Your site is a valuable tool that helped me with some issues and questions that I have in matters of doctrine and the Christian lifestyle. I've been following your site for many years ago. I'm a young preacher. I'm a full-time minister in the church of Christ and I'm in my mid-20s.
I would like to seek advice from you about my current situation. I'll try to explain my family background first. We were once faithful members of the United Pentecostal Church. But today I'm a Christian, while my siblings are members of different sects (Oneness and Binitarian groups). My parents are also members of the church of Christ and my father is a preacher, the same as I.
When I was a young boy I was molested by a friend of my uncle. I never said anything about it to my family, until recently when they said they found out that I have a sexual relationship with a brother in Christ who lives with us. My parents didn't ask him to leave since they treat him as their own son. They didn't tell the matter to the church, but they asked that we stop our sinful activities and live separately. This brother was my coworker when I was working in a store in the past. After the lockdown, we moved to our current location. He was waiting for the opening of a branch of the company where he worked in the faraway city from which we came. He was supposed to be transferred there but the opening didn't take place. It's a long story to tell. But he has a broken family and almost all of his legal siblings are now married. His parents are separated since his father lives with his new woman and new family. Thus, it's like my parents adopted him and treated him as their own son.
I didn't attend a church of Christ service since I left when I was a teenager. I've been to different sects and held some heretical views in the past during my wandering from the fold of God. During those years I was living a sinful lifestyle. I must admit that I'm bisexual, although I am manly and do not identify as gay, since I'm also attracted to the opposite sex. But I have no experience yet in sexual intercourse with a woman. I've been having sex with so many guys, nearly 30 guys in total as what I can remember. I have penetrated more than half of them, while others penetrated me and gave me oral sex. Please excuse me for my words, but I have told the truth so that you may understand what my life is and how dangerous my situation is.
Last year, I came back. The brethren were so happy to see me again, but they don't know about my sinful lifestyle while I was in a faraway city. They also don't know that I and this other young man still engage in sexual activities. I always struggled about it, hated my life, and I've been asking God to deliver me out of my situation. At first, the senior minister appointed me as a song leader, and later on, I became a permanent Bible study teacher until I was sent to different congregations to teach and preach. Last October, I decided to stop my college studies to focus on the ministry. As of now I teach and preach in two congregations. The brethren in the "mother congregation" built a ministerial house for me beside the chapel where we assemble. My semi-brother lives in a small hut at the back of the chapel where I also preach. The congregations here needed a young minister like me because all the preachers here are already old, including my father, who is not even qualified to hold the office of a deacon. We also have no pastors here, as no one is qualified.
This month marks my first anniversary since I returned to the fold of God and as a church worker also. I'm happy with what I'm doing now, but I hate myself for being unable to forsake my addiction to masturbation and watching male porn. I also hate myself after every time I have sex with my semi-brother whenever he visits me here. Sometimes I would ask the Lord if his sacrifice can truly set me free from sin. But I'm also afraid that He would judge me for questioning his sacrifice on the cross. There are also times when I think if God will still be able to forgive me and accept me despite my filthy ways. There are also times when I think of committing suicide so that my sinfulness would end and be finally freed from temptations. But the thought of missing the Holy City tortures me, since I really wanted to see the Lord in the clouds of the air, receive immortality and live with Him in that perfect place of joy, peace, and righteousness. That's why I don't know what to do anymore.
Later this year, I'm going to the faraway city again with my family. I booked a ticket for myself but I didn't book a return ticket since I'm planning to leave this place so that I can stop my sexual activities with my semi-brother and live a new life away from him. I don't know how to explain the situation to my brethren here if I will leave, considering that they built a decent small house for me and even support me financially with money and groceries each week. But I have no plans of telling them of my sinful lifestyle. I'd better leave without a trace and just cease to exist. I believe repentance is when you change, not when you cry. There are so many times I've cried to God as I sing a hymn to Him while I'm alone, but I would still commit abomination in the sight of God. I just don't know what to do. I also believe that I should not eat together with my brethren anymore because I'm a sinner, wicked, and pervert. I deserve to be excommunicated from the church. That's why I wanted to leave this place, never telling my semi-brother that I won't be coming back. I know he'll be hurt and would have resentment and bitterness in his heart toward me if I leave him here, but I do love him and do not want him to go to the lake of fire. I also want to live in that holy city of God in New Jerusalem. I learned there shall be no abominable that can enter there.
What should I do? Should I just leave this place? If I do, should I inform the congregation that I won't come back? What reason would I give? Would it be better for me to leave? How do I become free from addiction to masturbation and watching male porn? Is there anything that can help me be freed from these sins?
Please forgive my very long message, but I really needed your help. Please help me and advise me what to do, dear brother. I really count on you, and I will wait for your response as soon as possible.
We have a lot to talk about, and much of it will not be pleasant to hear. I hope you will bear with me.
I'm not certain what group you are with. While it uses the name "church of Christ," it is not organized as the churches in the New Testament. There are no "senior ministers." Preachers don't run congregations. There is no position of song leader (though men do lead singing). Every congregation is independent, so there isn't one church over satellite churches. However, these issues are not the focus of your problem.
