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Dennis Jernigan Q&A

Why do you have a burden to share your testimony with FCA?
I loved sports, and when I did something well in sports, men affirmed me, and I craved and needed male affirmation. I needed to know who I was as a male and what defined masculinity. Since I felt so inadequate in that area, I looked for it in any way, and there was quick gratification when I excelled in sports. And I know that if I was hiding my pain there are others out there who are also hiding behind their performances.

I also had two coaches who never gave up on me. They didn’t know what I was struggling with, but they believed in me regardless of what was going on in my life. That was vital to me.

How can Christian coaches reach out to students and athletes dealing with homosexuality?
Always look for ways to come alongside these athletes. Whether it is helping them with their studies or a regiment of the workout, just identify with them and let them know you think they are valuable and worth your time. Work on building trust and showing that you are going to be there regardless of how much they mess up.

Also, don’t get caught up in the ‘macho’ thing, but understand that if not for the grace of God, that could be you. It could be any one of us. So, ask the Lord to give you the compassion of Jesus—to have the same heart as Christ and not just write off a male because he might seem feminine or have struggles with homosexuality. I desperately wanted someone to say to me, ‘You know, Dennis, I know what you are struggling with, and I just want you to know that I love you anyway. What can I do to help you?’ That would have spoken volumes to me.

In your opinion, what is the root of homosexuality in males?
I minister to thousands every year in the area of homosexuality and would say that 99% of those I talk with have the same story. Either their dads weren’t there for them and were absent emotionally, or they were confused with their identity as a male and were too afraid to approach their dads. They didn’t want to be rejected.

And these boys and men don’t know how to be honorable or how to earn respect. Nobody has taught them. No wonder we have boys who don’t know what it means to be men. And all those issues play into the makeup of the homosexual mindset.

How can someone who has never had any experience with homosexuality minister to one who struggles with that lifestyle?
You don’t have to know anything about homosexuality to help someone out of it. When developing a relationship with someone in that lifestyle, there are natural boundaries that help keep both individuals safe without being offensive. They appreciate people who allow them to be honest and try to understand them. They are striving for the same thing: freedom. And as long as they are walking toward Jesus with you, you don’t have to know anything else.

What should men who feel drawn into homosexuality do to prevent it from maturing?
Avoid places or things that trigger perverted thoughts. You are setting yourself up for failure in so many ways by not watching out for those triggers, whether they are certain places or groups of people or types of clothing. I also rid myself of anything that connected me with that life: gifts, pictures, secular music, television. I needed to renew my mind.

Also, pray for protection of the mind, because it is a battleground. That is where it all begins and ends.

What was the biggest thing holding you back from freedom from homosexuality?
For years I couldn’t get well because I wouldn’t be honest. The first step of truth is getting honest,
and that is where freedom begins. But I was always afraid and would hear the ‘giant’ in my life whispering, ‘What if anyone finds out? You will be rejected and humiliated.’ So, I wasn’t going to be honest.

It’s time for us to be honest. If we can’t be honest then how can we be healed? And if we can’t love one another enough to see healing in our own lives, how can we love a lost and dying world enough to see healing in their lives? No sin is too little or too big. They are all filthy before Him. And until we have slain those giants in our lives, we can never be set free.

Copyright 2007 Sharing the Victory Magazine

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