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s time has passed and as I have spent time assisting people in furthering their walk with Jesus it is my firm belief the majority of difficulties people experience regarding sexuality and sexual orientation really have nothing to do with these issues.
Rather, I believe they instead wrestle with self-love, self-image, self-acceptance, self-actualization and self-esteem. When these truer issues are addressed in Jesus Christ then the sexuality and sexual orientation will naturally and without effort fall into place and its proper holy expression.
If you experience false shame towards yourself and your sexuality, you may also have difficulty relating not just with yourself but also with other people.
o, let's talk about relationships for a moment. By relationships, I don't necessarily mean long-term intimate relationships, but relationships also with peers, friends, co-workers, strangers.
Rather than go into a big list of various types of dysfunctional relationships, such as co-dependence, controlling, physical or verbally abusive, etc., I shall try to share some common observations of good and bad, positive and negative relationships.
First let's talk about the difference between sexuality and relationship. Sexual orientation is generally defined as the gender to which you are sexually attracted. I disagree with this definition. I believe the truer definition of sexual orientation is "the gender to which you are relationship attracted." Many people can experience sexual arousal or are perfectly capable of sexual relations with members of both sexes, male or female. However, the desire to live in life-long monogamous relationship lies more with one gender than the other. I, for example, was married for many years before I fully understood and accepted my truer sexual orientation. Though I was capable of normal sexual relations with a female, my deeper need and desire was to bond in relationship with a man, even more than my desire to be sexual with a man. Relationship is more than a physical attraction; it is an emotional and spiritual bonding.
Many people are dependent on relationships to have meaning and a sense of self-value and self-esteem. They need to be in a relationship to feel valuable and needed, striving to find some Love and acceptance. Some people falsely strive to find meaning and value in their lives through their jobs, and when they lose their jobs, they lose their sense of identity and self-worth. People who are dysfunctional in their relationships can often follow this similar pattern. Without someone, a lover or even a friend, you feel useless, unloved, and empty. When you join to another person in relationship, it should not be for the goal of finding completeness through the other person, but to share yourself with the other person. Most relationship addictions are just plain selfishness or a lack of self-value. You should strive to attain a measure of autonomy, whereby you don't "need" another person to have value and meaning in your life. Then when you do join with another person, you do so with the motivation and desire to share you life with the person, giving and sharing, and receiving in balance the same in return. In so doing, you positively reinforce to each other your self-worth, your self-esteem, and your individual abilities and strengths.
Many people abide in relationships that keep them less than what they should be, in a false world. If you are gay and married, this is a prime example. You enjoy the benefits of being married, social and societal acceptance, a certain degree of accomplishment, etc. But, you are not really you, are you? In not being yourself, fully and completely as a gay person, you are not showing Love to either yourself or your spouse. If you really Love your spouse, then you would desire the best for that person, recognize you cannot Love your spouse the way someone who is heterosexual can, not just sexually, but emotionally, bonding together, the "two becoming one." Instead, though you say you Love your spouse, you really mostly care about yourself, desire to maintain the status quo for your own self-preservation; you're often more concerned about yourself than you are anyone else. No matter how you justify it, it is not Love, it is not right for you or anyone else.
The same is true of other kinds of relationships that keep you less than you should be. If you are friends with someone, maintain a relationship with your parents, for example, so that you can receive some measure of what you think is Love but is really not, then you are living in a false world. You should neither live in a world of self-abuse or abuse of other people, nor should you be the author of it.
If you think you have to control other people, have to rule over them to get them to Love you, then you have no Love in the first place. Love does not control, Love is liberty, and it is freely given and freely received. If you think you have to control other people, then it reveals the depth of your own insecurities. Love is not possessive, Love is never jealous. If you have to control people to have them around you, then you've never really had any of them. Love begets reality, and what you have isn't real.
