I shouldn’t have waited ’til the night before Easter to finish this post, but I didn’t want to rush this whatsoever. As of two days ago, Maundy Thursday, Lent 2018 has officially ended. It’s been a wholesome Lent for me, and I can assuredly say that I’ve met my goal of facing the ugly moments in my college years and finding peace.
Learning to fully admit to myself just how much anger and contempt I’ve kept after dealing with the homophobes I faced at college was uncomfortably difficult. Even though the worst of it was now 3 years ago, I only recently made myself admit how much disgust I really still had for the people involved. I don’t want to see myself as an angry, bitter individual, and I’m aware that I had a toxic grudge against people who I’ll presumably never see again; that is to say, a pointless grudge entirely. They’re gone from my life, and I’m grateful that I don’t have to deal with their nonsense ever again.
Another thing I need to admit is that nobody is ever weak for asking for help, especially when feeling surrounded by enemies. After all, King David wrote several Psalms on that matter alone.
During the worst time in my college years, when I lived in an increasingly verbally homophobic dorm, I refused to admit to anybody, not even my Mom, what was happening until it got so bad that I had a breakdown sobbing in my room. I thought that denying my situation would make it level out over time; it only got steadily worse. Remembering that, I can’t ever let myself stay silent in the future.
Be Careful Who You Trust
This was my mantra for a while after I learned a painful but necessary lesson: never trust any human more than you trust God. That’s what I did, when I blindly believed that my then-crush (who lived in another floor of the same dorm, and who seemed to be a devout Christian) would magically come to my aid if I prayed enough for it. Yes, instead of asking God to intervene, I wanted a guy I had only interacted with a few times to help me.
Soon afterward, that guy turned out to be just as malicious as the people I was dealing with on my floor. Where he had smiled at me pleasantly before, he then only sneered at me, and got his friends to taunt and insult me if he saw me passing by. I made a horrible misjudgment of his character, and I should’ve payed heed to the instinctual warnings God had been giving me about him. At that point, much of my situation matched the tense words of Psalm 55, which deals with dire situations and feeling betrayed by somebody you called a friend.
But on the flipside, right after I learned that my trust had been misplaced, God pulled many cards at once to make everybody in my life aware of what was going on with me, and only 3 days later, He had me returned to my previous dorm hall, room and roommate. I forever learned that God has no equal, and it’s Him that deserves the greatest loyalty and trust, not any other person.
In my desolation, in my loneliness and belief that I was stuck in a toxic environment where people didn’t know about the situation, didn’t care or willingly acted as perpetrators, God moved like so:
“He saw that there was no one, He was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so His own arm achieved salvation for him, and His own righteousness sustained him.” (Isaiah 59:16)
More than anything else, I can’t let my past experiences harden my heart. Because of my fears of putting my trust in the wrong man again, I nearly ruined other genuine friendships I had at college, especially with my close guy friends, some of whom I had deep romantic feelings for.
It’s one thing to be aware of any person’s potential to be evil, but if I refuse to let another guy get close to me just because one broke my heart, I’ll never be able to properly fall in love.
That, and God made me realize the importance of forgiving every single individual who I felt did me wrong, especially the male homophobes I encountered. I now understand that several of them might actually be closeted individuals terrified of their own sexuality. While that doesn’t make their poor choices any less wrong, it certainly explains the reason why. Now, I feel for them, and pray that they let themselves become the self-accepting individual that God wants them to be. As tempting as it is, choosing to despise them won’t do me any good, and I highly doubt that it’s what God would want me to do.
I pray especially for the guy that I encountered in that dorm. Looking back, I have a feeling that no matter what I believe about him, God meant for our paths to cross; I have off and on dreams about this guy struggling to accept himself, and I know how painful of a struggle that can be. He unwittingly taught me several vital lessons, like all the other people I encountered at college, good and bad, did as well. I need to make sure that I never forget those lessons, no matter what happens.