Coming out is admitting to yourself and to at least one other person that you are homosexual.
You Cannot Come Out To God.
God made you like you are and already knows all about you, loves you and accepts you. God loves you and wants you to feel good about yourself. “It is God who made us and not we ourselves. We are God’s people and the sheep of God’s pasture” (Psalm 100:3). See also Psalms 103:2-3, 11-14 and 139:1, 13-14. Remember that God doesn’t make junk! Your sexual orientation is a given. You cannot decide to be straight, or Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual. You can only decide how you will handle it. God wants you to love and accept yourself. God wants you to feel good about yourself, but what do you want? The hardest person to come out to is yourself.
When you have been told by parents, preachers, teachers and friends that because you are lesbian or gay you are abnormal and an abomination to God, you at least partly begin to believe it must be true. None of it is true. It’s all lies! You are of great value to God, to yourself, and to the world.
The Bible nowhere says that lesbian and gay people can or should change their sexual orientation. The Bible nowhere condemns sexual attraction or love between two people of the same sex. There is no word for “homosexual” in the original languages of the Bible. The idea of sexual orientation is never expressed in the Bible. (See the entire section on “The Bible and Homosexuality” in my web site, Steps to Recovery From Bible Abuse.)
The Truth Does Not Condemn You
The use of the Bible to condemn and reject homosexuals is a distortion of the truth. It is based on homophobic ignorant translations and twisted interpretations that ignore basic principles of Bible interpretation. It disregards the clear contexts of passages and uses the results to wound and destroy people never intended in the original text.
Coming out is accepting and living in the truth. Jesus said: “You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free” and “I am the truth” (John 8:32; 14:6). Jesus told Pilate, “I came to bear witness to the truth.” Read John 8:34-47 to see how Jesus set himself in contrast to lies and deceit and said that “whoever lies is of the devil, who is the father of lies.” Jesus simplified the issue of truth telling in Matthew 5:37: “Let your word yes mean yes and your no mean no. Anything beyond that is evil.”
God will empower you to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). Truth is not seen as truth unless it is spoken in love. Jesus gave positive encouragement to you to live and tell your truth in Matthew 5:14-16, where he said, “Let your light shine before all people in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify God in heaven.” Coming out is part of your witness for Christ as a gay or lesbian believer.
Take Off The Mask
The word “hypocrite” is the Greek word for “mask” and means to pretend to play a part that is not the real you. Jesus used it to describe sick and abusive religion in Matthew 6:2, 5, 16 and 7:5 and to condemn insensitive and judgmental religious leaders in 15:7; 22:18; 23:13-29 and 24:51. FEAR is the main reason that you wear a mask to hide your sexual identity.
“Fear is a dark room where negatives develop!”
Living in fear that your sexual orientation will be discovered is called “living in the closet.” Fear of your homosexuality or the homosexuality of others is called “homophobia.” Jesus greeted his friends many times by saying, “Don’t be afraid.” Fear causes pain and limits your life. 1 John 4:18 declares: “There is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out fear, because fear causes torment.”
Fear is an unclean spirit that causes self destructive behavior. Homosexuality is not demon possession, but homophobia is!
Love and Freedom
“For freedom Christ has set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be enslaved again by a religious yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1). When “the love of Christ controls you,” you want to live in the truth. No matter how you try to justify staying in the closet, the closet is still a lie. Lying can become a way of life. We can become addicted to lying. We learn to tell people what we think they want to hear. We develop skills in deception and misdirection. We say that we do it to protect others. Who are we really trying to protect?
You may try to convince yourself that too much is at stake for you to tell the truth about your sexual orientation. Actually, too much is at stake for you to lie about it! Your own peace of mind and your Christian witness to other lesbian and gay people depends on your accepting and telling your truth. God helps you to live and tell the truth. Love and truth go together. God will empower you to experience them both.
Coming Out and Personal Evangelism
Gay and Lesbian Christians have a double challenge of coming out. We have to come out as homosexuals and as Christians. How can we have an effective witness for Christ in the gay community if we don’t come out as both gay and as Christian? Feeling good about yourself as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and Christian is crucial to your self esteem as a person and to your willingness and ability to share Christ with others.
