Step 1
Step 2
Step 3
Step 4
Step 5
Step 6
Step 7
Step 8
Step 9
Step 10
Step 11
Step 12
Give Yourself Time
Follow Jesus' Steps

Step 4:
Face And Deal With Your Anger

Anger toward people and toward God or yourself can delay your recovery.  Resist seeing yourself as a victim.

James 1:19-20: "Let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for human anger does not achieve the righteousness of God."

HOW JESUS HANDLED ANGER is demonstrated in Mark 3:1-7, which gives the account of Jesus going to a synagogue on the Sabbath: "and a man with a withered hand was there.  They (the religious leaders) were watching Jesus to see if he would heal on the Sabbath, in order that they might accuse him." Jesus told the man to stand up and come forward.  Jesus said, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save a life or to kill?"

The religious leaders did not answer. "And after looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, Jesus said to the man: stretch out your hand.  He stretched it out, and his hand was restored." The religious leaders immediately went out and consulted with political leaders about how to destroy Jesus.

"And Jesus withdrew to the sea with his disciples."  Mark 3:5 is the only use of the word "anger" (Greek orge) to describe Jesus in the Gospels.  This event is given also in Matthew 12:9-21 and Luke 6:6-19. Jesus first recognized and admitted his own anger.  He became angry when faced with flagrant religious abuse against a suffering individual, who was being used by religious leaders to try to trap Jesus into breaking their laws.

The Pharisees taught that all sickness was caused by sin. Jesus challenged all of this in a moment of compassion and healing.  Jesus' anger was real.

The Gospels picture Jesus practicing a healthy rhythm of involvement and withdrawal in his ministry to the crowds.  Jesus did not stay involved all the time.  He took regular time out for rest and prayer.  Dealing with anger often requires taking some time to "cool off" and think through what your response should be.

Jesus did more than admit his anger and withdraw.  He prayed all night (Luke 6:12), selected friends to be with him, and turned to the Bible for a clear description of his mission as peaceful, nonviolent, inclusive and effective (Matthew 12:17-21).  Then he plunged back into the crowds to continue his work.  He refused to let his enemies draw him into fighting them on their terms (Matthew 12:38-39).

Follow Jesus: Admit your anger.
Take time out to think it through.
Use the Bible to give you a clear sense of your real mission and purpose in Christ. 
Choose the people you will let be close to you and share with you in your times of stress.
Don't let your anger distract you from God's love and your mission. 
Continue to love and heal.

Click here to see an important APA (American Psychological Association) web site on "Controlling Anger -- Before It Controls You".

Further discussion of Step 4 can be found in my book Steps To Recovery From Bible Abuse in the following Lessons:

(Click on the Bible references to read them)

Mark 3:1-6; Matthew 12:15-45; Luke 6:6-19

Genesis 4:2-16; Proverbs 14:29; 29:22;
James 1:19-20; Ephesians 4:24-27

John 6:15-21; 14:27; 20:19-23

Mattheew 26:31-39; Psalm 22 and 23; Romans 8:18-39

On to Step 5

Updae for January 15, 2004


St. John of the Cross wrote "The Dark Night of the Soul."  Find a copy and read it.  (See link below.)  We all have experienced it.  You may be going through a "dark night of the soul" as you read this.  Know that you are not alone.  A lot of other people are going through the same things that put you down and depress you.

Jesus experienced a "dark night of the soul" in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Read the Gospel accounts of this in the Four Gospels.  (See links below.)  When I was on a trip to Palestine led by Dr. William Morton in 1958, Dr. Henry Turlington was a member of our group.  When we shared our experiences that were most meaningful to us, Dr. Henry told of his experience of visiting the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives by himself after the group had been there the day before.

Earlier in Damascus, Dr. Turlington had received a message along with Dr. Morton that they both had been fired as Professors at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in their absence.  Henry said that as he sat beside the stone that marked the spot that tradition said Jesus fell on his face to pray the Gethsemane prayer, he wondered why the edges of the stone were stained brown just inside the little iron fence that surrounded it.  Then he saw a pilgrim come and kneel beside the stone and lean over and kiss the stone where Jesus prayed: "Thy will be done" and then was arrested, tried, tortured, crucified and died.  Then Henry realized that the stains had been left by multitudes of kisses by visitors to the site.  This was a very emotional experience for Henry and for all of us who listened to him share with us.

