So, my last post was a bit controversial. I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was! Wow! At least it got you guys talking, with some asking questions for clarification, which was all good in my book. On the other side, I did get a lot of flack, and I got messages saying that I was making people stumble, that my post was sinful.
So, I thought in this post I’d share why I post what I post — why I’m not sorry for my last post, and why I’m not going to be sorry for any future blog posts.
In my very first post, I stated that I want to be honest with you guys. That is basically my policy for when you read my lifestories and I word-vomit my emotions. I try to be as authentic as I can get, yet I know there are people here not used to this whole “honesty” thing. Maybe because they’ve never encountered someone who actually tells it as it is.
Maybe they have this view that once you become a Christian, you become this “perfect” person and God will you use you in mighty ways! Although that is true, there are also some people who slowly change from the inside out; truth be told, not everyone will struggle and become instantly victorious like you are. I didn’t!
Here’s the thing: I’ve been through a lot! I’ve been through so much crap within my 10-ish years of being a Christian. And it was a very slow process to get where I’m at. As I said in my last post, starting with when I lost my virginity with my first hookup, I’d hit my “ground zero” of knowing God and becoming a Christian.
Everyone has to start somewhere, even if it’s a horrible start with Jesus.
That’s where I was; that’s where I began.
From now on, you guys are going to need to prepare yourselves to hear some hard stuff. If you can’t, then I recommend that you shouldn’t read my stories. Why? Because it’s going to get crazy! How crazy? Let me give you a snippet of what’s coming up. Let’s see…
For a short time I was in prostitution.
I got an STD twice.
I had an HIV scare.
There are some people I used to hook up with, then became really good friends with.
And that’s just some stuff I went through! Told you it was crazy!
Remember, guys, everyone’s relationship with God is different. Many people who struggle with SSA or call themselves gay are on their own maturity levels with their faith, their own timelines.
Not everyone is going to have this perfect story after they’ve come to Christ, where it ran smoothly from then on. Not for me, it didn’t.
I wish it had gone that way for me, but the reality is…nope! We all didn’t start the race at the same time and place.
So, why am I really here? Why am I even telling you guys my story?
Here’s my vision for writing my lifestories: there are probably people also dealing with my stuff, and they don’t know where else to turn. They know their friends WILL NOT understand what they’re dealing with.
Perhaps it’s not in coming out to their friends, because they’ve already been accepted, and so instead they’re struggling with hooking up!
Or perhaps they’re mired in prostitution, or they’ve had an STD, but they don’t know how to tell someone, and they’re probably all alone in dealing with these issues! They want to say something, but they have to “be careful” with what they say, lest they make someone else stumble. They get stuck in Christianese terms and can’t actually be real and honest.
I’m here for you! I know what you’ve dealt with and what you’re dealing with currently. You are not alone! You have someone who knows what you’ve been through. I know!
And here’s another thing: I know that sometimes you don’t get to turn off the sexual lust just because you start or have a relationship with Jesus.
I get it! But in my position now, I’ve learned how to disciple myself. To not always give in by not having sex all the time. To say no to my feelings.
Again, don’t think that you’re all alone. You are not alone. You have us! You have me.
We are your other brothers. And that’s why I’m here.
Starting with SSA and getting more specific, have you struggled to confess parts of your life to the Christian culture around you? Did your start with Jesus provide a quick turnaround from your old life, or has it been more of a slow climb?
* Photo courtesy martinssonmartin, Creative Commons.
Hey Matt, I’ve struggled with homosexuality all my life for as long as I could remember (I’m 22 now). And being in the whole Christian culture, I have not been able to come out to family or friends. It makes it especially hard when you see how people talk about and judge certain people for their SSA. So it makes it extremely difficult to even consider letting people know my struggle and get through this.
I’m sorry that you have to deal with this man. Dude, observation is both a great and horrible thing to have. Yet, the greatness is higher because you know who to trust! I do hope you find someone to confine in.
I’m glad you’re not sorry. Never apologize for growing, as God has used your “horrible” start to glorify Him. John says in 1 John 1:8, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.” Everyone sins, even Christians. It’s just that Christians are forgiven already. Thank you for for being unapologetic in your honesty.
Just doing what I do. Wait until you meet me in person. Haha.
You have a great story, Matthew. Thanks for continuing to share it. It reminds me of the Biblical patriarchs. Their stories were not squeaky clean. We learn some interesting and sordid things about these “giants” of faith. That is why the Bible is the coolest book of any of the major religions. Besides being true it is embarrassingly honest. So I don’t know how we got to the current culture of the church that does not prize the same honesty. Yes, I still struggle to confess my stuff to this mixed up culture and yes, like you I am a slow climber. “May you build a ladder to the stars and climb on every rung.”
I thought of the same thing! Haha. Dude, the biblical patriarchs were a disaster! My church did a verse by verse study, and I was freaking out on how bad they would fail! But at the same time, God was gracious to them, and they ended in redemption. Thanks man!
Matt, I really appreciate your honesty! It’s so refreshing. When I saw the title of your post about having a “horrible start”, I had to look at myself and say I hope I don’t have a “horrible finish”. I’ve been such a “good boy” for most of my life. By that I mean I didn’t push boundaries or stand up for myself or try to make waves. I kept my opinions to myself most of the time. Scared to death of confrontation. Scared to death of my ssa feelings. Then my wife left in Nov of 2012 and I was confronted inside about my ssa. I finally admitted to myself that I really do have it. Since that time, I’ve done stuff with men that I’ve never done before. I struggle with it so much. I enjoy being with men. I was so hurt by my wife. The pain is way deeper than I thought.
