“How do I respond when a loved one says ‘I’m gay’?” – by Charlene Hios

Overheard:

“I’m gay.”

(This is reblogged from Messenger Insight)

How do I respond when a loved one says ‘I’m gay’?

by  Charlene E. Hios, Executive Director, Bridging The Gaps Ministries

In today’s age of gay rights, in a culture that is affirming of homosexuality, many of us may know someone who self-identifies as gay or lesbian. This person may be a neighbor, a co-worker or friend. The “new normal” has us living in a world in which homosexuality may hit close to home.

Many Christians now must ask, “How do I respond when a loved one says ‘I’m gay’?” How you respond when they disclose that they believe they are gay or lesbian makes a world of difference in your relationship with them going forward. This is especially true if they are your child.

First, remember this is not about you. It is about that person. The desire for your loved one is that they be reconciled to God from this sin. You can, and must, extend God’s love while holding to a position that homosexuality is sin. (It certainly is not the only sexual sin identified in the Bible, but it is indeed one of them.) They can be reconciled with God from this sin and others.

Whether the disclosure comes from a family member or friend, their admission of homosexuality hits you hard, especially as a Christian. Your initial reaction is likely to be one of shock, disbelief, anger, hurt and guilt. You have started the grieving process. No, your loved one has not died; yet, with the news of their homosexual identity, but you have experienced loss.

Immediately, you start thinking of the dreams you had for your child. You may even start thinking about what others will think. You will wonder if you will even be able to face your friends, your family and everyone at church. Then your anger toward your child or your loved one will surface. How can they do this to you? All of these thoughts have gone through your mind in a matter of moments. Your loved one is standing right there before you waiting for you to respond.

Turn away from your anger or you will push them away. Turn your love for them towards them. They need you to show them that you love them. Embrace them! Say to them that you recognize that this was not an easy thing for them to do. Share with them that you know it took a lot of courage and that you are thankful that they told you. You are not endorsing their homosexuality but you are affirming their courage, their love for you and your love for them.

Although it is hard to hear someone say “I’m gay,” recognize that it is better than hiding it in the darkness. Praise God that they have brought their homosexuality into the light. Your loved one may sound euphoric or say they are more joyful than ever. Understand that the reason for this joy is that they have brought this deep dark sinful secret out into the open. They may not see it this way, but it is something you can take comfort in. Let it give you hope.

One of the most important responses is to listen to your loved one. What was their thinking process on this matter? Ask them when did they first “feel” different. Keep away from the word “why.” Continue to listen to their answers. Do not get defensive. You are fact-finding. This is about you learning their experience. This is not about you telling them yours. You want to understand their process of rationalization. Do not say, “Why didn’t you tell us?” Ask, “What kept you from telling us?” There is a lot you will learn by asking these questions and others.

Never bring up the matter of homosexuality, allow them to bring it up, and they will. They may give you books to read that express their thoughts on homosexuality. Read them. This allows more needed discussion.

Do not argue, but always bring the discussion to God’s Word, especially Gen. 2:4-25 that reflects God’s intended design. Step back and let the Holy Spirit move. As your loved one shares their journey, you should not affirm their conclusion; however, you can confirm the journey. Tread lightly and be gentle. Intercede before God for them. Your loved one wants you in their journey; otherwise, they would not have told you about it. Ultimately your desire is for them (and yourself) to be restored into the image of Christ. This involves a true, lifelong transformation from sin to Christ-likeness. Even in this most difficult of circumstances, God is faithful to extend His grace through forgiveness, reconciliation and restoration.

NoteCharlene Hios is the founder and director of Bridging The Gaps Ministries in San Francisco, Calif. She is a graduate of Golden Gate Seminary (GGBTS), and is studying for her Doctor of Ministry. A former lesbian who was washed, sanctified, justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (1 Cor. 6:11), Hios travels around the country speaking to churches sharing her testimony and speaking to how churches can minister compassionate truth telling and grace to a world impacted and affected by homosexuality.

Abuse Has No Switzerland

Overheard:

“There is no such thing as a bystander when it comes to abuse.”

