A neighbour’s abuse ushered in Tim Ross’ world of secrecy
Tim Ross was only eight years old when his neighbour began to molest him in his garage.
"I didn't know what he was doing but I knew it wasn't right," Tim explains in an online video for I Am Second.
"I came home and my mum asked me 'how was your day?' That was the day I became a professional liar, and I got real good at it."
Tim was called back to this neighbour's garage multiple times and says he did not know how to process or deal with what was happening to him.
"All I did know was that, if my dad found out, he would kill him so I had to keep it a secret," he says.
As he hid the effects of this abuse and his growing addiction to porn, Tim began to despise himself.
"I created this guy that at school everybody loved and I went home and didn't like myself because I could not stop looking at pornography. The effect of holding a secret that long is that you never have the freedom to be you. It torments your soul, it bothers your conscience."
Tim was 19 when his mum discovered his hidden bedroom habit.
"I was embarrassed, I felt like a pervert. I felt completely disgusted with myself," he admits.
"Because she's a praying woman she went back to her room and started praying for me. It's probably the best prayer I think my mother has ever prayed."
It was at that moment Tim was faced with a choice: pretend it never happened or confront his mum about the real situation.
"I didn't hear it but that prayer came and got me. I got up, cleaned myself off and walked down the hallway," he recalls of the moment before he confessed everything back to the abuse he suffered.
"My mum cried, I cried, and then she went and got my younger brother. He said he got molested by the same guy."
When Tim's dad returned they shared with him what had happened.
"Then my mum says she got sexually abused when she was six and my dad says he got molested when he was five. So in one night my exposure caused everyone to come clean and confess their pain.
"That night I can't articulate to you the freedom I felt to be able to tell the truth to someone and not be judged. And to have the truth come out and be surrounded by nothing but love."
“I can’t articulate the freedom I felt to tell the truth”Tim explains that his parents' authentic relationship with God through Jesus Christ was something that stood out to him in that moment. Following Jesus' example, his parents were grieved by sin, but steadfastly loved their children.
He says, "[They] loved me and didn't judge me. We didn't grow up in the atmosphere of hypocrisy. They were the same at home and church."
Six months after confessing his secret, Tim put his trust in Jesus Christ with a thankful heart, knowing he had finally been forgiven and cleansed of his sin.
"I would love to tell you that as soon as I accepted Christ into my life I put porn down and never picked it up again," he says.
"But the fact that the Lord would be patient enough for me, knowing that it didn't take me five minutes to get into it and it probably wouldn't take five minutes to get out, but if I just started walking with Him, He would just start shedding layers of bondage and abuse, molestation, low self-esteem, people pleasing... as we began to walk (with Jesus) this stuff began falling off of me."
God brought people into Tim's life who were able to help him deal with the issues that had built up over the years and show him God's unconditional love.
Today Tim is happily married with two sons and works as a pastor and international speaker, hoping to share and encourage others who carry their own secrets.
"It's been a great walk [with God], 14 years still walking...I don't carry secrets anymore." •
See more about Tim Ross see timross.org