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t is important to pause, and remember here that many of these things just discussed are in and of themselves not wrong. Again, the results of long-term living in the closet, or going back and forth from it, are the warping of a good and healthy thing into a dysfunctional thing. Many of these things are not inherently wrong; most of them can be positive and have value and importance in life. But, here we are talking about them being misused, warped and not for the best, not edifying and bringing growth.
One of the first steps in living a healthy life as a gay man or lesbian woman is to acknowledge to yourself that you are gay. Instead of suppressing it, or repressing it, or expressing it in dysfunctional ways, try expressing it in the manner and form God intends for your life.
This desire to express it or at least acknowledge it has been occurring in your life all along, from childhood into adulthood. What has most often happened, however, is every time you've tried to think about, acknowledge, explore, or express it, you have quickly rejected or suppressed it. If peers, family, and society were more open and accepting of gays and lesbians, there might be less chance for negative channelling of same-sex sexual orientation.
For many people, this first step of acknowledgment doesn't occur until adulthood. Today, thankfully, many youth are finding more opportunities to be themselves, to be openly gay. They never experience, or experience to a lesser degree, denial, shame, or the closet. They are able to follow the natural and normal life developing processes through childhood and adolescence. I am seeing more and more gay youth who are growing up normal. They have always been out of the closet, going through childhood and adolescence openly gay, dating, having gay and straight friends, learning about their true self, their interests, tastes, desires and needs. As a result, they are what I often jokingly refer to as "boringly normal," meaning they are not exhibiting the many common dysfunctional behaviors and lifestyles seen in many gay adults. Hopefully, as more and more gay youth live their lives openly and freely, we will see less and less adult dysfunction. Hopefully, as more and more gay adults are able to see their sexual orientation in a positive light and openly live it in healthy ways, then we will see less and less dysfunction within the gay community.
In being open and honest about their sexuality, these youth do not need to find acceptance of themselves and their sexuality from peers, their family, or society, but just within themselves and from God. By seeing self in a more positive and accepting light, the youth is better able to stand and withstand any negativity going on around them about their sexuality. For example, in a similar way, if you know you are musically talented, then you not only see it as a special gift and blessing from God, but you are able channel it for the benefit of self and the blessing of other people. If you are confronted with people who misunderstand, reject or ridicule your musical gift, you have the maturity to recognize such things for what they are, reject them, and instead embrace yourself, God, and those who do support you. The same can be done with sexual orientation, see it as a gift from God, channelled positively for the blessings of yourself, God, and other people, and able to reject and negativity in all its various forms.
These youth have learned to not only to accept self, but also to express self in healthy and positive forms. God has a unique plan for each of us, different from anyone else. God wants you, spirit, soul and body, to be in balance and agreement with each other, and in their proper place and expression. God made you, just like those youths, and God is capable of showing you your path, revealing to you not only what God intends for your sexuality, but also for your family, career, relationships, etc.
We can look at these positive gay youths as role models and proof of the possibility of the natural positive development of gay sexuality. We can also see how people who are now adults, but who were unable to live openly as gay youths, can embrace those same positive developmental skills, and improve their lives.
But, in the meantime, until that day comes when the revelation of someone as gay or lesbian is a non-issue, we will continue to find people suddenly, at any age, coming out to self. Coming out to self can either prove positive or negative. If negative, it may lead to various dysfunctions, or continual denial or suppression. If positive, it will lead to the development of a good and positive sexuality, expressed in balance with the rest of yourself and your life path.
Just as God is three (Father, Son, and Spirit), and yet one, so are you three (spirit/heart, soul/mind, and body), and yet one. The real you is the inner you, and it is supposed to sit on the throne of self, your heart, your spirit. Who sits on this throne? If it is anyone else other than you AND Jesus Christ, you will find no peace, balance, and centeredness in life. Sex should not be seated on the throne of self, nor should your body, or mind sit there, either. How goes and flows your spirit is how goes and is the rest of you. If you have no peace in your heart, then neither have you peace in your mind or body. Trials, troubles, and struggles are common in life, but if your true self AND Jesus are sitting on the throne of your heart, then you will be able to find joy, peace, hope, faith, and balance in the midst of whatever struggles life throws your way.
Your body is an empty vessel that cannot do anything in and of its own strength. True, it has various chemical, electrical, and hormonal influences over the mind and spirit, but only if the mind and spirit allow. The body is a reflection of your mind and your spirit.
Your mind is similar to a computer, it spits out what has been programmed into it, saved to the hard drive. The mind thinks it has everything in which to rule, logic, and information. But, everyone can think of times when logic has taken you places you really ought not to have visited. The mind tends to also think in absolutes, everything is one extreme or the other, black or white, good or bad, positive or negative, and it self-limits itself in its choices, decisions, and opportunities. The mind can only fall back on what it already has at its disposal. The mind thinks it has the power, authority, and the right to rule your total self, but in reality it lacks the intuition, creativity, and ability to think outside of limitations and boundaries that is several of the core strengths of your heart. Without the control and guidance of your heart, your mind cannot give you the true vision you need. If is often said that knowledge is knowing a lot of stuff, but wisdom is know what to do with it all. Within your heart will you find the wisdom that your mind cannot possess.
