By: Robert Swift
I am in prison serving time for a Criminal Sexual Crime offense. Though it would be very easy for me not to let what I’m about to share go public on the Internet, I’m going to do so because it might help someone else not have to go through the pain I’ve gone through, or caused in other people’s lives.
Furthermore, God has forgiven me of all my past offenses, and I just want to publicly give thanks and praise to Him for all He has done for me since I’ve gotten serious with Him. There are a lot of people out there seeking some hope and help, and feel that God could never forgive them for their detestable deeds. I know exactly how they feel, because that was my way of thinking for so many years. It was a lie, and I must let them know that. There is hope and help, deliverance and forgiveness in God for any sex sins that you have committed.
My story starts… I first heard the voice of God ringing in my ear when I was eight years old, and I longed to know more about our Savior and Lord. Because I was young and innocent, the devil – knowing my weaknesses – took and snatched me up before I was able to get myself rooted deep in Christ Jesus.
To further the devil’s hold on me, my dad and mom got a divorce when I was nine, and that deceiver led me to believe that it was my fault. I put the blame and shame onto myself, something many young children tragically do in divorce situations. This caused me to fall into a saddened state of perpetual depression.
Before the divorce, I was sexually molested by someone that I knew and trusted. I felt this too was my fault, and it sunk me even further into depression and shame. To top that off, my dad used to beat me when I had done something wrong, and he was a drunk. My mom could wale on me just as good as Dad did also.
That didn’t bother me at this time though, because I was told that it was for my own good. Because of my love and respect for my folks, I believed them, and trusted that they knew what was best for me. I mean, after all, they were my parents, right?!
I must say that I stayed in that sad and depressed state though the whole time that the devil had his hold on me.
When I turned 14, a friend showed me how to masturbate. This felt good, and it could take away my depression; albeit for a few minutes at the most. Oh, I suppose that I could of used drugs – booze, and probably would of, if I had been introduced to them. Any one of these things would have helped curb my depressed state for short periods of time, yet could never have taken away my depression completely, something I am aware of now.
So – I turned on to masturbation to ease my suffering, and I would “do it” three, four – sometimes five times a day to feel good, and ease my pain. I figure that I abused my body in this way at least two times a day for thirty years; so you do the math.
The time came that the devil helped me get creative. I got the idea that if this made me feel good, it could make others feel good as well. Because I was depressed, I thought others must be too, so I would help them get un-depressed.
Again, I have to remind readers, I held onto all the hurt that came from the divorce and earlier molestation, thinking I was the cause of it all. After all, I was the key figure that was present at all my calamities. Once again, the devil’s design. Please remember, when one is in the den of the “wicked one,” he can be led to believe anything that he says, and I was blindly led by the devil’s deception.
Then one day, out of curiosity, I showed a young boy who was feeling blue how to “feel good.” He told his mom, who told the police, and I was called in for questioning. In my shame, and wanting to be freed from the devil’s stronghold on me – I confessed, but my lawyer was able to get my charges reduced, and I was given probation and counseling.
There I was told that because I was sexually molested, I molested (which is true much of the time in the lives of sex crime offenders). I was confused by this, however, because that meant to me that my dad being a drunk, I would be a drunk. I hated booze. That way of thinking didn’t make sense, and this only caused me to be more mixed up than ever about why I did what I did. The devil is sly, I’ll tell you.
The day came when I thought the only way to be free from my past was to get married, have children, own a nice home, have a good job, and have lots of friends. Yet when I got many of those things, I still carried the burden of my horrible past.
Let me tell you right here and now, if you are one that has suffered a horrific past like I have, and you are still carrying it around – still carrying the burden – the shame – and the anger … please – let God set you free from it. Be wise: You need to give it all to God! How does the Bible say we’re to give all our past hurts and pain to God? We are to forgive. We are to go to God in prayer, and tell God that we forgive everyone who has ever harmed us. We are then to tell God we are sorry for hurting others … let God bring to remembrance those we have hurt, and ask God to forgive us for hurting them. When at all possible, as the Holy Spirit guides, we are to also go to the person who offended us, and tell them as well that we forgive them for offending and hurting us.
