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Give Yourself Time
Follow Jesus' Steps

Give Yourself Time To Grow, Recover, Heal and Learn

"Love is patient and love is kind." -- 1 Corinthians 13:4

Love yourself. Be patient with yourself and others. Growth takes time.  Give yourself time and space needed for growth, healing and recovery.

"Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all things unto Christ." -- Ephesians 4:15

"For freedom Christ set us free: therefore keep standing firm and do not be controlled again by a religious yoke of slavery… The whole law is fulfilled in one word: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  But if you bite and devour one another, take care lest you be consumed by one another."  --  Galatians 5:1, 14-15

These steps to recovery are just a beginning.  You can follow through in your own spiritual growth into self esteem and effective spiritual living and sharing by finding or starting a spiritual support group.  Be creative.  Let God guide you into what works for you.

Further discussion on growth and healing can be found in my book Steps To Recovery From Bible Abuse in the following Lessons:

(Click on Bible references to read them.)

Luke 2:39-52; Hebrews 5:1-14; Ephesians 4:11-15

Matthew 11:28-30; Psalm 23; John 11:25-53

Luke 10:25-37; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
(Click here to see this lesson in full.)

John 10:1-18; Galatians 5:22-23; 1 Corinthians 9:16-27

On to "Follow Jesus' Steps"

Update for March 24, 2004

In recent days, I have realized just how important hope, faith and love really are.  I just concluded a trip to Phoenix, AZ, last Friday and Saturday, to share with a wonderful group of GLBT people in a conference that aimed to equip the saints for ministry and to expand our witness and our influence for good to other GLBT people.  I am grateful to Rev. Rula Colvin and to Kent and Ross for their leadership and personal help to me.  I am grateful for every person who participated in the conference and for all who came to celebrate God's love and to learn and grow in the ability to share our faith, hope and love with others.

I have listed some new websites below that you might like to see.  These are people I met and enjoyed at the conference.

We do not live in a vacuum or in isolation.  Our lives touch others and make a difference that we can never fully measure or understand.  At this time, I am at the lowest point emotionally, financially and physically since I left the Baptist College in Charleston in 1981.  I don't really know why.  I have lost my job, as you already know, and nothing yet has developed to provide basic living income.  I also have experienced the loss of several very close fiends who have either moved away or have decided to cut off contact with me.  I feel alone and abandoned.  But that is temporary and will change.


As I read over what I just said, I realize that I need to clarify why I am talking like this now.  I have not given up hope, faith or love.  I am confident that God is with me and is using all of my present distress to teach me something that I really need in order to take the next step in God's plan for me, whatever it might be.

As my friend Richard used to say: "Pain is our teacher."

As I descend deeper into the abyss of uncertainty and a profound sense of loss, I am confident that God is at work in every detail of my present situation and is preparing me for something that I never imagined before.  What that is remains to be seen.

Faith is to some extent a "leap into the dark" and cannot be understood or explained.  Hope springs eternal in the heart of every believer, but hope is not the foundation that stands unshakable beneath our trembling feet.  Love never fails: "Love never gives up."  I still love everybody I have ever loved.  I am a lover.  I love people and give whatever I have to them.  I am generous.  As some say, I am generous to a fault.  My entire life and ministry has been a great joyful experience of giving myself away, and I do not regret a single minute of it!

I continue to need your prayers, encouragement and support.


I am meeting a lot of new people.  That's good.  I met a lot of really wonderful new people on my trip to Phoenix last Friday and Saturday.  One person who came to the conference just to meet me is a deaf gay man named Henry from Phoenix who has been exchanging e-mail with me for five years.  Rev. Rula had enlisted Brian to be present for my talk on Saturday morning so that he could sign for Henry.  I was very impressed with Brian and Henry.  I learned a lot that I needed to know by being with them and listening to and observing exactly what was happening.

I always learn a lot more than I teach in conferences like the recent one in Phoenix.  The joys, hopes, fears and dynamic lives of the other participants in the conference inspired and informed me, and I am grateful.  Just getting to know and learn from many people at the conference was a great event for me.  Excellent musicians and musical performers enlivened and inspired the conference.  (See links below, especially for Peterson Toscano, Desert Rose Healing Arts, and Rev. Gayle Nicholson: Celestial Synergy Institute.)


I really do not know.  Yet, like the old saying goes: "I do not know what the future holds, but I do know who holds the future!"  God still runs the universe and my own small little life.  God is always with and within you to give you understanding of who you are and to show you the way of life and joy and peace that God has planned for you.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard you hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7. See link below for all of Philippians 4.)

Rembert Truluck
March 24, 2004

Philippians 4:1-23

See results of Karen Dammann church trial at Soulforce

Peterson Toscano
Rev. Gayle Nicholson: "Celestial Synergy Institute"
Orgena Rose: Desert Rose Healing Arts

See this excellent website on Same-Sex Marriage

Update for February 15, 2004


Love is the theme of the entire New Testament.  "God is love" and Jesus demonstrated the meaning of "love" in life and teachings.  Today, Sunday, February 15, is the day after Valentine Day.  Yesterday I received a wonderful porno Valentine greeting card from one of my best friends who lives in Washington, DC.  It was fun!

