I think one of the biggest things I’ve struggled with is guilt. I’m also positive I’m not the only one. I think I figured out quite early that I wasn’t straight. From my very first year in junior secondary school, I had known but I had dismissed it. The thought alone made my heart pound with fear. I’ve always been someone who ignored issues or challenges and just hoped they would magically go away. I ignored these feelings for most of my teen years but then the tiny little box in which I had hidden all these emotions finally couldn’t take it anymore. So one day it cracked open.
First of all, I’m not perfect. I have done things and made decisions that I’m not proud of. When I finally came into myself and decided to explore all those pent-up emotions I became literally the worse version of myself. I had dismissed a huge part of myself because of guilt and when my cup became full I started feeling every single emotion one after the other. I was overwhelmed. I experienced a freedom I had never imagined. Unknown to me was that freedom without discipline and self-control was the road to depression.
I had always asked myself, “Why do I feel guilty?” and the answer was quite simple. I had been convinced and in turn, I had convinced myself that the feelings I had were wrong. I grew up in a Christian home. My parents are actually the kind of parents that any child would be lucky to have. They taught me the Bible. They also taught me to study the Bible for myself. I remember going to church and then opening prayers would always talk about people who were involved in sexual immorality and somehow homosexuality always found its way inside the prayer point. Then I wasn’t doing anything but I would always be afraid because with the way the pastor was carrying out the prayers with much Kabashing and Rabababing I was patiently waiting for the thunder to fire me or worse she would stop the prayer and say “You! Yes, you! I see the spirit of gay around you” and then my seizure would begin. I’m very sure this is where guilt began for me. It was fuelled by fear.
So anytime I thought of a guy or took a second look at a guy or liked a guy I felt guilty. I felt guilty because I was afraid of God’s wrath. Also the Bible talks so much about homosexuality and how Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed because of homosexuality (which is not true by the way) and how all gay people would burn in hell. At that point, I only knew these things where in the Bible because of what I had heard from pastors or from my parents. I never sat down to examine scripture myself. The Bible says for lack of knowledge my people perish. I was dying inside because I had convinced myself I was in the wrong.
One day I decided to stop feeling guilty. If I was going to hell I might as well do the most on earth. I mean if God is going to punish me for thinking about some guy then I might as well enjoy life to the fullest. You see guilt gives way to nonchalance which in turn gives way to depression. All these has its root in fear. So my life had become driven by fear and because I was afraid I began to act out and when what I thought would give me ultimate satisfaction failed, I sank into depression. This cycle began with guilt. The guilt I shouldn’t have carried. So many people are carrying guilt around like a suitcase. God says come to me all ye that are heavy laden and I will give you rest. God doesn’t care about who you like. He doesn’t hate you for who you are and for the things you have done.
Don’t bury guilt inside. Don’t allow it to begin to grow. God loves you exactly how you are. You only feel guilty when you see yourself as a mistake and God doesn’t make mistakes. He’s perfect and everything he creates is perfect. You might make mistakes along the way. It’s not your fault. You are human. Remember to ask for forgiveness. Guilt makes you question your perfection and makes you see yourself as imperfect. You are perfect exactly how you are. Nothing is missing. Nothing needs to be added. You are normal.
Jay Bond (a pseudonym) is a singer and writer from Nigeria. He is presently in school and is passionate about gay Christians living life to the fullest without guilt or shame.