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Out of bondage

I was enslaved to homosexuality and pornography. Only Jesus could set me free.

A gentle female voice came from the radio, rising above the melancholy chords of a bare piano, “I can’t change, even if I tried, even if I wanted to…” She sang clearly, confidently, her words laying claim to what seemed an undeniable truth. As I listened, I felt sadness swell in my heart for, in a very real sense, it was the truth.

Finding yourself attracted to people of the same sex isn’t always a welcome discovery. Some, perhaps many, do at times wish they could change. But the simple fact of the matter is: you can’t! No amount of self-discipline or sheer willpower does anything; and so, finding yourself powerless to change those desires, what other path is left open but acceptance?

In time, this is often followed by a declaration of what you have found to be true: “I can’t change; this is who I am.” Yet, as I listened, thinking about those words, I remembered with joy that in the end, this was not the ultimate truth; Jesus had shown me otherwise. As I came to know him, I discovered that while I may have been powerless to change the desires of my heart, He had power where I did not.

Those awkward years of adolescence were a confusing time, an unintelligible mess of thoughts and feelings. While things were good at home, things weren’t so good inside me; it was turbulent. My struggle with self esteem and body image was like a constant companion, unwanted yet somehow always there.

Finding yourself attracted to people of the same sex isn’t always a welcome discovery. Some, perhaps many, do at times wish they could change.

At school, I started to become more and more aware of a growing admiration I felt for guys in my year.
They seemed to have everything that I felt I lacked and I held them in awe, desiring to be like them, yet more than this; in some confused way I also found myself desiring them.

What all of this meant didn’t really become clear to me until sometime later. It was an ordinary day in year 10. I don’t remember what made me put it all together but I vividly recall the intense pain and sadness I felt when I finally understood, “if I’m attracted to guys, I must be gay”.

I was angry. So many hopes and possibilities mercilessly ripped from my hands. I was grieved that this had been thrust upon me. I didn’t choose this, nor did I want it! I felt my life had been irreversibly changed, and I didn’t know what to do. So I hid it. I felt ashamed about my “secret” and was terrified that someone would find out the truth about me.

About that time, I remember flicking through a little Bible that I had been given at school. While I wasn’t a Christian, I found the idea of God fascinating and I desired to know what God thought about this. For some reason, it seemed to matter. As I read Paul’s words to the Corinthians, I was cut to the core: “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). I turned my back on God.

My introduction to the homosexual community came in the late in 1990s. It was an exciting time. I was young, many of the people were sophisticated and cultured and I was getting a lot of attention from them. This colourful, vibrant world was glitzy and seductive in so many ways yet what made it really attractive was that here, I didn’t have to hide my feelings. Here they were openly celebrated and it felt liberating. Yet after a number of years, its brassy shine began to wear thin. The parties no longer satisfied and so many friendships proved empty. I started using more and more drugs and slowly pulled away.

I turned to pornography. It was so easy, a moment of pleasure just a “click” away. All too quickly it came to dominate my life. Any illusions of control quickly evaporate when you find yourself returning again and again despite vowing to stop. It totally consumed me, filling my thoughts and dictating my actions.

It was a dark place. I felt as if I was standing on the edge of a cliff, with deep darkness falling away before me into nothingness; and I knew in my heart that nothing good lay at the end of this path. So, I wanted out! Yet I couldn’t see how, for so entwined was this issue with my sexuality I felt that, somehow, both needed to be dealt with. And so, in utter desperation I did an internet search: “freedom from homosexuality”.

I was looking for change, for freedom; yet what I found was a new me in knowing Him.

It seems kind of laughable in a way – but it changed my life. I stumbled upon a site called Setting Captives Free which spoke of freedom from habitual sin through a relationship with Jesus. As I read through the online testimonies, it seemed like this was the real thing. So tentatively, very tentatively, I enrolled in an online study. It was the best decision I’ve made! As I progressed through the Bible studies, I returned to those verses, once so bitter to me now made sweet with understanding, “…and that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11). Here, with Jesus, I found true hope for change.

But I found so much more. I was looking for change, for freedom; yet what I found was a new me in knowing Him. It sounds mystical, but it’s not. When you come to know Jesus, as you read His words and share in His Spirit, He touches your innermost being, challenges your thoughts and desires, and perhaps slowly, you start to see a “Jesus-shaped” version of yourself emerge from the person you once thought you were. It is just as Paul said, “if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come” (2 Cor. 5:17). He gave me a new beginning and, in time, new desires also.

As I look back on the last 10 years, so much has changed. I’m truly no longer the person I once was, and how gracious God has been to me – first, a loving wife, now a child! Yet struggles still abound, temptation is ever present and the old me never seems too far away. But Jesus did something for me that makes all the difference – He set me free. No longer am I a slave to sin. With great pain I learned how truly Jesus spoke when He said, “everyone who sins is a slave to sin” (John 8:34). But how wonderful it is to discover the truth of His promise that “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8: 36).

That’s why I wanted to get involved with Liberty Christian Ministries. It’s a Sydney-based ministry that seeks to minister to people who, like me, struggle with unwanted same-sex attraction, equip our local churches to minister to such persons in their own communities and provide support to families and friends of those who have embraced the “gay” lifestyle. The idea that same-sex attraction can be unwanted is considered offensive to many in the wider community. Yet for me, and many others, this is our experience. Therefore, I’m thankful for the ministry of Liberty in that it offers hope to people like me; true hope because we find it with Jesus.

The author wishes to remain anonymous

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