People often come up with funny analogies to describe God – “God the Artist,” “God the Teacher,” “God the Composer,” or “God The Counselor,” to name a few. The most interesting one I heard recently was “God the Theme Park Ride Restraint System,” holding us in safely through the ups and downs of this crazy ride called life. While God is in some respects all of those things and so much more to me, I have been reflecting lately on a new analogy that I feel applies to my own life: God The Restoration/Renovation Expert.
Before you dismiss this as proof that the radically liberal Christian bisexual has finally gone and flipped his lid, let me explain what I mean by that.
When I was much younger, I recall reading a magazine article that really stuck with me about the ability to take something which seems utterly damaged, destroyed, broken down, ravaged and worn and restore it to something new, wonderful and beautiful. It concerned a small businessman who had purchased a once successful but now closed down business. It was in a building that was close to being condemned, falling apart and in severe disrepair and a shadow of its former self on a dirty lot filled with garbage, trash, old paint, water damage, broken glass and the like.
Most people would have torn it down and started all over, but this gentleman opted not to do so. Instead, he lovingly took the time to clean it up and rebuild it, restore it to its former glory, the way that some would do with an antique car, or piece of furniture. And I was truly amazed at the “before and after” photos which accompanied this success story. Looking at the before, one would not have begun to imagine that this type of renewing and revitalizing transformation from a dump into a very successful business would have worked. It was truly amazing to see, and it was obvious that when he saw the situation, rather than throw up his hands in despair and get frustrated and destroy it, he became inspired and decided to put all of his love into it and make it a new, improved and better creation.
God did something very similar if not the same thing to me as a person, and in my opinion does the same thing to us when we have lost touch, and have allowed years of build up and wear to form on their hearts, causing them to lose touch with the original glory God intended them to have as a Divine Inspiration, a unique creation, and all that God intended for them to be.
God had some major refurbishing work to help me to do, when I finally came to God in need of some serious repair work. Like an old piece of furniture created fresh and new but over the years being painted over with layer upon layer of colors ending up obscuring the real hue underneath and having been subject to nicks and scratches and wear and tear and use, I had allowed years of negative ideas about God, negative ideas others had given me about myself, and my own negativity to build up layer upon layer of “build up” and “painted over colors” and in some cases some pretty nasty “scratches” which both prevented me from being my true self, the one God made me to be and prevented me from developing the necessary faith in God to overcome these obstacles. The real Creation was obscured under all the wear, tear and muck.
Although we may take note of the great accomplishments humankind has made or the beautiful acts of love and kindness we have seen others commit as testaments to the Glory of God, I think it is often a little more difficult to imagine God’s glory being made present and revealed from within ourselves as individuals. I cannot speak for anyone but myself, but I know that it really took me a long time to think of myself as possessing any type of “glory” within, let alone any that God would bless.
A little backtracking: For those who don’t know me, I am a Christian in the sense that I have a very deep faith in a God of Love that Created and is present in all. Although I feel that God is present in all spiritual paths, I feel that the true nature of God was manifest and best represented in the teachings of Jesus, who I feel was both human and Divine. I also feel we all are both human and a part of the Divine, as we are all the part of the same God. I feel that Jesus Spirit lives on eternally, and guides me.
In that regard, I share common ground with many other Christians. The difference comes in when I say that I am also am a bisexual man, and happily in a relationship with a wonderful bisexual woman; she is intimately involved with a woman as well as with me, and I am intimately involved with a man as well as with her. Everyone knows and is supportive of each other; there is no deception and there are no lies or secrets in these relationships, which are not frivolous, meaningless and empty but serious, committed and caring. We are supportive of people in all types of relationships and choices and lifestyles, providing they are all mutual, honest and consensual. But getting to the point where I knew that God loves and accepts me for who and what I am regardless of what others might say, was some major work.