How have you expressed your love to people so far this year?


Beware of what and who you love.  What you love will take over you life and control you.

The most common word for love in Greek was "eros", from which we get "erotic".  The god Eros was the god of love (the same as Cupid).  "Eros" is not used even once in the New Testament for "love"!

The NT words for love are "agape" (unselfish desire for the good of another person) and "phileo" ("brotherly love" or friendship love).  The word "kiss" in the NT is a variation of the word "phileo." (See my web site links below.)  Look up Matthew 26:49 and Luke 7:45 for the very significant intensive use of "kiss" both of Mary kissing the feet of Jesus and Judas betraying Jesus with a kiss.  This intensive use of "kataphileo" (fervent, repeated, intense kissing) was used of a passionate lover's kiss.  This word is used only in Matthew 26:49 and in Luke 7:45 and also of the loving father's greeting of the prodigal son in Luke 15:20.

"Agape" is the word for "love" throughout all of 1 Corinthians 13.  (See below.)


By using the word "agape" for the love of God and of Jesus, the writers of the New Testament created a new concept of love that was as radical as it was new.  Love was not defined as the desire to possess another person but rather as the desire to lift up and help another person.  Eros was possessive.  Agape is outgoing and giving.  God does not need anything from you, but you need everything from God.  God's love to you expressed in the life and teachings of Jesus is unconditional giving.  How much unconditional giving are you able to practice in your relationships now?


Romans 5:5 declared that: "The love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."  The love of God (as demonstrated in Jesus) is a gift from God and not something you can earn or learn.  This is why you find yourself and your mission in life not by reading a book, going to church or looking to spiritual leaders to show you the way but by looking within your own heart and mind to find what God has already put within you by creating you in the image of God and by giving you the Spirit of Jesus.

You cannot accept and love others until you accept and love yourself.  How can you love your neighbor as yourself if you hate and despise who you are!


The first step in learning to love is to love you.  Accept yourself.  Feel good about who you are.  "Come out" to yourself.  All of my work in my website and in updates and in my book is aimed at helping GLBT people feel good about who they are and quit hurting and destroying themselves and each other!

The Methodist GLBT support ministry has recently sent out a request for GLBT people to tell about homosexuals who have been murdered or who have committed suicide because of homophobic pressure and abuse.  We have to face the fact that we are under siege and this is war!

At the training session that I attended with SoulForce in St. Louis during the Southern Baptist Convention, the walls of the church where we met were covered with huge photographs of GLBT people who had committed suicide because of religious misinformation, lies and abuse.  Homophobia is not just a social disease.  Homophobia is murder.


No matter how evil and destructive our opposition might become, we cannot afford to become like them.  We can maintain our sanity and our self-love and self-respect so that we can calmly and carefully respond to every lie and every abuse with dignity and effective action.  We have to be logical, objective, realistic and practical.  Otherwise, we are our own worst enemy.

"Love never gives up" (1 Corinthians 13:8).  When love fails, we fail.  Love yourself and love others as Jesus demonstrated in life and works.  In the Spirit of Jesus, you can out love your enemies and overcome evil with good.  Now abide faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.

Rembert Truluck
Valentine Day 2004
Thank you for your encouragement and help.

See 1 Corinthians 13

Click here for "Love":
Also see
JOHN 12:3-8 and 13:1-17, 34-35

Update for April 9, 2003


You can waste a lot of your time and energy trying to change other people.  Religious people especially work hard to change other people to fit their own ideas of truth.  Most of the negative e-mail I receive is from people who are praying that I will be changed or who want to convince me that I must change or be damned to hell for my web site!

When one man in my former Baptist church learned that I was gay, he wrote to tell me that he and his wife were praying for me that God would either change me or kill me!  So far God has not answered their prayer.


If you are concerned that other people are out of whack and that their lives are a mess, don't try to change everybody else.  Change yourself.  You can change yourself if you want to.

One change that will make you also an agent for change is for you to become an activist for the truth and for freedom and acceptance of GLBT people.

Today, I received the following letter from my friend, Cindy Hadden, who has lived for the past four years in the ministries and activism of Soulforce and has experienced her own growth and the dramatic changes in others that just a few people together can bring about.  Cindy has eloquently set forth the challenges and issues that we face in our community.  Thank you, Cindy, for telling it like it is!

Here is Cindy's letter: 
Wednesday April 9, 2003 - 1:00pm

Dear Editor -

 I am so glad I was able to visit the beautiful cities of Cincinnati and Dayton.  I was here from Seattle with Soulforce to stand in solidarity with Mt Auburn Presbyterian while their Pastor, Steve Van Kuiken stood trial yesterday.  What a transforming time for all of us!  As a veteran of Soulforce for 4 years, I have made new friends and allies in many cities across the nation.

At Steve's trial, though unjust, I made new friends again.  Friends who believe that Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender people are God's children, made exactly the way the Creator intended them to be.  Scripture teaches that "we need to be very, very courageous." As we stood in silent vigil in front of the place of his trial, we were that, but also we were blessed by his courage to stand for truth.  He obeyed God's law, by not discriminating against GLBT's.  He obeys the highest authority.

