Category Archives: Healing

Know that you are welcome

Not being welcome is your greatest fear. It connects with your birth fear, your fear of not being welcome in this life, and your death fear, your fear of not being welcome in the life after this. It is the deep-seated fear that it would have been better if you had not lived.

Here you are facing the core of the spiritual battle. Are you going to give in to forces of darkness that say you are not welcome in this life, or can you trust the voice of the One who came not to condemn you but to set you free from fear?

You have to choose for life.

At every moment you have to trust the voice that says, ‘I love you. I knit you together in your mother’s womb’ (Psalm 139:13).

Everything Jesus is saying to you can be summarised in the words ‘Know that you are welcome’. Jesus offers you his own most intimate life with the Father. He wants his home to be yours. Yes, he wants to prepare a place for you in his Father’s house.

Keep reminding yourself that your feelings of being unwelcome do not come from God and do not tell the truth. The Prince of Darkness wants you to believe that your life is a mistake and there is no home for you. But every time you allow these thoughts to affect you, you set out on the road to self-destruction. So you have to keep unmasking the lie and think, speak and act according to the truth that you are very, very welcome.

Henri Nouwen The Inner Voice of Love

 

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What (not) to do When Someone Comes out at Church.

This blog post is about what (not) to do when someone comes out to you in a church context. It is for pastors, lay leaders, prayer ministry teams and anyone in a pastoral position. It is also for anyone who is a Christian and want to respond in a Godly, appropriate way to LGBT people in their church and beyond. I am not a pastor, just a gay Christian who has had too many bad experiences and has heard too many stories where coming out has gone wrong at church.This is for all Christians, whether “liberal” or “conservative”, whether in inclusive churches or churches that “toe the line” with regards to a traditional understanding of homosexuality in the Bible. The reason this is for everyone is because everyone needs to know how to treat someone with respect, compassion and human kindness. Everyone needs to know which words are inappropriate and which will wound beyond belief.

English: Broken heart sewn back together

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He is sitting in front of you, hands clasping and unclasping, desperate to speak.

She has asked you for prayer but so far has just wept, unable to say anything.

They are glancing uncomfortably at one another, wondering who will be the first to say it.

Finally, from somewhere comes enough courage:

Pastor, I think I might be….

I need prayer because….

We need your help with…

Coming out at lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, telling someone you have desires (wanted or unwanted) towards members of the same sex, or potentially telling someone about your same-sex relationship, is nerve-wracking in any situation. And in a church context it is worse. There is so much riding on this. Our churches are our families in Christ and we want to be loved, held, listened to. And we are very scared. We remember every single word you have ever spoken up front about homosexuality. We remember it and we have internalised it.

If you want to truly love us and respond appropriately, then remember the following when someone is sitting in front of you and doing one of the bravest things of their lives:

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Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

I wrote a bit yesterday about Psalm 139 – The Inescapable God – and how God can almost feel too much (too much light – even the darkness is not dark to you, too much knowledge – how weighty are your thoughts, how vast the sum of them, too much comfort – You hem me in behind and before.)

And the big one:

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.

ammonite

I went away last year to the Living Waters Discipleship week (read more). One of the things we were asked to do right near the beginning was to say that line – I am fearfully and wonderfully made – out loud. About ourselves. And I wanted to. I love that line. I love telling people that line if they are hurting and in need of comfort. I affirm with all my heart that God makes each one of us and makes us beautiful, unique, worthy. I wanted to say it for myself too.  But I couldn’t. The words got stuck in my throat. I couldn’t say it because on some deep level I didn’t believe it. Honestly, I felt uncomfortable. I felt ashamed. I wanted to run away.

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