I have talked with others in my life who want very much to be able to reconnect with God’s Glory, God’s Love, and develop a personal relationship and faith in God. Yet they, like I had at one time, have the wear and tear and the layers of spiritual dust, rust and coats of old paint that I did. So I opted to take this opportunity to share how I was able to reconnect to God’s Glory and be “restored.” I’m going to attempt to describe the steps I went through in this process, although I am sure for others there would be differences. It may seem very contrived and cliche to turn my points into an acronym, but in this case, it happens to work with the word, “Glory“, so here goes:
We’ll start with G. In this case it stands for “Get rid of old, negative, outdated, baggage and negative ideas about God.” This is the first layer to be stripped away. This means letting go of old, spiritually hazardous, potentially theologically dangerous if not invalid, toxic-to-the-soul and negative ideas about God, Christianity, sexuality, beliefs and so on. Reevaluating and redefining old, self-defeating doctrines which are potentially harmful to or prevent spiritual growth and letting go of the fear-the layers of build up-that prevent us from truly seeing God-is the first and most crucial step.
As a wise person wrote in Proverbs, “as we thinketh in our hearts, so are we.” I feel this point was later illustrated by Jesus when He said that the Kingdom of Heaven is within. But there is another story form the Gospels which to me illustrates the importance of how we think, and how we think about God.
In Mark 11:12, Jesus approaches a fig tree barren of fruit and says to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again” to the tree. In Mark 11:20, we learn that the next morning that the tree has withered, and Jesus answers with, “Have faith in God. Truly, I tell you if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea’ and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you. So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours.” Powerful stuff, to me, and not to be taken lightly.
For years, I had puzzled over that story, and what it meant. Now, I feel that what Jesus was saying is that faith, and beliefs are very powerful, and can influence actions and events within ourselves. In turn, that can manifest itself externally, as our thoughts can influence our actions, and the way we think has a strong influence on how we experience life. This, combined with many of His other teachings, has led me to believe that one of the key components of Jesus’ teachings is that how we experience life, and God, has much to do with how we choose to see and approach God. If we approach God with negative, fearful thinking, we may experience negative results. This is detrimental to experiencing God’s Glory.
This step can be akin to the most challenging step of stripping all the old layers of paint on a piece of furniture that has been painted over and over and over again. Just when you get through one layer, yet another is underneath, still blocking and obscuring the original finish. This was a very challenging step for me. There was quite a bit of scraping and excavation to do, so I started with the heaviest first.
The first layer to be scraped away were some of the concepts and doctrines of Christianity as I knew it. When I returned to Christianity after many years of being away from it, I was in a vulnerable state and fell into the trap of fundamentalist thinking and belief. Leaving this, I knew I did not want to destroy my faith but it could stand some serious redefinition, sanding and polishing, and a new refinishing that would enable me to be what I was made to be, to go back to the “restoring” analogy again.
The “hottest” issue (pardon the pun) for many people dealing with old ideations and fears about God is the big one-fear of going to hell. When I thought of Jesus as a “get out of an eternal burning hell free” card, the whole idea just perpetuated my fears of a horrible monster of a God that would send the “inferior” there to not only get rid of them, but torture them which seemed not only mean, but a little excessive.
When I thought of what Jesus and the Biblical writers meant by “Hell” and what it meant for Jesus to “save me from hell” as something a little different, well, that made a little more sense to me. When Jesus “came that we might have life, and have it abundantly” I feel that He meant we should do so in not by believing in a “magic salvation doctrine” but by allowing God’s Love to flow through us to others when we embrace and integrate the core of His teachings into our own lives. He did not come to save us from the “devil” but from the “devil” of our own fears, our own weaknesses, our own frailties and no “hell” but the ones we create for ourselves when we allow ourselves to suffer the illusion that we are somehow separate from God. He “saves” us not from being who we are, but the fear of being who we are. We rise above and conquer that and are “saved” from hell and fear by embracing His Truth about God and the unconditionally loving nature of God. Jesus DID save me from the hell I had allowed fear to put me in and keep me in.
I now have a saying when people tell me I am going to hell, and that is simply, “No, I have already been there, Jesus showed me the door out of hell, and God brought me out of it.” Hell, as well as Heaven, are to me not “places” but rather conditions of the soul. Not knowing God was Hell to me. Feeling as if God did not love me but wanted to change me was Hell. Feeling as if I had to be ashamed or fearful about my sexuality was Hell. Abusing alcohol to try and deal with my fear and repression was Hell. Having to hide myself even from myself was Hell. And I am glad to say that I do not plan on returning there, as it wasn’t even a nice place to visit.