The following is another excerpt from the book I am writing about my experiences being a Biblical counselor to abuse survivors:

Abuse Has No Switzerland

As I have mentioned many, many times in the past, “There is no such thing as a bystander when it comes to abuse!” Intentionally or unintentionally, we automatically side with either the victim or the offender. There is no neutral territory, no middle ground.

Abuse does not and cannot happen in a vacuum: it happens in relationships; it happens in families; ; it happens in churches; it happens in communities.

Evil people don’t look evil – they look just like everyone else. So, becoming aware of and sensitive to the warning signs of abuse and abusers is necessary if we are going to answer God’s call to rescue those caught in abuse.

Failing that, by default we provide aid and comfort to those who abuse because, wittingly or unwittingly, we ensure an environment where the abuser feels safe to carry out their evil against their victim(s).

There is a sense of desperation and hopelessness for many survivors that flows from the reality that most people around them do not recognize the signs and symptoms that indicate abuse is happening.

Ironically, despite such a large cross-section of the populace who have experienced or witnessed abuse, there is a veil of ignorance overshadowing the realm of abuse and oppression. It prevents these co-survivors from being aware that it is happening in the lives of others around them.

There are two main reasons for this that I have seen: First there is the self-denial and minimization that survivors engage in when considering their experiences. The abuse/oppression has been miscategorized as something else, or it has been minimized and declassified in their mind as abuse.

The second main reason co-survivors are unaware that abuse is happening in the lives of others is our human tendency to project our standards of behavior on to other people: “I can’t image (or, I would never think of) treating someone that way, so I can’t image someone actually being that evil to someone else.”

The result is that we call authoritarianism “a firm hand”, we call physical beatings “discipline”, we call verbal/emotional abuse “she was just angry and didn’t really mean anything by it”, and we call the isolating of victims “protecting them from the world”.

There are innumerable other ways we fall into this trap of corporate denial, but you get the idea.

The question is, then: How do we stop providing aid and comfort to this enemy?

First, we have to understand that it is never okay with God for one person to misuse or abuse another person!

Second, we have to commit to becoming better educated about the warning signs of potential abusers and the signs of ongoing abuse. Our hope is that this book will be a useful tool to help with that.

I cannot tell you how heartbreaking and traumatizing it is for someone who is experiencing abuse to have what is happening to them be ignored, overlooked, or – worse yet – discounted, minimized, denied.

Jennifer’s story is another example of how this happens in the church. Jennifer is a pastor’s wife. She grew up in an abusive and neglectful home. Her family of origin had stringent rules of behavior that allowed no margin for error. Violation of those rules met with such severe punishment that she still has scars on her back and on the backs of her upper thighs.

The punishment for violating the rules never took place in front of others – it was always reserved for when the family had withdrawn to the confines of the four walls of their home. So deceptive were the parents about the abuse the children were subjected to that they intentionally presented a false front to everyone around them.

In fact, the parents presented a calm and understanding face to the world at large when one of the children spilled something or allowed their voice to get too loud or used the wrong utensil to eat with. But this was only a front.

Jennifer describes one incident in particular when the family was at a church barbeque and picnic. She had been carrying a paper plate loaded with food toward the family table. Two other children who were running and playing collided with her and the plate of food got mashed food-side first into her little white dress.

She was horrified! Jennifer remembered her mother specifically telling her before they left the house not to get that dress dirty!

Terror-stricken and hyper-anxious about the severe beating she knew was coming, Jennifer wet herself. The shame she felt was overwhelming and she ran and hid inside the church – but not before she saw the dark look pass across her mother’s face.

The anxiety this little nine year-old girl experienced at that moment resided in the pit of her stomach clear up until she sat in my office at age 48.

The pastor’s wife found Jennifer cowering in one of the Sunday School rooms, having seen what had happened and having watched Jennifer run into the church. She felt bad for the little girl and her heart went out to her.

Sadly, however, this kindhearted, well-intentioned woman of God was convinced in her own mind that Jennifer’s reaction was due to embarrassment – not terror.

The pastor’s wife sat on the floor next to Jennifer, pulled the curled up, whimpering little girl on to her lap and began to gently rock her, gently trying to console her. She used reassuring words, declaring to Jennifer that everything was going to be all right, that there was nothing to be ashamed about, and nothing to worry about.