Someone reading this will respond: “Forgive them?! No way! There is no way I’ll forgive such-an-such for doing what they did to me. You don’t know how painful it was, so don’t tell ME to forgive that person! That person doesn’t deserve forgiveness! They should be hanged!”
God never asks us to do something that isn’t good for us. If forgiving people was bad for you, God wouldn’t ask you to do it. But because it legally breaks the devil’s stranglehold off you, you’ll never be completely free from the evil affects the devil will be able to inflict upon your life if you don’t forgive those who hurt you.
Holding onto unforgiveness places a curse on you that God does not want you to have, because it greatly hinders you spiritual growth and your intimacy with Him and others.
Holding onto unforgiveness is like walking around with a long, rusty nail stuck in your shoe. At first your foot is only slightly agitated, but left unattended … infection will get into your bloodstream, and if the doctor catches it in time, you’ll only have to have your leg chopped off. If not caught in time, we all get to come to your funeral.
Someone once said … a root of bitterness is unforgiveness grown up.
Forgiveness simply defined is the act of “dropping the charges.” It doesn’t mean that one is automatically healed, happy, or strong. It doesn’t mean your relationship is automatically mended with your violator. It doesn’t mean you want that person around you. It simply means you will no longer pursue him or wish for his hurt. You will no longer seek revenge or to get even.
It is very possible to forgive and not be able to forget. This is human. Just don’t purpose to remember it or keep bringing it up for meditation or speak about it. These are signs you are still pursuing and therefore haven’t forgiven.
God sometimes allows us to be offended as a test. It’s a test to see if we’ll humble ourselves enough to forgive. God says that if we refuse to forgive others, He’ll refuse to forgive us. (Read: Matthew 6:14-15)
To a wise person, forgiveness is never an option. Second only to making Jesus Christ your Savior and Lord … it’s the best “spiritual antibiotic” on this planet to prevent terminal disease from taking over one’s spirit, soul and body, and ensuring that everything remains healthy between you and your Creator.
What can holding a lifetime of unforgiveness do to people who refuse to forgive their enemies they hate so much? It can get you sent to prison, I can tell you that! It can take you to your grave sooner than you have to die, I can tell you that. It can cause every kind of emotional and physical sickness and disease known to mankind to strike your body. It can cause you loss of confidence in getting a good mate, getting a better job, having a successful marriage, raise normal children, and most important of all … it will remove hindrances in the spirit realm that keeps you at odds with God Himself, and this grieves God dearly, because He wants you to be close to Him. He created you to be close to Him — intimate with Him.
If you say that you can’t forgive someone, God will give you the ability to do it if you will ask Him to, and trust Him to. Forgiving someone is never based on feelings either. When you forgive someone, including forgiving God, which some need to do – especially those who have been sexually molested, because most resent God for letting it happen in the first place, but won’t admit it (not realizing, of course, that it was Satan who inspired it, not God). Please know, forgiving is a decision. It is never a feeling. Feelings of hate and revenge can come and go even after you forgive someone.
(Staff Note: Forgiveness is an attitude of the heart that God wants us to grasp a good understanding of. If you haven’t clicked on this link yet on forgiveness, we encourage you to do so once you have finished reading this testimony. It is some of the most in-depth and insightful information on the Internet regarding this topic).
This bears repeating — whether others who have hurt us engage in forgiveness or not, God wants each of us to forgive others who hurt us because it keeps us emotionally and spiritually healthy. The healthier we are emotionally and spiritually, the easier it is to connect with God instead of constantly be distant from Him. We were not created to be distant with God. We were created to have close fellowship with Him. He wants to be our friend – not our enemy. Of course, the devil wants us hating (being bitter at) God and hating (being bitter at) others … especially those who have done us wrong. Any kind of hate is all the devil needs to put a wall between God and us if we hold onto it for very long. It gives the devil legal right to.
Love and tender nurturing is all any child truly desires, after their stomachs have food in them and they have a comfortable and secure place to sleep. Most people who engage in frequent masturbation started by being starved for unconditional love from a parent or substitute parent. Masturbation is one of Satan’s way’s of tricking a child into filling the ache inside them of feeling unloved.