Another concept I had to scrape away was the concept of “original sin”, that “we are all born sinners.” In my opinion, this is a potentially poisonous and harmful-to-the-soul doctrine which taken literally has no place in a Christianity based on love. At best, I feel that it fosters a sense of low self worth and self esteem, at worst it is a set up for failure. On a literal level, it does so little to encourage a loving and positive relationship with God and a life of selfless giving to others and hope in things not seen, and so much to create serious friction in anyones life, as well as perpetuate ideas of unnecessary shame before God. Low self-esteem is as dangerous as excessive pride, and can be a breeding ground for fear to take root and obscure the Divine. I feel that the root of all unloving acts can be traced to fear.
When I had scraped away the old, I rethought the concept of “sin” based on my understanding of the word itself being an archery term meaning “to miss the mark.” The only real answer for me was to redefine “sin” not as who we are or what we do, but rather to redefine it to mean, “that which we may do which carelessly or willfully causes hurt or harm to others.” Lying. Betraying. Theft. Anger. Or worse.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but as far as I am concerned, sure, I will admit that I am far from perfect and that I am a “sinner” in the sense that no, I am not always right there with the right words when someone is in need. I am not always slow to anger and irritation and frustration when things are not going the way that I would desire them to. And yes, there are times when I have done the “easy” thing as opposed to the “right” thing in my life, later giving an excuse that “I was tired” or “I was stressed out” and all sort of behavior apologetics. I do not always “hit the mark” when it comes to what I believe I should live by. I will catch myself at times (usually during a debate or conversation about politics) allowing anger at the unloving actions and comments of others to get to me and cause me to have angry thoughts that I do not like to have, and that I feel are contrary to what Christ would do, think or say. I personally do not feel we are “born sinners,” but we have a clean slate. We can make ourselves, and create love, connection and harmony, or break ourselves, and create brokenness in our relationships with others, and ultimately create the illusion of separation from God. Through our actions, thoughts and decisions, we can make our lives a heaven, or one hell of a mess. If we trust in God to guide us, we can have the former rather than the latter.
After a while, I was able to redefine the idea of “sin” to mean that while I will never be “perfect” in the sense that I am going to lose my temper, I am going to find it challenging to be selfless all the time, and I am going to find it challenging to always do the “right” thing, I learned that being who I really am without shame before God was not “missing the mark.” I understood that my sexuality, my sexual orientation, my desire for relationships with a female and a male partner, my belief that there are many diverse paths to the Divine, or my occasionally irreverent (though never hurtful, harmful or at the expense of another) sense of humor were not “sins” I needed to ask “forgiveness” for. Do I still “miss the mark” in other aspects of my life? Sure I do. And when I do, God helps me to see where I was in error, and try to be more on target next time. When others hurt me, I ask for the strength to extend the same measure of forgiveness to them.
Finally, there was the third and final layer, and that was the one involving Biblical Literalism. Yes, if one takes the Bible literally, as a lot of us were conditioned to do, one can allege that it is “against God” to be bisexual, gay, lesbian or transgender, or, to live unashamedly so. While I had heard for many years, “The Bible says” this or that, and “It’s in the Bible,” I had never actually taken the time to read it for myself and study it, but I rather would allow others to interpret it for me. Imagine my surprise when I found that many allowed their personal fears and prejudices to directly influence their interpretation.
Actually reading it and studying it, along with the history of the time, led me to discover that Jesus was not a harsh Legal Judge sent to enforce Biblical Literacy, but rather to illustrate to all of us that regardless of what they did or chose to believe about the particulars, one rule was Supreme and unchanging: that Love was the most important thing, and the ability to feel and demonstrate and actively LIVE love as a verb was the only way we would ever attain a closer walk with God. And I discovered that while many of the ideas in the Bible, while culturally relevant in the time in which they were written did not remain so today, the teachings of Jesus, especially the core of them, to Love One Another and that God is in our hearts, still ring true today and are timeless. Read with open heart and mind, the Bible is a book of hope.