We came from all over the country to look into Steve's eyes and say "thank you."  Each Soulforcee brings with them tens of thousands of sexual minorities, who are forced to live closeted lives in fear and terror. We come for them to Cincinnati.  Those who are stripped from their jobs, their homes, their rights to intimacy, the right to teach, to serve, to pastor, to live as equals; with integrity.  They are wounded and killed with hate, often driven by false guilt to self destruction.  Those we represent watch us closely as they see some of their perpetrators have a change of heart and mind in every city.  Just as the Iraqis are terrified and quite until Saddam's regime is gone, so do many GLBT's stay hidden and silent until the church universal puts a stop to this madness.  Do you think President Bush would be as bold to save these lives? A life having no hope of equal rights, joy or peace, also told they have no hope of being a child of God is terrorism.

I thank Pastor Steve and the good people of Mt Auburn and their allies for obeying the highest call of God and of conscience.  I leave Cincinnati knowing that hearts and minds were changed over this issue; a "truth force" (Gandhi), "soulforce" (ML King), transformation in progress.

Cindy Hadden
Soulforce In Washington


What avenues for changing yourself are open to you?  What changes in yourself could lead to changes in other people?  Whenever I lead or teach a workshop, I always learn and change more myself that anybody else in the group.  The word "dynamic" simply means "change".  Your life becomes a dynamic force for good as you yourself experience change and growth.

Read and study.  Listen to what other people really are saying to you.  Reach out to meet and try to understand people who are vastly different from you.  Get negative people out of your life!  Bring positive healthy people into your life.  Ask God to show you what needs to be changed in your own mind and heart, and then let God facilitate these changes for you.

Remert Truluck

See Soulforce: http://www.soulforce.org

Update for September 21, 2002:


My friend Adam DeBaugh, Director of Chi Rho Press, in his most recent newsletter, "CHI RHO CONNECTION" began a new feature called "The Journey is Our Home:" Sharing Our Faith Journeys, the first one by Rev. Michael England.  (To subscribe to "Chi Rho Connection," send a blank e-mail to: chirhopress-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.)

 I was inspired by the idea and by personal testimony of my friend, Michael England.  We are on a journey that does not end.  The journey itself is our home!

You have to keep moving.  You can never stand still.  Your spiritual journey with God is an ever-changing landscape of issues, challenges, opportunities, and people.

The story of the Exodus of the people of God in the Hebrew Bible is the story of a long journey through the wilderness.  Moses caught a glimpse of the "Promised Land" but he never reached it.  His entire life was a journey.  Much later, the spiritual classic "The Pilgrim's Progress" by John Bunyan cast the Christian life in the form of a journey.  What is happening today in your spiritual journey?  Do you keep moving, growing, learning, reaching out, sharing, encouraging, and teaching as you go?


Faith is an ongoing developing and growing experience that is dynamic and constantly changing.  New people, new ideas, new experiences all contribute to faith and help to shape your mind and heart.

Faith takes risks.  As a current advertisement says, "The greatest risk is not taking one!"  Faith moves you beyond the familiar and comfortable into risky adventures of exploring new ideas and unexpected people.  What are you doing today to challenge your own ideas and assumptions?

Religion, however, unlike faith, resists change and digs in to defend the past at all cost.  Religion protects itself against new people and new ideas that threaten to "shake the foundations" and "rock the boat" of entrenched traditions and time honored misinformation.


The journey of spiritual progress is more interested in learning from people than in "converting" people to your own point of view.  This slight shift in emphasis completely changes your journey from a closed system into an open-ended road to truth and dynamic learning.  When you meet a new person, do you ask yourself what you can learn from this person or do you ask yourself what you can do to convince this person to agree with you?

Rigid unbending legalistic judgmental religion is always on the prowl for converts and never learns to listen and be open to new ways and fresh paths into reality and truth.  Like Yogi Berea said recently on television, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it!"  New directions are constantly set before you in your personal journey.  Nobody else can make your decisions about new directions for you.  You have to decide which fork to take at every turn in the road.  Sometimes you are allowed to take "the road less traveled" and learn that the path that best guides you really is love.


Learning to listen to other people is not only educational for you; listening is a way to help others think about what is happening in their own lives and to learn from their own journeys.  Psychotherapists learn to listen in non-judgmental ways that invite an individual to think objectively and realistically about their own journey and to learn from their own experiences.

Your journey is filled with multiple opportunities to learn and to teach, to grow and to encourage others, to explore new territory and to understand better what is already happening.  You are living through a time of unending ongoing revolution.  Don't sleep through the revolution!


As you rush through your life at a dizzying pace, remember to stop and smell the roses.  Notice your world as you pass through.  Every flower, ever fragrance, every butterfly, every tree, every sunset, every bird becomes part of your journey.  God still speaks through every detail of the universe.  The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament demonstrates God's work.  Stop and let God speak to you in new ways to make your journey more beautiful and more enjoyable.

