In my early twenties I found the courage to face my attraction to the same sex. After a couple of years of secular counseling, I was able to acknowledge my sexual confusion. Even though I was able to understand more about it, I was getting more confused and the masculinity of others was getting more appealing. How could I deny this attraction when my desire and need for men were becoming more evident?
My confusion got to a point where I thought that death was the only way out. At that time I did not have a relationship with God, but I decided to confess to a priest my suicidal thoughts brought on by my failure to change. I wasn’t expecting anything from the priest; I knew that I had done everything possible in my power to change.
However, I never expected him to seduce me sexually. After I confessed my deep need and conflict to him, he abused his very powerful position and my very vulnerable self. Of course this abuse deeply wounded me, but I was so confused that it felt as if the priest was confirming my homosexuality. It was only by the grace of God that I didn’t pursue my suicidal plan.
Years later, through the Living Waters program, God began to show me that my attraction for men was not rooted in sex but in my desire and admiration for good aspects of masculinity: male characteristics like strength, leadership, boldness, confidence and the ability to face and solve problems. That was a desire deeper that sex; I longed to be like other men and be purely loved by them. I was looking for it in the wrong way!
After my first Living Waters program I was invited to be part of the team. I accepted even though I felt so insecure that I feared to even set up one chair! I was afraid to do it poorly and then to be shamed and rejected by the leaders. Through the grace and encouragement of the leaders I began taking little responsibilities to the point that after a couple of rounds of Living Waters, I was not just in charge of the room setup but I became a small group leader. Without realizing it, I was growing in confidence and strength as the man that I longed to be and the man that God had created me to be.
Through these empowering experiences and through God bringing up painful memories in His time and way, He continued to build me up and restore the broken boundaries. He was showing me the root of my identity confusion and exchanging the lies that I believed about myself for His truth.
One of these healing moments occurred through the memory of an incident that happened when I was about five years old. My father was punishing me. His punishment was to tie me up around my ankles with a heavy metal chain and make me walk back and forth in front of the house. For the first time I was able to experience the pain and identify the suppressed emotions. But this time I was not alone. Jesus was gently taking me through each of the emotions. He was allowing me to experience them, to speak up, to confess the abuse, to express my heart and to rest in Him. Through the cross, I was able to release the grief, anger, insecurity, fear and shame of this experience.
It was like dying to who I thought I was, but at the same time being cleansed and restored; I was experiencing a peace that I didn’t know existed. Then God directed me back to my natural father and allowed me to see deeper into his heart. What I saw was the sadness of his broken life. Through God’s love, I was able to forgive him and leave him at the foot of the cross.
The healing process involves allowing the healing presence of Jesus into the wound, and forsaking one’s defensive reactions to the wound. At the foot of the cross, one is reconciled with the proper boundaries that rightfully protect the self. (91)
With time I realized that the broken boundaries of my past had defined me as a victim, an insecure and introverted person. The fear and rejection of authority was preventing me from growing into my masculinity. God’s plan for my life was already ingrained in me—and even if it was twisted, it never changed. I just needed to reclaim what was lost. In my process, God continues to give me opportunities to break inner vows or attitudes that are not part of my God-given identity. He continues to lead me to be the man that He created me to be.
My admiration of good male characteristics hasn’t changed; they have been redirected and refined. Now I can look up to Jesus, the true example of masculinity. I can choose well instead of going to the familiar lie of homosexuality that for a long time seemed so real.
I am grateful for my Living Waters leaders who never gave up on me: for their unconditional love, support, discipleship and acceptance—especially in my lowest moments. Through my relationship with righteous leaders, I was not only able to forgive the priest who abused me but also to grow in compassion for and serve those who struggle with same-sex attraction. I am grateful to God because now I can look up to Him and follow His original plan for my life. I can now say yes to His calling, to be His warrior and His servant.
“What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” (Phil 3:8)