All of this took lot of soul searching, Bible reading with heart approached from a place of love and hope rather than fear, and letting God speak to me through others and through knowledge that I was able to ask, seek, knock, find and embrace. That lifted a huge layer of buildup was lifted from my soul, and I was finally able to see through all of the layers at the real, raw unique creation God made me to be underneath.
The next step was a little more challenging:
Love the unique Creation that is you – who you are and who God made you to be, while demonstrating love to all others. This means to be the truest self that you can. God made you to be who you are with a purpose and reason-with love and respect for others doing the same. Be who God created you to be even if that can be scary, recalling that fear is the real devil. You are valued just as you are and are a precious child of God. Love is the very essence and core of God, and Love is how God moves through us.
It is sometimes easier for us to show love to others than to truly love ourselves. But I feel that in order to feel loved, we have to first seek to know God’s Love. Often, for those of us who are LGBT, yet who arrive at and maintain a faith in a God of Love untainted by oppressive theological ideas, God is the only Source of unconditional Love we feel. At least, it was that way for me.
Once I had gotten past all of the old ideas about God, and had stripped away what had been keeping me from accepting the truth about myself, there was more for me to deal with. It was not until I went through Confirmation after years of being terrified of setting foot into church and that brief foray into “born again” fundamentalism that truly felt wrong to me, that I was able to come to terms with my own sexuality. Although some may accuse bisexuals of “taking the easy way out”, I think in many cases, mostly due to the black and white thinking of much of society, it can be more challenging for a bisexual to come out than a homosexual. True, there are those who claim heterosexuality in order to “hide” yet live a secret bisexual or homosexual life, but here I am referring to out bisexuals. There is no “heterosexual privilege” for an “out” bisexual. Yet I knew that if I kept denying it, I would be setting the stage for more unhappiness and fear.
I knew that God loved me as I am; yet for some reason I was challenged to really love myself the way God loved me. The saying of Jesus that is the foundation of my faith kept coming back to me during all of this: “Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself.” While I understand this to mean to not treat another in a way that brings them hurt, I felt that unless I could truly love myself as God made me to be, I would not be fully able to do as I feel I am called to do. Feeling fear and shame and having to hide and to repress who I was, or pretend to be something I was not for so long had kept me from really knowing myself, and in order to love oneself I feel one must know oneself, which I was now able to do now that so much had been revealed.
When I did come to terms with the fact that I am in fact bisexual, there was the other issue; the fact that I feel the need for two intimate relationships. I knew that to repress or censor either side of myself had only led to pain in the past. I knew that there was no way that I could pretend to cut off half of who I am, and I was not going to make commitments only to break them, nor was I going to betray another person. It took much soul searching, introspection, prayer and meditation to finally arrive at the understanding that it was possible to be honest about and true to who I am without betraying my faith in God and Jesus, or anyone else, and that it was not a sin, immoral, or something to be ashamed about ever again.
There were many times in my life during this process that I was sure that only God loved me as I was, but I was fine with that. As I was going through this time, I kept referring back to Matthew 7:7: “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.” With an open heart and mind, I simply had the tiniest bit of faith that I would find a way to obtain the support and hope I was looking for and the courage to be who I knew I was. I was able to find support groups, a supportive therapist, and found acceptance among other bisexuals who had successful loving honest relationships with two partners and not too long after, found myself in such a relationship. I came to the glorious revelation that my uniqueness was a blessing and a gift, and as I found support, I too offered it to others, as a way of passing on the love others had shown to me. I prayed and came up with a “Mission Statement” for my life; and mine was simple, as it embodies what I personally feel that God wishes for all of us to do, in our own unique and special way: To live the truth of who I am and who I know God Created me to be with love and respect for all others.
Soon enough, that mustard seed of faith I had had led to God helping me to find others who were loving, supportive and accepting, and were not afraid to let God’s Love and acceptance be demonstrated through their kindness and actions. And that’s how I feel God works. The Love all comes FROM God anyway. If you can simply attain the faith that God loves you, you will being to see that love communicated through others. And you, in turn, can pass that love on that flows from God, through all of us, to others.
