Last updated on June 4, 2022
I’ve been using your website for a long time to answer all of the questions that I may have had, and I’m really stumped at this point in my life.
Here’s some background information:
I’m currently 16. I’ve grown up in the same church my entire life, and I’ve never known anything else. I am always helping out somewhere in the church. Although I have been going to church all my life, I really haven’t had a relationship with God up until I went to this youth camp when I was around 12. There was this time in worship when we sang a song and God really spoke to me during that song. I felt His presence — something I had never felt before. At the end of the camp, I gave my heart to Jesus and I aspired to live a Christian life.
I didn’t really know how to go about reading a Bible at the time so I would just follow a daily Bible reading plan on an app and read the Bible that way because it was easier for me to grasp. I feel like my relationship with God at that time wasn’t great but it was a confusing journey, and I really didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t really pray and read my Bible like I should have about a month after that and then I made it sort of optional.
I was about 13-14 at this time. It was also around when I got introduced to masturbation and porn. I was bombarded with sexual thoughts all the time and so my escape was to just masturbate because of how good it felt and the way it made me feel on the inside. I can’t quite put it into words but this is what made me feel “dirty” and “unqualified” to put my hands up in worship. Every time I orgasmed, I would feel regret because I knew that it was wrong. At first, I would pray about it afterward and promise God I would never do it again but after that, it just got easier, and then I just didn’t care anymore.
My relationship with God was probably not at its lowest just yet, but this is when I found your website. I was curious about how bad masturbating and watching porn was so I was looking for justification for doing it and just telling myself it’s really not that bad, but it really was. I did this all before I could even ejaculate semen. I eventually convinced myself that this was normal and God really wouldn’t care about it.
My relationship with God continued like that until I was invited to play with the worship team. I was surrounded by a lot of young Christians who were also on the worship team, although they were all several years older than me. They inspired me and I wanted the Holy Spirit to thrive in me as it did in them. They would pray and lift their hands while they worshipped, and I was too intimidated to do it for fear of judgment, feeling I wasn’t qualified or good enough. I was excited to be involved in the worship service, but I wasn’t really there to worship the Lord. I was doing some very un-Christian things and living a double life.
I practiced a lot and then the big day came. I had to wake up super early for practice before the service actually started. But to my surprise, the worship pastor was not there. He was the one who mentored me through it all and it meant a lot for me to have him there for my first time. However, he quit the job that Saturday night at a meeting and never showed up. The service went great and all, but the next Sunday, not only was he gone but all of the people I looked up to, all of the people in youth I went with, and everyone who liked him moved churches with him. I was left with nothing. I got mad, sad, and decided to forget religion and continued what I was doing. But no matter what, I just kept feeling guilty and that made me really mad.
Around this time, I was about 14. A friend of mine and I got into talking about sex. That’s all he wanted to talk about. In the beginning, I wanted to as well, but it just got old. We talked about any and everything you could think of. It’s quite embarrassing to think about, looking back on it. But he asked me one day if I wanted to masturbate with him and give each other blow jobs. My heart started pounding so fast because I didn’t know what to say and because deep down I was curious. I had never seen anyone else’s penis before or seen anybody naked so I was curious to see what somebody else had, and I said yes. We arranged for him to come over to my house that weekend and we did it. I felt horrible the whole time. I thought it would be fun, but it wasn’t. I didn’t even want to give him a blow job when it came down to actually doing it. But he did and we played Rock-Paper-Scissors to see who would go first. I won so he had to give me one first, then I had to do him. After a few seconds of him doing it, I had to stop, and I felt sick. I didn’t want to do it, but now I had to because he did it to me. I just put it in my mouth for like two seconds and then stopped. It felt so wrong, and I couldn’t do it anymore so then we just jerked off. I couldn’t even orgasm — that’s how embarrassed and horrible I felt. You’re probably wondering what in the world I was thinking and are disgusted at what I did and looking back at it I am too, to be completely honest.
In school, I’d always been the quiet kid and made all A’s my entire life. I still do even today. But after doing that with my friend, about a month later we weren’t friends anymore. I ended it all because I knew I could never do that again, and he was trying to get me to do it again. He admitted that he was gay, but I knew that I wasn’t and that being gay was a sin. Not really that it even mattered at this point because all I was doing was picking and choosing which parts of the Bible I wanted to follow.