Thirteen professors at the seminary had been fired for defying the President and demanding his ouster.  One of the thirteen decided to stay and continue to teach at the seminary.  This was Dr. J. J. Owens, professor of Old Testament and Hebrew.  The next year as I began my graduate work, I was student assistant to Dr. Owens and graded papers and taught his courses in Biblical Hebrew when he was away.  Dr. Owens was going through his own "dark night of the soul" and I learned a lot from him as a teacher and as a dedicated servant of God.  Dr. Duke McCall, President of the Seminary, was also a friend of mine and was going through his own "dark night of the soul" in all of this!

My seminary education included a lot of "dark night of the soul" and also a lot of learning from people whom I respected and love and still thank God that I was allowed to sit at their feet and learn from them in their own times of pain and travail.  The seminary was never the same again after these events.  Now the seminary has taken a turn into fundamentalism and intentional biblical ignorance that is truly dismal and self-defeating.

The "dark night of the soul" takes many forms and is experienced personally by many different people in different ways.  Have you or are you now experiencing a "dark night of the soul"?


When I was leading the small group study and dialogue in my home every Wednesday night when I was pastor of MCC Nashville, we discussed the issue of GLBT suicide.  I asked how many of you have contemplated or attempted suicide.  Most of the 35 people present said that they had either planned or actually attempted suicide.  We were supportive and loving to each other as we listened to each person share their stories.

The Rev. Troy Perry, founder of MCC, attempted to kill himself after his lover broke up with him.  His landlady found him and got him to the hospital in time, and the result was a fresh new experience with God for Troy and a clear call to start a church for Gay and Lesbian people.  MCC exists today as an outgrowth from Troy Perry's "dark night of the soul"!

Troy Perry has reminded me that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem and is also a big mistake because you do not know what is just around the corner that will change everything for you!  I thank God for Troy Perry, for his leadership of UFMCC and for his personal friendship.  His own "dark night of the soul" has led to great glorious benefit for all GLBT people around the world.  Don't despise or reject whatever is happening to you as a mistake.  God has a purpose in whatever you are going through now.  You are learning and growing.  Pay attention to the Spirit of God, who is your Teacher.  You are learning what you need to know.  Listen.  Learn.  Grow.  Move on.


Viktor Frankl in a landmark book on "Man's Search for Meaning" (originally called "From Concentration Camp to Existentialism,") described his own "dark night of the soul" as a medical doctor in several Nazi concentration camps, where, because he was a doctor, he was allowed to live.  Frankl began a school of psychiatry call "Logo therapy" ("meaning therapy") based on his experiences in the camps, where he recorded his experiences in a journal.  He noted that some people reacted to the concentration camps like saints and others reacted like swine!  Why?

Frankl concluded that the difference depended on whether the individual had a clear purpose or a sense of meaning in life.  Often this clear purpose in life was based on someone that the individual loved, even if the person was dead.  You need to read "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl.  And you also need to find and read a copy of "The Dark Night of the Soul".  (See Internet links below.)


Viktor Frankl developed a technique of helping people deal with their own "dark night of the soul" by asking them why they had not killed themselves.

The answer was then used to help rebuild a sense of purpose and meaning for the life of the individual.  All of this has been personally helpful to me, though not quite enough.  I could sill use a lot more help dealing with my own "dark night of the soul."  How about you?

I decided a long time ago not to kill myself because I could not do that to my son, Russell, or to my daughters, Susan and Deborah.  I also want to live so that I can continue and finish the work that God has called me to do.

Why have you not killed yourself?


The darkness and despair will fade and light and hope will return.  You do not have to remain in "the dark night of the soul" for ever!  Read Philippians 4 for some really practical help in dealing with anxiety and fear, especially Philippians 4:6-7. I long ago memorized this and often recite it to myself in the middle of the night and any time when I am afraid and anxious.  (See link below.)

Depression is "anger turned inward" and can be best understood and controlled when you face and deal with your own anger.  See all of my web site and book material on Step 4.  My good friend David Kelly is the person who convinced me that dealing with Anger should be one of the 12 steps to recovery from Bible and religious abuse.  He was right, for he had experienced these issues himself and had helped many others deal with anger and despair in his frequent role as a GLBT counselor in Gay Centers and HIV Clinics in Atlanta and Los Angeles.  (See below my material on this in my web site and book on Anger, Depression and Despair in Step 4.)