Overcome the fears you may have about being confident in who you really are: a precious child of the Loving God. It can be challenging when there are others who out of fear and misunderstanding may try to shatter that confidence, no matter how strong your faith is. Refuse to allow the fears and ideas about God others may have to define your sense of self worth, for they are but opinions, and in God’s Eyes, all are precious and have a positive purpose. Even if others don’t like who you are as you are, God does.
I recall another teaching of Jesus here, when it comes to standing up to those who feel threatened by things which they do not understand and as a result become defensive and persecute or condemn difference, or those individuals whose ideas about God might to cause us to resist God or to suffer the illusion that those of us who are LGBT are somehow “inferior” to God.
In Matthew 23, Jesus speaks strongly about the fundamentalists of his time, the Scribes and Pharisees, who insisted upon a legalistic view of God and religion (sound familiar?) “You lock people out of the Kingdom of Heaven! For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them!” Although I take this teaching primarily to indicate that we should not allow others who are resisting God’s Glory and blessings themselves to allow us to feel the same way, I also interpret it on a different level. I feel that it means that those who are unhappy, and who are unable to break out of their own negative thinking and realize their worth to God and others often wish to bring others down into their sense of fear.
Some of the people who behave in this manner may in fact feel threatened by what they do not understand. Many of us know that no matter how affirmed we feel, no matter how many people there are who cherish us as people despite what differences we may have, there are always those who feel afraid of differences. I am a very gentle person, and I will always be the first one to say that what works for me may not work for everyone else; I also feel it would be very wrong of me to attempt to suggest to another that they should be the same way, believe the same way, or make the same choices in life that I do. Yet, due to my sexuality and my beliefs, some people do perceive me as some kind of a “threat.”
Just about everyone in the LGBT Community can probably relate to being perceived as “threatening” by those with more conservative Christian beliefs; how often is it that we hear about “the gay agenda” being touted as a “threat to society” by some people? And even of they are not following the fundamentalist or conservative Christian party line, I have met more than a few heterosexuals who were not all that religious who were “threatened” by the fact that I have a male lover as well as a girlfriend. Sometimes I have had heterosexual male friends feel threatened that I might try to make advances towards them, which I would not for several reasons; one, I’m already spoken for (twice); two, why on earth would I allow myself to become infatuated with someone who is heterosexual; and three, while being bisexual for me means more than one partner, it does NOT mean a license to be intimate with anyone and everyone.
Unfortunately, it does not stop there. There are others who have felt somehow threatened by my existence as well. I have caught some controversy from a great deal of those in the gay and lesbian community – some because I am in a multi-partner relationship, and yet others for merely being bisexual. I recall once a response to the admission that I am bisexual as being “hiding behind heterosexual privilege” until I reminded them once again, that for an out and openly and actively bisexual man, there is no such thing as “heterosexual privilege.” To the homophobic, there is no difference in discriminating.
After coming under fire recently from some people, based on who I am, I suffered a little bit of a negative attitude and was praying for some hope. I had a conversation with my Mom, and she made the comment that, “But John, what those people say does not matter. God made you just as you as for a reason, and the desires of your heart are pure no matter what they say. It’s all in how you go about achieving your dreams that can be for good or bad.” And I had to agree. It is what’s in the heart that matters.
I consider who I am to be both a gift and a blessing. Yes, I do get flak from conservative and liberal, Christian and non-Christian alike, but I would never WANT to be anyone different, regardless of the challenges living the life I was meant to live with love and respect for all others, presents to me. I resisted and as many bisexuals do, I tried to “change” – first to completely suppress my attractions to the same as well as the opposite gender, then later to live in a relationship where I cut off half of myself.
