A4P Guest: Hi, I’m a born again Christian man. I was born and raised in a Christian home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I left Addis at the age of 14. I am now 28 years old. I love my mom and my two older brothers to death. My dad walked out of our life when I was six years old. I have no love or care for him since he used to physically abuse my mom, my two brothers and I. I am the youngest. At the age of eight, I was sexually molested by two men who used to live next to our house. At the time, I didn’t know what was going on and didn’t know what to do with it. I still have nightmares once in a while and I cry like a little boy. I have never told this part of my story to anyone. Those two men might be out there now and I pray they don’t do such a thing to any other little boys. I don’t know if this part of my story has anything to do with what I’m going through since I was 13. I have never been attracted to a girl but a man. I have received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior when I was fourteen years old. My tendency to be sexually attracted to men didn’t leave me alone even after I received Jesus Christ. Because I fear someone may find out what is going on in my mind and heart, I don’t usually go to a Bible study or a small group gathering of any sort. I now go to one American’s mega church here in my city and that is it. I know I don’t want to be a homosexual and I am not a homosexual. About a couple years ago, I searched online and joined a group of people who have similar stories like mine and I kind of felt relieved for a short period of time but I couldn’t embrace it as they advised me to embrace my same-sex attraction struggle as my identity. I want to do life as the Word of God says. Deep in my heart, I know that I’m a heterosexual and I want to declare that but I have this deep seated struggle which doesn’t seem to leave me alone. I still get attracted to men, not women. I prayed and prayed and prayed. Nothing seems to work. Right now, with all the animosity going around with the Supreme Court decision to redefine marriage, I totally lost interest to go to church. I don’t want to hear anyone making jokes about my struggle. Now, here I’m in my small one bedroom apartment, reading almost all your posts, I sobbed! I want to die! I want to end it right here. I want this struggle to stop! You see, I want to live a happy life. I want to marry one woman and have kids but this struggle is with me. I’m not sure what my future holds. Missy, does God really care about my struggle? Does He really know what I am going through? When am I going to rest from this struggle or will this struggle ever leave me?
A4P: (Thank you for giving me permission to address your question on this page! Bless you!)
My brother, when I read your message, my eyes welled up with tears. I have to say this to you before I say anything: I love you very much my brother! I really do! Even if I don’t know you, I felt like I’ve known you all my life. I understand your pain. You may say, “No, you don’t!” But I do! We all struggle with temptation to sin against God in one way or the other and that struggle makes us all, in a way, the same! I wish you were next to me so that I could hug you and cry with you without saying a word.
My beloved brother, God cares about you more than you care about yourself because He created you and He gave His own Son to make you His. He knows what you are going through. Yes, He does! I’m not saying this because God whispered that into my ears but I know what God said in His Word about you and I who strive to follow Him. He said,
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;” (Isaiah 43:2-3a)
Beloved, here is what I would say to you if you were next to me:
First, know this well: God is not man. He doesn’t make joke of our struggles; and he doesn’t despise us when we struggle with sin. Rather He stands with us! He carries us when we can’t stand! Oh, my dear brother, don’t focus on people who do not understand your situation. Focus on God who knows and understands you and your situation more than you can ever know and understand.
Second, forgive your father who walked out of your life and expose you to the trap of the devil and to vile men; and forgive those two men who sexually molested you when you were little. Forgiveness releases into your life the favor, mercy and grace of God (Matthew 6:14-15). Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you are approving what they did to you. Forgiveness means this: If you ever meet those who hurt you, you give them all the love you can give without trying to punish them for what they did to you. Yes, it is not easy but it is doable with the grace and Spirit of God you have in your heart and soul (Titus 2:11-12, Romans 8:11).
Second, I am glad you found your identity in the Word of God; not on your strong desires and feelings. Yes, our feelings and desires no matter how strong they are don’t define us. What defines us is our MAKER! His Word! And the Word of God says, “God created them male and female.” (Genesis 5:2) And it says, “a man leaves his father and mother and be united with his wife and they shall become one.” (Genesis 2:24) So, hold on to your “God defined” identity no matter how strong your desires are.
Third, don’t focus on those people who are reacting to this homosexuality stuff without any knowledge and wisdom. You know better about yourself, your story and your personal struggle than them. So, leave them to their own ignorance.
Fourth, staying far away from church and the body of Christ won’t do you any good. Remember, you and I are created to live with others. We can’t make it alone! But I understand why you are staying away from others. You think that everybody in the church is against you. But that is not true. There are fine and seasoned disciples of Jesus Christ in churches. They come close to you, just like Jesus, and minister to your soul without gossiping about you; or putting judgement on you. So, go to church, look for them and have fellowship.
Fifth, you prayed many times asking God to set you free from this struggle. Well, now change your prayer to this: “LORD, give me people I can go to and pray with; people, I can open up and tell all my stories and struggles to. Give me people who are like Jesus.” Oh, my brother, our healing is found in fellowship with others! God lives among us and He ordained blessing and life when we believers sit together (James 5:16; Psalms 133; Matthew 1:23 says “Immanuel, God with us,” not, “Immanuel God with me.”)
Six, this might be a bit hard to swallow. Even if I say it to you, I too struggle to swallow it but I have to tell you since it is the truth which set you and I free: There is no rest on this side of heaven! Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33)
Satan always tries to convince us that there is a “care-free life” out yonder. And he offers us the way to get to that life by living out all our carnal and sinful desires. Well, you and I need to know that there is no such kind of life on this side of heaven. But eternal rest is reserved for us who are willing to suffer now. That means even after you open up to other fine people who can pray with you and help you in your struggles, you can’t be free from suffering and pain. Why? Because Satan lives in this world and we carry our flesh which is Satan’s best buddy! So, until we depart from this “temporary tent,” we will suffer. As long as we refuse to yield to our strong sinful and evil desires, we will suffer immensely. The Word of God puts it this way: “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him,” (Philippians 1:29)
This will lead me to my last point: Don’t think that this life is going to last forever! It is very short! (James 4:14) Entertainment industries portray life on a screen saying, “Embrace yourself; don’t hold anything back; express yourself in full; you deserve to be happy; whatever you feel is who you are,” as if what we see, touch, feel and smell is all there is for life (1 Corinthians 6:13). No! You and I know that there is another realm which we can’t touch, feel, smell and see but believe. We believe and hope on that we can’t see, (2 Corinthians 4:18). Because of that we don’t belong to this world. We are sojourners (1 Peter 2:11); and that is why we suffer and cry in this world. Our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20), not here. We are just passing through this life to get to a City that is coming from heaven (Hebrew 11:10, Revelation 21:2). So, fix your eyes on your destiny, not on your journey!
I leave you with this beautiful song, “This is not where I belong” by Building 429