Becoming increasingly aware of the presence and work of God in your journey can give a depth of meaning to your life that you never expected to find.  Every person you meet becomes a messenger from God.  Every event becomes a revelation from God.  Every problem becomes an opportunity to learn and grow.  Every moment becomes important.  All of this will really make you tired!  So you also need to rest, relax, and let go.


You do not have to control everything and everybody on your journey.  Let go and relax and remember that God is your friend and your constant strength and guide through the Spirit that has been give to you.  You are made in the image of God, and God does not abandon or throw away pieces of God!  Your constant "safety net" on your journey is the God who accepts and loves you unconditionally, just as Jesus said.

Enjoy life!  Live your life to the fullest extent of your personal potential.  Help others to do the same.  We always share our journey with a great company of witnesses who have gone before us and who accompany us now.  Have fun.  The journey is your home.  Learn to live there in joy and peace.

Rembert Truluck
September 21, 2002

Update for November 27, 2001

Starting over means letting go.  What do you most need to let go in order to start over?  A habit? A relationship? A job? An obsession? A person? A religion?  What?

New beginnings are possible every day.  In fact, every day is a new beginning.  All of us have to live "one-day-at-a-time".  We really have no choice about it.  How much baggage from the past do you drag with you into every new day?

Every day presents you with new forks in the road.  How you decide what road to take determines who you will become and where you are going.  Are you pursuing a fatal dead end in relationships, job, lifestyle, or habits?  Have you already tried many times to change course, but with only minimal real change of direction?

What really keeps you from starting over?


The first step in starting over is usually a strong sense that something is wrong with the direction of your life now.  Despair with what is happening to you now can trigger a strong need for change but not necessarily the will to change.  Where does "will power" come from, anyway?  Sometimes simply writing down a description of where you are now and where you would like to be can help clear your thinking and give you a new sense of direction.

I get e-mail every day from people who are going through drastic changes in their lives and are practically screaming for help in handling the unexpected and threatening new beginnings that are being forced upon them.  Sometimes the changes are due to family rejection and criticism, and sometimes lovers and partners leave or die.  Whatever you are facing, be assured that thousands of other people are going through exactly the same things!


As soon as you begin to consider starting over, mountains of obstacles loom before you.  People try to convince you that you cannot change.  The grip that others have on your time and emotions and that your job or living conditions demand seem to be insurmountable barriers to real changes in your life.  But are they?

How can you become objective and logical about what changes are possible and necessary for you?  How do you make most of your decisions?  Do you pray?  Do you talk things over with a trusted friend?  Do you flip a coin?  Do you read through one of the Gospels and see if Jesus has anything to say to you about your decisions?

You are not helpless in the face of disasters that might come your way.  You do have options.  How do you explore and sort through them?


Go to a quiet place and just think.  Yes, think.  Let your mind do the walking and exploring for you.  Your brain has been busy all along dealing with your situation and your options; so ask your brain to give you the results of your own thinking.  You might be surprised what you can come up with from within your own mind.

Realize that nobody else can really decide what is best for you.  You have to decide that.  You have God's help and the extraordinary help of your own self-understanding and your own life experiences.  Learn from yourself.  You are your own best teacher.


There is a way out of your present frustrations and confusions.  But it is up to you to find it.

Think for yourself.  Don't let anybody else do your thinking for you.  Declare your personal independence and move on into the life that you decide for yourself is right for you.  Trust your own judgment and your instincts.  You know yourself far better than anybody else can possibly know you.  Be objective, realistic, logical and practical.  These will always be your best friends when you face decisions.

with love, prayers and encouragement,

Rembert Truluck

Update for October 28, 2001

"Therefore, having this ministry (Greek: "diakonian" – "deacon"), as we have obtained mercy, we do not lose heart." (2 Corinthians 4:1).  Your mission in life keeps you from giving up.  God's purpose for you is ministry.  The word here is the word also translated "deacon" and is the Greek word for "slave" that focused on practical work being done.  The Greek word is composed of " dia" which means, "to go through" and "konis" which means, "dust".  "Diakonian" conveys the picture of the hard working slave "raising a cloud of dust" or the practical efforts of someone who is willing to "get dirty" and work "in the dust" to do something helpful for someone else.

You and I have an unfinished mission of "practical ministry" in giving information and encouragement wherever needed.  Backing off or giving up is out of the question!  We have made extraordinary progress, and the best is yet to come.


My friend and seminary classmate Dr. Mahan Siler performed the first officially known church approved same-sex holy union in a Southern Baptist Church in 1962 at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC.  Since that time, the Southern Baptist Convention has adopted increasingly abusive and restrictive policies regarding homosexuals.  Dr. Siler is retired from Pullen Memorial Church, but he is far from retired in his activism and ministry of encouragement and information for and about GLBT people.

An article by Dr. Siler, "Blessings Unforeseen," is printed in the current issue of "The Other Side" magazine.  You can read the article by clicking on the link below.  Dr. Siler writes from his own experience how congregations are blessed in many ways by taking up the issue of accepting and affirming gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual people.