There are a great many bisexual men and women who feign one thing, and yet do another. The bisexual married man who pledges monogamy (and in many cases, total heterosexuality) to his wife, and yet lives a double life. I have been in conversation with a great deal of bisexual men struggling to come to terms with who they are, and invariably, the topic will come up of “How do you keep it concealed?” I always respond with the shocking statement, “I don’t.” They are shocked and often angry that I refuse to hide who I am, from the woman and the man in my life, and from others. There are also many gays and lesbians who feel as if they have to hide, and this can just lead to more “buildup” on the soul-and make it more difficult for God to restore us to our intended Glory. Being honest is scary, but God can get you past the fear.
Hiding one’s sexual orientation or true feelings – something that in reality should not have to be hidden and feeling as if one has to hide only creates a lower sense of self esteem and is a ripe breeding ground for fear. I’m not saying go and shout the private and personal intimate details of your relationship from the rooftops-by any means-but merely to feel no sense of shame or remorse for who you are, be that gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, monogamous, poly-fidelitious or anything else. Certainly, I feel we should maintain focus on ethics, honesty, and loyalty in all things and encourage others that no matter what path they choose, to do so with love and respect for all others.
I admit, I’m a radical. But God is a God of radically inclusive love and is so far above the human divisions we create among ourselves. Yes, there are going to be people who merely begrudgingly tolerate rather than accept. And yes, there will always be those who attempt to make us feel guilt, fear and shame. But none of those factors in any way shape or form should create the illusion that we should feel ashamed, inferior, or in need of “adjustments” before God. Those who speak unlovingly do not speak for God.
A lot of this is up to us. If we expect God to do it all, well, we may be setting ourselves up for some disappointments. To ask God to make others accept us while simultaneously not actively doing anything to help towards that end is akin to the story about someone praying to God to win the lotto yet never purchasing a ticket. If we ask God to automatically tell that person who does not understand or accept us, well that doesn’t happen. But if we instead ask God to help us to communicate better, to find our common ground, to help us to help them better understand us then that can be a miracle in the making.
In confidently being who you are, with respect for others, you are letting the light of God’s Love shine out to others in need; do not allow others intimidate you into hiding your light, for it could be intended to shine to illuminate the way for others seeking to be able to do the same.
So at this point, I had all the old layers of fear stripped away, I had all of the old wounds from old ideas about God and commentary and rhetoric of others sanded away, and I had learned to love and accept the true and real person underneath it all that God had made me to be, and had a “protective coating” of confidence based on my faith to help me to resist negativity which sprouted from others misunderstanding or feeling threatened by who I am, as well as a shine that I hoped would be inspiring to others seeking faith, hope and to know God’s Love as I did. But how to protect against future nicks and scratches to the soul?
Life is difficult. Sometimes things do not always go as planned. People let us down. Things happen (to paraphrase). And that what brings me to part of the new finish of a soul restored to glory: Realize that God is with you always, no matter what. As Jesus Himself said in Matthew 28:20, “I am with you always.” I know that no matter how upsetting things can go from time to time, His Spirit is with me, in my heart, guiding me through the rough times and assisting me to respond with faith, hope and love, rather than fear.
God speaks to me. Constantly. No, as wacky as some people think I am, I am not “hearing voices,” nor do shrubberies ignite and call me by name in some sort of bizarre twentieth century version of the Burning Bush, nor have I had the sky open up and a booming voice talk to me.
But God has lifted the clouds so that I may see the Light and the path of my life clearly, God has sent me countless Angels of light conveniently masquerading as other human beings, who cared for me and about me, and has blessed me with a miracle simply through my being able to make some sense and meaning, at least on a personal level, of this experience we call a human life. God speaks to me through little things, all the time (just as the old song goes, those little things DO mean a lot), as well as major events in my life, and just life in general. And it is those things that have led me to reflect on just how much of God’s glory is present in what many might deem as mundane or un-spectacular.
This very thing happens every day, in sometimes small and sometimes larger ways, I feel that often we just do not allow ourselves to see it. When someone takes a moment to give a smile, or honestly asks me, “Is everything okay?” When I am searching for the right words in a difficult conversation and they suddenly come to me. When someone tells me that they are seeking hope, and my words are comforting to them. When I am somehow reminded of all that God has done for me just by looking around at life.
