My name is Gerson. I’m 19, and a follower of Jesus Christ from Lima, Peru. And I struggle with same-sex attraction (SSA)
Living Hope has helped me embrace God’s truth for my life. I still remember the sad day when I admitted I really was attracted to men. It dawned on me that I was “a homosexual.” Shortly afterward, I fell into a scary phase of depression. I felt the weight of my shame crushing me and that shame convinced me that neither God nor my parents really loved me. I saw myself as a filthy leper, unworthy of love. And although I knew I was saved, I continued feeling worthless and unforgivable. Many nights I cried myself to sleep. I felt so ashamed and hurt so much that I seriously considered suicide for a time. I didn’t want to live anymore, not like that at least.
But then I found Living Hope. I didn’t know what it was when I first glanced at the website; however, once I began to scroll through the pages, I knew in my heart that I had stumbled on a treasure of inestimable worth. While I rediscovered Christian love and compassion in those pages, I most importantly rediscovered Jesus. I also found community, something that I desperately lacked. I was delighted to discover that on Living Hope’s online forums, men and women who also struggled with SSA wrote freely about their daily challenges and temptations. There was no shame, no condemnation, just love, and truth.
Learning more about Christ’s truth and how it applies to my life continues to be a slow, yet steady process. Before getting involved with Living Hope, I loosely identified as gay in the privacy of my mind and heart. And two years ago, I came close to fully embracing a gay identity. Thankfully nothing happened, but even after that, I continued thinking I was gay, especially when life got stressful or rough. One day, though, something clicked in my mind.
Through Living Hope, I realized that because of Christ, my identity is not linked to my sexual attractions. My sin is not my identity. My temptation is not my identity. Instead, I now grapple with the mystery of the sublime transformation I have undergone. I have gone from being an enemy of God to being a son of God. Trying to fully comprehend this truth is seemingly impossible. In the light of this divine mystery, though, I rejoice in the fact that I don’t have to worry about my sins anymore because Jesus paid for them all! Jesus has taken away my sin, my shame, and my guilt so that I can live a life that pleases Him!
Often, I struggle with physically comparing myself to other men. Idolizing perfect bodies becomes almost inevitable when you live in a culture that’s obsessed with images. Many times, I’ve felt “less” than other men because I’m not tall or muscular. Desiring what they have quickly turned into envying and lusting after them. However, I’ve been learning to accept myself the way God made me. When I feel insecure about my appearance or when I desire what other men have physically, I’m reminded that I am wonderfully made by God. To think that God created me Himself soothes my troubled and envious heart. God has created each human for his own glory, not for us to idolize them. When we look to others in this sinful way, we worship “the creation rather than the Creator” (Rom 1:25). Rather than worshiping others, we must see His image in each of them and glorify Him.
Denying ourselves and following Christ is not only countercultural, but it is also counter-intuitive. This is a hard journey. I’ll be honest, there are still hard days where I wish I could live a gay life, to indulge in my heart’s desires with the objective of gaining complete happiness. Yet, I know that if I do, there will be devastating consequences. Instead of caving to these temptations, I cling to the truth that I will not find the peace and assurance that I’m experiencing now by indulging in my desires and embracing whatever my heart wishes for. I’m a Christian, and I embrace the identity Christ has given me. It doesn’t matter how I feel. Nothing else matters. I’m a child of God, and nobody can change that. This is my identity.