By Mark Ellis —
While still a baby, Matthew Grech’s mother discovered a feminine streak in him which caused her to make certain assumptions about his future.
“My mother literally thought that I was going to grow up to be gay,” he told The International Federation for Therapeutic and Counselling Choice (IFTCC). “I know it sounds absurd, but…I believe that there is something significant about what a mother imparts to her son or daughter, and I believe that sparked something in my life growing up.”
Matthew describes himself as a soft-hearted, gentle person, who was very musically inclined as a young person. “I tried to have solid male friendships, but guys my age seemed to love sports so much. I wanted to make music, to play piano, to have fun singing. And I couldn’t find guys my age doing that.”
At his school, he felt isolated, different. “I didn’t really establish a sense of manhood growing up. I had friends around me who told me that I was gay, they made fun of me, they mocked me. And so I did not get a sense of approval growing up from guys my age.”
He experimented with homosexual relationships, but kept it hidden from his parents. “I tried to be in relationships with girls. I remember being 14 years old and having my first kiss with a girl and really trying to be like guys my age, because that’s what I wanted. I wanted to have a family, I wanted to have kids. That’s the pattern I saw in society around me.
After he graduated from school in Malta, he moved to London for several years, where he had his first extended homosexual relationship.
One day something unexpected happened. A woman came up to Matthew and shared the gospel with him. “She told me to be careful with some of my spiritual practices, because I was quite interested in the new age at the time.
“This woman was very kind to me and she invited me to go to a prayer meeting with her,” he recounts.
Matthew was surprised by what he observed at the prayer gathering. “I saw these Christians worshipping, lifting up their hands, communicating with God. It was so real and so powerful.
These people have something that I haven’t tasted yet in my life…it feels so fulfilling, he thought.
When he attended a Sunday service, he was even more surprised. This looked more vibrant and free than his childhood memories of church. “I never saw people kneeling down or skipping and jumping with joy for the God they worship. It was a picture of spirituality that I wanted for my life.”
The pastor startled Matthew when he said, “There’s somebody here who’s got a headache, starting from the temple going around the back of the neck.”
It was an exact description of Matthew’s headache. “I lifted up my hand and said, ‘That’s me, that’s me!’ Nobody else lifted up their hand; I knew it was me.”
The pastor pointed his finger at Matthew and said, “I sense that God wants to tell you that he really loves you.”
The message of God’s love resonated powerfully in his soul. “That one simple phrase changed my life forever. I did not receive that as a word from a man. It was really a word from God the Father.”
If God loves me, I want to get to know Him, he thought.
Matthew bought his first Bible and began to grow in his knowledge of God. “I encountered Bible verses about homosexuality, and at first, I was like, what, so homosexuality is a sin in the Bible?”
Matthew wasn’t sure if he was homosexual, as described in the Bible, because his gay lifestyle felt very natural to him.
He began to wrestle with God in prayer: God, I would do anything to please you, I will do anything to be in your will. But I’ve got doubts; I’ve got questions. I need you to convince me, I need you to convict me. If I am homosexual, I don’t want to live this life, because I don’t want to grieve your Spirit. And I know that if you say homosexuality is a sin…you’ve got something better for me.
“I just prayed, I left it in God’s hands, and then this understanding came. I understood that God does not see me as homosexual. Because, well, if I stopped the practice, he doesn’t see me as homosexual. I understood that homosexuality is not a feeling, it’s a practice.”
Matthew previously held the cultural understanding that homosexuality is an identity, rather than a practice – a behavior he could choose to stop. A person could be heterosexual and still choose to engage in homosexual behavior, he reasoned.
“When I understood that, I got this instant sense of freedom,” he said.
When he decided to follow Jesus, making him the Lord and Savior of his life, his life changed.
“There’s something about the Father’s love that completely wrecked me and completely changed my life. It’s a perfect love that we all need to experience for ourselves. There is no relationship that I have experienced in my life that has fulfilled me as much as having a relationship with a God who loves me, and wants to reveal Himself to me.
God refreshed Matthew’s identity, as a new creature in Christ, rather than a homosexual.
Wow! he thought, so I’m not a homosexual in God’s eyes. If I stop this relationship, I can be free from that label. I can be free from all those words that were spoken over me by people who tried to bring confusion to my life.
“The Word of God and Jesus set me free, and gave me hope for family, he gave me a future. I decided to face my partner and told him, ‘Look, this is an ungodly relationship. We cannot serve God and have this ungodly relationship.’
“When I obeyed the Word of God I felt so much more peace. I felt so much more joy in my life. I wasn’t walking around miserable because God was telling me to do this. I felt free, and this is the beauty of serving Jesus.
“I’m not going to tell you my feelings changed overnight. That has not been my experience. But it was the beginning of a journey.
“So it’s been a process of years of God showing me more and more, giving me understanding, giving me revelation. I chose to be patient. I chose to accept that things would not change necessarily overnight, but God was going to take me on a journey of freedom.
“It was gradual and graceful. I went from saying I’m happy to be single all my life, to saying no, I’m open to the idea of being married to a beautiful woman. I open my mind to the idea of having kids and having children. God has been correcting my thoughts. He has helped me to find my manhood in him.
“Now I’m looking forward to getting married. I believe I’m being prepared for marriage. I’m leaving it in God’s hands.”
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