Love and Acceptance (Jon)
Here is an AMAZING testimony from Jon on how God has been working in his life over the past year. Incredible! Thank you, Jon. It’s so exciting to see God’s hand on your life. I live for this stuff! Keep Jon in your prayers as he has just graduated and is moving out to LA to pursue opportunities in film.
So I realized lately that I haven’t really shared my testimony with anyone at church in the city, excluding Tyler and Tommy, and in the past I have been reluctant to share it because I’ve been ashamed of it; however after the past few weeks I’ve gotten incredible breakthrough.
When I was about 3 years old my parents divorced and about two years after that, my father got remarried to a very conservative Christian woman who introduced me to Jesus, but it was never anything I took completely seriously. When I was about 6 my Mom converted to Judaism, and I converted with her, not completely understanding what all of that entailed. When my dad and stepmom found out they grew incredibly angry with me, and thus began a constant battle between my parents about how I would be raised. My stepmom would manipulate me by telling me that my Mom would be going to hell, and would try constant techniques to try and get me to convert my mother to Christianity as well as myself. I learned nothing of grace or mercy. My step family said all I had to do is believe in Jesus and his resurrection to get into heaven, but they made it seem more complicated than that. They made Jesus seem like someone I had to please, to beg forgiveness from, and that if I sinned and didn’t repent, there was no hope.
As I grew up I spent my week going back and forth between church and Hebrew school, until I had my bar mitzvah. After that Hebrew school ended and so did my attendance at church.
My Mom got remarried when I was 14, and for the most part my new step dad wanted very little to do with me since I wasn’t really into sports he just sort of gave up on me, while my Dad was there, he wasn’t really open for deep discussion. I had two fathers and yet still had no father figure.
When I was 15, I became incredibly confused about my sexuality. I had dated a few girls before then, but still had this odd confusion going on. My Mom and stepdad really didn’t care and I refused to tell my Dad and stepmom. Even after this supposedly liberating event, I still didn’t feel like this was the kind of life I wanted for myself, and also having heard constant homophobic remarks from my stepmom and her family, I thought I was doomed. I thought to myself, ” great if I had a hard enough time pleasing Christ before, now I’m doomed”. Since I felt barred from Christ, and my self esteem had been shattered, I began to look for love in other places. I started to surf hookup websites on the web, meeting strange guys and watching a constant stream of pornography. It was one of those “looking for love in all the wrong places” cases. I continued this through most of high school, little did I know I was destroying myself. I had friends who all were in relationships and I was the constant third wheel. It took a huge toll on my self esteem, ” why can’t I be one of these people in an awesome relationship?” I would think to myself. So I would continue going to hookup, hoping that I might find someone that way. The unfortunate thing is that many of my friends encouraged me to keep going throughout it. Friends whom I found out only later would constantly put me down of envy and jealousy.
Throughout this I would continue to pray and ask God for forgiveness, but I found no reason to stop, I was still doomed any way ( at least I thought so), even though I still loathed that aspect of my life.
When I entered college, I decided to try the Christian thing again. I met a great group of people who seemed to genuinely want to befriend me, but in the end I got scarred and gave up on them. I isolated myself, hanging out with only a few people that I met, and now that I was on my own, the hookups became even more rampant.
However, these Christian friends I had met continued to seek me out. I refused to reciprocate because I thought they could never accept this dark part of me, and they would give up on me or shun me as others had.
It was the end of my sophomore year when all this finally came to a breaking point. After a year of rampant hook ups with strangers, I got a call from one of them telling me they had just tested positive for stage 2 syphilis. I freaked, I found the nearest testing facility and went. I didn’t do my research very well and went to this pretty run down place called the core center near rush hospital. It was the scariest experience of my life, I was poked and prodded in every which way. After my blood test the doctor leaned over the table looked me in the eye and said, ” what will you do if it’s positive?” of course after the testing comes the week long waiting for results. Thank God in the end everything turned out negative.
It was after this I decided to give Christ another go. I took a shot at group of guys I had met freshman year. I went to bible study and sent all of them a message telling them what I had been struggling with, and God rewarded my trust. They all just loved on me and drew me nearer.
But it was Tyler who stepped out, and took me under his wing. I learned about grace and Gods love for me. It was the first time in a long time I felt that someone wasn’t giving up on me. Of course this is about the point when all of you come into the story, and finally on July 25th of last year, with Tyler at my side, I gave my life to Christ.
So I know this was kind of long, but I thought it important that I share it with all of you. Especially since it will be a year this month that I began my relationship with Jesus.