I have been awake for 3 days. My friend calls me over to help him with his backyard. I snort some Crystal Meth, but I don't feel anything. So I take some more and still feel nothing. I end up doing it all and still nothing. I go over to my friend's house anyways. I used to use marijuana, too, but there was something about Meth that makes me feel light. The effect of the drug makes the heaviness I feel, go away. I also used food to self-soothe, but the result of that is weight gain. At least, Meth gives me a mental and physical lightness.
So I go to my friend's house and we start to do the yard work. All of a sudden my sinuses clear. All the meth that was stuck in my nasal cavity loosens and absorbs into my bloodstream. Immediately, as if there was a surge, I feel something go from the top of my head down to the bottom of my feet. The feeling is so new that I panic. I don't want my friend to think that I'm having a bad trip, so I keep quiet. During this time though, I feel like I am standing on the line between Life and Abyss. I know that I am about to cross over to death. In that very moment, my life flashes before my eyes. I know that a lot of people describe a near death experience this way, but it happened just this way.
Images of my life flash in front of me. There are scowling looks, awful gestures, images of thievery, stealing. I am tainted with all of this defilement and the burden of sin. Even though I am quiet, my heart is pounding really fast and beating irregularly. I did not want to cross over to death with all of these burdens, with this sin.
At this point, all I want to do is pray. I leave and walk over to my mother's house that is 5 blocks away. She takes one look at me and knows I am in a serious state. I confess to her about what is going on and I tell her that I want to pray. Looking back, she must have been led by the Holy Spirit because she went and got her bible. She flips to a page and starts to read. My heart is still pounding so fast and I become fatigued. At this point, there is not enough oxygen going into my blood cells. I start to feel really weak. My voice is low and my breath is labored.
As she is reading, a Spirit enters the room. It is full of goodness and has a tremendous presence. It is like touching a light bulb with varying degrees of light in-between. The closer I got to the Spirit, the warmer it felt. I don't realize until later, but it was the Holy Spirit. God's holiness came into the room. I went from being hunched over and weak to feeling a small resilience building up inside of me. My voice becomes louder as I repeat the Scripture, until I am speaking at a normal volume. I begin confessing my sin, asking God to forgive me for all that I had done. This Spirit; it touches my body, my soul, and my spiritual self. This Holy Spirit awakened my human spirit.
Up until then, I knew about God-but I didn't have a relationship with Him. I knew Him from a religious standpoint. After this happened, I knew that I had to pursue the Truth for myself.
When I was 5 years old, I was sexually molested by a close male family member. This caused a heaviness and confusion in me that I would carry for a long time. Although it was only one occasion, it set in motion feelings of same sex attraction. By the time I was 18, I accepted myself as a homosexual.
I fell into the culture of homosexuality. What I found though, was that a lot of these men craved love. They wanted to feel whole. Yet, I only saw promiscuity and a lack of sexual refrain. There is safety in this culture and sometimes people find comfort in their shame. Me, on the other hand, I always wanted to be friends with someone before moving onto a sexual relationship. My friends made fun of me, but this is what I wanted out of love. I wanted relationship.
Growing up, my family always thought I was feminine. The sexual abuse from my past emasculated me. When I was young, I knew that men liked women. So when a male culprit sought me out sexually, it created confusion in me. I didn't know if I was supposed to assume the male or female role.
After God actively pursued me that day in 1993, I was never the same. I met Him in person that day. His presence brought me from the Abyss to Life. Having that experience helps me navigate my life today. He is a beacon of guidance even in my lowest of lows. In 2001, I began digging into the truth. I did a comparative study of religion, philosophy, psychology and biology. I wanted answers. Since the Lord had already deposited his Holy Spirit within me, I could discern between what was true and what was false. To understand the gospel frees me. I understand that my relationship with God is not dependent on what I do. I realize that I will fail Him. Despite that, He demonstrates his faithfulness to me. He wants me to pursue Truth, to love him, and to bring others to Him.
This doesn't mean I am perfect. I still battle and conquer the issue of shame every day. This is what I teach to members of the Same Sex Attraction Ministry at the Rock Church. Shame and pride are the same coin, just opposing sides. God does not desire either for us. He does not want us to be prideful, nor does he want us to dwell in our shame. With all of your heart, you have to be willing to pursue truth. When you really desire to know truth, God will begin to orchestrate your life.
To understand who God is, you have to know His attributes. You cannot know about God through "word of mouth." You need to know Him for yourself. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and to show you the bigger picture. The Lord uses the pain and shame from my past to minister to others. There is a difference between knowing about God and actually having a genuine relationship with Him. There is something more than superficial religion. There is a deeper relationship.
[Arthur pictured on the right]
God has given me the gift of speaking and teaching. I talk about my own personal experience at the Same Sex Attraction Ministry at the Rock Church. When someone hears me speak, they cannot deny that I love God. I talk about my experience with authority because it was God that met me in person that day. And I will never be the same.
Same Sex Attraction Ministry meets on Mondays. We also hold a bible study on Thursday nights. Our purpose is not to change one's sexual orientation. Instead, we pray and we urge each other to holiness. We want to help each member deepen their relationship with God.
Arthur Araujo is the Teaching Leader of the Same Sex Attraction Ministry
For more information about the Overcoming Same Sex Attraction Ministry, click here »