Knowing the Father’s Heart, by Simon Paul
My childhood experience of church was not good. Even though we were Christians our church members rejected us, as we were so poor. Yet in childhood I had experienced giving my life to Christ at age 3. Later, I remember going to Sunday school and church for many years.
It was at age of 8 that I was sexually abused by one of my cousins but it was not very badly. However, it left me a bit confused about my sexual identity. I think it was after the abuse that I started developing attraction towards my same sex friends. Then as a teenager a terrible thing happened. One of my Church members, who was a pastor and prophet, to whom I had high respect, sexually abused me when he happened to stay one night at our home. I was too helpless to refuse and so he continued to abuse me for a couple of years. Worse was to follow when I got older when other older men including another cousin, also sexually abused me. One good memory of childhood, however, was being attracted to girls, but at the time I thought this was sin. So I ignored those feelings.
Things did not get better in my life because my father, who was an alcoholic, was emotionally distant from me. As well, he was often absent from home with his drinking, gambling and drug addictions. I missed a male role model very badly. I was so scared of my father since he tried to kill all of us a couple of times. Initially, my sister who was 10 years elder than me was my role model. After she got married at the age of 16 my mother became my role model so that I was totally dependent on her for everything. In return she was a caring but over protective mother.
Perhaps it was because I had an emotionally and physically absent father that even before my adolescence I began to be sexually attracted to other men. The truth was, I was really craving for the emotional and physical closeness which I was not receiving from my father. I was so young and did not exactly understand what was happening to me. In spite of my struggles, I was the youth leader in my church. I continued going to church though I was very confused spiritually. My church was quite conservative in its belief so I had a wrong understanding of God, believing that He was very angry and wanted to punish people. More over since I was not able to relate with my father I could not relate to God as my Heavenly Father. In spite of my same sex attractions at the age of 17, I had a girl friend from my church but my family and church opposed our relationship very strongly. My mother even threatened to kill me if I do not quit the relationship with the girl. Finally I quit our relationship but it then caused me to sexually involved with a couple of young men from my church.
Things changed again for the worse, as my cousin introduced me to other gays in the cities in Kerala. I started to feel that I was not alone with these strange sexual feelings. In spite of all these problems I always realised God’s calling on my life to be in the ministry but, because of my bad experiences with the church and the pastor, I never ever wanted to become a pastor. Finally I enrolled with a Bible college in Chennai and at the same time was introduced to the big gay scene in the city. (The gay network). I again felt a feeling of self-worth and value, as I was sexually wanted very much by the gays.
In 1995 I tried to get help from Exodus International North America as they sponsored me to do the “Recovery programme” in the USA .Yet I never got to the programme as my visa got rejected. However, the encouragement and the wonderful articles and testimonies, which were sent over to me by Frank Worthen and Exodus, had been helping me to believe that the “change” is ultimately possible. Things began to change a little in 1996 when at the age of 25, I went to the YWAM (Youth With a Mission) Discipleship Training School (DTS) but I was still getting involved sexually with other men. The DTS helped me to start forgiving my father and others who abused me sexually and also to take responsibility for my own wrong choices in life.
In 1998 I felt homosexuality was too hard to overcome so I wanted to embrace it as my true identity. Yet I was never really happy or fulfilled having sex with men. After all I was a Christian and I never forgot Jesus died for my sins.
Yet God never gave up on me and in AD 2000 began to intervene supernaturally in my life. When I told some people about my homosexuality I realised that they actually cared enough to help me to change. I was amazed! Even though I went for counselling and prayer there was no immediate change with my same sex behaviour. In fact, when I went for counselling with a woman she put no pressure on me to change. She was happy to listen to all my pain and confusion and this really helped me. Then I found The Power House Church, Chennai where both the wonderful Pastor and a couple of good Spiritual friends accepted me in spite of my sexual behaviour. While they did not approve of my behaviour, they understood my struggles and gave me time to change. There was no hurry.
Finally, I realized that I couldn’t over come my struggles with my own strength, that I needed His grace. I surrendered all my own efforts to change myself to God and accepted His sovereign power to take over me. Then I began to see His Grace pouring out on me each time I was faced with same sex attractions and temptations.
Slowly I began to forgive my father for his abuse of the family. Then a former male lover tempted me again to go and have sex with him, but I said “No!” This was the start of me making correct choices; Godly choices. It was not easy being celibate after so many years of having sex with men.
Yet God was slowly changing my homosexual feelings, attractions, identity and behaviour.
Over the years I have had more spiritual lows than highs but I trust God to change this. I see Him as God the Father, as I have experienced His Father’s heart. As well, I have been able to help others who have been through the same struggles as I have been. If Jesus can help me He can help them. Now I see myself as a man.
One of the books that helped me to restore my relationship with God the Father was “The Father Heart of God” by Floyd McClung. My father died recently, but I was able to show that I love him and have forgiven him before he died. Wonderfully I saw him changing slowly to become gentler. Praise God, he can change us when we look to Him.