Jennifer wanted it to be so –so much so that she started to almost believe this kind and loving lady. When she weakly said, “My Momma’s gonna punish me real good,” the well-intentioned but uninformed woman failed to hear the firm resolve in the little girl’s tone.

Had she been better trained, her ear would have picked up the sureness with which that statement had been made and, perhaps, she would have pursued a line of questioning that would have cracked open the veil of deceit that concealed the long-term violence Jennifer and her siblings had been subjected to.

That was not the case, however, and the pastor’s wife eventually calmed the terrified little girl enough to coax her in to returning to the picnic area and rejoining the festivities. Jennifer’s mother gave no indication at all that she was in the least bit upset about the mess on Jennifer’s dress or that her daughter had shamed herself and her family by losing control of her bladder.

On the contrary: “Momma” was all smiles and laughter as if nothing had gone wrong at all.

Jennifer started to have hope, started to believe that the pastor’s wife had told her the truth and that this time, there would be no beating for breaking Momma’s rules.

She relaxed and started to run and play with the other children, even making light-hearted conversation with her mother a couple of times, gaining confidence in her hope because her mother was responding in-kind.

When the party broke up and the families gathered their things, Jennifer furtively cast glances at Momma, assessing her mood, searching for some sign that the feeling in the pit of her stomach could go away and never return.

The children laughed and compared stories about their adventures at the picnic, and the atmosphere in on the ride home was relaxed and easy — like a real family.

There was absolutely no sign that Momma was angry. In fact, Jennifer started to feel like maybe she had been forgiven! The stain on her dress was a reminder to her that Momma could not have forgotten the accident.

But, maybe Momma realized it wasn’t her fault. Maybe

The car was unloaded, their things were put away, and the children all headed upstairs to bathe and get ready for bed. The tight knot in Jennifer’s stomach began to release its grip.

She started to actually feel happy for the first time in — oh, she didn’t know how long!

“Jennifer?” she heard Momma say. “Get yourself up to my room.”

All of the anxiety-filled terror came rushing back with a vengeance, overtaking her little mind and heart so powerfully that she almost fainted. That meant the beating she had been falsely led to believe would not be forthcoming was about to be unleashed on her frail little body.

Of all the terror-filled moments of her life, she couldn’t remember one that was so intense.

She couldn’t feel her legs move as she climbed the long stairway to the second floor and moved to the large room her parents shared at the end of the hallway.

The only thought that kept racing through her mind was, “Ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod…” She couldn’t breathe through the fear.

To this day, the details of the beating she received that night are but few bright flashes of memory buried under an overriding sense of searing pain.

The violence and brutality that took place that night was a repeat of hundreds of other such incidents that would also be replayed hundreds upon hundreds of times more in the years to come, but with one marked difference – it seared her soul a little more with each stroke of the belt.

When the belt broke and the beating still continued, her mother continuing to wield the remaining piece at least to the point where Jennifer passed out, part of her mind mercifully escaped the scene, not recording the remained of the night in a part of her memory where she could recall it from.

School was out, so no one had reason to take notice that Jennifer was not around for over a week following the picnic. Her parents told the people at church that Jennifer was home “with a touch of a bug”, which was why she wasn’t with the family the following Sunday.

The other children did not let on that Jennifer had been laying on her stomach with cold compresses on her back and bottom since her last “discipline” session. No one was any the wiser.

Oh, and the pastor’s wife? She took them at their word — she had no reason not to, right?

She had no reason to believe that Jennifer’s statement, “My Momma’s gonna punish me real good,” was anything more than an frightened child’s overstatement.

She had no reason to think anything of the fact that none of the children in the family ever did anything that hinted of rebelliousness or mischievousness – they were just remarkably well behaved children.

The pastor’s wife had no reason to think there was anything untoward about a family with four school-age children where the girls were always pristinely dressed,  the boys were never scuffed or dirty, and the children were always, always, always obedient, compliant, and submissive in their demeanor to everyone. They never squabble or even tussled.

