Healing Through Building The Body Of Christ
Every Christian is A Lazarus.
Jesus called Lazarus out of his tomb, and there the man stood to the
bewilderment of all those who had been his friends, and knew him to be dead
and rotting for four days. The impossible had been done! Jesus had raised
a man from the dead. The Lord then turned to his followers and commanded,
"Unbind him, and let him go." (John 11:44)
He repeats this miracle in the lives of those the church has given up on --
calling men and women out of the gay life, setting them free. The world
and the church say, "Impossible!" but it's happening all around us, and
the Lord is turning to His body and saying, "Remove their grave-clothes."
They can't do it themselves. They have been bound hand and foot. Although
they are alive in Christ, those from homosexual backgrounds need assistance
in shedding the old ways.
Every Christian is a Lazarus, inasmuch as everyone needs help becoming the
person God intends for them to be. Each believer is also in the position
of giving help to others, so it is a constant two-way street.
By becoming a Christian, we enter into relationships automatically with
other members of the Body of Christ. We become a part of the universal
church. But it isn't enough to float around, unconnected to an individual
fellowship. Lone Ranger Christianity won't facilitate healing from
homosexuality. Maintaining celibacy will be easy if you stay away from
everyone and be a hermit, but you never learn purity and self-control by
avoiding all situations that might provoke temptation. You learn how to
follow Jesus in the midst of tempting circumstances. Tempting
circumstances arise when you begin to give and receive love in the context
of the Body of Christ. God doesn't want us merely to learn how to stay out
of sin, He wants to teach us how to be transformed into His image. We
learn that by coming to love each other as he loves us.
You Have A Place In The Body
Specialized ministries like Love In Action act as a bridge for people
getting into the fellowship of the Body of Christ. It can never be a
substitute for the Body because it is too limited in its focus. It can
only provide a practice ground for relating to others and showing how the
Word of God can be applied in the life of someone coming from a homosexual
background. Real life is out there in the Body. Eventually, everyone must
make the transition away from getting their spiritual nourishment from a
specialized ministry, to getting it in a local body.
Every member has a function, a place in the body of Christ. (I Corinthians
12:12-21). It takes a while to find out what our place is in the local
body. Church-hopping makes discovering how to fit in hard because there's
no continuity in relationships. The best thing to do is find a fellowship,
as close to home as possible so that distance doesn't discourage you from
going, then stick with it for a year. You have to figure that it takes at
least a year to begin getting names and faces straight, let alone build
Relationships aren't built in the 15 minutes shared over coffee after
Sunday morning service. A decision to get involved with a small group,
like a Bible study or a prayer meeting, is also important. On a more
informal basis, volunteering for jobs is an excellent way of getting to
know people. It offers the chance of chatting yet the focus is on a task,
so that the burden of conversation doesn't fall on one or the other person.
Practice being a good listener; be interested in others. They will be all
the more willing to get to know you better, too.
If you have gifts in the area of leadership, teaching, or something that
would tend to make you a higher profile in a group, play it down for the
time being. You are the new kid on the block. Don't breeze in and act
like you are going to take over. That will alienate most people, and those
who are attracted to that may make a rash decision to give you
responsibility that you may not be ready for. This is especially true
where the pastor or the congregation has the burden for ministry to
homosexuals. It's all too easy to allow someone not stable enough
spiritually to undertake ministry in this area when the need seems to be so
Faithful attendance to the basics, like Sunday morning service, as well as
things you've committed to, will increase your chances of getting to know
people. And it gives God more room to move in working out some of the
personality quirks that you have.
Healing In Spite Of The Past
No one likes having the quirky things about themselves exposed, and there
can be temptation to be in control of emotions, circumstances, anything,
rather than allowing anyone to find out who you really are. Yet becoming
free enough with each other to expose the bad parts is exactly what God
wants. Taking that risk and being vulnerable enables others to love you
out of bad habits you may have developed or just to love you and reinforce
the good things that are there.
Fear of being hurt may prevent you from allowing your real self to emerge
through. Being that much in control means no one around you dares take
their masks off either. It inhibits the two-way communication God desires.
It doesn't help if you are harbouring out-and-out resentment and bitterness
against Christians or the church in general because of something that
happened to you along the way.
Some bad things have happened to believers coming out of homosexual
backgrounds that have given them cause to be angry and hurt. Some have
told us in counseling that they admitted to have homosexual struggles in
confidence to a pastor, then found themselves a hot item of gossip in the
church a week later. Others went for counseling and ended up in gruelling
deliverance sessions that seemed to do no good -- homosexual desires
continued to plague them. In despair they got the idea that maybe God had
already given up on them, and the counsellors didn't pursue any kind of
follow-up to encourage that person. Others have shared that they were
disfellowshipped for sexual sin. We have no way of knowing if such a thing
was done legitimately or not, but usually there was a lack of understanding
and a sense of failure and rejection that hounded them.
