Throughout my life I always thought I had to reach a certain height of manhood
to reach God and experience love and acceptance from others. But I discovered I was wrong.
I have battled with the confusion of my sexual
identity since childhood. I was attracted to other boys, and I secretly believed I was gay because of these feelings. I was
terrified by that realization because I was a Christian and a son of a pastor; and I knew it was wrong to feel that
I was teased and accused of being gay because I was different from the other
boys. I was seen as someone who was acting effeminate, not athletic and weak. As early as six years old, I remembered being
called gay in school and experiencing the negative stigma that goes along with that identity. Other children and some adults
in school would tell me I was gay and I never understood why they saw me that way. I always thought they knew something about
me that I didnt know.
The society in which I grew up with was very
homophobic. Every day, other boys would bully me and physically abuse me. They would corner me in the playground and in the
bathroom and threaten to hurt me. They would touch me inappropriately to check
if Im a boy. I became very shy, insecure and, easily intimidated by other children. I would fear school recess and lunch breaks because I always got embarrassed and beaten
in the playground. I would play by myself. I had no friends and I could not get
comfortable or relate to other boys.
I felt abnormal and I felt the need to change.
I desired to be close to other boys and to be part of their group. But I was more worried about being rejected and having
them discover that I acted differently
than they did.
Because of my own insecurities with my male identity, I began
to look at other boys differently. I started wanting to be close to them and touch them, to simply find out what it feels
like to be a boy and hopefully transfer their masculinity to me. My desire to be one of the boys turned into sexual fantasies.
I became more convinced I was gay because of these feelings. But I decided to keep my feelings to myself. I was afraid I'd be ridiculed and abused again because of these feelings.
I also kept silent because I was a Christian and I still hoped the gay feelings would go away.
My parents did their best to love and spend time with me
and my siblings. They were very active in ministry in a Baptist church. But I kept this struggle from them. I
didnt have the courage to tell them and I didnt want to hurt their feelings or disappoint them. I also didnt know how to talk to them. I was more ashamed
of my gay feelings than asking for help.
I knew homosexuality was a sin. My parents
never failed to teach me about God and whats right and wrong. They introduced me to Jesus Christ and I accepted Him as my
savior in third grade. My father later became a pastor for a Baptist church and everyone in the family was actively involved
in ministry. I was fulfilling my obligation as a pastor's son by serving the
church and meeting the expectations of others by being a good Christian boy and a role model to others. I was not happy with this role. I became more afraid that
my homosexuality would resurface and people would notice it. I hid my homosexual
feelings and was more determined to keep it a secret. Believing I was sinning
against God because of these fantasies, I still couldnt stop them. Dealing with
shame concerning my identity and sexual attraction to boys, I didnt understand why this was happening to me. It seemed that other Christian boys never experienced this, and that I was a lesser person than others.
The homosexual attraction led me to learn how
to masturbate at a very young age. I was also introduced to gay pornography.
Both gratified the fantasies I could not act out in real life, satisfying my need to be with a man. Pornography and masturbation became an addiction I could not control.
It aggravated my already low self-esteem and shame. I rented porn videos from several video stores and I would physically
disguise myself and use fake IDs to hide my real identity and age.
I felt more ashamed because I could not overcome
my sexual addictions. I cried out to God daily to forgive and change me, but I always returned to my sinful addiction. I
acted out my homosexual desires through compulsive pornography and masturbation, voyeurism, and exhibitionism. Curiosity about how it would feel to be with another man and feel accepted by him
remained strong. I knew that it was sinful for a Christian to indulge in homosexual fantasies and lead a homosexual lifestyle,
but I couldnt understand why God would not take the homosexual feelings away. I
considered ending my life several times.
I lived with my addiction and secret homosexual
attraction for more than 20 years. My self-esteem remained low and I continued to distance myself from other men in fear of
rejections similar to what I had experienced in the past. God blessed me with
my first girlfriend when I was 25 and later on we got engaged. I was still hiding
my strong sexual attraction to men and my addiction to pornography and masturbation from others, especially from my fiancée. I remained silent about my struggles and felt alone.