Though elementary to many, no child would masturbate if there was no pleasure gained by it. No one would sexually molest another if there was not some emotional and/or physical gratification received from it, no matter how evil the act might be, or how short-lived the pleasure might be. The devil delights in introducing children to masturbation because the devil wants to enslave every creation of God to self-pleasure as quickly as he can. The more frequent a child is driven to self-pleasure to fill the longing to be loved by others – especially adults – the more it deceives that child – the more it blinds that child to the reality that God did not create any of us to pursue self-pleasure in this life as life’s sole purpose. God created us to first have intimate fellowship with Him, and out of that our other needs would be met in God’s timing and in God’s ways.
Additionally, sexual sins are sins that bring guilt of various degrees, because God puts that in each child at birth – the ability to feel guilt when we sin against ourselves, or sin against others. When we sin against ourselves or others, it actually is a sin against God Himself. That’s the way God sees it. The devil knowing this, loves to introduce children to sexual sins, because guilt and confusion quickly get introduced to that child. Due to fear, usually, and shame, a child with the devil’s assistance will try to keep sexual sins they have committed against themselves, or others have committed against them, a secret, at least from parents where a bond of loving trust has not be firmly established.
Children need to have adults they can trust to go to and tell that adult anything and everything without fear of disapproval or punishment. Where loving trust of that nature is not present between a child and an overseeing adult, that child is greatly handicapped in being prepared to enter adulthood with a healthy emotional state.
If sexual sins have been committed against a child, especially by an adult, fear usually gets introduced in one form or another to that child from the one who sinned against them, and the child-victim is strongly coerced to remain silent about the act. Sexual predators have a keen sense of knowing whether an innocent child has a loving-trust relationship with an overseeing adult or not. If it happens to be present … usually the predator will seek out someone else to victimize to not risk being caught.
Parents … work diligently to establish a loving-trust bond with your children as early in their life as you can. Convince your child that they can tell you anything … yes anything –and not get punished for being honest and open. It will pay generous “dividends” all your living days on this planet, and keep on paying dividends into eternity more than likely.
After I obtained worldly counseling void of solid Godly biblical counsel, my curiosity, once again got the better of me, and I touched another boy. When the devil has his spell on you, there is only one way to break that curse. Through the help of God! That is the reason why my worldly counseling was of no permanent help. When a person is dealing with God and the demonic, only God has permanent and lasting solutions to humanities’ problems. Sin is a spiritual issue. God alone holds the wisdom and power to break sin’s stranglehold off someone’s life.
It was at this point that I began to really hate myself, and this began to drive me to God for help. Evidently I had not suffered enough yet to be truly and totally sincere with Him however, because the hate would not go away.
In my frustration, I became even more angry at myself. This anger led me to swear like a sailor, and in frustration I began to take out my rage on those around me, something that rage always does if anger is not dealt with. To express itself, rage seeks to destroy: destroy others, or destroy oneself … or both.
If you’re not aware, let me share something here very important before moving on:
Hurt and pain triggers anger. Anger not dealt with God’s way triggers bitterness. Bitterness then leads to resentment. Resentment then leads to rebellion. Rebellion then leads to lawbreaking against authority – drug abuse – sexual sins of all kinds, etc. God tells us in the Bible that the only permanent solution to stopping this devastating progression of anger, is to forgive quickly and seek God for wisdom as to what else might need to be done in the situation. If a child is not taught the importance – the necessity of forgiving those who are causing them hurt and pain (that doesn’t mean they are expected to “like” them, nor continue to keep allowing the other person to keep harming them however) … the anger will move into it’s progression just mentioned.
Again, a child must also be taught that forgiveness is not excusing another for their actions. If a child is being sinned against by an adult, or anyone, for that matter, forgiving that person doesn’t give license to that person to keep sinning against that child. Forgiveness helps the one sinned against from moving past the anger stage to vindictive rage to various degrees.
