Exodus Asia Pacific

Freedom from Homosexuality (August 2018)

Apart from being a pastor, preacher and creative writer, I have also experienced freedom from homosexuality. Here is my testimony of how this came to happen. My testimony needs to be shared because, as it says in Revelation 12:11: "And they overcame [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death."

I grew up in the northern suburbs of Sydney (Australia) in one of the most affluent places in the world. I had a three-storied house with a swimming pool and about 50 metres of plush green grass. The houses next door literally had tennis courts and mini rain forests in their backyards! We were never short of privilege, with premium cars worth over $100k and investment properties to make sure we were never short of a dollar. Growing up in this environment may sound enviable and in many ways it was, except this existence meant that my parents had to work hard to earn the money to afford it all. My father was a small businessman who was very adept at the art of the business deal and made a successful consultancy firm in the aftermath of the recession of the 1990s. My father had look after his business 24/7, and growing up I didn't have much of an emotional bond with him. Often he was tired, distant, angry, and demanding, and even when he was physically present, he would be often emotionally absent. My mother dutifullly tried to help, but she developed cancer three times in her lifetime. And on two occasions she was required to have mastectomies. My upbringing was often quite lonely.

Growing up, I went to a number of expensive church schools, probably to instill in me some "Christian virtues", bust most likely to fit in with other families who enjoyed our privilege. At those schools (where the student body was exclusively male) I came to hear about Jesus but by high school I began to notice that I was more or less attracted to the same-sex. At around 13 years of age I began to feel attracted to my fellow classmates. I felt very disoriented by it and remembered that I disliked it. I was terrified of telling anyone else of it, especially my fellow students, and wasn't sure any adults knew how to help. When I was 13 I told one school counsellor about my worries and he urged me to tell my parents ("They'll know what to do", he said). Well, that counsellor was really off the 8-ball: when I told my parents, my mother withdrew and wouldn't comfort me. And instead of providing guidance, my father flew into a rage, gave me the cold shoulder for a week, threw furniture, and told me to "just get a girlfriend." I was ordered to tell no-one, because silence was apparently the only way to get rid of problems like this. The trouble was, I felt like I was the problem to be gotten rid of, rather than my sexual brokenness.

Well, hushed it up I did but that did no good. My father became increasingly distant from me afterwards, possibly because the revelations of my sexuality confused him so much and he didn't know what to do. Likely it scared him so much that he didn't want to confront some stuff of his own, but it meant that I was alone. "Alone again, naturally", as the song goes. Ironically, the more isolated I was from my family at this time, the stronger my same-sex attractions became. I changed schools and when I went to my second high school I no longer kept my sexuality a secret this time, I told everyone because I was so desperate for anyone to help me. A school counsellor encouraged me to be "loud and proud" and to "accept myself for who I was." I was happy to do exactly that because I was tired of covering up to save others from potential embarrassment. It spectacularly backfired because at that church school, homosexuality was not something you were expected to flaunt. But I was lonely and desperate for answers.

At this time many people told me about Jesus, and given my desperation for love, guidance, and answers, I wanted to know more. Some students said that I could not be gay because then I would go to hell (full stop!). Others said I could be gay and Christian - as the colour purple can also be yellow. Others said that Jesus loved me but that I could not be gay at the same time. "Well," I wondered, "all these statements cannot all be true. There must be some way to relate to God but what about my sexuality? Am I born this way? Does God hate me for being gay?" I read the New Testament and found, much to my surprise, that God had loved and redeemed many sexually broken people. Joshua 1-3 records God saving Rahab (a pagan prostitute who was an ancestor of Jesus). John 4 records Jesus saving a woman who had five husbands! The Corinthian church was awash with people who used to be gay (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). And the apostle Paul had said of them "And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God." Wow! That didn't mean that God accepted their same-sex attraction, wanted them to have it, or gave it to them as a blessing. In fact, the Bible says quite the contrary - the Bible is very emphatic that homosexuality is a distorted form of sexual expression (Romans 1:18-32). God's rightful, righteous judgement is on those who live in such immorality because He decides what is best; there was no getting around this no matter how much I disliked reading about it. Yet these Scriptures also said that God gives His children the power to say no to sin (Titus 2:11-12) and the ability to kill sinful desires (Colossians 3:5-61 Peter 2:11). Like any other sin, homosexuality brings death and condemnation, since "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23) - but that is true of all sin, homosexual and heterosexual. This communicated that although God hates my sin, He loves me, and that my sin (no matter how appealing it may appear and enjoyable it may seem) brings death. Since God didn't want me to taste death because of my sin, He 1) sent Jesus Christ to die for my sin; and 2) granted me His Holy Spirit to help me overcome sinful desires. So, knowing all this, I put my trust in Jesus as I was leaving school and became a Christian.