This is when COVID hit and our church was forced to shut down. But, since I was close to all the staff there, I would come up and help them do stuff. Around this time is probably when I was closest with the Lord before now. I still was watching porn and masturbating but I would just pretend like it didn’t happen. I continued on until my parents wouldn’t bring me anymore because they said they were tired after work and didn’t want to keep driving me to church and home.
Today, nothing much has really changed. I quit masturbating and watching porn as much. I would do it about every other day instead of every day and then try not to use porn if I didn’t need to. But then there was this girl in my class who is a Christian. We actually go to the same church. She would yell at me to come to the youth group and I finally gave in. I started going. I didn’t really like it but they asked me to play at the youth group and at the kids’ church. I agreed and started going to the youth group every week. I didn’t know anyone there except the youth pastor and the worship pastor who replaced the old worship pastor. I just sat by this girl the first week and then she sat by some of her friends. But over these past few weeks, my life has changed dramatically. These people, including that classmate who invited me to church, have helped me to stop everything I was doing and really helped me grow as a Christian. They are all very confident in their faith and I admire that about them. I saw what God was doing in their lives, and I wanted that in mine. A few weeks in, I felt like I really wanted to pursue God for the first time. I wanted to quit everything, but I knew I couldn’t do it alone. I finally got the courage to tell the two closest people there about my story. I’ve never told anyone else about this so to this day. They are the only ones who know it. Ever since, I’ve been doing Bible studies with them, reading my Bible for the first time ever without an app, and praying. I quit masturbating and watching porn, and I owe it all to God and Him working through these people in my life. I would have never stopped without them, and I don’t know where I’d be.
But now I’m in a predicament. All I can think about are the last things I’ve done and how bad they are. I know I’ve changed but what will people, looking back on my past, think? If and when God places a lady in my life, how am I going to be able to tell her I’m not a virgin and what I’ve done? I want to get baptized because I haven’t yet, but I feel guilt and shame still. Even though I’ve quit everything, I still battle with lustful thoughts and urges to go back. One of my friends told me he battled lustful thoughts too. It made me feel better to know I wasn’t in it alone, but now I don’t know how to continue walking in my faith. I’m still trying to pray about it and discover my purpose and develop my relationship with God but I feel like this guilt and shame are holding me back, even though I’ve confessed and prayed about it. Anytime I think about faith, I always think back on my past and don’t know how to just focus on the future. I want to ask my pastor for advice on the topic as well, but I’m too ashamed to ask about it so I’m asking you. What should I do?
You need to understand that I am a follower of Christ. I don’t get involved in man-made traditions. While the church you attend doesn’t align itself with some denominational group, it still practices the traditions found in various denominations. For example, you mentioned having a time when you felt close to God and gave your heart to Jesus. Yet, you will not find this as a way to become a Christian in the Bible. I’m glad you want to follow Christ, but until you actually do, it is just an intention. See
Most of your religion is based on what you feel instead of what God said. In the strictest sense, you’ve made a religion out of your own feelings and convinced yourself that your feelings are the leading of God. Clearly, that cannot be the case, since your feelings also got you into trouble with sin.
You got involved in pornography, which is the sin of lust (I Thessalonians 4:3-5). You mentioned reading about masturbation and pornography on this site. If you did, it is apparent that you didn’t understand what you read. However, pornography is what led you to be susceptible to the temptation your friend offered you.
Your friend convinced you to try oral sex, which you realize is a sin. Since it was done with another boy, you had committed an act of homosexuality. While you are disgusted with yourself for doing it, you need to understand that sin is sin. Like every other sin, it can be forgiven. However, forgiveness can’t be on your own terms. It is the Lord God who grants forgiveness, so it must be done on His terms. The articles I cited list the passages that explain God’s requirements.
Having God’s forgiveness is not a feeling. It is knowing you’ve done as the Lord directed and trusting that God keeps His promises. “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (I John 2:3-6).
In regards to a future girlfriend, the sad truth is that the majority of today’s youth are not virgins, so the likelihood that the topic will come up is not that great. If it does, you simply say that you had a sexual experience once when you were young that you regret happened; however, you have not had intercourse before. There is no need to get into details because that is the past and we don’t live in the past.