In October 2000, while online, I came across
a Christian website that deals with pornography and masturbation addiction. I
signed up for an online course despite my hopelessness and feeling that I had already tried everything. I also signed up to a Christian online support group for men who deal with pornography and sexual addictions. From the group, I discovered I was not alone. Other men were having the same struggles
I was, and others were even in worse condition than me. I was able to make friends in the group. For the first time, I was able to open up to other people about my homosexual or same-sex attraction. I started to learn how to overcome my fear of men and began trusting them. I realized that not all men are homophobic and out to reject and hurt me.
Building a healthy male friendship with these men increased my self-esteem and affirmed the truth of my male sexual
identity. I found accountability and support as I went through the process of
overcoming my same-sex attractions and sexual temptations.
In February 25, 2001, I met Duke, a Christian man I met through
the online men's group. His interest in getting to know me and inviting me to his home overwhelmed me. I felt so
accepted for the first time, by a "real" person, a real man. This was the kind of male acceptance I longed for in my
life. He also introduced me to Jim, a man who came out of homosexuality. Jims
testimony and his reference to the scripture 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, that there are ex-homosexuals and sexual addicts in the Bible, inspired me and gave me hope that I could also experience
the same kind freedom that Christians in the Bible experienced.
My conversations with Duke and Jim were meaningful,
but what impacted me the most was their interest in befriending me and helping me. Their welcoming embrace and
their unselfish interest in spending time to see and hear me made me feel so valued and understood, something I always wanted
to have happen in my life. God truly brought people to show me that I am
worthy of love, attention, and friendship. Those simple acts of acceptance made a significant impact in helping
me overcome my shame. That night overshadowed all the painful memories of past hurts and rejections. God granted me what I
had been praying for - to be loved, accepted and affirmed as a real man.
That night I surrendered my life to God and,
further recognized that I am free from Satan and his lies against my identity. From
that moment on, I was smiling before God because the joy of experiencing Him finally started breaking me free from my sexual
sins. I knew that it would be the beginning of my transformation as a new man of God.
I still feared sharing my past and my struggles with my fiancée, but God gave me enough courage
to open myself to her. She listened and didn't reject me, and to my surprise she loved me more. She said she loved me not
because of my past but because of the changed person I am in the present.
Now I am married, but I still seek more help and support
for my walk out of my homosexual struggles. I read books, went to a Christian counselor through Exodus International, a Christian ministry that deals with homosexual issues, and attended small-group support meetings and healing programs for
sexual addicts called Living Waters and SALT through Desert Stream Ministries.
God continues to heal me.
I now see myself in a different light - the way God sees me. I discovered that God alone sets the true measure of my
manhood, and that I could start living my life according to His standards.
The transformation of my life didn't happen overnight. I am still in the process of being transformed into the man God wants me to be. I admit that there
are good days and bad days, and I still experience the consequences of my bad choices in the past. But I know
I am forgiven and I am in a better place now than I was before.
Everyday God is assuring me that I'm on the
right track and that I'll reach my destination. I know the journey takes time and can be very difficult. God has His own way and time to change me. I will always be tempted to sin or to go back to feeling insecure
about myself. But I have learned through God's grace and strength to overcome
those desires. The pain and power of my sexual sins will no longer control me because my identity is now in Christ, and
I fight and refuse to define myself through my sexual desires and the memories of my past.
I feel much more confident about myself as
a son of God. Because of my new friendships, I dont feel alone. I experience God's love through the people who loves me. God
has also blessed me with a wife who loves and validates me every day. Im working hard to take more risks in order
to build healthy same-sex friendships, for accountability and to help me fill the lack of male affirmation dating back
to my childhood.
Without a doubt, the lies I used to live are gone. Being one
with God is now my desire. I dont need to be "one of the boys" or strive to reach a certain height of manhood in order to
be sexually secure and gain acceptance from other people. God showed me that
I reached true manhood when I gave my identity to Him. I spent many years deceived
and depressed, but now I have more years to look forward to living and celebrating the truth that I AM NOT GAY, NEVER WAS,
AND NEVER WILL BE.