Tim Wilkins turned away from homosexuality and shares his message of true joy and freedom with others.
by Paul Chesser

Leaving Behind His Sin of Homosexuality

Raleigh, NC-People who struggle with the sin of homosexuality only find victory through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, according to Tim Wilkins. Wilkins knows because he is the director of Raleigh-based CROSS Ministry, which gives "visibility to the reality of change for the homosexual through Jesus Christ," and he has counseled men and women who have been homosexual.

He also knows because he was once gay.

"For me, the very thought of heterosexuality was repulsive," said Wilkins.

While the sanctifying transformation is not complete, as Wilkins will attest, God has still brought him from the depths of fear to true joy in Christ today. He has been married to his wife, Lisa, for 7 years and has a year-and-a-half old daughter.

Wilkins began his walk away from homosexuality when he was in his early 20s. He had accepted Christ at age nine, but grew up in a home where he was not spiritually nurtured and his father was verbally and physically abusive towards him and his mother. After 11 years of involvement in the homosexual lifestyle and spiritual turmoil, he was convicted by the Holy Spirit to turn away from his sin.

"I prayed, 'God, I don't know how to be heterosexual, but I do know how to be obedient,'" said Wilkins.

Wilkins likens that moment to the time when Jesus performed His first miracle at the wedding in Cana, when Mary said to the servants "Whatever He says to you, do it."

"There is an eternal element to that advice," said Wilkins. "That is the crux of the Christian life."

Seeking to be healed, Wilkins realized that the Bible provides no specific steps to leave homosexuality, so he wrote down all the verses that applied to his life. He avoided pornography and made adjustments that would keep him from temptations. He also discovered heterosexuality or marriage was not his main goal, but that his focus should be on growing in Christ.

"I knew homosexuality was incompatible with my relationship with Jesus Christ," said Wilkins. "I realized that praying for healing and then not being obedient is an insult to God."

"When we begin to act on what we know is right, that's when God's power is unleashed."

At age 22 Wilkins felt he should return to college. He excelled in music there, and living in a men's dormitory, learned to develop appropriate relationships with the same sex. During the summers he preached and evangelized through the Baptist State Convention, and God converted him from a "shy, introverted, self-conscious wallflower to an assertive 'up-front' man who boldly proclaimed the authority of God's word."

From there he went to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he studied Bible despite his giftedness for music. After graduation he was called to a pastorate in his hometown near Winston-Salem, and ultimately served in two churches as a minister - as a single man. Unknown to his churches, he often preached on Biblical passages that helped him with his "healing process."

The process neared its completion when he met Lisa at a Christian singles' event in Winston-Salem. She was the godly woman he had been praying for, and after dating for four months Wilkins knew he had to reveal his past-because he wanted to marry her. He sat at the opposite end of his sofa from her.

"I thought, 'gosh, what could necessitate separating us by a whole pillow,'" Lisa recalled. "I know it was not an easy thing."

Wilkins told her "you need to know something about my past since it may influence our future," then said, "I used to be gay."

"I was not shocked in the sense of being repulsed," said Lisa. "I knew enough about Tim's (family) past, and in that context, it just kind of goes along with that."

Lisa never wavered in her love for Wilkins. They were married August 21, 1993.

Wilkins's next decision may have been his toughest: going public with his testimony. Lisa wanted him to do it right away, but he was reluctant. He sought counsel about it and one person said, "it will ruin your testimony." His mother said, "that's the most pitiful thing I've ever heard." Wilkins was fearful - homosexuality was the ultimate taboo.

However, he was reminded of what Jesus told the Gadarene man whom He had cast demons from, as recorded in Mark chapter 5: "Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you."

Wilkins realized the pastorate was not exactly what God wanted for his life, so he and Lisa moved to Raleigh to do public relations for an existing sub-ministry of Exodus International, a national Christian organization to help homosexuals.

That ministry was dissolved by its leader shortly thereafter, leaving Wilkins with only one decision-start his own ministry to homosexuals.

"Only God could have orchestrated and masterminded all that," he said.

Today Wilkins is compelled to teach the church that it is capable of ministering to those dealing with homosexuality. He believes there are homosexuals in almost every church.

"The church's track record for ministry in this area is bad," he said. "I think the church has underestimated its power and ability to minister to the homosexual."

Wilkins recognizes that people are uncomfortable discussing the issue. Only a slim majority at the Baptist State Convention last year voted to allow an ex-gay to give their testimony at next year's convention.

"I think a lot of people in church view me with more fear than the open homosexual," said Wilkins.

Still, Wilkins feels compelled to bring his message to the church, hoping to help them effectively minister to homosexuals. He said it must be done both individually and as an entity.

"I think the pro-gay movement has taken their message directly to the country," he said. "The church has been reticent to do that.

"Unfortunately, pastors and church staff are unaware of those struggling with this issue."

Reprinted by Permission, The Charlotte World.