Dr. Siler deals with the LGBT affirming church "coming out" and letting the larger community know of their spiritual progress and practical encouragement for LGBT people.  This is an important remarkable article.

Dr. Siler concludes: "Many Christians in this society fear that openness to sexual minority persons threatens the church.  Ironically, the reality might be quite the opposite: The presence of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered persons, and the dialogue they often elicit, might be a key to deeply needed spiritual renewal.  Perhaps it is no less than the privilege and mission of these congregations to confront these issues and call the church to embody a more complete vision of the reign of God in our day."


The term, "lose heart" in 2 Cor. 4:1 (Greek "egkakoumen") means, "to become weary, tired."  It is used to express "despair" and "fear."  The word is used again in Galatians 6:9 to say: "Let us not be weary in doing good, for in due season we will see results, if we do not give up."

Unconditional love comes from God and is not dissolved by difficult people. Family, close friends or lovers, even abusive family, friends or lovers cannot destroy unconditional love.  Sometimes we have to be realistic and practical and keep a necessary distance from abusive people, but that does not mean that our love has died, or that we don't care or give up.


"There must be spaces in our togetherness" said Kahlil Gibran in "The Prophet" in a wonderful passage about the dynamics of love.  Spaces are needed for growth and reflection.  Emotions, especially anger, can grow and develop unrealistic expectations and imaginary terrors in a possessive relationship that give no breathing room and no escape valve to allow you to let go and move on.

Codependent attitudes that force you to try to control another person or let another person control you are not expressions of unconditional love.  When you experience fully the love of God flowing through your soul, you can let go of trying to control others and let the love of God control you, as Paul suggested in 2 Corinthians 5:14-21.  Remember that where the Spirit of God is, there is freedom!

Any practical ministry in your life depends on letting the love of God control you and the Spirit of God guide and empower you.  How hard is it for you to distinguish between God-given unconditional love and the kind of love that tries to control and possess another person?


"The woods are cold and dark and deep, and I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep."  None of us is alone in the great struggle of the soul that is changing our world.  This morning I received a telephone call from a gay man in Israel who has called me frequently to talk of his own personal struggle for self-acceptance and confidence in God.  He is reading my book.  His name is David, and I ask you to join with me in prayers for him.

Jesus never promised you a "rose garden" but Jesus did promise to walk with you every step of the way.  Jesus is keeping his promise to you by being with you and within you through the Spirit to teach you, energize you, and show you what to do at every moment and in every event that you face.  How you go about listening to the Spirit of God is up to you.  But do listen.  Avoid listening to negative people who can undermine your faith and your confidence in yourself and in the God who made you, who protects you, and who continues to give you the breath of life.

Click here to see current article, "Blessings Unforeseen,"by Dr. Mahan Siler in "The Other Side" web site.

Read about Dr. Siler and Jimmy Creech in "Congregations in Conflict" by Keith Hartman, 1996, Rutgers University Press.

See new information about Soulforce plans for the Southern Baptist Convention in St. Louis, Missouri.

Added on 11/22/01: Thankgsgiving Day, 2001

Is an attitude of thankfulness part of your personality?  Developing a lively attitude of gratitude can make you a happier person and can draw others to you.  Thanksgiving is also a major part of your relationship to God.

My favorite encouragement passage in the New Testament contains a brief reference to thanksgiving, which is easy to overlook: "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving make your requests known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)  A spirit of thanksgiving transforms life into a celebration, no matter what your circumstances might be.


I am grateful that my mother at the age of 90 is still active, alert, vigorous in her faith and very supportive of my ministry.  Visiting with my mother last week at Martha Franks Baptist Retirement Center in Laurens, SC, was a time of joy and thanksgiving.  I also visited with my daughter Susan and her partner Janice, who drove up from Charleston.  Visits with Rev. Jay Neely and George, with Dan Lewis and David, with David Rutland and with Lanny Word also gave me cause for being thankful.

Chaplain Rev. Russell Dean and Helen led the Sunday worship at the Retirement Center.  Russell was our pastor in Clinton, SC, for many years.  His message on thanksgiving was inspiring.  He demonstrates in his life and ministry the attitude of gratitude that is contagious and uplifting to residents of the center.


While I was on this trip, I read a brief book by Dr. Albert Ellis and Marcia Grad Powers that gave me some important practical help in gaining control over my own emotions.  I recommend the book to you.  The title is: "The Secret of Overcoming Verbal Abuse: Getting Off the Emotional Roller Coaster and Regaining Control of Your Life," published in 2000 by Wilshire Book. Company.  (See link)

Many of us LGBT people have endured verbal abuse, often from our own partners and families.  In showing how to handle verbal abuse in constructive ways, Dr. Ellis shows how to approach and deal with many powerful negative forces that invade our lives and our minds to distort our views of our selves and others.

Relief from interpersonal conflict in your life will always be cause for thanks and celebration!  Nothing more completely distracts us and dominates our thinking at the expense of everything else like severe conflict with the person we are closest to and love the most.  You will welcome anything that will help you to find a way out of the emotional turmoil of an abusive relationship.  You may not be able to change the other person, but you can change yourself and your emotional responses that are destructive and unproductive.


