undefined Have you ever struggled with a conflict in your life where you had to choose something over another and which caused great suffering? You're probably thinking right about now that this is a silly question and thinking to yourself, “Isn't this just part of the human condition.” I agree wholeheartedly. Importantly though, this is a blog post about the conflict of some individuals who identify as gay and Christian, or maybe even some other particular faith, and who have difficulty blending these parts of themselves. As many of you know, I work with a lot of individuals who identity as gay and bisexual and/or gender variant and I have heard many stories of how family and friends have rejected or abandoned them for “coming out of the closet” or for being themselves; or vice versa, those being scared to be who they are for fear of these things. Could you imagine having this conflict? Most individuals find the task of blending one’s faith and sexuality daunting and I think sometimes their resolve of this conflict is to leave the church. Unfortunately, I see this more than I would like in my practice. I believe it's disheartening that anyone would have to struggle in blending their sexuality and faith, especially since sexuality and faith are usually at the core of one's being. At this time, you're probably wondering what I'm getting at. Although I don't identify with any particular religious denomination, while working with these individuals lately, I have been reminded of a Bible verse I've heard repeatedly. In Hebrews 13:8 it says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Although my explanation may not be elaborate here…I'm not a hermeneutic scholar so please forgive me; nevertheless, this verse is simply saying that Jesus is the same today as he will be any day and forever. You might ask how does this apply to someone who is gay, bisexual, or gender variant? Interestingly, when people "come out" sometimes others see these individuals as somehow changed. They are still the same person they are today as they will be tomorrow; nothing per se has changed about this individual except that they genuinely and authentically own who they are. The way this person cares hasn't changed…the way this person loves hasn't changed…ones ethics and morals hasn't changed. What does all this mean? It means that the next time someone you know "comes out", understand that nothing about this person has changed; they are still the person you know, the person you love, and the person you care about. Interestingly, it's sort of a paradox; although these individuals will be changed forever, they're still the same person today, tomorrow, and the next. I think it takes a lot of courage for someone to "come out" and to be authentic. Aristotle says, "Courage is the first of human virtues because it makes all others possible." If you're reading this, I enCourage you to find ways to also be authentic!

*Image courtesy of jscreationzs

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