I’ve been really encouraged reading the other testimonies on here so I wanted to give something back and share some thoughts about my own experience with God’s faithfulness, in and through my struggles as a celibate gay Christian.
I grew up in a rural corner of the UK, in a village near to Bath. My parents wanted my younger sister and I to grow up going to a church, so we attended the small local Anglican church. I don’t remember ever really resenting going to church much, but found it very uninspiring/dry. All the same, it was a place where the gospel was faithfully taught and as I grew to being a teenager I accepted lots of Christian doctrine/ideas, even if only privately. My family were never very open about discussing our faith, so I don’t think I understood the consequences of Jesus’ call on my life. I didn’t worry much about it to be honest. Unfortunately, this being rural England, there wasn’t really much support for young people in my church. I was the only young person of my age in the church most of the time and the youth group we had was small and rather awkward. At one point, my mum was my youth leader…
Through this time I was becoming aware of an attraction toward guys that was more than a desire for friendship. I remember the moment, when I was around 13, I realised with a rush of horror that I might actually be gay. For the next few years it was simply a matter, so I thought, of suppressing these feelings and pushing them down as much as I could. I poured out my heart to God, but in retrospect I can see that I was basically trying to persuade God to make me straight…
It is a testimony to God’s grace that I had a strong conviction, from the start, that these were feelings that it would be wrong to act upon. Sadly, porn quickly became the outlet I sought instead. I have been struggling with an addiction to porn ever since. When I left home to attend University I was still convinced that I could never talk about these struggles to anyone, and that I would have to hide them forever. I attended the Christian Union at my University, where I was blessed by great and true teaching about the need to be transformed by the gospel, and to share my faith publicly and without fear.
It was in my first year of University that I truly understood grace I think, realising that I wasn’t supposed to be perfect or to hide my sin.
I didn’t really enjoy much of the social aspect of University - I felt very lonely at times and struggled to develop strong friendships with people, especially guys. In my second year of University, I remember praying for God to give me male friends, something I was realising was a strong desire in my heart, quite apart from my continued sexual desire for men. God answered these prayers through my church, where I began to develop a real sense of community in my final year of University. I recall a sermon series which was taught about sexual sin around this time. It was the first time I had heard teaching on this subject and one of the sermons was all about homosexuality and the church. I heard a passionate call from our pastor that the most important thing for Christians struggling with SSA was to bring their struggle into the light, as well as a call to the church to accept them and love them. It was this sermon that gave me the needed push…
I was eventually able to muster the courage to speak to a close friend at church about this struggle, haltingly and timidly. I spoke to him about my continued struggle with porn, and that it was guys I wanted to look at. I was also able to talk to my pastor soon after. It was a great weight lifted from my mind and heart; I felt known for the first time.
It has been incredible that, every time I have shared this struggle then and since, it has been an encouraging experience. I have been loved and cared for by the people, male and female, God has given me to share this burden with. It has been my experience that the more I have spoken about this struggle, the more I have understood the sinfulness of my own heart. How I desire to control my own future, rather than trust it to God, by looking at porn. I can control what I click on. I can’t control whether I stay single or not.
I have so much more to learn about the depths of my heart, but also about the riches of God’s goodness. The friendships I have made and deepened through being open and honest have lead to my experiencing such an outpouring of grace. Having said this, it is still a struggle to keep the conversations going - the devil longs for me to go back to struggling in silence.
Hopefully, being a part of this online community can help me do just that.