Perry Noble, the former NewSpring Church senior pastor, has shared how God healed him from the "soul destroying" shame he experienced after enduring years of sexual abuse as a child.
"I remember like it was yesterday. It happened when I was about 5 years old. There was an older guy in the neighborhood" who coerced him, Noble shared.
"The whole time it was going on, I knew it was wrong. It just felt wrong, but I felt helpless, and afterwards I felt hopeless. A few years later, it happened again, I was sexually abused by a different person," he said, revealing that for "years and years I felt the chains of shame were wrapped around me."
"I thought it was something I had caused, and because of that I held it inside and I didn't tell anyone. As I look back now I see what was happening was that my soul was being destroyed through the chains of shame," he said.
However, when he was in his twenties, Noble felt God telling him, "you need to talk about this. You need to get this out, because confession brings freedom."
It wasn't until he was able to confess to several people that the "chains of shame" were finally broken and Noble was able to live in freedom.
To this day, the former pastor struggles with what happened to him, but said that "In Christ, I am not a victim. I can walk in victory. Victims never walk in victory. What happened to me does not define me. Who Jesus is defines me."
He added, "God was there with me, and every tear I cried, God cried with me."
Noble encouraged others who may have endured abuse to tell someone about it.
"What happened to you does not define you because in Christ we are greater than anything or anyone that has come against us," he said. "It wasn't your fault. What the enemy meant to destroy you, God is going to use to strengthen you and accomplish way more in you and through you than you can ever imagine."
On Facebook, hundreds "liked" Noble's video and offered words of encouragement for the former pastor.
"So many people need to hear this message...thank you for having the courage to be authentic and transparent... you are impacting people for God ....God bless you," wrote one commenter.
"God is so good! He is with us and we can walk in victory and freedom in Christ! Thank you for sharing, Perry! I too understand and get it," wrote another.
Dozens of others shared their own testimonies of overcoming sexual abuse.
"Thanks for sharing this," wrote one commenter. "I was a victim of my fourth grade teacher, I now 52 years old, I've have bottled this up for 44 years until a month ago, years and years of depression, alcohol abuse and substance abuse. The Lord has broken these chains, but I know deep in my heart that I have to praise Him daily to keep these chains separated."
"I thank you for your courage to find your voice. I too am survivor finding my own. Prayers as our tribe walks along our healing journeys," wrote another.
Noble is not the only prominent Christian leader to open up about his experience with sexual abuse.
Christian apologist Josh McDowell recently recounted how he was able to overcome his childhood trauma from seven years of constant sexual abuse with the help of a man who ministered the Word of God to him.
"I literally, before my eyes, I saw my life changing, my feelings, my emotions, my behavior, my attitude, little by little started to change," McDowell said, "and now I'm able to cope with it, to live above it, in fact I'm speaking on it tonight on how to heal the past pain."
He said his journey toward healing took place through "relevant truth from Scripture" and with the help of Christians who surrounded him. He encouraged others to stay within the truth of the Bible and within the body of believers.
"You don't want the Bible isolated," he said. "You want the Bible within the context of the church and the body of Christ in one another."