Beacon Light: I struggled with sexual identity while writing song ‘Jesus Loves Me’
Beacon Light told Rapzilla in an interview that the writing process of his remake of the famous hymn “Jesus Loves Me” was difficult, for a reason more painful than writer’s block.
In “Jesus Loves Me,” track No. 10 of his album Open Eyes, the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based rapper shared his Christian testimony. From third grade until middle school, he was sexually abused by a family member.
“There were some identity issues that were going on there,” he said. “even, for me, questioning my sexual identity in middle school.”
Eventually, Beacon Light’s troubles mounted as his parents divorced. He grew up in a Christian home, but he didn’t understand why he had to through all of this if God loved him.
“For whatever reason, I interpreted God’s goodness through other people’s actions,” he said, “and I think there’s that internal struggle that everybody has … they know that God is powerful, and he’s able to conquer anything, and so therefore you’re kind of like, ‘Why is this crap happening?'”
Beacon Light blamed his abuse and parents’ separation on God. In rebellion, he pursued parties, drugs and sex, all which left him even more broke.
“A lot of times,” he said, “we look at all these situations in life and we blame God for them, but really they’re a result of people not following God. And God’s the one who redeems. God’s the one who healed my heart of all that stuff and really brought me to a place where I can talk about these issues openly and genuinely be healed.”
As a healed Beacon Light wrote “Jesus Loves Me” years later, having since been married and had a daughter, he said that he experienced some of the identity issues that had plagued him during childhood.
“Actually, the third verse that came out was pretty crazy ’cause I really feel like for a moment — and this is where … I believe solid theology and all that, but, you know, anytime you bring in your personal experience with God, people always like to nitpick and be like, ‘I don’t know if that’s Biblical’ or whatever. But my experience was, as I was writing this third verse about the redemption, I was having this hardcore writer’s block, and I didn’t know why.
“And then it was like God allowed me to feel — I don’t know if he just took a hedge of protection off of me or what — but allowed me to feel that same confusion, like sexual identity, for like two hours while I wrote this verse. And it was hard. But I wrote this last verse just genuinely crying out to God, like, ‘I need you to heal me, cleanse me and all this stuff,’ stuff I haven’t felt in years.
“And it was almost like he allowed me to just experience that pain again while I was writing this last verse, and that’s what really drove that cry out to God of asking him to heal me. And then after we recorded the song, it was like it was gone. It was crazy.”
The pain Beacon Light went through to write “Jesus Loves Me” has become healing for others. Many viewers of the video have commented that they relate, and reactions at his live shows have been equally as impactful.
“I’ve had a girl come up that was being sexually abused by her father, and it was still happening,” Beacon Light said. “And that’s a hard thing to deal with, but I’m so grateful that God used [‘Jesus Loves Me’] to uncover that. I was the first person she told. She ended up talking to her youth pastor about it.”
He said another woman in her 50’s who had also never told anyone shared her story with him. He could relate, having not told anyone until he was 19 and had become a Christian. The second person he told was a guest speaker at his school who had written a book about sexual abuse.
“Talking to people, praying with people and going through that journey with other people in community is what brought me healing,” Beacon Light said.
“And so what I’ve seen be the most powerful thing is people who have been holding this in, who have been beaten down by this thing, who thought they were gay because they were sexually abused, who struggle with the sexuality because of it, and then watching that song kind of unearth some things that where there that were under the surface in a healthy way — where they’re able to talk, cry about it, confess it, pray with other people, and it begins that journey of really being able to walk with a community through the issues.”
Watch Rapzilla’s three-part interview with Beacon Light about “Jesus Loves Me” below.
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