Depression is both the most common and the most treatable of psychiatric problems and illnesses.  My friend Psychiatrist Professor Dr. Corbett Thigpen, M.D. is the world's authority on the diagnosis and treatment of depression.  He is co-author of "The Three Faces of Eve" and the psychiatrist who helped me to accept myself as a gay man many years ago.  Dr. Thigpen also treated my ex-wife and several members of my church in Greenwood, S.C.  (See my link on "Psychiatry and Medicine" below.)

Depression is the most prevalent disabling and debilitating psychological condition which threatens us.  Every day we are exposed to various dimensions of "the dark night of the soul".  How do you handle depression?  How do you deal with sadness and despair on a daily basis?  Maybe you never have to deal with these issues, but I do.  I have learned to cry a lot in recent months because of a situation that I am trying to face and handle.  Not very successfully so far, I have to admit.

I probably should not tell you these kinds of things about myself.  But I am no different from you!  Whatever you are trying to overcome and trying to handle is common to all of us.  To me and to a lot of other people you know who just do not try to tell you about what is really happening to them.  Believe me, my friend; we are all in this sinking boat together!  You are not alone.  You have a lot of despairing company.  How can we help each other?

(See link below to "Stand By Me")


You can listen without judgmental condemning attitudes and statements.  You can show that you really care by simply being there when a friend needs you.  You can listen and pay attention when your friend or partner needs to pour out a heart of pain and hurt that you might not have known was there.  Be available.  Stand by your man – or woman!  Just being there can be of great support and encouragement more than you realize.

People who have listened to me and showed that they really care about me have helped me far more than people who have come up with lots of advice and suggestions about how I should behave and how I ought to handle things!  What has most helped you when you were going through a "dark night of the soul"?  How can you do the same for someone else?


Your "dark night of the soul" can be God's way of equipping you for ministry to others.  Learn everything you can from your own experiences.  Your "walk through the valley" is part of your education for your mission to "stand beside others" and encourage them in their pain and despair.  Write down every detail of your own dark night experiences.  Keep a daily journal of your life.  Use what you are learning to gain a better understanding of who you are and to develop compassion and insights that prepare you to be of practical help to others. 

Everything that happens to you is part of God's work of "equipping the saints for ministry." (Ephesians 4:12-14: "God gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints (true believers) for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature person to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.  As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by every wind of doctrine, by human trickery, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Jesus, who is the head, even Christ." (NASB)

(See text of Ephesians 4 at links below.)


You already have the spiritual resources that you need to face and deal with your "dark night of the soul."  You are created in the image of God.  The Spirit of Jesus has been poured out into your heart and mind and is everywhere in every person.  If you want to see God, look in a mirror.  If you want to see Jesus, look at the person next to you.  Remember that Jesus said, "Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these, you have done it to me." (Matthew 25)

Rembert Truluck

See a new web site and book by Herndon L. Davis in Atlanta:

This web site and book are greatly needed in the African American GLBT community, as my friends Carolyn Mobley and Duncan Teague can testify.  (They started the first African American GLBT support group (ALGA) in Atlanta.)
See "About the Author":

"Dark Night of the Soul":
This web site gives you the complete text of the work of St. John of the Cross.

Gethsemane: matthew_26_31-39.html

See Viktor Frankl on the Internet:

See Anger, Depression and Despair:

See Lesson 16 in my book on "Freedom to Live in Hope", pages 152-158.  Read all of it.  See my web site material on how to get a copy of my book: BOOK INFORMATION.

Philippians 4:1-23

See: Psychiatry and Medicine:
and read the update on "It's About Time".

See "Stand By Me":

Ephesians 4:11-15:

Ephesians 4: 22-32:

Update for Dec. 13, 2003:

For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: "It might have been!"
(John Greenleaf Whittier: "Maud Muller")
(Go to the bottom of this page and click on the link to read this great classic of English literature for yourself.  You will be touched and inspired.)

As you review your life in this year of 2003, what stands out most clearly in your mind?  What have you done that pleases or distresses you?  What have you not done that you wanted to do and just never got around to doing?  What has happened in your most significant relationships with others?  How much have you let other people's craziness make you crazy?