Good-hearted, well-intentioned people in the church who “Give folks the benefit of the doubt”,”Let’s not assume the worst about people”, “People are basically good”…these are nice ideas, but not founded in reality and not Biblically based.

Human beings are selfish and fallen, not “basically good”. Humans beings are scoundrels at heart and rebellious toward righteousness and justice.

God specifically warns us in His judgment oracle in Genesis 3 that men and women will tend toward selfish domination and overbearing approach to relationships – and we see it played out in the very next chapter when one brother beats to death (dare we say “physically abuses”?) the other.

We need to be better students of human nature – we need to study human nature from God’s perspective, not secularized psychology and sociology.

We, the Church, need to listen more attentively and be more prayerful about what we see and hear from those around us.

And we need to be more cognizant of the fact that, under the right set of circumstances, every one of us has the propensity to selfishly abuse others.

Only then can we stop believing that “it doesn’t happen here with our people.”

Only then can we stop pretending abuse isn’t happening.

And it is only then that we will start standing with and for the abused instead of with and for the abusers.

“SHE SURVIVED” it all.

It’s never “too much” to speak the truth about the vile wickedness of abuse and the damage it does to those who endure it. Awareness and honest conversation are necessary and needed if we are to stop this perniciousness.

Barbara C Rowe Author

bigstock-Battered-woman-lies-lifelessly-27172106

I have not addressed this issue in a long time, but felt compelled to share with you food for thought.

There is a woman who doesn’t really know what functional really is, pertaining to marriage.   A woman who has not really had a home to compare anything to, so she accepts whatever life throws her way…Complacent.  Abuse becomes part of her daily life, not believing it gets any better, or that she deserves any better.

One day she is going on with her daily routine of being a housewife and her husband, who is usually drinking….Snaps.  There is no apparent reason for it, but it just happens. Police come and he spends the night in jail, only to come home apologizing for what he had done, or pretends nothing ever happened the night before. The day after, varies, depending on his mood.

Finally one day she has enough and has the…

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Overheard:

“I always knew I should feel anger over the evil that was done to me; but until now, I’ve never been able to!”

The following is being reprinted with permission from the author, a multi-level abuse survivor:

“I really need this message to penetrate my heart like never before!

I have gone to counseling several different times over my lifetime. Six days ago was different though.

The premise of the counseling is transforming your mind with the Truth, God’s Word.

The root of my need always seemed to be about the consequences of my inability to process certain areas of life and each time inevitability the counseling session lead me back to when I was sexually abused as a child.

Over the years when it came to discernment of character I would feel that the wires in my brain were not connected like others. I don’t remember ever hearing that term but I did feel that was my reality. My counselor actually used those very words as what happens in the brain of someone who has been abused, specifically sexually.

I thought I was just somehow a little more understanding, loving, empathetic and forgiving than others. You know how God would want us to be. What a fool I have been.

O how the enemy has deceived me, masterfully for most of my life.

Well somehow through the grace of God I left my counseling session not only with my eyes open but something that had been seared in my brain for all these years reconnected. Oh God..I have believed the lies of a sexual perpetrator for more than 30 years.

This week the anger I have felt has been so intense I could have easily taken revenge without remorse at any moment.

Reflecting through the night I wake up feeling utter disgust unable to put into words at this sexual perpetrators behavior, lies and manipulation even to this day. Grooming anyone he can exploit, sexually, emotionally, or financially for his own selfish gain. For years this has been his behavior and continues to this day. How does he keep this going, he is very cunning and manipulative, full of lies and deceit.

One of his ways is to masterfully tell you what you want to hear, divide and conquer, he stops at nothing.

The destruction he leaves behind as he moves onto his next victims is deplorable.

Yes sadly enough he could be sitting beside you in church, raising his hands, using the right Christian lingo as someone who loves God, quoting scripture, even playing an instrument in your worship team. But all the time looking for his next victim.

A monster I would say, YES. God please stop Him in his tracks.

If you have been abused in your life seek connecting what was broken, don’t give up until you can feel and connect to the reality of the abuse. The emotion is intense but the only way to wholeness and hopefully the way to stop these sick souls. God help me to keep calm and let You serve the justice due. But please do it quickly!”

