I once had a guy try and tell me that Ďthe reason I was gay was because of the relationship I had with my father.í Now Iíve had many people tell me that, and at one time thatís what I believed, but what made this one stand out was my response to him. I started laughing (because I had a sudden realization). Then I asked him, ďDo you know anyoneÖ anyone at allÖ someone whose brotherís sisterís, father-in-lawís sonís college roommateís best friendís little brotherís step-dadís daughterís friendÖ who has had a good relationship with their father?Ē
I was a Christian for nearly sixteen years, and in that time I have seen just as many bad Christian fathers as I have ever seen outside the church. And quite frankly, inside the church itís worse because the fathers can be abusive and the children have to take it because theyíre Biblically obliged to submit to their parents. Absalom and Solomon had a rotten father, but they werenít gay. Isaacís father tried to kill him, but he wasnít gay. Cainís father was Godís first son, and Cain didnít turn out so well (at least according to legend).
Parenting plays a big role in the upbringing of a child but letís face it, most of us have had some difficult times with our parents. Even if our parents tried to be good parents, theyíre only human, which means that many mistakes were made. Even Jesus had issues with his parents. Thatís just the nature of growing up on planet earth. And there are certain issues that will get exaggerated and certain problems that can be created by certain styles of parenting, but thatís like saying a bad parent can make you shorter, or taller, or a different sex all together.
I like to use the metaphor of a child flying a kite. The child is small, and getting the kite into the wind is challenging. If the childís parent is there to help that child, then the kite goes into the air easier because the parent has the height and know-how to lift the kite. Without the parent, the child may have a harder time. Either way, the kite will still go into the air and will still fly once the child figures out how to use the wind. To some that may seem rather simplistic as they believe that Iím not dealing with the core issues of parent child relationships. So let me just add one little change. We are that kite. Our parents are here to help us and guide us so that we may soar into the wind like the kite. Some of us didnít have the parental guidance we needed, and we found that we had to struggle harder to get our kitesóour soulóinto the air. But we did it. Once in the air, what happened on the ground is no longer relevant (provided we break the strings that tie us down and prevent us from soaring). That doesnít mean it didnít hurt. That doesnít detract from what happened. But even if you had the best parents in the world, youíve still got to get off the ground. Your parents can only get you so far.
onversely, thereís only so much they can do to hold you down too. The soul was meant to fly, and every soul wants to fly. So any soul that opens up even slightly finds itself discovering ways to hoist itself into the winds of change.
Thatís where forgiveness comes in. And when I use the term forgiveness, Iím not talking about forgive and forget, Iím talking about losing yourself in God, and allowing God to become those areas in your life where you feel that you have been damaged. For instance, in my case, my father took away from me my right to defend myself. He used to laugh when other kids would beat me up, but he would never allow me to fight back. I grew up thinking that I wasnít worth defending. In the forgiveness treatments that I did for my father, several things happened.
First of all, I acknowledged everything I believed my father did to me that caused me pain and grief. I didnít just acknowledge, I got in touch with the anger, and I wrote it all down on paper in big dark bold letters. I told him everything that he did and why I hated him.
Then for everything that I felt was taken from me by my father, I acknowledged that those very aspects were found in God. God became that parent that would support me, and would stand up for me, and would teach me how to defend myself. God became what I needed in a father, and he did it far more completely than my original father ever could. But then something really bizarre happened. I realized that those very aspects that I found in God were also in me. That meant that I was everything I needed.
Once all this happened, I then turned my need to judge my father over to God. While this wasnít exactly easy, it wasnít hard either. It was mostly just dealing with the ego and the ego wanted retribution for the sins that were committed against me.
Just like in Peter Pan, ĎIn order to fly you have to think happy thoughts,í and the only way to get happy thoughts is to learn to forgive. Now please understand, Iím not saying that you have to deny every bad thought that comes into your mind. Thatís just denial. What Iím saying is that itís imperative that we realize that our emotions affect our bodies. Anger and hatred are toxic, not just to the personality, but to the body as a whole. I heard an interesting quote: ďYouíre not punished FOR your anger, youíre punished BY your anger.Ē Emotions are like water. When water is bad, we boil it to purify it. When emotions are toxic, we use forgiveness to all them to run free again. Sometimes humor can help. Iíve had amazing luck with humor. Sometimes when emotions are a little too much for me, I make fun of them. I over-exaggerate their outcome as a comedian on stage would, and that helps me purify them.
That doesnít mean that the experiences of the past are meaningless, it just means that we give them new meaning. Instead of accepting the label of victim, we turn our experience into something completely different. This also applies to those who hate us because weíre gay. We canít make them change, but we can ďoutliveĒ them. In other words, as we live to our highest potential through forgiveness and compassion, we will see some powerful changes: both in us and in them.
But I want to talk about what Iíve been through, my fight for fifteen years to ďovercomeĒ homosexuality and why I suddenly gave that up. I now believe that we can be spiritual; find God; AND be gay. And this isnít because weíre making some sort of concession, but because God really doesnít care who you sleep with.