Loving past lovers
By Haydn Sennitt
Of late, I have been thinking a fair bit about the way that I first came out of the gay world and how I now feel about the men whom I had slept around with. There were so many of them I have lost count, but that does not diminish how I now feel about them. A big part of me used to blame them for the situations where we had found ourselves, crossing boundaries and doing sexual things with one another that we thought would give us love, acceptance, and the man of our dreams who might one day hold us together and make everything ok again. The sad reality is that we would have sex, use each other, and then throw one another away to look for someone else. It wasn’t uncommon for that to happen and as I looked at other gay men that I knew, they were going through the very same thing.
My old boyfriends and I thought we were loving each other and were working hard to believe that we were, but to be honest I think it was more accurate to say that we were trying to find love for ourselves and were using one another to try and make it so.
Sadly, when I would act out with a lot of gay men they would not ask me what my name was and often I wouldn’t ask theirs. Why not? Because knowing that the other person had an identity would give me less of a reason to use them in such a callous, uncaring way. On some occassions, I would ask them their identities and sometimes when I did they would cry because few others had ever dared ask.
So how do I view those guys now? Do I hate them? Do I hate other gay and lesbian people? After all that I have been through and having wrestled with my own failures and weaknesses, I cannot say that I hate any of them. I hate now what we did together, but not them, even though some of them emotionally hurt me, betrayed and insulted me, tried to physically assault and rape me, and treated me like garbage. I know that I too was hurting them even in less extreme ways and that I too was as much a perpetrator of such hurt as they were. I have also come to realise that for them to have used and hurt me as they did, they must be pretty broken and angry deep down, just as I have been. I cannot claim a moral high ground; I am no better and no worse than they are, no matter what they have done. They are all made in God’s image and He longs to be reconciled and be reconnected with them. He understands their pain and longs to heal it in Jesus.
My hope? It is that they come to know Jesus, if not by me then by someone else. I hope one day to be reconciled and be true friends again, to give them a hug, say sorry for the things I did, and to re-establish something new, even if they are not Christian!
But better still (I still remember many of their names) I continually pray for them, that they will one day have Jesus in their hearts and will one day spend eternity with me, in safety, holiness, security, perfection, and protection, no longer being hurt or hurting others. Many times when I have prayed this, I have done it in tears.
How much do these guys need Jesus! How much do all GBLT and sexually addicted people need Him! I have a particular passion in my heart for the men I slept with because in those moments where we physically acted out together, we shared a deep part of ourselves with each other that was aching, lonely, vulnerable, desperate, thirsty for love, and yet unfulfilled. We went to the wrong sources back then to fill those needs, but now that I am in right relationship with God, I want them to taste and know that only Jesus can meet it for them.
Some of the men I slept around with were older than me, about 14 years my senior, and that in many ways it was really sad to see men like that. They were, in a way, like older brothers but just as lost as I was. Last year I saw my first former lover in Sydney and he was with yet another boyfriend. How sad and lonely he looked, even as he was trying really hard to portray himself as happy on the outside. I don’t agree with his lifestyle choice, but I care about that man and want him to know the greatest Love there is. This is the best thing that I can do now for those I left behind.