How will the final half of this final month of 2003 be different?


We all need a person to talk with and to share our feelings and ideas, to care about what happens to us and to be available to listen and not judge or condemn.  We need a person we can trust to keep confidential what we tell in private.  We need a person who loves us and accepts us when we are at our best and when we are at our worst.

Have you been that person for somebody this year?  Has anyone been that person for you?


"Anger Kills" is the title of a very helpful book by Redford Williams, M.D., and Virginia Williams, Ph.D., published l994 by Harper.  It is as entertaining as it is practical.  (It contains some great cartoons!)  I encourage you to get a copy and read it as a Christmas gift to yourself this year!  Anger is the distracting, numbing approach to life that most prevents us from doing and being what we really want to be and do.

As the Dr. Williams and Williams make clear, anger is unhealthy and can kill if allowed to rage unchecked throughout your system.  Read again the material in Step 4 in my web site and book.

Why single out anger as the most deadly of dysfunctional attitudes that we can develop and nourish?  Simply because "anger" means "mad" and madness is crazy!  Anger causes me to become illogical, unobjective, unrealistic and impractical.  Anger makes me act against my own best interests and counter to my own carefully developed common sense!  I know better than to let anger get control of me.  So why do I do it anyway?


Anger is a very primitive human trait.  "2001" begins with primitive humans discovering how a bone can become a weapon and using it to kill each other.  How do we move beyond the jungle mentality of beast versus beast, predators and prey and become fully human and delightfully contented with who we are?

Perhaps some kind of spiritual insight and faith perspective can help.  The Christmas season is a time of intense attention to religious traditions, mythologies, rituals, promises and abuses.  Christmas can also be a very painful time for many of us who have suffered the loss of loved ones and no longer have our partners, parents or children with us at holiday time.  I remember clearly how I avoided Christmas at all cost for years after I had to leave the college and leave my family, and all of life as I had know it before.

Personal losses can become greatly intensified at holiday times.  Look around you.  Someone nearby really needs you now.  GLBT people are so often in pain and loneliness at holiday times that we alternate between anger and depression.


The most disastrous personal experiences that I have endured are exactly the times in life when I have learned enough to pass helpful material on to others.  My web site and book are directly the result of painful and confusing episodes in my life that prepared me to reach out with practical help and encouragement for multitudes of GLBT people whom I will never know.

I know GLBT people who become physically ill during the Christmas season because the stress is so painful.  As I write this, I am experiencing some unusually painful stress and conflict, confusion and confrontation.  Anger sometimes grips me like a spasm of whooping cough.  Depression is quick to follow.  Sometimes I am a real mess!  The most positive dimension of these kinds of experiences is to look for what God is trying to teach me and how God wants me to use what I am learning to help others who go through the same kinds of things.

The greatest gift you can give is yourself.  Encouragement in the New Testament is the word "paraklete" that means "one called alongside" and is the word translated "comforter" in John 14.  Barnabas is called the "Son of Encouragement," using this word.  When you are alongside another person to give encouragement, you are truly following the Spirit of Jesus in a most wonderful practical way.

Rembert Truluck
December 13, 2003

See Lesson 37: "Stand By Me" in my book and at:
Step Ten

Read the related biblical texts at:
Acts material on Barnabas.

See my update on "Stand By Me":
See: "Help With Holiday Stress":

"Face and Deal with Your Anger":

Click here to go online to read "Maud Muller" by John Greenleaf Whittier

Update for May 4, 2003

Hate hurts everybody.  To hate someone is to diminish yourself as well as the person you hate.  Since every human is created in the image of God, to hate someone is to diminish God and to distort the reality of the universe.  Hate is powerful.  Hate is destructive.  You will always gain by getting rid of hate.

Robert Browning wrote a poem called "Soliloquy of a Spanish Cloister" in which one of the monks looks out of his window and sees a brother monk whom he hates.  The poem is awesome as it begins:

Gr-r-r--there go, my heart's abhorrence!

Water your damned flower-pots, do!

If hate killed men, Brother Lawrence,

God's blood, would not mine kill you!

What? your myrtle-bush wants trimming?

Oh, that rose has prior claims--

Needs its leaden vase filled brimming?

Hell dry you up with its flames!

No amount of protection from the outside world and confined controlled religious environment can protect anyone from the destructive power of hate within!

