very religious
parents with the fact of what had happened. He simply buried it, and tried to forget about it.
Mike grew up and got married. Everything appeared normal. They even had a daughter one year after their
marriage. One day a couple years later, I overheard the wives “girl-talking” at a family reunion, and I heard
Mike’s wife lamenting to her sisters-in-law that she and Mike had no sex life to speak of. He had virtually no sex drive,
and to make things worse, she had found some boy-child porno magazines under stacks of papers in one of his desk drawers.
Mike and his wife were in the ministry at the time. One day my mother called me in tears, sobbing, and told me I should pray
for Mike. He had had sex with a man, had been caught and exposed by his wife, and to make things worse, the man he had sex
with was HIV positive!
Mike lost his wife, was thrown out of his church, and all his religious former friends abandoned him.
He was a youth pastor at the time, and none of the parents of the teens allowed him to see or talk to them anymore. Bitter
against the church, Mike forsake his love of God and commitment to spreading gospel, and went out into the world, working
as a hospice aid at a facility that had primarily AIDS clients. He became active in the Gay Rights Movement. He founded and
ran a teen center for at-risk youth to come and have some good clean fun out the harm’s way of inner city streets. Mike
was being a good man, helping people in need, without any affiliation to the church he once loved and now hated. They had
rejected him, and he had found more acceptance of himself just as he was and without
judgment from the world than from the church.
But he was not happy. Not deep down inside. He was full of bitterness and hatred for those men who
had turned him out, and the hypocrites of the so-called Christian church who did not live up in any way to the teachings of
He was coaching a city league baseball game one day, and his team’s opponent was a team from
a local evangelical church. While his team was well behaved, hard working and competitive but yet sportsmanlike, the church
team was boisterous, foul-mouthed, dirty playing, and obnoxious, calling out names and acting like bullies.
After about three innings, Mike had had enough, and he went to the official and said he was pulling
his team, this game was over. He was not about to put up with this kind of abuse, and fed up with the other team’s uncontrolled
and unsportsmanlike behavior. As his kids gathered their gear and headed for the bus, he walked over to the coach of the Christian
team, and asked him, “How does it feel that these kids of mine, most of which have never set foot in a church, are leaving
this field today with this type of impression imbedded in their minds about what it means to be a Christian?” The man,
who Mike found out later was the pastor of the church, had looked down and away, and said nothing.
The next day, Mike got a phone call from the minister. He said he’d like very much to have lunch
with him, and talk over some important things. Mike sensed humility in his tone of voice, and agreed. They met for lunch,
and the coach/minister opened the talk with a sincere and humble apology for his team’s behavior, and made it clear
that the burden of responsibility was squarely on his shoulders, as the pastor of his church. He knew he had been remiss in
not checking his boys’ for their lack of decency, and further admitted and assumed ultimate responsibility for them
being of such ungodly mannerisms; after all, they were children of his flock, the parents of which who, if properly grounded
in their faith, would not allow such untoward demeanors to be fostered and grown in their homes.
Mike accepted the man’s apology, and started liking the man for his sincerity and frankness.
They continued talking, getting to know each other. During the course of the luncheon, the fact that Mike played the trombone
was brought out. “Hey, Mike,” the pastor said, “We really need some brass in our Praise and Worship band.
Would you be willing to come and play with us on Sunday?” Mike reminded him of his disdain for the church, but
the pastor insisted, “Mike, I know you’re first impression is a negative one, and I again apologize, but there
really are some good folks at our church, and our music service is one that a musician like yourself would truly enjoy. Come
give it a try, won’t you please?” Mike agreed, with expressed reservation, but informed the new friend that if
he sensed any measure of hypocrisy or phoniness in the house it would be his last visit.
That Sunday Mike returned to church for the first time in seven years. He played with the band during
the music service, with no need of a rehearsal; he’s an accomplished musician who can read charts and play by ear with
the best of them. The music service was great, he thought, definitely spirit-filled. Afterward, and after some hesitation,
he decided to stay for the pastor’s message. He sat in the back, folded his arms in a closed-minded posture, and internally
dared the pastor to enlighten him with anything spiritual.
The pastor talked about forgiveness. He reminded everyone that God forgives each and every one of us
without judgment, regardless of the depth and quantity of our transgressions; we just have to ask. He talked about the unsettling
pain of harboring resentment, hatred, and condemnation toward others in our hearts; how it separates us from union with God
because not being able to forgive is not the Way of Christ. At the conclusion of his sermon, he asked all to stand, and to
pray to God to show each and every one there that day, just what the source of any pain that might lurk in their hearts’
source is. Who needs to be forgiven by you? What anger and hatred must you let go of, to be free?
Mike was shaking and rebelling internally. He knew the source of his pain. It was his hatred for those
two men who abused him as a child. They had ruined his life. They deserved to die and burn in Hell! “NO WAY CAN I FORGIVE
THEM … I WANT THEM TO DIE AND GO TO HELL!!!” he thought.
But the pastor went on relentlessly, admonishing his flock to ask God to show them the root of their
discomfort, expose the demons within, and finally make peace with whomever and whatever was keeping them from being free.
Mike, in an instance of mindless and spiritual rapture, was overtaken with the veracity of this man’s message. He went
forward to the altar steps, and fell flat on his face. Weeping and shaking, he called out to God, and confessed his heartfelt
and sincere forgiveness for the two men who had abused him as a boy. He finally forgave them. He forgave the pious church
people who had not the Christ-like level of love and compassion to be able to help him in his time of trouble and need, and
had rejected him, casting him aside like a diseased rodent. He forgave, he forgave, and he forgave, until he was empty of
all hatred and bitterness, and the Love of Christ filled him and healed him at that moment.
Mike today is happily re-married, and his new wife
and he co-pastor a church that preaches the healing Love of Christ; the nonjudgmental, uncompromising, always forgiving grace
of God that is available to cleanse and make whole anyone who is ready to receive His blessing and Unity. It is truly a success
story, born of God.