The True Nature of Homosexuality ~ by David Kyle Foster

The following is from a colleague of mine who is an expert regarding sexual brokenness and, in particular, homosexuality:
The True Nature of Homosexuality by David Kyle Foster
  by Pure Passion (Notes) on Friday, June 28, 2013 at 2:23pm

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” is a commonly quoted part of a dialogue in William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, in which Juliet argues that the names of things do not matter, only what things “are”.

In Act II, Scene II of the play, the line is said by Juliet in reference to Romeo’s house, Montague, which would imply that his name means nothing and they should be together.

Juliet:

O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?

Deny thy father and refuse thy name;

Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,

And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.

Romeo:

[Aside] Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?

Juliet:

‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy;

Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.

What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot, nor arm, nor face, nor any other part belonging to a man.

O, be some other name!

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet;

So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,

retain that dear perfection which he owes

without that title.

Romeo, doff thy name, and for that name

which is no part of thee take all myself.

Romeo:

I take thee at thy word:

Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptized;

Henceforth I never will be Romeo.”

(from Wikipedia)

I love this play (….except the part where they both die!) and especially love the point that Juliet is making. The principle (that the names of things do not matter, only what things “are”) speaks to our modern debate over the true nature of homosexuality. Of course, in the short run, names matter because people are often deceived when they are surreptitiously redefined, but in the long term, the criterion that will be used by God when He judges the earth will be “what really is”.

Historically speaking, the term “homosexual” was first used to describe sexual behavior with someone of the same sex. Over the past 40-50 years, however, revisionists have expertly manipulated cultural gatekeepers (-e.g., professional guilds, leaders of government, education, etc.) into redefining homosexuality as an innate, immutable, inborn and natural state – a change in definition that runs counter to its original meaning, and reality, as well as the divinely inspired biblical description.

In an article from Touchstone Magazine entitled “The Gay Invention”, R.V. Young states:

“Only in the late nineteenth century, when physicians began discussing sexual perversion as a medical rather than a moral problem in Latin treatises intended only for the learned and required a neutral, clinical term, was there a perceived need to refer to ‘homosexuality.’ Moreover, it is not at all clear that the originators of the term had precisely in mind what is usually meant by ‘homosexuality’ in contemporary parlance……..

……The ancient Greeks did not recognize the existence of the permanent ‘homosexual orientation’ that is nowadays taken as a given……..

……..St. Thomas Aquinas points out that while even simple fornication is ‘against properly human nature, of which the act of generation is ordered to the appropriate education of children,’ sodomy is ‘against the nature of every animal’ because it is not aimed at generation at all. Nevertheless, actions today designated ‘homosexual’ are for Thomas just one manifestation of lust among others; the commission of such sins, even the persistent desire to commit such sins, does not constitute a particular class of persons……….

………So our public language asserts the reality of ‘homosexuality’ as a permanent condition, though there is little if anything in our history (Greek, Roman, and Christian) to justify the idea and even some ‘gay’ theorists do not accept it. The imposition upon an ingenuous public of the terms ‘homosexual’ and ‘heterosexual’ required a prior bit of linguistic legerdemain, namely, the redefinition of ‘sex’ and the displacement of its principal original function by the term ‘gender.’

………Manipulated Words……..

Two linguistic developments over the past several decades have thus been effected by academic and media elites: ‘gender’ has been substituted for ‘sex’ as the designation of the distinction between men and women, and ‘homosexual’ and ‘heterosexual’ have been accepted as legitimate terms for distinguishable classes of persons.

The first development provides an official linguistic approval for the feminist notion that distinctions between men and women are based, not on the intrinsic nature of humankind, but on arbitrary social constructs. The second, conversely, asserts that the compulsion to commit sodomy results not from any disorder, moral, spiritual, or psychological, but from an inherent ‘homosexual’ nature. Apart from the obvious contradiction, further ironies are involved in these verbal manipulations.

……… ‘Homosexual’ and ‘heterosexual’ can only make even a modicum of sense if ‘sex’ means nothing more than carnal coupling in its myriad ways and is no longer associated with the natural complementary relation of men and women. To have recourse to this definition is, however, to rely on the social-constructivist relativism that drives the sexual revolution, which is an absurd basis for the assertion that ‘homosexuality’ is an innate condition…….