What do you hate? Yourself, someone who has hurt you, your parents, your partner, your boss, your special personal vision of God?  Hate is just as inclusive as love.  Hate can break out in any human situation that has lost control.  Hate consumes a lot of energy.

Can you spare that much energy?


Four great words can bring hate under control and reverse the fatal course of hateful thinking: Logical, Objective, Realistic, and Practical.  These four words express the effective use of your brain to be in control of your own thinking and life and to resist allowing negative emotions and misinformation to rule your life.

Logic fails whenever abusive misinformed religion convinces you that some people deserve to be hated and rejected as an abomination to God!  This happens all the time regarding GLBT people and the most devastating results of self-hate is the self-destructive thinking and actions of GLBT people themselves.  Many multitudes of us live just one step from suicide!

My years of experience in the gay world at every level has taught me clearly that nobody hates and hurts GLBT people nearly as much as we hate, hurt and destroy ourselves!  I experience the self-destructive forces in myself every day.  I am not immune to being illogical, and neither are you.


To believe even some of the lies and distortions of the facts that the fundamentalist homophobic "ex-gay" religious establishment dumps on you is deadly!  None of the hate based religious industry is based on logical, objective, realistic, practical thinking!  Hate against and within GLBT people is based solidly on misinformation and ignorance.  Run! Do not walk! To the nearest exit and escape from the self-hate that you have been taught by illogical, unrealistic, impractical religion!

Avoid abusive churches like the plague, because they are the plague!

People of hate write to me every day to tell me I am going to hell for giving hope and encouragement to GLBT people.  I am constantly amazed at the obscene language and graphic descriptions of "perverted" sex that some of my hate mail contains.  The enemies of the truth about sexual orientation are just as creative in their destructive hate as were the Nazi, Fascist, KKK, and biblical tyrants who hated and destroyed multitudes of innocent people simply because they were "different".

Religion in today's world is the chief sponsor of terrorism and the primary source of racial, ethnic and culturally based hate. 


What can you do to make a difference in this hostile, hate-based world?  You can begin by accepting and loving yourself!  You can take the time and make the effort to learn the facts from reliable sources like those listed and cited in my web site and book.

You can make a personal commitment to logical, objective, realistic, practical thinking.  Remember the slogan: "High truth for revenue always arouses suspicion!"  Resist listening to and even partially accepting the message of mass media evangelists and religious personalities.  Truth compromised for the sake of making money is no longer truth!

Political, religious and social extremists over simplify the issues and generate hate based enthusiasm for their own financial benefit and influence.  Don't listen!  Turn off the hypocrites.  Walk away.  Look the other way.  You don't have to give any attention to the craziness all around you.  You have been liberated by the Spirit of Jesus.  Now enjoy your freedom!

THE FIFTH OF MAY ("Cinco de Mayo")

Tomorrow, May 5, is the great celebration of Mexico's victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla.  It is a great festival of joy and liberation throughout the Mexican American world.  (See link of explanation below.)

I personally celebrate this event along with my many Latino friends here in the San Francisco Bay Area and in other parts of the country.  I also celebrate every Chinese New Year and Kwanza along with my GLBT friends who are Asian and African American.  We are all part of the human race that God created in God's own image.  We all share equally in the gift of love that God has poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

In Christ, there is no room for hate based religion or hate based thinking.

Both hate and anger kill.  Hate and anger kill the hater and the victim of hate.  God is not the author of hate or anger and is not the creator of confusion and strife.  To believe in God and to follow Jesus is to love and accept yourself and others.  We have the remedy for hate already.  Be logical, objective, realistic and practical and replace hate with love and compassion.

See my web site and book material on "FACE AND DEAL WITH YOUR ANGER" in Step 4.

Rembert Truluck

Cinco de Mayo:

Update for March 26, 2003


Two weeks ago I experienced an unexpected act of traffic violence when I was waiting at a stop light near my home and a pickup truck rear-ended my car with such force that I was knocked into the intersection.  The trunk and rear bumper plus other car body parts were demolished and my car is still in the body shop being repaired.  I am OK.  Everything was covered by insurance.  But it was enough of a shock that I have had several nightmares of being hit from behind and knocked forward.