If you feel you have to be whatever other people want in order to gain their love and acceptance, then you may as well lie in front of a door and be a doormat. You are not a doormat; you are a child of God. You have your own gifts, talents, and purposes. If people cannot accept you as you are, then they are not worth the effort, are never worth the effort. You are not supposed to be a thermometer but a thermostat. What's the difference? A thermometer reflects the temperature of the room, it fluctuates moment by moment, whichever way the wind blows. A person who is a thermometer is one way with one friend and another way with another friend. Whereas a thermostat sets the temperature of the room. When a thermostat is set, no matter where the room, the temperature is the same. You set your own goals, your own personality, your own lifestyle, and walk in it according to the Law of Love and within God's plan for you. If other people cannot accept it, then move on. God will lead you to those people who will accept you.
You are not meant to be art hanging on a wall either. You have a right to your views and opinions, and you have a right to express them, within Love. If you are naturally shy and reserved, then rejoice in your particular gift, but if you are shy and reserved because you are afraid, then let that go. If you try not to be noticed, blend into the background like some art painting hanging on the way, for fear of embarrassment or rejection, then let that go. You should desire to share yourself with others, out of Love for them. Maybe you've been abandoned before, and you fear that if you share yourself you will be abandoned and rejected again, so you just sit there. You are afraid to share your thoughts; you don't trust people to accept them or you.
Being afraid of sharing your thoughts and fearing people will not accept you may also cause you to float from one relationship to another. You think something is wrong with you, so you don't ever get too close to anyone. If you did, then they might know what you are really like and reject you. So, you take care of the rejection for them, and never commit to anyone. You have a fear of commitment, a fear of self-revelation. You may have thousands of acquaintances, but very few close friends.
Of you may have a fear if you let someone get too close to you then you will lose your sense of self and self-autonomy. If you've experienced someone who is controlling in your past, or who intruded on your "space," then you may be reluctant to now let other people get close to you. You fear losing yourself, losing control.
Good and healthy relationships are based on mutual acceptance. Jesus said we are to Love other people to the same degree as we Love ourselves. If you don't Love yourself very well, especially if you have difficulty accepting your sexual orientation, then your relationships with other people may be hindered. If you think the world will reject you, or hate you for being gay, especially since you don't see being gay as acceptable to yourself, then you will be reluctant to be in relationships at all. As you gain confidence in yourself, learn to Love and accept yourself and your sexuality, then you will be better able to form and keep relationships.
Successful relationships are founded on unconditional love. It is said a friend is someone who knows what you are really like and still like you anyway. It is said a good intimate relationship is when you've learned to Love what you like the least about your lover. Successful relationships are founded on mutual acceptance, and recognition that Love is not just feelings, but a decision, a commitment, a dedication and devotion.
Successful relationships are not based just on mutual interests and attractions, but in the respect for the differences in each other. Good relationships involved activities and interest outside of the relationship as well as mutual activities within it. It is when there is a good and healthy respect for the uniqueness of the other person, seeing them of equal inherent worth to God and to you. It is when you recognize, respect, encourage and nurture the gifts and talents within the other person.
Successful relationships are founded on open and honest communication. It is when there is a willingness to risk disclosure of self to the other, and know there is Love and acceptance in return. It is when you are willing to reveal yourself, be open and honest with each other. Communication is more listening than talking, trying to understand what the other person is saying and needs. It is a willingness to be there for the other person, empathy, support and encouragement. It is trusting that through giving Love you will receive the same in return.
If you want to know how to have successful relationships, avoid dysfunction, etc., then look at Jesus and how He relates to people. Model yourself after Jesus, our role model of friendship, commitment, dedication, and Love. Love like Jesus. Love is patient and kind; Love is not jealous, boastful or controlling. Love is not selfish, does not insist on its own way, nor does it keep lists of wrongs done to it; Love is never resentful nor gets easily irritated or provoked. Love never rejoices in wrongdoing, but always rejoices in the right things of life. Love bears all, hopes all, endures all. Love never fails. Romans 12:9-21; Ephesians 4:23-32; I John 4:20-21
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