………Given the sinfulness of our nature and the mysterious blend of genetic features and external influences that shapes the specific character of particular human beings, it is probable that some individuals are, in fact, born with erotic proclivities toward persons of the same sex (or, for that matter, towards children or beasts or random promiscuity). Nevertheless, compulsive behavior arising from peculiar inclinations is not an adequate basis for establishing social institutions, much less for threatening those upon which society has long depended.”

(file:///Volumes/Documents/Writing/MISC%20RESRCE%20&%20ARTICLES/HomoWordDerivationTouchstone.webarchive)

After living with homosexual confusion for two decades and subsequently finding significant healing from those things that create the confusion, I among countless thousands of others can testify to the fact that homosexuality is a broken condition primarily, (if not exclusively), brought about by environmental factors that can be reversed and/or healed. All scientific experiments designed to prove otherwise have failed to do so. Additionally, we have a clear and unambiguous biblical witness to the disordered nature of homosexual attractions, plus over a century of serious attempts among psychologists to find a way of healing for those who struggle with it. I say “struggle” because like all other emotion-based disorders (-e.g., alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders and other addictive behaviors), unless the person sees it as a problem and is willing to do whatever it takes to change, they will be unsuccessful in changing.

What it is. . . . . . . . Moving on from terminology, let’s ask the more important question: What is homosexuality?

Biblically, it is one of many disordered conditions that result from a refusal to glorify and be thankful to the Creator God – a form of prideful worshiping and serving of created things rather than the Creator (Romans 1:18-23). It is also, in part, a blindness that results from God’s judgment of our sinful choices (Romans 1:24-32). No doubt, it can be a consequence of sins of the fathers that are passed down to the third and fourth generation of those who hate God (Ex 20:5; Num 14:18). From a biblical perspective, this could explain why there are those who experience homosexual inclinations from an early age.

In each person, the mix of causes is unique, as are their personalities, experiences and temperamental make-ups. Yet in Christ, all can be forgiven. All can be delivered from family-line curses. All can be healed.

From an “identity” point of view, the non-physical aspect of human sexuality is deposited in every soul in seed form during gestation. The seed, though dormant for the first 10-12 years, is always heterosexual because that is God’s design (Genesis 1:27-28; 2:18, 21-25; Mt 19:4-6). Thus “homosexuals” as a class of people “born that way” do not exist. The very idea is a myth birthed from semantic distortion. What you have are heterosexuals whose natural heterosexuality has not developed properly, whether as a result of damage or neglect.

Every seed, though dormant, needs to be watered and fed proper nutrients during it’s time of dormancy so that it can germinate at the proper time in a healthy manner. For some, the seed of heterosexuality gets damaged by abuse. It’s no coincidence that well over half of all homosexuals are victims of childhood sexual abuse. For lesbians, some studies show abuse rates as high as 85%. And abuse can come in many packages – verbal, sexual, physical, etc. Obviously, a fragile seed that depends on a healthy environment for proper future germination and growth is going to have problems overcoming abuse.

For others, the dormant seed of heterosexuality doesn’t receive the nurture and/or nutrients that are required for healthy germination and growth. It is no coincidence that the vast majority of male homosexuals never had a healthy, emotionally bonded relationship with their father (or father figure). Many were rejected by their dad. Some never had a dad. Others had a civil relationship with dad, but never connected emotionally for one reason or another. They were never mentored by him; never encouraged in their masculinity. Still others have been emotionally smothered by one or more females, some of whom may have had “issues” with men in general, and these young lads were rewarded only when they behaved in feminine ways rather than masculine. And so, for one reason or another, such fellows never got called out of identity with mom (which occurs naturally at birth) and into their true masculine identity – a transition which should happen between the ages of two and five. The corollary of such scenarios can also happen between a girl and her mom.

What we are talking about here is “arrested emotional development” caused by the damage or nutritional neglect of the soul in the area of sexual identity. The creational reality is heterosexual from the beginning, but the perception or “feeling” of that identity and the consequent self-coping behaviors to gain what is missing or repair that which is damaged is where things go wrong.