This has reminded me that none of us is immune to violence in our world.  Violent methods of training children and pets, family violence, spiritual and religious violence, emotional and verbal violence, and the self-inflicted violence of suicide caused by homophobia and religious abuse are all part of the environment in which we live.  A lot of the violence against people who are different is spawned by ignorance and misinformation.  Racial, class, social, sexual and other areas of violence in our society cause suffering, fear and distress that affects all of us even when we are not aware that it does.


Jesus came to replace violence and deceit with love and truth.

When Jesus stood before the secular ruler Pilate, he said that he had come to witness to the truth.  Pilate answered, "What is truth?"  Jesus had earlier told his followers that he himself was the truth.  Jesus had already demonstrated and taught that love is the path of hope and peace and all kinds of healing.

Worldly political power is maintained by violence and the threat of violence and by deceit.  We are presently witnessing many levels and many various manifestations of violence and deceit in the war in Iraq and in daily life all around us.


These powerful words of hope and healing are central to the character of Jesus and to the Spirit of Jesus who dwells within you at every moment of your life.  The world around you is violent and destructive.  The powers of the world constantly attempt to invade your mind and heart with anger, deceit, violence, pride, and greed.  As long as the destructive abusive forces of violence, deceit and anger prevail, reconciliation and healing are impossible.

The world teaches you to prefer revenge to reconciliation.  This is the internal dilemma that distracts us all from the will and mind of God.

As we approach Easter and the celebration of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, meditate on the seven last sayings of Jesus on the Cross.  Jesus asked God to forgive the people who were nailing him to the cross.  In the midst of anger, extreme violence and deceit, Jesus maintained his commitment to peace and love and to the truth.

He declared his own humanity as he always did when he cried out "I thirst."  He provided for the care of his mother and for the future of the thief on the cross.

He quoted Psalm 22:1 as a reference to the entire passage, as all teachers at the time did, and in saying "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"  He thus declared himself to be the fulfillment of the message of hope in Psalm 22.

Jesus proclaimed his trust in God in the midst of violence when he said: "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit."  This prayer also is a quote from Psalms to which Jesus added the word "Father." 

Jesus declared his victorious triumph over evil, violence, anger and death when he cried out: "It is finished," which means that the goal has been reached.  The final victory has been won.


There are no viable detours around the path that Jesus demonstrated in his journey in the will of God into love, joy, peace and truth.  We continue to "look to Jesus" who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross despising the shame and is now in the glorious presence of God to which you also are invited by the same route.  (Hebrews 12:2)

Following Jesus always means avoiding the pathways of anger, violence and deceit and remaining on the brightly lighted royal road of love and truth.


The one problem in the Gospels that seems to contradict the consistent love and truth plan of Jesus is the "cleansing of the temple" in which Jesus turned over the money tables and drove out the money changers as he exclaimed that the house of God was intended to be a house of prayer for all people ("people" is "ethnos" which is the word used for "nations" or "gentiles."  The word "ethnic" comes from it.).

The religious leaders, however, had made the temple into a den of religious robbers where the undesirable and unclean were excluded.  The story is told at the beginning of the Gospel of John and at the end of the Synoptic Gospels, and it presents several problems of interpretation.  The text never says that Jesus was angry.  He was simply fulfilling prophecy as he did in the "triumphant entry into Jerusalem" and in many other events.

Jesus was declaring the truth of the inclusive love of God by this dramatic act and was revealing the deceit and spiritual violence of the prevailing legalistic system and of all subsequent legalistic religious systems.  The one time that the word for "anger" is used of Jesus in the Gospels is in Mark 3:5.  See my material on "How Jesus Handled Anger" in my web site and book. (See above.)  See the powerful explanation of the cleansing given by William Barclay in his Daily Study Bible commentaries on the Gospels.

Jesus frequently revealed the destructive violent power of legalistic religion that is based on who is left out instead of on who is included in God's love and acceptance.  To Jesus, all people had equal value to God and all people were equally and unconditionally loved and accepted.

The posture of Jesus as a teacher who sat to teach communicated the calm peaceful attitude of the typical teacher of the time.  Teachers always sat to teach.  The students also sat at the feet of the teacher.  The entire scene is an expression of peaceful, calm dialogue and truth.  What a contrast to the bombastic striding shouting antics of many television preachers!


