“If they saw me, they would mock me.” How I only wish I knew Jesus back then.
Why do I have to play sports to fit in with my friends? Why do people make jokes about me being gay? What can I do to prove my friends wrong? These are some of the questions I asked myself as I faced an emotionally tormenting upbringing.
My Dad and older brother liked football. It wasn’t for me. I was a creative. I heard music in my spirit. I longed to find someone who would understand the beauty of my universe. As a teenager, some girls made jokes about me being gay. I never told my parents or my siblings about this. It was too embarrassing. My ‘friends’ probably picked up on the fact that I was fascinated by a young footballer whom I found to be extremely handsome.
Lost in my fantasy world, I quickly realized this became a real struggle. I began to find guys attractive. I retreated into a world of loneliness, shame, intimidation, and frustration. I tried to be in a relationship with a girl, but I had deep insecurity. Trying to be with a guy was the only solution that came to mind. I tried it, and it felt pleasing to my flesh and emotions. Yet, deep down I knew I didn’t really want it for myself. 'I wanted to get married, have a wife, and raise children.' I hid my romantic life from my family, because I felt it was disgraceful and abnormal. I wondered what my future would look like.
Aged 19, I made friends with a kind woman who shared Jesus with me. She warned me about some new age beliefs I had developed, and invited me to a prayer gathering. I went, and was completely amazed at the way these Christians worshiped God, and loved one another. I felt accepted! I felt loved! I felt special! They expressed such intimacy with the God they worshiped. It was hard to resist. The pastor publicly located me, and said: “I sense that God wants to tell you that He really loves you.”
That’s it! I fell in love. “If God loves me, then I want to get to know Him.” I bought my first bible, was convicted of personal sin, and left homosexuality. I felt empowered and comforted by the Holy Spirit. With a deep sense of alignment with my life purpose and destiny, in Jesus I was found, and I found myself!
Watch Matthew's Testimony