No matter how awful an experience might be, there still is room to give thanks for what you have learned from it.  In all of your relationships, look for the lesson God is trying to teach you, and be thankful.  The absolutely worst things that have happened to me have been the experiences that best prepared me for my present ministry!

Whenever you go through "the valley of the shadow of death" or "the dark night of the soul" in life's experiences or in relationships, you can come out on the other side with fresh understanding and insight and with new abilities to face your own pressures and to help others manage theirs.  It really is possible in all things to give thanks.  (Ephesians 5:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:18)

I thank God for you and for every one who sends me e-mail to tell me experiences and to share ideas and insights with me.  May God grant to you this day a lively sense of gratitude for the many good things that bless your life and for the people in your life.

Rembert Truluck

Update for October 26, 2001

Unconditional love can change your world.

The Spirit of Jesus, who consistently practiced unconditional love, can fill you and equip you with attitudes of unconditional love that will transform your life and all of your relationships.

Unconditional love is described in 1 Corinthians 13.  See  below for my material on 1 Corinthians 13 and see Lesson 51 in my book.


Unconditional love is unnatural.  We bargain for love, sex, affection, and acceptance from others.  We resist loving anyone with nothing in return.  Even with our life partners we negotiate for love and withhold or give love as we feel we are being accepted or resisted by the other person.  We usually place clear conditions on our love.  What does a person have to "pay" you to have your love?

"You don't love me if you don't do what I tell you to do" can be called love, but it is really a poor substitute for the real thing, isn't it!

Love is patient, but we often are more patient with strangers than with our family or our partner we live with every day.  Unconditional love is actually very rare, and we strive more to get it than to give it.

The kind of love that we have in our inner being and express through our relationships with others is communicated through words, tone of voice, actions, attitudes, and by what we do not say and do not do.

Few things are unconditional.  Love, however, is not love if it is conditional.  "The love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (Romans 5:5).  Love is a gift from God and is passed on to others in the purity of heart that is unconditional.

on October 25, 2001:

"Dear Dr Truluck

My name is Nicky van der Bergh.  I reside in Pretoria South Africa where I pastor a small congregation of some 120 congregants, most of whom are gay.  I have been an ordained minister in the Reforming Church of South Africa for 3 years, having previously come out of a mainstream church.

We have recently appointed Eugene Mouton, a young propationer from the Apostolic Faith Mission Seminary, to assist me in our rapidly growing congregation.  Eugene has motivated me to read you book, Overcoming Bible Abuse, and WOW!

I know you have mentioned in the book that we may use it as cell group/bible study etc.  but feel it only right to obtain your permission first hand.  Over and above using it in our studies with the congregation in our Word School - a Christian school for the laymen/women, I would like to quote from it in a devotional I am currently writing, and also to use quotes in a book soon to be published.

Your story has truly moved me.  After reading the passage on Jesus feeding the 5000, the Holy Spirit lead me to host an "Open-Air" service bringing both gay congregations as well as non-gay congregations together.  This in itself was powerful and has sparked a spirit of unity between myself, my congregation and other congregations in the area.

The congregation I pastor is called Agallia Ministries, which is charismatic by nature and we are currently experiencing unbelievable growth. We are the first congregation that serves our community who, coincidently, has their own church building and has an active Word School.  We have 7 active cell groups around town.

I would like to keep contact with you in order to obtain advice and assistance - I feel left out in the cold here and it sometimes gets difficult. Looking forward to hearing from you, God Bless!


Thank you for this letter, Nicky, and know that a lot of other people are with you in your expanding ministry of information and spiritual recovery from abusive religion.


Love always includes an element of encouragement.  This letter was a great encouragement to me in my own ministry.  Encouragement in Greek is "paraklete, parakaleo" and means literally "to be called alongside." It is used of God standing with us and of you and me standing with each other.  Read about the sources of encouragement and perseverance in Romans 15:1-7.

We encourage others when we stand alongside them with unconditional love.  When we stand against others and attack their mistakes and stupidity and criticize them and focus on their faults, we withhold our unconditional love and push them away.  We often are threatened by getting too close to others, and one sure way to push them away is to make our love conditional on their acceptance and love for us!  What do other people in your life have to do to deserve and receive your love?  What demands do you make before you will give your love to someone else?

The grace of God has been called God's "unearned favor".  You cannot do anything to earn God's unconditional love, because you already have it.  Nobody had to earn Jesus' love before Jesus would extend unconditional love to an individual.  What do you require people to do to earn your love?

The only basis for the love that Jesus extended unconditionally to all people was the need of the individual and the ability of Jesus to encourage and help.  Nobody had to do anything before Jesus would love and have compassion for a person in need.  The Spirit of Jesus is already with and within you.  Your capacity for unconditional love is already present with you.  Unconditional love, like every other dimension of your life, grows stronger and more effective with exercise and regular use.

Rembert Truluck

Chapter 51.  "Grow Up In Love"
(Update for October 26, 2001.  I suggest that you print out this page to more easily read and study it.)

