Beyond Desire

How do you find the good life? Our culture gives us one answer: Do what feels right. Our own desires should have the last word; only by indulging them can we achieve true happiness. It may not always be stated that openly, but that's the essential message being fed to us from the time we're old enough to understand. The problem is that most people living that way are completely miserable. Randy Thomas is a good example. I tell Randy's story in my new book, The Good Life. Randy was thirteen when he learned the term homosexual and what it meant. In this, he thought he'd finally found his true identity. Dominated by an abusive stepfather, Randy had always longed for male attention. In high school, he began a double life, secretly visiting gay bars nearly every night and indulging in sex, drugs, and alcohol. Even at that age, Randy could discern certain patterns among his new friends. Older men craved the youth of their sexual partners; younger ones longed for older authority figures. Old and young alike, he observed, were really attracted to extensions of themselves. But while he recognized this as narcissism, Randy hoped to find a relationship that would transcend it -- someone he could truly love and grow old with. Instead, he found only transient sexual encounters and his mother's rejection when she discovered his secret life. For years Randy drifted from relationship to relationship, living with friends and spending almost everything he had on partying. Then a friend's invitation to a Bible study led to the turning point in Randy's life. It was not only the first time he had heard God described as a loving Father, it was also the first time he had seen so many couples who truly complemented each other and were contented together. The husbands and wives Randy observed didn't have the desperation he had seen in his gay friends. They were focused on giving themselves to each other and to their children, rather than constantly seeking self-gratification. Over time, Randy began to understand what healthy relationships looked like. And that experience was the key to Randy's decision to receive Christ in his life. He eventually left behind his addiction to alcohol and drugs and underwent counseling and reparative therapy. Today, Randy no longer identifies himself as a gay man, and he's started to find himself attracted to women. Despite the occasional troubling moment of same-sex attraction (a common experience for those recovering from any deeply ingrained disorder -- ask any alcoholic), Randy has found his life and relationships transformed. People like Randy, who recover from homosexuality, aren't supposed to exist -- or, if they do, we shouldn't celebrate them. Admittedly, his story isn't politically correct, and even repeating his observations on the gay lifestyle is enough to get anybody in trouble. The "do what feels right" myth is so pervasive and so powerful. But Randy's story needs to be told, because it so clearly illustrates just how false that myth is and what happens when our behavior runs up against the way we are designed: It just can't work. You see, only through following the design of the created order, what we Christians know to be God's plan, can we truly find the good life.


Chuck Colson


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