Having become a Christian I thought God would instantly relieve me of my same-sex attraction, but He didn't. I plunged at that time into pornography and began sexually acting out with men. I attended Sydney's 1998 Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras to see if the gay community would "accept" me. Things got even worse when my mother died in my final year of university; I went to church and sought help with my sexual confusion and for comfort in my grief … With much sadness and disappointment, various churches and pastors were completely indifferent and hamstrung about how to help me with any of this. Many pastors knew how to translate Greek verbs and could explain complex philosophy; the charismatic ones could throw their hands in the air and babble in nonsensical tongues, as if that would help me overcome sin. The problem was, they were all 6s and 7s about how to meet me where I was at. I joined a support group with a ministry to help others with same-sex attraction (SSA), which was helpful, but outside the group it was so hard finding anyone who understood me. I lurched from church to church to look for it but never found it there - it was like the baby Jesus being turned away by all the inn-keepers.

At that time I was still sleeping around, but God called me to leave that and to trust Him with my anger and my brokenness. I was getting tired of being used by strangers for sex and me using them.  I remember thinking: "Why God? Where do I go? The church isn't leading me! My earthly father didn't! My mother turned me away! Where do I go?" His answer: I will father you. This is when I learned: When my father and my mother forsake me, then Yahweh (God) will take care of me … A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation. God sets the solitary in families (Psalm 27:10, 68:5-6a, NKJV). I still find, in part, this hard to understand but ever since then I have felt the closeness of God's fatherly heart - and it has helped me to overcome unwanted same-sex attraction. It was at this time I also began to see that my sexual desires for other men were really, deep down, a distorted attempt to make up for the love that I didn't receive from my earthly father.

Since that time, God has subsequently blessed me with a wife and two gorgeous daughters and a church to pastor. He also gave me a therapist who took me through the painful wounds of my past in childhood, my alienation from my father and mother (and others), and other traumas that were the fertile ground that gave the weeds of my homosexual attractions territory in the first place. I have been able to overcome same-sex temptations to various levels of success, even when I once thought that such healing and transformation could not happen. Impossible? Jesus said "what is impossible with man is possible with God" (Matthew 19:26). The impossible became possible when I invited God's loving mercies into my pain. This itself has been hard and often taken me to the end of myself (which is why most people avoid it and run scared away from the healing process) but without it, God would not have pruned away from me much inner pain that was causing me to sin and hurt others. Loving and looking after my wife and children has not been easy, however it has helped me to overcome my childhood wounds and has taught me love that I was not given at home.

My same-sex attractions are dying away in intensity and frequency, and I have been able to say No to them with much more ease. I don't have to be fighting these temptations in my own strength! And nor do I just resign and be passive and give into the desires as if I have no choice! Astonishingly, I even feel joy when I say no to these desires because my sin is dying because I can feel (not just know intellectually) the love of my heavenly Father, and my wounded heart is being made whole. I have also been able to forgive my mother and father and others who hurt me in the past. And to seek forgiveness for the sins that I too have committed. I have also had to renounce all connected with Freemasonry and other occultish influences, and by grounding myself in my identity - who I am in Christ.

As for now, I still have moments when I lust but I have days sometimes and even weeks when I do not have such thoughts. He has richly rewarded those moments when I have chosen to obey Him and not fed those desires. Only God's love through the life and ministry of His Son Jesus Christ has been able to make this possible, along with other supports that He has provided such as my therapist, healing ministries like Ellel, and prayer ministries. It has been a hard fight, and one that has taken much time, persistence, and failure on my part. But God has been so faithful and is bringing me out of the fire of sin and self-destruction. It has been an exceptionally and exceedingly lonely journey, as far too many misunderstand it, resist it, and are indifferent to it but I am overcoming and I pray that others too will have it too one day.

I am experiencing, and have experienced, what Jesus described at the beginning of His ministry in Luke's Gospel. The very first Bible passage that He preached on in Luke's Gospel was Isaiah 61:1,3, which promises the outpouring of God's Spirit through His Son Jesus Christ: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me … to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified." God can and will do the "impossible" of overcoming sinful desires - if we let Him.