Dude, that’s a scary thought, having a “horrible finish.” Yet, let that motivate us to have a great finish! Dude, I was the “good boy” growing up, but once I hit college, well…..you’re reading my story! Haha. I’m sorry that your wife left you. I do hope that God will use that hurt that you’ve been going through and the struggle for good! You’ll get through this!
Mark, I’m really sorry to hear that…. I’m sure you don’t need advice, I just feel like saying, I can relate… especially with a sudden life change resulting in giving into ssa feelings…. It’s extremely easy to channel loosely related or even completely unrelated (not that your split with your wife is unrelated) pain from varying circumstances in life into essentially an excuse for “giving into the flesh”…. I hate this struggle…. Hope you’re holding up alright… *hugs
Thanks Brad! I do struggle a lot now with wanting to give in to the flesh. Hugs.
Thank you Matthew for telling like it is. There are too many out there who have no where to turn-I mean no where. I myself keep my SSA feelings a secret for so long because there was no one to talk to. We need people who will tell the truth and not hid it. Is that not what Jesus did? He told the truth and then let the people decide what to do with it. The truth never hurts anyone. It will only cleanse you and make you better if you let it. Thanks again for your blog. I say keep it coming brother. It is exactly what we all need-more truth.
Well technically, the truth does hurt, but it’s how we take it. Haha. Dude, I hope my stories will help you out in the future, and be more open to people you can trust! And thanks for commenting!
While I admit it’s a little shocking, I think it’s great that you’re sharing your story. Like you said, there are people out there that need a testimony like yours.
It’s easy to judge people who’s stories are different, but I struggle frequently with sexual sin as well, even if it is different.
I’ve actually kept as tight of a lip on sharing my sins as I have on sharing my SSA. When I came back to the Church, I was able to give up porn pretty easily, but after a few years it came back.
Thanks man. Yeah, we do need more people to be more honest! Maybe in the near future people will be more vulnerable, and can trust each other to talk about the hard stuff. I hope one of these days you’ll find someone to share your SSA!
Its amazing how brutally honest you guys are on here. I personally didn’t think your last article was all that controversial because its not like you condoned your past activities or anything though I think the article title probably misled people.
Thanks man! Probably, but the title did bring people to read it! Haha
Never apologize for your Jesus journey. Grateful for the redemption you’re finding along the way, Matt, one slow step at a time.
1 Peter 2:6.. For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”
At first I wasn’t going to comment on this blog Matthew. My story of SSA seems like a mosquito bite in comparison to gangrene when I read your previous and current blog. I don’t want to minimize the difficulty or pain that any Christian man has dealing with his SSA. It isn’t easy to face the ghosts of our past and the pain we associate with whatever unique set of circumstances and predispositions led us to our SSA. We all face difficulty as we try to set our life into order to obey our new Master, Jesus.
I just wanted to say, that I believe there are others who have shared your experiences and need to hear your controversial and blunt stuff, because it is also their reality. Bro, thank you for not holding back anything.
God has been gracious and patient with me in my woundedness and brokenness. I have made progress slowly through many years, but the last few years when a pornography addiction forced me to reexamine so many things I hadn’t understood earlier, I came face to face with myself and my SSA. At that time, as I sought Him, the Lord really excellerated His work concerning my unwanted attraction to men. I am still in process, by all means–no overnight miracle. Sometimes I am a Christian man who struggles with my sexual addiction and sometimes I am a sex addict who struggles with my Christianity.
I appreciate your encouragement! I really do! As you reexamine stuff that you hadn’t understood earlier, I hope that it brings you to christ closer even more! To be more like Him!
Thanks Matt! I can already say that processing stuff for the past two years has brought about the most amazing change in my life and in my relationship with Christ. I am more deeply in love with Him now than I ever was before. I have more consistent joy and peace than I have had in all my adult life. Yeah, I know that I have a long ways to go, but hey–I am enjoying the journey because He is walking with me through my dark valleys. And He also gives me some mountain top experiences along the way. I love reading Your Other Brothers BTW, because I see other brothers walking with me on this journey and I know I’m not alone in my fears, sadness, joy and anger. Thanks for being there for all your other brothers who read these blogs!
Don’t stop being honest, Matt. To answer your questions, yes, I have struggled with being honest about myself. It has been a relatively slow climb, but I’m grateful for it. I know I’m already pretty open and honest, but I still see parts of my life and my heart that I need to bring into the light. If you can believe it, God is not done making me even more blunt and honest. God does not compare us to other people to determine how honest we are and whether or not we’re honest enough. God will not stop with us until we are as honest and open as WE can be, regardless of how others are or how we stand in comparison. Keep opening up, man. Don’t quit now. God still has work to do in you, too.
Matt, you’re awesome… I’ve basically been a Christian my whole life, so this issue really came about after the fact while growing up…. Honestly I get almost legitimately pissed off when people claim to be “delivered” from this issue, because I’ve yet to see fruit of someone doing anything more than abstaining from it if you can forgive my lack of ability to find better vocabulary…. In fact, I’ve been leading worship and doing ministry stuff full-time, and right now, part-time the last few years and have had seasons of partial or full-blown giving into SSA… As of right now, I’m basically at a crossroads of what I’m doing with my life, and where all my friends, if they ask how I’m doing, are going to get an earfull of shock, because I can’t do the lying or pretending I’m ok thing anymore. This season is ridiculously hard right now post-relationship life/after cutting “unhealthy” relationships off recently….. It really comes down to being angry at God because I want to believe He satisfies and that His ways are “higher” but life is screaming otherwise right now and I can’t hear His voice….. Not gonna pretend life doesn’t really kind of suck at the end of the day when I’m not “doing life stuff”……. So here’s another bro being honest….. Hope you are doing well….-Brad
You’re awesome! I love how you stay true to yourself. I loved how you ended this post. It never gets old hearing that I’m not alone and there are people who understand and are for me.