Confessing anything to anyone is naturally difficult. Even the word “confession” has a connotation to it that isn’t necessarily pleasing. For me it stirs up feelings of shame, fear and guilt. The act of confessing was never what I was actually afraid of. I was more afraid of how I would be received after confessing what I had to confess.

There came a time when I decided to confess my homosexuality to my family. I was dating a girl at the time and she pressured me into telling them because she didn’t want to be with someone who wasn’t “proud” of being gay. So, in order to keep her, I wrote a letter to my parents and brother explaining that I was gay and this was who I was. I had no idea the impact it would have on my family. My brother claimed to already know because a mutual friend of ours told him. My mother was shocked and devastated. And my father, who passed away about a year after I came out, never spoke to me about it. His love for me never changed, and he treated me exactly the same, but he died without us ever having a conversation about it. He died believing that I was gay. If only I had confessed my struggle in that letter.

What made this letter so bad was that it was a lie. I wasn’t proud of being gay at all. I hated it. As natural as it felt, it still didn’t feel right. I knew it wasn’t what I was made for. Because I always felt unsettled about my homosexual feelings, I never told anyone, because I didn’t know how. How do you explain to someone that you have these feelings but don’t want them, when the world is telling you you’re supposed to accept it?

If you’ve ever asked yourself that question, you know the confusion it stirs up.  My only answer or advice to that question is to just take the risk. But don’t just tell anyone. Reach out to someone you trust completely. Even throughout my life of choosing to live in sin, God never left me. He provided so many amazing friends that loved me with the love of Christ. They were the ones that showed me who Christ really was. That was when I found my identity. They loved me enough to tell me that the life I was choosing wasn’t best. It wasn’t what God had designed me for.

Confessing my struggle with homosexuality was easy when I knew I was loved unconditionally.

I confessed my struggle to my friends on a Christian retreat that consisted of about 50 women. By that time I had felt the change in my life. I had repented of my sin and had fully accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior, and the Holy Spirit led me to share my struggle with them. I gave a talk to the group, and admitted to my life-long struggle with homosexuality. For the first time I was actually honest about it. I felt safe in the presence of these women, because they represented Christ. I knew I could trust them. That’s not to suggest that I wasn’t still absolutely terrified of rejection, because they’re still human, but I knew that if God was leading me to share, then there was a good reason for it.

The reason I share my experience of confessing my struggle is to show you that it may be painful and difficult, but it is worth the risk. Confession should not be looked at as a burden. Confession is the key that unlocks the chains that bind you to sin. Confession is freedom. Had I not confessed to my family and friends, I would have never faced my struggle. I would either be struggling still, or even worse, I would have settled for a lesser life in sin.

If you are considering confessing your struggle to someone, I encourage you to seek out a person you know that follows Christ. Only that person can truly love you through this process. If you don’t have that person, by reading this, you just met one. Confessing is the greatest gift you could ever give yourself. Honesty is freeing.