Over forty years ago, I silently prayed to Jesus to deliver me from unwanted desires and passions. Back then, I heard the clarion call of the Gospel of Jesus Christ at a Leighton Ford Crusade, and gave my life to Jesus Christ. I was filled with hope. Then, as I sought help from the fine church I attended, I was disheartened to find none. The message given to young men with unwanted same-sex attractions back in 1974 was to live in silent loneliness through imposed celibacy. I longed for marriage and family life. In utter despair, I lost hope and began to self-identify as a gay man.
Still, I could not escape the reality of knowing Jesus Christ personally. Although I tried attending an open and affirming church, the Gospel was never preached with the same clarity I heard at Leighton Ford’s Crusade, or the church I attended as a teen. My life was a constant tug of war, as if the Gospel of Jesus pulled me in one direction and my passions and desires pulled in another. Just as I thought I was about to be rent in two, Jesus miraculously revealed Himself to me. He spoke to me, saying, “I want to heal your whole person, not just your sexuality. Choose.” Not knowing what He meant by that, I hung on to His word to me. Little did I know that there were thousands of Christians in the church, who like me, felt torn between conflicting desires. Then step by step, Jesus revealed to me His arduous way into freedom. It has never been an easy road, but the Gospel never promises that. Today, there are literally hundreds of Christian ministries and counselors equipped worldwide to help people who of their own accord seek help. For such a list, check out our Recommended Ministries and Therapists page.
Over twenty-five years ago, when I founded Redeemed Lives International (RLI), it was not for the purpose of only reaching men and women with unwanted same-sex attractions (RLI has never been an ‘ex-gay’ ministry). Rather, from its inception, the mission of RLI is to bring all people into the saving and healing embrace of Jesus Christ. There, in God’s healing presence is where we discover two things about freedom. Not only does Jesus come to set us free from our sinful passions, but more importantly, He comes to set us free for a renewed life in Him. Our banner verse for RLI is Galatians 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” All our pastoral courses, publications, conferences and equipping seminars have that one singular purpose, to free God’s people from what entangles them and into freedom for something new.
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It is for freedom
that Christ has set us free.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.
In His Adventure,
Fr. Mario Bergner+
President and Founder of Redeemed Lives International