Out of bondage

“I was enslaved to homosexuality and pornography”

out of bondage

A gentle confident 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...", and I felt sadness swell in my heart for, in a very real sense, it was true.

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 is: no amount of self-discipline or sheer willpower does anything; and finding yourself powerless against what you know is wrong, is often followed by a declaration: "I can't change, this is who I am."

Yet, as I thought about those lyrics, I remembered with joy that in the end, this is not the ultimate truth; Jesus has shown me otherwise. As I came to know him, I discovered while I was powerless to change the desires of my heart, He had power where I did not.

Those awkward years of adolescence were a confusing, unintelligible mess of thoughts and feelings. While things were good at home, my struggle with self-esteem and body image was like an unwanted constant companion.

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 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 chose this, nor did I want this! 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 in 1 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 prostitutes nor homosexual offenders .... 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 1990s. I was young and 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 pulled away.

I turned to pornography, a moment of pleasure just a "click" away. All too quickly it came to dominate my life. It totally consumed me, filling my thoughts and dictating my actions. It was a dark place.

So, I wanted out!

In utter desperation I did an internet search: "freedom from homosexuality".

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. I enrolled in an online study. It was the best decision I've ever 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 God" (1 Corinthians 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, 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 the "Jesus-shaped" version of yourself emerge from the person you once thought you were.

It is just as Paul said, "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come" (2 Corinthians 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).

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.

The author wishes to remain anonymous for personal reasons.

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