So – I caught another case, and again I was able to get the charges reduced: for God was not ready to save, just yet, or perhaps more accurately stated … I was not ready to surrender to His Lordship. To top this all off, I had now developed a fear – a fear of losing everything that I had worked so hard for. So I took the plea to keep from going to prison, which I feared terribly.
Fear of losing everything can keep oneself from calling out to God for His help also. And the devil is the master of leading one to believe that without family and friends, one is nothing. But the truth is, that without God, one is nothing. I got two years probation, and more counseling. But nothing had changed, because I still had my loved ones with me to help me feel safe and secure (albeit, it was a false sense of security), thus I was not alone. And what I did not know yet, is that their strength could not defeat the devil.
By now the devil had complete control of me, and he could use me at any time and place he chose. Then a few years later, I let my out-of-control-curiosity (which I now know to be sexual lust), trap me once more.
I did the unthinkable, yet again. But now I was in complete despair, and I cried out to God one more time for help. I believe that it was at this point that God knew that my supplications were sincere and from the heart, because this time I heard that voice. It was the same voice that I had heard when I was eight. And it said, “Just trust in me and everything will be alright.”
I caught another case. Three strikes and you’re out, right?!
But now I hated myself to the point that the fear of losing everything didn’t matter anymore. So I decided to put my trust in that voice.
Let me tell you, if I could have committed suicide with the assurance that it would be 100% okay on the other side, I would have. But I couldn’t think of a surefire way. So in tears this time, I prayed once again to God, and asked Him for His forgiveness.
I then told my lawyer that I was guilty, and to do whatever he had to do. I was through, and I could no longer go on living this kind of secret, double lifestyle: I wanted my life to end.
My lawyer felt compassion for me, and told me to hang in there for the sake of my children, saying, “They need a father.” But what good is a father, I thought, if he cannot control his own sick lust and temper? How is he to teach his children right things, when he is living in the wrong? However, I cannot express what his words did for me. But now it was too late, for I was sentenced to prison for the wrong I had done.
Because I was so emotional when I arrived at prison, they thought that I might be suicidal, so they placed me in a cell next to guards where they could keep an eye on me. Not knowing for sure if God was with me, I began to pray.
I asked God if He was indeed with me. I said, “Show me a sign, Father God. Come in the form of a mouse or something, so I can know for sure that You are here with me.”
That night, a mouse ran across my cell room floor. From that very moment, I knew that God was with me. I invited God to come into my heart, and I started to read the Bible. I knew of God and His Son, Jesus Christ, from my youth, but I never really had a personal relationship with them. Prison changed all that, because now I was all alone. I couldn’t run away, and to add to that, no one wanted to have anything to do with me. And why should they? I had betrayed everyone’s trust. Nevertheless, this hurt – it hurt real bad. But God knew that this was exactly what I needed.
Then I read, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” (Luke 9:23-24)
And, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.’’ (Luke 14:26-27)
And, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (2 Cor. 6:17-18)
And, “Verily I say unto you, there is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30)
This was God’s great plan for me. For I had no idea, that at the time I heard his voice that I would come out from among them and be separate, but God knew. And as I continued to read further I found that God indeed truly loves me.
For I read, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” (Rev. 3:19)
And, “Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not though the chastening of the almighty: for he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole.” (Job 5:17-18)
After reading this, I thought to myself, what an amazing God! Therefore I must now share with others His wonderful love for us. Then I read, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23)
And, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servant of righteousness.” (Rom 6:16-18)
That explained a lot of me, because I truly was a servant of sin. And I was led to believe that I was the only one living in it. But we have just read, all have sinned, so I am not alone.
Then I read, “Behold, I (Jesus) stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” (Rev 3:20)
Wow! I had heard God’s voice when I was eight, but what I lacked was, inviting him into my heart. I heard Him knocking at the door, but I didn’t open it to let Him in.
Then I read, “All things are delivered unto me (Jesus) of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and He to whosoever the Son will reveal Him. (Mat. 11:27)
Did you catch that? The only way to the Father is through Jesus, and Jesus only reveals the Father if He chooses to reveal Him to us. I am so thankful that He loved me enough to reveal the Father’s love and forgiveness to me. Have you ever heard the voice of Jesus calling you, or knocking at your heart’s door? He’s knocking right now, if you have yet to open the door.