Forgiveness is the key. Harbouring those ill feelings will act as an
obstacle to healing fellowship. Christians make mistakes, and those from
homosexual backgrounds must extend the same mercy to others that they
expect. God's gift of His Son gives us the power to let go of deep hurts
by allowing the blood to cover the past, "I, therefore, a prisoner for the
Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been
called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one
another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of
peace." (Ephesians 4:1-3). Don't make the local body "pay" for the hurt
you have received by absenting yourself. "...if we walk in the light as He
is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of
Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:7).
Common Obstacles To Watch For.
There are a few other things that can crop up and discourage the believer
from pursuing fellowship in the Body of Christ. If you know they may
arise, you can be all the more prepared to fight through them. Here are
some others we see in counseling:
% Being influenced by backslidden or marginal Christians.
As you get to know people in church, you'll discover who wants to go on
with Jesus and who is just playing the game. Those who are compromising in
some area of their life, particularly if their backgrounds are similar to
yours, are going to bring you down. "Do not be deceived; bad company
corrupts good morals." (I Corinthians 15:33). Hunt out the Christians who
share your goals for becoming conformed to the image of Christ.
% Fearing anyone telling you what to do.
Part of being conformed to Christ's image is coming into submission to
others to the extent that those who care about you are able to say, hey,
there's something wrong here and maybe we can work on it. Rebellion rears
its head, and the desire to tell someone where they can get off may be
tempting. Running the other way becomes an attractive option! There are a
lot of folks with critical attitudes who just pick at people for their own
pleasure, but there is also the place to accept a word of reproof or
admonishment from someone. Obviously it has to be a trust relationship for
this to work, but some good things can come of being close enough to others
that they have that kind of input into your life. "...God is treating you
as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? For
the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it
yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained
by it." (Hebrews 12:7,11).
% Creating barriers because of the way you dress.
We can assume that Christians on the whole know better than to make
judgements about someone based upon the way they are dressed, but there are
some things that have been carried over from the past that used to make a
statement about who you were that really don't apply any more. Immodest
dress on men, for instance, that used to advertise availability -- needs to
Women from a lesbian background who wear their jeans as a badge of honour
and independence may need to examine what it is exactly that they're
protesting. Often it says less about what they used to be and more about
what they didn't want to become at all costs. Stereotyping women in
traditional settings is as much of a problem as straights making
assumptions about all gays. Wearing a dress and high heels doesn't make a
woman less of a person. And it won't make a woman from a homosexual
background into a Suzy Homemaker either. Women who cling to masculine
attire often are in need of healing where their femininity is concerned.
That's a root hurt. But the symptoms can alienate those who could do the
most good in helping overcome those wounds: hostility, suspicion, arrogant
self-sufficiency. None of these exactly invite friendship.
Don't make radical changes in dressing if it was a part of your identity.
Better to do it gradually, as you see the sense in it. A sudden change is
liable to make you self-conscious, and that will make you feel like
everyone is looking at you. It's hard to keep your composure if you feel
ill at ease. If it is a matter of modesty though, do it before it becomes
a stumbling block to someone else.
% The relationship you desire most is probably the one you can't have.
In the search for a best friend, it is often the case that the person we
decide would be perfect is not interested or is simply unavailable. "You
ask and do not receive because you ask wrongfully, to spend it on your
passions." (James 4:3). God is in the process of purifying your motives.
It doesn't necessarily mean that that person will never be your friend, but
by the time this happens you may not care as much anyway.
% Not availing yourself of those who are around you.
Satisfying friendships very often come when we least expect it. Folks we
would never guess to look at could be our dearest companions in Christ.
"...Learn to put aside your own desire so that you will become patient and
godly, gladly letting God have His way with you. This will make possible
the next step, which is for you to enjoy other people and to like them, and
finally you will grow to love them deeply." (II Peter 1:6-7 LB).
Finally, building and maintaining relationships is the most difficult task
in life, yet, next to your friendship with Jesus, will reap the richest
rewards. You will become a whole person as you learn to love others as
Christ has loved you. That's the key to the Gospel, and the key to
For further information about homosexuality or about other areas of sexual
brokenness, please contact:
LOVE IN ACTION
G.P.O. Box 1115
ADELAIDE SA 5001
Phone (08) 371 0446
This article is reprinted by permission from
1821 University Ave. So., #S-180B
St Paul, MN 55104
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