I have dealt with many of the issues related to personal evangelism and coming out in my web site, Steps to Recovery From Bible Abuse, especially in the section on “The Twelve Steps to Recovery.” Also contact Chi Rho Press at for information about my earlier book on personal evangelism in the gay community, “Invitation to Freedom”.
The following material is included in my web site in Step 9 of the “Steps to Recovery.” It is taken from my brochure on “Feeling Good About Yourself: Guidelines to Coming Out”, which is available from me as indicated in my web site section on “A New Special Offer.”
Some Practical Guidelines For Coming Out
1. You Cannot Predict How Others Will React.
Coming out can be very scary and threatening to you. It can also be very difficult and threatening to the persons you tell. Pray about it. Ask God to give you the words and to show you how to handle it.
Remember that when you tell your parents, family, boss and others that you are gay or lesbian, they do not have the same mental and emotional picture that you do. Their minds have been filled with homophobic images from preachers, talk shows, and a continuous avalanche of media anti gay propaganda. Prepare to be surprised. With God’s help, you can handle it! Sometimes the reaction is a pleasant surprise. Sometimes not.
Joe said that he dreaded telling his mother that he was gay. When he finally told her, she responded by saying, “I understand. Years ago I was in love with another woman myself!” Allen, however, said that when he was 16 years old, he asked his father for advice about how to handle being gay. His father said, “Put a gun in your mouth and pull the trigger!”
2. Find Caring and Supportive People
You need acceptance and encouragement in coming out. Find other lesbian and gay people and develop a support network. Join or start a spiritual support group. See the other brochures in this series for help. Other people who come out need your encouragement too.
Coming out is a process that takes time. You begin by facing and accepting the truth about yourself. Then you tell at least one other person. When you finally settle this in yourself, you will feel so much better! As you gain self confidence, you can be helpful to others who face the same thing.
3. Come Out on The Basis of a Need to Know.
Before you come out to others, consider carefully why you are doing it. Why do they need to know? Why do you need to tell them? Coming out can hurt you and others. Can you handle the results?
Think through how you will tell your truth. God will empower you to tell your truth. Remember, however, that the truth is seen as true only when you “speak the truth in love.”
4. You Cannot Go Back Into The Closet.
Once you are “out of the closet,” you cannot really turn back. Some people try to deny their sexual orientation and play a game of hide-and-seek with themselves and others. You may have done this for a while yourself. Many of us have. If you are uncertain of your sexual orientation, work through it before you come out, even to yourself.
If you need counseling to deal with it, find a gay and lesbian friendly counselor who will help you to face and deal with your issues and stress. Contact the nearest Metropolitan Community Church (213-464-5100) for information, or contact the author of this article for help. Knowing and accepting your sexual identity sets the stage for your future self esteem and peace of mind. Don’t panic, but don’t neglect dealing with it, either.
No matter how you feel about your sexual orientation, you are not alone! God loves you, accepts you and is always with you. Read Philippians 4:6-7 as a word of encouragement. Get in touch with the author or the publisher of this brochure for help.
5. Feel Good About Yourself.
Once you have come out, feel good about yourself! Celebrate. You have crossed a great barrier. Good for you! Stop and thank God for helping you do it. There are many levels of coming out. Go on to the next level. Be intentional about who you will tell next. Think it through. You be in control.
Don’t let other people or unexpected events push you out. Enjoy being yourself. God wants you to be happy about yourself and to love yourself and others. You can always handle everything better with God’s help than without it.
Let God host your next coming out party!
The author of Invitation To Freedom and Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse, Rev. Rembert S. Truluck served in Metropolitan Community Churches in Atlanta, San Francisco and Nashville from 1988 to 1996. He earned a doctorate in sacred theology from Furman University, serving from 1953 to 1973 as a Southern Baptist preacher. He resigned as a professor at Baptist College at Charleston (now Charleston Southern University) and became an MCC pastor after being outed to the college’s board of trustees.