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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Forgiven of Every Sin

By Tia Haynes
Sept. 18, 2011

I grew up in a difficult home life. I was frequently bullied in school. My sister was also bullied and sexually harassed at school, causing us to change school systems three times.

In the seventh grade, my parents divorced, and my sister and I went to live with our mom. The next apartment complex over was a hub for drinking, smoking and doing drugs in our town, so I began experimenting with those things.

At about this time, my guitar teacher shared the gospel with me. This was the first time I had ever heard it. I wanted to believe in Jesus and even prayed for salvation, but I dismissed it altogether the next day.

I had already been involved in heterosexual activity when I began experimenting with homosexuality in the ninth grade. Around my junior year, I came out as a lesbian. In my senior year I became very active in the gay community. I went to Canada with a woman soon after my graduation to get married. But she became very controlling. Two years into this relationship, I attempted suicide, then left her and went to live with my father, whom I had not seen during most of that time.

The next year was peppered with heavy drug and alcohol abuse, as well as another failed lesbian relationship with a crack addict. After this relationship, I developed feelings for a male coworker and redefined myself as a bisexual. Soon after I started attending Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, my coworker and I moved in together. This began another negative relationship that lasted two years.

On my first day of school at Wright State, I met a guy who was in every French class I took for the next year and a half. We developed a friendship, and soon he became my confidant. When I wanted to attempt suicide again, I felt the need to call him instead, even though we had never really talked outside of school before. He prayed for me, and suddenly I was filled with peace. It was the first time I ever remember someone praying for me. It was so different from anything I had experienced that I began asking him questions about his beliefs on God, religion and the purpose of life. He was very patient, kind and compassionate, which was the opposite of what I had received from people in my past.

One day my friend shared how Jesus had transformed his life, and the story of his past matched closely to mine. My heart ached to know and feel what he knew and felt. A few weeks later, after I had left my boyfriend and was desperate for some kind of hope, my friend invited me to go to church with him. I was very skeptical, and the service confused and upset me.

We went to a restaurant after the service, and he began telling me the hard truth of the gospel. He told me that if I died that day, I would go to hell. I knew it was true. He told me that God desired a relationship with me, and that Jesus died for my sins so I could live eternally with Him. I was crying heavily, but nothing changed my heart until he told me how Jesus is an intimate friend, and that I could be forgiven of every sin.

During my years as a homosexual, I had been told repeatedly that I could never be forgiven. The thought that I could be forgiven broke my heart, and in that moment I heard a voice that said, “Listen to this, honey. This is for you.”

My friend told me about salvation and being born again. He asked if I was ready to pray for forgiveness and let Jesus take hold of my life. My first reaction was no, and my second reaction was no. But the third time, through my tears, I could only shake my head yes. He led me in prayer, and when he wanted me to ask for forgiveness all I could see were the years of hurt and pain stopping my voice like a wall. Then I saw Jesus break through the wall with His hand so I could finish praying, asking Him to take me as I was and be Lord of my life.

Since that day, April 6, 2008, Jesus has never let me go. As I began to read the Bible, my heart broke over and over again as I gave up drinking, smoking, the remains of my homosexual identity, and my beliefs about evolution and reincarnation. A few weeks later, I was baptized in the Holy Spirit and two months later, baptized in water. The day after my baptism, I witnessed on the streets in the bar district where I used to hang out, which began a deep passion for evangelism that has only grown since.

The only reason I am alive today is because of Jesus Christ. Everyone should have the chance to experience the same amazing grace and redemption that I have, and I intend to spend the rest of my life, or until Jesus returns, pushing forward the kingdom of God.

TIA HAYNES is a Chi Alpha campus missionary in training at Wright State University. She married Bevan Haynes, the friend who shared how Jesus had transformed his life.

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