Most of life is neither black or white, or good or bad, but neutral; how you choose to use something, act on it, or walk in it determines the rightness or wrongness of it. The Apostle Paul said that "...all things are lawful, but not all things edify." All things mean ALL, and that includes being gay or lesbian. Being gay or lesbian (homosexual) is just as lawful as being straight (heterosexual); the sexual orientation in and of itself is neutral. But, does it edify? Edify means to build up, to lead to growth and profit, to be positive, healthy, and responsible. The answer to that determines the rightness or wrongness of it. A person can choose to walk in his sexual orientation in ways that are positive, healthy, edifying, and responsible, or stupidly. If he chooses to walk in it stupidly, that is not a negative reflection on the sexuality, does not mean it is wrong in all cases and expression, but just that it is bad in that individual case due to that person's individual choices.
The Apostle Paul even goes further by saying that what might be lawful or acceptable for one person might not be for another person. This is why one person, for example, can enjoy a beer with his pizza, and another person cannot touch alcohol at all. The person who can abide should not look down on the person who cannot, and the person who cannot abide should not resent the person who can. Instead, they are supposed to support one another in their individual strengths and weaknesses, as members of the same family. Each of us have individual gifts, talents, and callings, and we have no right to tell another person their abilities are not needed, or are not allowed. Each of us have our own individual liberties in Christ, but we are not to flaunt them, or throw them in each other's faces, but to temper ourselves, out of respect for each other.
This is the example of walking in love, using the Love of Jesus as the tool to determine what is right or best individually and collectively. In all things, you are to hold up Love against whatever comes before you and compare them to it. If whatever it is, whether it be a person, teaching, belief, thought, action, behavior, activity, choice, feeling, etc., if when compared to Love they match, meaning it leads to your edification, growth, and profit, it is positive, healthy, and responsible, then it is lawful for you to do or be. If not, then this same Love will empower you to resist it, overcome it, or walk away from it. You no longer need ten commandments, or hundreds of rules and laws to know what is right for you, you just need the single law of Love; love is the fulfilment of the law. In every Christian, within you, this law of Love resides in your heart, there for you to use. So, use it.
When a person writes to me and tell me he struggles with accepting his sexuality, I know he really struggles with self-love, and self-acceptance. Somewhere along the road of life, his mind picked up teachings, thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and attitudes that he is somehow less than what is expected, less than what he thinks he should be, or less than what other people have told him he should be. And, somewhere along the line, he has "chosen" to believe, and own these beliefs. As a result of such ownership, it has become a part of him, and begins to infect, and influence him totally. This negative self-image moves outwardly to effect not only how he views himself, but how he views, interprets, and navigates through the world around him. Not liking himself very well, he has the potential of engaging in poor thoughts and images, and perhaps engage in unhealthy or dysfunctional choices and behaviors. He has centered in on his sexuality as an example, as proof of his lack of worth; but, in many respects, if he was not gay, he most likely would find something else to use to beat himself up.
According to the Apostle Paul, one of the first things a Christian is supposed to do is begin the process of "...being transformed by the renewing of your mind." This is the day-by-day, year-by-year continual process of deprogramming your mind, and reprogramming it to agree with your heart. The more and more your mind comes into agreement with your heart, and the two then expressed outwardly through your body, the more positive, balanced, and centered you will be. You are to take whatever the mind spits out, or rather "screams" and compare it with Love, and see if they match. If not, then rewrite the mind to agree with love, agree with your heart.
What so many people who struggle with accepting their sexuality forget is a very simple but very profound and powerful seed of truth. The whole time you have hated yourself for being gay, denied it, suppressed it, tried to change it, or not think about it... meanwhile, God and Jesus have been quietly living in your heart. Now and then, you may have doubted whether or not God was in you, sometimes did not feel His presence, but deep down you cannot deny that you know that you know that you know that He has always been living deep in your heart. If the God of the Universe has no problem living WITHIN you, even though you are... gasp... gay, then what "real" reasons or justifications can you come up with to have a problem living WITH yourself? After all, are you smarter than God? Know better than He? I think not.
So, when you get a revelation of this seed truth, and it gets planted in your mind, and allowed to grow, the more and more difficult it becomes to hold on to any self-hatred, or self-denial. Instead, the more and more you are able to see yourself as God sees you, and accept yourself as Jesus accepts you... without conditions. You no longer have any legitimate reasons to deny yourself your rightful place at the table, to not allow yourself the right to be your true and full self, to walk in all of your individual gifts, talents, and callings. You begin to see yourself as someone who has inherent dignity, value, and worth. You begin to stand up for yourself for such value, and no longer will allow anyone or anything to rob you of your birthright. Whenever your mind tries to fall back on its old ways, or tries to tell you that you are worthless, or wrong, your spirit puts it in its place, both by reminding your mind it no longer has any authority, but also that what it says about you is a lie.
This is the beginning of self-acceptance, the beginning of coming out to self internally.