Read Luke 10:25-37; John 13:34-35; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Spiritual maturity in Christ is measured in terms of love.  "Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.  Show hospitality to one another without murmuring" (1 Peter 4:8-9).  The word "murmuring, "Greek goggusmos, is the same in Acts 6:1 where complaining developed about how some people were neglected in the serving of food to the needy.  You can count on some of us to find a way to fight over love and how to show it.

Love is never fully mature and perfect.  Love is like recovery from addiction.  We once were addicted to self and self-destructive appetites.  We are in recovery, and recovery takes time.  We are on the road to recovery.  We do not let go of the upward calling of God to mature love in Christ.  We are on the right path, but we aren't there yet.

Love as the Goal of Growth

Review the story in Luke 10:25-37 of "the greatest commandment" and the definition of "neighbor" in the adventure in compassion by a religious and social outcast.  Then read again the New Commandment of Jesus in John 13:34-45 to love one another just as Jesus loved you.  By our love for each other the world will be convinced that we are disciples of Jesus.  Every use of "love " in John 13 is Greek agape, which is the love defined in the life of Jesus and in "God is love" in 1 John 4.  Love is the quality that makes us most like Jesus and God.  Read Matthew 5:43-48.

The only way that you can love as Jesus loved is to be filled with the Spirit of Jesus so that Jesus loves through you.  It is not so important what you do as what you let Jesus do through you.  Jesus said that we are to become fully mature like God ("perfect," teleioi). Jesus was saying that we are to love our enemies and be impartial and inclusive in our love just as God is inclusive and impartial in sending sunshine and rain for everybody.  To be the children of God is to love, and to love is to be children of God.

How Does Your Love Level Measure Up?

Try a little experiment.  Turn to 1 Corinthians 13 in your Bible.  Begin at verse 4 and everywhere the word "love" appears, put in your name instead.  Everybody laughed when I started the list in a college class one time by saying "Rembert is patient.  Rembert is kind and is not jealous.  Rembert does not brag and is not arrogant."  The biggest laugh came when I read the final statement in13:8 with my name in place of love: "Rembert never fails!"

You can have fun with this exercise in a group as each person reads 13:4-8 out loud with her or his name in place of "love".  It will be amusing but also a sobering experience.  It can help us not to take ourselves too seriously and at the same time realize that we have a lot growing to do to become like Jesus in our love.  Most of the words that were used in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 also were used in the Gospels to describe Jesus. 

Wonderful Words of Love

Words to describe love in 13:4-8 were carefully selected and are filled with meaning.  As in all of Paul's lists, the first and last items are especially important.  They set the stage for the list and wrap up at the end with a "big bang" conclusion.  The words are practical and not sentimental.   They are realistic descriptions of love as seen in the life of Jesus and in the acts of God.  Let's take a close look at each word.

Love Is Patient

Patient, Greek makrothumei, for "long" plus "anger," meaning that it takes a lot to make you angry.  Patient describes God in Romans 2:4: "Do you think lightly of the riches of God's kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?"  See chapter 13 on "How Jesus Handled Anger."  How do you handle your anger?  The answer to that question is the first measurement of how much your love demonstrates the presence of Jesus within you.  When you let your anger control you, you have not yet let the Spirit of Jesus control you.

Winning against anger and impatience are necessary steps to spiritual maturity in love.  But how do we win?  Watchman Nee tells in his book The Normal Christian Life (page 126) a story about his visit with an American Christian couple who asked him to pray for them about their problem.  They explained that they were in a bad way, because they were very easily irritated by their children, and during the past few weeks had both lost their tempers several times a day.  They asked Brother Nee to pray for God to give them patience.  Nee replied that he could not do it.  He said he would not pray for their request because the prayer would not be answered.  They were shocked and asked if they were beyond help.  He said "No," and asked, "Have you ever prayed for patience?  You have.  But did God answer?  No.  Do you know why?  Because you have no need of patience."

With that, the wife's eyes flashed and she became very upset and asked Nee what he meant.  His answer was, "You do not need patience.  You need Christ."  He went on to explain that "God does not give humility or patience or holiness or love in separate little packets.  God has already given us all that we need in giving Jesus to us.  I will gladly pray for you to have more of Jesus in your life."  This is a great and necessary key to every dimension of spiritual growth at every level.  We grow in love and in everything else by having more of Jesus in our hearts and lives.  As we look at each of the words that describe love, think of how the presence of Jesus within you makes them happen for you.

Love is Kind

The same basic word for "kind", Greek chrestos, is used in Galatians 5:22 as fruit of the Spirit and in Matthew 11:30, where Jesus said: "My yoke is gentle,"  which means "well fitted."  Kind is a word that describes the gentle and kind attitude that respects the feelings of others.  Kindness helps us to accept others as they are and to respect their individuality without trying to force them to change to suit us.  Kindness controls us when we "speak the truth in love"  Truth not spoken in love is not heard as truth.  When my family drove away after a visit with my parents, my father used to say, "Be kind to each other!"

