After 25 years of fruitlessly searching for fulfillment in a homosexual lifestyle, George Carneal turned to faith in Jesus Christ, found the peace that eluded him and left his former life behind him.
Carneal tells his story in “From Queer to Christ: My Journey Into the Light.”
“Today, I’ve been on the road to celibacy for nine years and it actually has been great. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made for myself,” said Carneal. “I just want to be committed to God now. I’m not looking for relationships of any kind. I just want God to use me how he sees fit.”
Carneal’s struggle with same-sex attraction began at a young age but he didn’t act on it until after he graduated from high school.
“It was something I struggled with all through junior high and high school. After graduating and meeting a guy in a nearby town and just meeting up and having dinner and what have you. It just felt right for me and thought that’s what I was, that I was gay,” said Carneal.
For most of his life Carneal thought he was born gay. In the light of Scripture, he now knows that isn’t true.
“Looking back now in terms of what God had done in my life, I really feel like once he gives you the healing and the wholeness from the brokenness that I had, I can see that no, I was not born with it,” said Carneal.
Carneal’s dad was a Southern Baptist preacher. As he struggled with same-sex attractions in his youth, he believed no one tried to talk with him but preferred to judge him instead. As a result, when he entered into the homosexual community he thought he found the acceptance he craved.
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While that turned out to be a false hope, Carneal does offer advice to Bible-believing Christians who have family members or friends dealing with homosexuality or any compulsive sin.
“You can still tell them the truth in love, whether it’s drugs, alcohol, homosexuality or porn. But be a friend and pray for them. Only the power of the Holy Spirit can transform someone’s life,” said Carneal.
“For me, it didn’t really matter what Christians said. It was really going to take the hand of God to really work in my life, to help me see the areas of brokenness that needed to be dealt with. He had to give me the right kind of healing that I needed in order to have the strength for me to walk away from that life,” said Carneal.
Throughout his years as an active homosexual, Carneal says he longed for a steady, monogamous relationship. But he says that was almost non-existent in his experience.
“That to me is an exception rather than the norm. I just found in my experiences that it’s a very promiscuous life,” said Carneal.
As he got older, Carneal noticed he was getting less attention as many in the homosexual community strongly prefer younger partners. It was then that he realized he wanted something different in his life. But given the animosity he still held for the Christian church, he turned instead to New Age groups and eastern mysticism.
Those also left him empty. It was a small group Bible study that set him on a course that would change his life.
“For two years, I went to a Bible study on a Friday night, where I just went, and I listened and I learned about the book of Genesis. It really gave me a much more indepth understanding of God’s word. It was there that my hunger really built and I desired to know more about God’s word.
“But it allowed me to slowly get my feet wet back in the church, sitting around Christians, and God was graciously was putting Christians in my life who weren’t mean-spirited. They were very loving,” said Carneal.
But there was still a question that tortured Carneal: could he really be a Christian and a practicing homosexual?
“What really kept me in turmoil is I would listen to the conservative Christian side and the liberal Christian side and both spoke with such authority. So many times I would sit in my car and beat on the steering wheel and cry, and sob, and beg God for answers,” said Carneal.
“It was really taking a toll on my mental and emotional state. I finally just walked away from that life. I walked out of the bars. I stopped hanging around a lot of my gay friends. I stopped hanging around liberal Christians. I just started immersing myself in God’s word. That’s really where I started to get answers and peace about where God really stands on this issue,” said Carneal.
Carneal then embraced celibacy and says he has been at peace ever since.
“I didn’t know that celibacy was an option. When I found out there were a lot of LGBT individuals who were walking away from that life and were giving their lives to Christ and choosing the path of celibacy because they wanted to please God, that really gave me hope,” said Carneal.