"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God" (I Corinthians 6:9-10).
I'm really sorry to hear about your sexual abuse as a child. Your reaction to it wasn't surprising. The effect of sexual abuse on a child leads to many bad decisions as the older child tries to deal with the conflicting feelings about what happened. We can't change your past. But you are able to change your future. After warning the Corinthians that sin will keep you out of heaven, he pointed out that some at Corinth had managed to leave their sins. "Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God" (I Corinthians 6:11).
You have been living the life of a hypocrite. The word "hypocrite" means an actor. You have been playing the part of a Christian, but you are not living the life of a Christian. You repeatedly state you wish to go to Heaven, you know that nothing sinful can enter Heaven, but at the same time, you continue your sins and lie to yourself that God can remove those sins.
God gives men free choice. He doesn't force anyone to serve Him. He doesn't cause anyone to sin. "The person who sins will die. ... the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself" (Ezekiel 18:20). This, then, must be the first hard lesson. You are responsible for the choices that you make. You weren't responsible for being abused as a child, that was some other wicked man's choice. However, the sins you chose to do are your responsibility.
This also means that God won't deliver you from your sins -- that is make you no longer sin or take away the opportunity to sin. Throughout your life, you have had endless opportunities to make better choices that didn't involve sin. Those choices were always there, provided by God, but you didn't take them. "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it" (I Corinthians 10:13). Making better choices is what repentance is about. You need to make such radically different choices that people will no longer see you as a sinner. "For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter" (II Corinthians 7:10-11).
Your current plans are to run away without fixing any of your problems. You are hoping that in a new location you can escape these sins. However, without you changing, you will be right back into these sins. After all, you started doing homosexual acts in the very city you are running away to. You are also beating yourself up and telling yourself that you aren't able to be good, so what do you think is going to happen you pretend you have no more responsibilities?
You seem to think that you running away is going to change the man you've been having sex with. Without teaching, he will just find someone else to have sex with.
Apologize to the church where you are. Tell them that because you got caught up in sin, you are not currently fit to serve as a preacher. Let them know that you are stepping down to get your life on track to serve God properly. You don't have to give anyone details. Tell the man you've been having sex with that what you two have been doing is against God's teachings and that you are quitting. Because you have a weakness, let him know that he isn't welcome in your house any longer and you will not be coming to his. Encourage him to make his life right with God before it is too late but then disconnect.
Find a job in another town that has a true church in it. Work while you put God's teachings into practice in your own life. Then, perhaps, one day you'll have conquered these sins and feel ready to help others out of their sins. "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye" (Matthew 7:2-5).
Yes, these things will be difficult. You'll have to swallow your pride. You will have to submit yourself to God's will. You'll face embarrassment and likely pressure to remain as you are. Don't give in! God is offering you a way out -- take it!
Peace be to you brother,
Thank you for your timely response. I truly appreciate what you’re doing and have accepted your words with all my heart. Thank you for being honest and for your rebuke. Your wisdom is very deep and helpful. Please continue to speak as a righteous minister of God, and God will reward you for not having the respect of persons (favoritism), but only upholding values that you learned from Christ. You are doing great.
I would like to tell you that your words have greatly encouraged me and helped me a lot in finalizing my decision to do what is right and pleasing in God’s sight. You are right, I have been living in hypocrisy, and I’m a hypocrite. I’m a sexual pervert as well. That's why it is hard for me to rebuke others for I am guilty of my own sinful lifestyle. I've been living a double lifestyle. One is shown, the other is hidden. However, it is not my intention to be active in church just to cover up my sinful lifestyle. The Lord knows my heart, and I cannot deceive Him. There’s nothing hidden in His eyes that He cannot see. I really wanted to serve God's people in my area. But since I am not fit to do so, I have to take heed of myself first lest I fall and the Lord finds me unfaithful when He comes.
I’m planning to talk to my father tomorrow about my decision. (I realized that I’m disappointed with the reaction and decision of my parents when they first learned earlier this year about my sexual relationship with that brother (which started a few years ago in that city). Had they asked him to leave our house when they first learned, that brother would’ve left. But I know there’s no use in blaming others for my own choices. There is no spirit of homosexuality that possessed my body that dictated my mind uncontrollably to commit abomination with that brother. I am fully aware of what I’m doing and yet I chose to sin. May God still forgive me and wash me by the precious blood of His Son Jesus Christ.
Tomorrow, I am planning to take all my things from the ministerial house to our house (where I am now while that brother is in the ministerial house), but first I will speak to that brother about my decision. What should I do with him now? He doesn’t live here in our house anymore. And he just visits me there in the ministerial house. He works at a nearby small community. Shall I allow him to remain there since I’m not the one who invited him there?
The goal should always be to save people. You can't be around that brother because of the temptation to sin. Encourage him to also leave homosexuality behind. His arrangements with where he lives are his business. You can't offer him a place to stay. What you must focus on is becoming a righteous man.