Love Is Not Jealous or Boastful or Arrogant

These three negative words deal with attitudes that make us unattractive to others.  Jealous, Greek zeloi, comes from the word for "hot" or "boil."  We get the words zeal and jealous from it.  It means that when you love you don't get hot and upset when something good happens to somebody else instead of to you.  To boast means to brag and show off.  It means that you refuse to do anything unless you get credit for it.  Arrogant means "puffed up" with your own importance.  It really does mean "to be full of hot air!"  See also 1 Corinthians 4:6, 18 and Colossians 2:18.

Love Does Not Hide in Shame

The word is Greek aschemonei and is the word "indecent, unbecoming, unseemly" used in Romans 1:27; 1 Corinthians 7:36; 12:23; Revelation 16:15.  It refers to what is hidden or covered because of shame.  Love is out in the open.  This says something about our coming out of the closet, doesn't it?

Love Does Not Seek Its Own Way and is Not Easily Provoked

Read Romans 15:1-7, which begins, "We who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves."  Love leads you to put the interests and needs of others before your own.  We usually call it love when we want others to meet our needs and not because we want to meet theirs.  When we try to pressure someone else to do what we want whether that person wants to do it or not, we are not acting out of love.  "Provoke" is Greek paroxunetai, and means "to urge on, to stimulate, especially to provoke to wrath, to irritate."  The only other uses are in Acts 15:39; 17:16.  It means something like, "Let's you and him fight!"   

Love Thinks No Evil

The Greek is logizetai, which is a term used in accounting and means that love does not keep a list of hurts and resentments.  Love is able to forget the things that others have done to wound and hurt.  To keep a list of wrongs suffered at the hands of others is to live imprisoned in the past.  Part of love is letting go of the damage others have done to you.  This is a healthy move toward maturity for you.  Simmering resentments and nursing grudges can make us physically ill.  Love sets us free to go on and live in joy and hope without having to drag along baggage from the past.  I am sure you realize how important this is for Christian homosexuals.  Jesus offers us freedom and joy, but we can never enjoy life as long as we won't let go of all of the awful things people have done to us because of our sexual orientation.  Let go and live!

Love Does Not Rejoice in Unrighteousness But in the Truth

Love never enjoys seeing somebody else getting hurt.  Love never goes about listening and telling the dirt and gossip about others.  Love, however, rejoices in the truth.  Living in the truth is never easy.  Love means coming out of the closet for many homosexuals who are afraid of their own truth about themselves.  Love means giving up living in denial about our addictions, even when those are addictions to sick and abusive religions.  Love means letting Jesus set us free to be our true self.  It is good to live in truth, but it is not easy.  The truth will set us free, because the truth of God's love has liberated us.  The question that has to be answered is "Am I ready for real freedom?  Can I handle real freedom?

Love Bears, Believes, Hopes, and Endures All Things

Love "all things bears, all things believes, all things hopes, all things endures."  This is the order of the words in Greek.  "Bears" all things means "to cover," Greek stegei, "to put a cover over something to protect it."  Here it means "to cover, pass over in silence, keep confidential."  Love "bears all things" by throwing a cloak of silence over what is displeasing in another person.

"Believes all things" does not mean that love is hopelessly gullible and will believe anything.  That obviously is not the meaning.  Believe and hope are closely connected.  The two terms together mean that love says to the troubled person, "I believe in you.  I have great hope for you.  I am confident that you can become the person God has plans for you to be in Christ."  Love means that in our relationships with others we "believe and hope all things" in an attitude of positive, supportive, encouragement.  Love never thinks of looking for opportunities to put down other people and say, "Ha! I told you so!"

Love Endures All Things

"Endures" is Greek hupomenei, literally the two words, "super" and "remain."  Love means to stand your ground no matter what happens or what others may do.  It means to hold out and remain instead of running away.  It is expressed in John 13:1, where "having loved his own who were in the world, Jesus loved them to the end (telos)."  Jesus loved his friends until his mission was accomplished.  Jesus did not run away or abandon those he loved.  Jesus set the example of love in every way.  To love is to stand firm and not give up on anybody.

Love Never Gives Up

The final word is Greek piptei, meaning "to fall" and was used of a structure that collapsed or was ruined.  It meant "to become invalid, come to an end, fail."  Love, like Jesus, never gives up.  Love never quits loving.  "Love is not love, that alters when it alteration finds."  If we love only when we are loved, if our love is inconsistent, and if we love others only when they are loveable, we have a lot of growing up to do in loving one another as Jesus loved us.  Love is the greatest gift, because when you love, you give yourself.

Questions for Study and Discussion

1. Think about it: What do you mean when you say to someone, "I love you"?  My friend Dr. Roy O. McClain said, "I love you is never so meaningless as when it has to be said."  What do you think that means?

2. How has our popular romantic vision of love in movies, novels, songs, and television distorted the meaning of love as it is presented in Jesus in the Bible?

3. What is the difference in the meaning of love according to Jesus and our romantic view of falling in love?  What is the result of confusing the various meanings of "love"?  Growing in love is a lifelong process.  How far along the road to mature love do you think that you have come so far?

On to "Follow Jesus' Steps"


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