I am a 28 year old man from the Philippines. I have been searching the Internet looking for issues about masculinity and being a man of God that He intends me to be - and I found your site. I cried, wishing this site existed when I was still a teenager. I had a lot of male related issues, such as my growing body, armpit hairs, penis size, height, voice, growing muscles, girls and living away from home. My view of maleness and sexuality became perverted.
Growing up I was involved in pornography. A friend told me that I am a homosexual because I had a huge fascination toward boys and other men's bodies. I believed that lie and Satan used that lie to start destroying my life. I became involved in homosexuality and I came to a point where I almost said to myself that I would be a full-fledged homosexual. I thought that I would live a hopeless sinner all of my life until God reached down to and gave me salvation. It was the most wondrous moment in my life. I would be forever grateful.
When I was 23, God called me to deal the homosexual issue in my life. I have a strong conviction that God does not intend for a man to be a homosexual. It is His original design for men to live as men, as he ordained at the beginning of time in the Garden of Eden.
I joined a support group for guys who desired to overcome their same sex attraction and live wholly for God. I learned that part of my healing is to have healthy male relationships with other guys - ideally men from a church who could mentor me and at the same time encourage my manliness in a peer relationship. So far, I haven't been involved in the church because I was fearful. Fearful that people would reject me, especially men would reject me, because of the background from where I came. I believe what God says in Corinthians that whoever who is with God is a new creation, the old self is gone, but somehow the darkness of the past still haunts me from time to time. But I believe that God is going to take me further if I just continue trusting Him.
I know this email must be quite different to the emails that you usually receive. My dilemma is this: Should I trust myself being involved in a local church? Is it worth the risk telling my future pastor of my past and the current struggles that I have been going through because of that past? Do you think I would rejected? Or would I just be ignored? Should I be involved in a men's group that does not have a homosexual background? Is it all worth the risk?
Thanks for taking time to read this email.
God bless and more power to your ministry.
"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God" (I Corinthians 6:9-11).
I wish we could have met when I was in your country in 2000 for a month. If you have done as the Lord required in truly becoming a Christian (see "Are You a Christian?"), then what you were in the past no longer matters. You need to stop defining yourself as a past sinner and see that you are truly a child of God, just like every other Christian.
You do need to find a congregation to worship with because you are missing an important element of the Christian life -- encouragement from like-minded people. "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:23-25). You can't get this on your own.
If you need help locating a congregation, I have contacts with Christians in your area. They don't need to know about your background unless you are struggling with temptations from your past. Then they would want to understand so that they can help you.
It is wonderful that the support group you found helped you so much, but one day soon you will need to leave it behind because continuing with it will constantly keep your focus on where you were instead of looking to where you are going. "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls" (Hebrews 12:1-3).
Will there be some who will pre-judge you if they found out about your past? Of course! There are people who need to grow up and who need to put the cares of their brother before their own. But you can't live your life in fear of what might happen. You cannot let fear dominate your life. Fear is a tool Satan uses to keep people from doing what they know they should do (Revelation 21:8). "Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin" (James 4:17). A part of being a man is the willingness to take reasonable risks because you know it it the right thing to do.
"Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong" (I Corinthians 16:13).
Thanks for the time that you have alloted attending to my email.
Right now, I am really praying to have a home church where I could share my gifts and be a blessing to the church community. I am also praying for Christian men who can mentor me and who can help me guide and rebuke of my sins - instead of having friends who only know worldly wisdom. The most difficult thing overcoming this struggle is that the world nowadays tells almost everyone that it's OK to practice homosexuality. But I know deep down in me, it is a sin, and it is not pleasing in God's sight. I have been out from the homosexual life for almost four years now and I couldn't be more grateful to God for saving me from the deepest pit of sinful indulgences that people do in the homosexual scene. The media now is trying to desensitize people - making homosexual practices as normal as possible - little did they know the horrors it can affect our society, our children and the very things that God established - the institution of marriage, the institution of family, the uniqueness of being a man or a woman - and the dynamics of such. Anyway, I have said too much. Hope if you don't mind..
I have been in the Support Group for four years already. I think that you are quite right that eventually I will be the leaving the support group. I think it wouldn't be healthy to be involved in a group that constantly defines your past. The truth is I feel like I am a different person now - or a different man. I don't consider myself a homosexual man anymore - I'm just a regular guy like anyone else - I have strengths, weaknesses, a dark past maybe but saved by the grace of God that enables me to fulfill the true potential God intends me to have. It just pains me to see the guys in our group who can't get past of this mentality - that their future will be shaped by their past - that's why they don't experience the healing that God wanted to bestow upon them.