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God loves me as I am

When I was in my early 30s, I pastored a church plant. I was also struggling with the guilt I felt with the same-sex attraction I continued to experience as a teenager. I was in a relationship with an older man in my 20s and occasionally engaging in other same-sex behaviour. Although now in a heterosexual marriage, I would still gain sexual pleasure through homosexual fantasy. 

Desperately wanting to change

I desperately wanted to change and be what I considered ‘normal’ but had no clue how this could happen. I had a strong faith in God and His ability to change me but, however hard I prayed, it didn’t seem to happen. Then I heard about a ministry to homosexuals who wanted to be free from this issue in their lives. Having plucked up the courage to meet the man who ran the organisation, I met with love and acceptance. Looking back now, I also realise that what I was being offered was what is now called ‘conversion therapy’. I must emphasise that I received only love and respect. However, there was a genuine belief and expectation that my sexuality could and should be changed. When I shared with someone the most secret part of me (my wife knew nothing of my same-sex attractions), this sense of release caused me to believe that my sexuality had changed. I received counselling for over a year and, at the end of this, declared that I was free from same-sex temptations. I even wrote a testimony for the ministry to this effect. 

I did not feel able to tell my friends that my sexuality had not changed - I didn’t want to hurt them

However, it soon became clear to me that I still experienced same-sex attraction. I would look at men and fantasise, recall old encounters and give myself sexual pleasure thinking about them. But I did not feel able to tell my friends from the ministry that really there had been no change. I didn’t want to hurt them. So I lived like this for another 20 years or so whilst also being happily married.

No pressure to change my sexuality

In the last few years, I have engaged more with True Freedom Trust (TFT). I had been receiving their magazine but not actually taken things any further. Whilst in a desperate, guilt-ridden state, I contacted the office, and a local volunteer got in touch with me. Again, I received only love, respect and acceptance. But the difference is marked. I feel no expectation that my sexuality should change. Yes, the emphasis is on living a holy, God honouring life, but on no different terms than all Christians should strive for. My sexuality is in some ways not seen as the issue; it is more about how I work it out in practice. At TFT, my ongoing same-sex attractions do not change the fact that I am accepted as a child of God and a fellow brother.

My ongoing same-sex attractions do not change the fact that I am accepted as a child of God

The TFT volunteer and I meet regularly, often phone or text each other with no expectation other than we will support one another and encourage each other in our Christian lives. As well as this, I have been able to join some online conferences recently, as well as being a member of an online Barnabas Group. Again, there is no emphasis on changing sexuality, and I can be totally at ease with the person I am. 

TFT has helped me realise that my previous goal of ‘normality’ is not what following Christ is about. I am no less of a Christian because of my same-sex attractions, and they do not make me a failure.

My spiritual, emotional and mental health has changed immeasurably because of the approach of TFT. I no longer feel I have to fight myself all the time or keep a part of me distanced from God. Of course, I still have to deal with temptation, but that would be the case whatever my sexuality. TFT is not there to change your sexuality but to support you in living a life that is honouring to God.

This story was originally published in the autumn 2021 edition of the TFT magazine, Ascend. Click the button below to download your copy.

Download the autumn 2021 edition of Ascend