Here is another excerpt from the book I’m working on titled Wide Open: a journey of faith through pain, oppression, brokenness and hope.
For most of my life I lived within a Christian sub-culture intent on controlling my behavior. I was continually reminded by Christian leaders to always be aware of my actions, and how disappointing or acceptable they were to God. If I acted in the right ways and avoided the wrong things God would be pleased with me. Even as I write this I’m reminded of the childhood song “O Be Careful, Little Eyes.” The lyrics go something like this:
O be careful little eyes what you see
O be careful little eyes what you see
There’s a Father up above
And He’s looking down in love
So, be careful little eyes what you see
The lyrics continue with “O be careful little ears…little hands…little feet…little mouth…” you get the point. It wasn’t long before I based God’s love and acceptance on the conditions of my behavior. Everything with God was great, as long as I thought I was acting right. The problem was I kept screwing up. That’s why one of the encounters that most impacted my life was so tragic.
As a kid I loved to ride my bicycle. I know, what boy doesn’t like riding his bike? Anyway, I loved to go off jumps, ride through fields and building corridors. If there was a challenge to be faced on a bicycle I wanted to try and face it. My step-brother and I would even create challenges to race through. Sometimes I would create the challenges myself, like riding on stairs, or bunny-hopping onto picnic tables. I can’t count the number of times I’ve wrecked and scraped myself up. One time I even ran into the back of a parked truck. Try explaining that one.
One day while I was riding my bike I met someone. He was a little older than me, maybe by three or four years. At the time, I was about ten. I don’t remember his name, or even exactly how we met. I’m guessing he was riding his bike in the same area. We started talking, and riding together. He challenged me to try something.
I’m a pretty imaginative person. When it came to playing games I could really get into character. I can’t remember what game we were playing, but my character and the older boy were apparently in love. I had no clue what I was doing. My newfound friend was careful to guide me in showing love through kissing and fondling.
One unverified independent research article[i] indicates 1 in 6 boys are molested by the time they turn 16. I don’t know how accurate that statistic is, but I do know it happens more often than is reported. After all, I didn’t report it when it happened to me. In fact, I would venture to say most people who know me would never guess I was molested as a young boy. If you have been molested you are not alone. I felt like I was alone for so long. I didn’t believe anyone could, or would, understand. Especially since I enjoyed the encounter, and went back for more. This was something I had to keep quiet…at least that’s what I kept telling myself.
Not everyone responds to sexual abuse in the same way. There is no just getting over it. For a long time I hated a part of myself. Nobody knew my deepest pain. Growing up in the church I continually heard about God’s unconditional love. But I struggled to understand how God could love a screw-up like me. You see, I didn’t struggle so much with being molested. My struggle was I enjoyed the experience, and I wanted more. As a young Christian, in an environment based on perception, I just knew God hated homosexuals. I couldn’t reconcile me feelings with the messages I was hearing. I suppressed my feelings as best I could. I acted like I was normal so no one would know. I got a girlfriend thinking that would fix me. My true attractions kept returning, and I found a friend who was willing to experiment sexually. He would never classify himself as gay. In fact, he was probably just using me to get a sexual fix. In the secrecy of our friendship I acted out what I truly felt. I was so lost. I was so empty.
It’s amazing how inappropriate sexual interaction can destroy you. The thing you think will make you happy only brings misery. There is no denying sexual activity feels good. Sex is quite literally a chemical explosion within you. The chemicals that are released create a flood of emotional euphoria. But that’s not the real issue, is it? If an emotional euphoria was the goal; well you can accomplish that on your own. The real issue is we typically approach sexual activity for the purpose of getting something for ourselves. It’s a selfish pursuit of a fleeting moment at the expense of another person. Flee sexual immorality.
 By sexual interaction I am referring to any activity or activities that include two or more people (for certain deviants, animals) engaged in behavior that goes beyond mental, emotional, and spiritual connections in a way to share parts or all of their bodies with each other.
[i] Hopper, J. (1998). Child Sexual Abuse: Statistics, Research, Resources. Boston, MA Boston University School of Medicine.