Whereas the old fearful me would see things such as being late for work, or a flat tire, or past due bill with insufficient funds as “God being out to get me”, the renovated me now sees God as being with me; sometimes I don’t always make the best decisions, but I do trust in God to help me to do so, and do the very best that I can. Whenever life DOES get stressful, I have a little mantra based on the hymn of the same name: “Be Still and Know (That I Am God).” When faced with stress, I think and try to feel this statement I can stay calm. I breathe easier, and I am more apt to respond from a place of love rather than fear, hope rather than despair, faith rather than apathy. Feeling more secure, I was able to arrive at the finishing touch:
You are a Divine Inspiration, and God made you to be so to others as well; God makes no junk and you too have a purpose. Find your inner spark, your “Divine Inspiration,” and pursue it with faith, passion and love-you were Divinely inspired. God Created us to be conductors of love, lamps for God’s Light to shine through us and illuminate a way of hope for those in need as we have been at times. Finding and honoring the unique spark of Divine Inspiration God breathed into each and every one of us, and letting it shine on others is the finishing touch. We often pray for others, but I honestly feel that one way of achieving the type of Glory that Jesus knew we are destined for and to feel God working through us is to be the answer to the prayers of others. God will restore us to our former glory, and calls us to share that glory with all.
Jesus said it best in Matthew 5:14-16: “You are the Light of the World. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to God in heaven.”
I understand this to mean that God wants us to be free, to be happy and to be fulfilled so that we can Create the world that was Intended. For me this teaching of Jesus meant that now that God had restored me to be free of all the old, negative beliefs about God I had internalized, that God had helped me to become aware that I was loved unconditionally as I was, that God had granted me the courage to be who I am without apology, and given me a sense of faith and hope to protect me against the rough times in life, I had been blessed with a unique and original purpose and sense of meaning; to let others who once felt as I did and who are afraid no one else understands to become fully aware that they, too were loved by God.
When we feel that urge to reach out and help another person, to offer a smile or to honestly inquire “Are you all right?” when someone looks hurt and lonely, to care for those in need, I feel that is the spark of Divine Inspiration flowing through us. The inspiration for the words to a song, or to a painting, or something you wrote which offer another person real and honest hope; the words of kind encouragement you offer to another LGBT person who is struggling with coming to terms with their sexual orientation or sexuality; the post you make calling out the homophobic and the hateful as acting in fear and not what Jesus would want; these are all God inspiring us to be all that we were created to be and to realize the full potential of the glory we are created as being capable of. And these moments of Divine Inspiration are but one way in which the Eternal Loving God shines through us to touch the hearts of one another, to help restore what Creation was intended to be to its full, shining glory.
If you are a bisexual in a similar situation as mine, rejoice in who you are, rather than feel you have to repent. And even if you are not, whoever you are, never ever feel as if you have to change who you are or feel guilt or shame or remorse for that in order to be loved and blessed by God’s Glory. God Loves you as you are, not as what others may wish you were. If others do not understand, then do not try and push them to, simply find your common ground and respect their differences. If you are anyone, regardless of sexual orientation or belief who is able to see the Glory in each soul without regards to whatever differences you may have with them, let it be known-for that is God working through you to communicate and reveal love through you and wanting to utilize you to assist in creating something beautiful.
The things we have done as humanity are to me a testimony to God’s Glory. We may at times allow our knowledge of God to become clouded and to momentarily allow the ego to desire the credit, but the reality I see is that no matter how great we think we are, no matter how much we attain and accomplish on our own, were it not for God granting us the wisdom, the ability, the inspiration to reach the heights we have, it would not be. Many opt to see the evolution and progress that humanity has made as an accomplishment of our own doing, but I see it as Gods doing that we cooperated with. Regardless of how great we may think we are it is God who gave us the ability. Even if it was our hearts, our minds, neural synapses, that cause us to take the actions that we do, I feel that it is all God breathed and God designed. God will gladly work within us to restore us to the former glory we were each intended to be – a Divine Inspiration. To God, forever be the Glory, for the things God helps us do to help create Heaven on Earth.
John Campbell is a native of Alabama.