ORLANDO, Fla. (BP)–Homosexuals are not born gay, and churches bold enough to share God’s love will help them find healing and freedom, a former lesbian said at the Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference June 12.
Christine Sneeringer of Tampa, Fla., spoke to the group as part of a message by Ken Whitten, senior pastor of Tampa’s Idlewild Baptist Church, to the pastors’ meeting in the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Fla.
“We live in a world that says you’re born gay and can’t change,” Sneeringer said. “I used to believe that lie.”
Homosexuality is not about sex but about meeting emotional needs, she said.
Sneeringer told the pastors her father was addicted to pornography and abused her mother. After her parents’ divorce, she was sent to live with relatives, where an older cousin sexually molested her at age 12.
“I believed that to be feminine was to be weak,” she said. “I hated being a girl because I didn’t want to be a victim like my mom.”
Playing sports and developing masculine traits, Sneeringer began her first lesbian relationship when she was 15. She lived as a lesbian for six years, until her relationship with a married woman destroyed the other woman’s marriage.
Sneeringer said she played on the softball team of Idlewood Baptist Church with her girlfriend, but her teammates never preached to her about her lifestyle.
“They simply loved me and prayed for me,” Sneeringer recounted. “Eventually what I saw in their lives was so genuine and real that I wanted what they had. I came to the place where I wanted God more than my homosexuality.”
In the church, she said she met strong, godly women who dismantled her belief that being feminine meant weakness and she met men who treated her with dignity and respect. She also began attending a support group affiliated with Exodus International, an organization that helps people who want to leave the homosexual lifestyle.
As she developed healthy same-sex relationships, her sexual attraction for women faded, she said. Today, 10 years after she left the lesbian lifestyle, Sneeringer directs Worthy Creations, a ministry that helps homosexuals find the healing and freedom she has found in Christ.
“I’m so thankful for a relevant church that looked beyond my sin and saw my need,” Sneeringer said, “a church that didn’t condemn me with the truth but was a tangible reflection of God’s love and grace.”
She told the pastors that churches relevant to the 21st century will continue to “uphold the biblical standard of morality” and “be bold enough to share God’s love to those trapped in their sin and deceived by a culture which embraces the lie that you’re born gay and can’t change.”
“I know that’s not true,” Sneeringer said, “because I am a changed life.”