Then I read, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. (1 Cor. 14:33). And, “For the wages of sin IS death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom 6:23)
Thank God for that precious gift!
Then I read, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6). That’s what he said earlier in Matt. 11:27, But how, I thought, does one come to Jesus?
Then I read, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” (Rom 10:9-11)
That’s what I was lacking in my past: true confession. So I prayed and told God that I indeed did believe that Jesus came, and died, and rose again for me. Even though I lost everything of an earthly nature when I came to prison, as my family abandoned me, and my wife of 17 years divorced me, and all my worldly belongings and friends … I have established a permanent relationship with the living God that remain throughout eternity!
God also took away the swearing, the compulsive masturbating, the sexual lust, the hate, the anger, the malice, the depression, and the shame, and made me a new creature in Jesus Christ: full of love, compassion, long suffering, faith, meekness, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, and temperance. Praise God!
When he fully opened my eyes, I realized that I had caused a lot of people in my life to have to suffer needlessly. I wept bitterly for this. I prayed to God, and asked, Why?! Why did I cause all this suffering?
God answered back, saying, “My son – I allowed suffering to come upon you, to bring you into subjection, and repentance, because of my great love for you. I must do the same to them also, to bring them into subjection and repentance, because of my great love for them. I used you, son, to allow that to happen, just like I am using you now to touch others that will affect their eternity.”
It was then that I became fully aware that I was not in control of my life; for if I was, I would not have allowed myself to suffer! That’s when I realized there is a greater power than any of my own. Then he led me to these passages, and I read, “Though he (Jesus) were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered.” (Heb 5:8)
“And we know that all things (all things) work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” (Rom 8:28)
Lord, how I would that I could tell all those that I have hurt, how God is able to turn a curse into a blessing. Remember Saul, who God renamed Paul? I have had a lot of people tell me that a man cannot change from the cycle that he has put himself into; but that is a lie, because I also read, “With men, it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.” (Mark 10:27)
And, “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (Rom 8:31)
If you have done something that you feel can never be forgiven – please – read God’s Word in this testimony again, and know for certain, that God truly does love you, and wants to be part of your life. Repent, (Repent means: change the way you think which will then free God to give you power to change your actions) and ask God to come into your life, and start reading your Bible.
For it says, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. “ (2 Tim. 2:15)
And, “For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us.” (Is 33:22)
And, “I even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgression for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Put me in remembrance: let us plead together; declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.” (Is 43:25-26)
“And Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chose thee in the furnace of affliction.” (Is 48:10)
And, “But now, O Lord, thou are our father, we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” (Is 64:8)
Again, I may of lost everything worldly, but what I have gained through Christ Jesus outweighs all that. Praise God!
Then I read something so wonderful that I cried tears of joy. For I read this: “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Prov. 22:6)
And, “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shall deliver his soul from hell.” (Prov. 23:13-14)
And, “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” (Prov. 19:18)
The appreciation of my parent’s great love for me I would of never known, had it not been for God’s unconditional love for us all. And even though my dad is gone now, I would just like to say, Thank you Dad and Mom for teaching me right things, and for not holding back the rod: for I am alive now, and doing fine. Hallelujah! Praise God!
If people only knew the truth about God’s Word … Jesus said, “If ye continue in my Word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32)
And, “By mercy and truth iniquity is purged; and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil.” (Prov. 16:6)
And, “He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul; but he that heareth reproof gets understanding. The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honor is humility. (Prov 15:32-33)
And, “Hatred stirreth up strife; but love covers all sins.” (Prov 10:12)
And, “Behold, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, in as much as your are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy” (1 Pet. 4:12-13)
And, “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons into glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (Heb 2:10)
Finally, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour; whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered awhile, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion forever and ever. (1 Pet 5:6-11)
Thank you for reading these words the Holy Spirit has inspired me to write. I pray that God has touched you somehow through them … to His eternal glory.