What God the Father does in the healing process of someone who repents of their sin and yields him or herself to the leading of His Holy Spirit is to re-start their emotional growth. As an intimate relationship is established with Him through Christ, He begins to heal the damaged areas and impart the developmental elements that went missing. And over time, the false homosexual identity slowly dies while the true inner heterosexual self gradually grows healthy and emerges as the predominant and true identity in their life. Any remnant homosexual feelings or memories are exposed as the dark shadows of trauma or neglect that they are and put away – perhaps daily – but put away nonetheless, using the power of the Holy Spirit. The old false identity no longer names or controls them but only serves as a reminder of what God in His mercy, through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ, has delivered them from. And what He delivers them into is even more exciting – everything they’ve ever needed in a relationship, but this time with God Himself, our Bridegroom!

How complete this transition is during someone’s life depends on numerous factors (a matter for another article). For quite a few, it will only be partial. Yet their obedient commitment to holiness, empowered by the Holy Spirit and born from love for the One who died to rescue them from death, will be just as pleasing to God as that of the one whose transition is total.

For more on a biblical perspective on what healing for the homosexual looks like, go online for my two-part article, Sexual Sin & Bondage: What Does It Look Like To Be Healed?

 

http://www.masteringlife.org/index.php/mastering-life/articles/homosexuality/item/25-sexual-sin-bondage-what-does-it-look-like-to-be-healed?-part-1

http://www.masteringlife.org/index.php/mastering-life/articles/homosexuality/item/26-sexual-sin-bondage-what-does-it-look-like-to-be-healed?-part-2

 

A Dad-ness Not Worth Celebrating

Overheard:

“Happy Father’s Day!!”

Standing and looking out the sliding glass doors overlooking the pond our back, a strong message resonates in my mind: “Yours is a Dad-ness not worth celebrating.”

Some will immediately run to chastisement, admonishing me that, “That kind of negative self-talk is unbecoming a child of God.”

Probably so. But this is not a message that I’ve dreamed up on my own. God has brought me down a very long path of healing. The Toxic Shame messages of my growing-up years have pretty much subsided.

No, the message that resonates so powerfully in my mind and heart today is due to the very poor job I have done as a Dad.

Granted, the years of abuse I suffered at the hands of my own father somewhat handicapped me in a lot of ways. But I’ve had a hand full of good examples over the years, men who loved God, cherished their wives, adored their children.

Too selfish – that was the greatest handicap I had to being the kind of dad God intended for me to be.

Too busy trying to prove I wasn’t as worthless as I felt.

Too focused on accomplishing things that would improve my image that I neglected to invest in the most precious moments of my children’s lives.

And too selfish in my need to feel loved that I couldn’t see the love they had for me that was free and unconditional – which was exactly the kind of love I needed and couldn’t receive.

The children have turned out pretty well in spite of my inability to sacrifice my selfish wants and needs to love them the way they needed and deserved to be loved.

They are strong of character, long on integrity, and their work ethic is par excellence. People like and enjoy them, consider themselves blessed to have them as friends. They are looked up to and admired. I like them!

What was missing were enough of the picnics, the fishing, the popcorn and movie nights. Missing were enough of the long walks along the river, teaching them a skill that would be worthwhile, and not anywhere near enough laughter!

What I did invest in them was a love and reverence for God and His Word that I trust is true enough and deep enough to be sure we will walk with Jesus together one day.

If I could go back and recapture any one of the lost moments, any one of those missed opportunities, any of the bad choices and turn them into good ones, I would do it in a heartbeat.

But I will never regret that they know and understand the nature and character of God to such a degree and such an extent that they have long known the He loves them more than I ever could –so much so that they realize His greatest love for them was shown them when He sent His Son to pay the penalty for their sins.

Jesus Christ is their personal Lord and Savior, of that I am sure and for that I am deeply and eternally grateful.

My life may not be much worth celebrating this Father’s Day because of what I got wrong, but I got the most important thing right: My children each know God as their Heavenly Father and rest confidently in His love for them.

I love them; I’m proud of them; I know I will see them in Heaven one day…

I can smile and know that, despite my worst, I done good.

Soli Deo Gloria