The religious system that Jesus challenged was itself a violent attempt to enforce a distorted and deceived view of an angry vengeful God.  People were stoned to death for "blasphemy" and for many other religious crimes.  The final end of the abusive system that Jesus confronted and that crucified Jesus came when the Roman army besieged and utterly destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70.  Not one stone was left on another.  All trees were cut down and burned.  Salt was scattered throughout the ruins so that nothing could grow.  The violence of the Roman destruction of the city of Jerusalem was seldom equaled in ancient history of war and battle.

In your personal relationships every day, a familiar proverb is useful: "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1.  I only wish I could always remember this when I most need to practice it!

Try to stay on the "road less traveled" that leads along the way of love and truth so that you will not wander off into the bushes of violence and deceit.

Rembert Truluck

"You will never regret doing the loving thing."

"If you always tell the truth, you won't have to worry about trying to keep your story straight."

See also Lesson 13 in my book.

Update for September 28, 2001:


We are living in increasingly troubled times and a growing environment of depression and emotional stress because of the terrorism that has been launched against our world.  Fear and uncertainly about many aspects of daily life continue to grow and develop.  A pervading sense of helplessness envelops us as we see the continuous vivid television presentations of crumbling economy, disrupted travel, plans for war, and a general sense of threat that is new to our culture.

Many people have felt and acted upon an overwhelming desire to help by donating blood to the Red Cross, going to New York to join the relief work there, giving to new charities, attending churches, buying guns, stocking up on emergency disaster supplies, committing hate crimes against immigrants, and many other activities that give clear evidence of troubled times.


"Valuable time can be wasted by needy people as they go up one blind alley after another seeking help."  With this statement, Dr. Wayne E. Oates and Kirk H. Neely began their book on "Where to Go for Help" published in 1972.  I used this book as a text along with field trips to various community agencies and guest speakers to lead a college course at Baptist College at Charleston, S.C.  The purpose of the course was to give practical useful information about resources for helping troubled people.

The class visited Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, a local police department, a Salvation Army church, a nearby state institution for mentally disabled and retarded people, a local home for helping released prisoners make the transition back into society operated by the Alston Wilkes Society, a local Catholic Monastery and other community resources.  Visiting speakers included the psychiatrist director of the Charleston County Mental Health Program, a local police chief, and the director of the local Florence Crittenton Home for Unwed Mothers.

The class members also divided into small groups for dialogue and discussion about what they were experiencing and learning.  I have given some of the details of this class, because it turned out to be exactly what I have always thought that any effective education should be.  Learning factual information combined with practical experience and group dialogue gets educational results that study and research alone cannot achieve.

We live in the midst of a vast growing network of helping agencies, professionals, voluntary organizations, recovery groups, and government programs that provide resources that an individual cannot develop alone.


Helping other people is based on several basic principles.  You have to be standing on solid ground yourself before you can reach out to others and lift them up.  We often see someone drowning in a sea of trouble and want to jump in and rescue that person at all cost.  Life saving courses always teach the importance of not "jumping in" because of the real danger that you might be pulled in and drown yourself.

Another principle of helping is finding and giving accurate information.  Many agencies, organizations, and other community resources for help are available.  I have often been tempted to help seriously troubled people myself only to discover that I was not equipped to give the necessary help.  The best thing that I could do was to help that person find and follow up on professional help that I was not able to give.  Trying to fumble around and help troubled people who need professional help often delays the helping process and can be deadly.


Listening and encouraging people to discover their own solutions is far more effective than giving free advice, which is worth just about what it costs.  You cannot decide anything for another person.  People make their own decisions, with or without your opinions.

See my web site material on "Giving Advice" in the link below.

Trying to pressure troubled people into getting the help they need is frustrating and seldom productive.  The only way that people can be forced to enter treatment programs is when they are in custody or under a court order.  The individual has to become convinced that treatment or recovery is necessary and available.

Telling someone not to worry or to "get over it" can simply create distance and distrust towards you with little progress in dealing with the real problems.  Really listening and encouraging a troubled person to be objective and to think honestly and realistically can help far more than trying to manipulate anyone into agreeing with you about what you think they ought to do.

Religion can discourage people from getting practical help.  Medical treatment, psychiatry, counseling, group recovery programs, and just about all helping professions have at some point been condemned and ridiculed by abusive religion.  Another book by Dr. Wayne E. Oates, "When Religion Gets Sick", is directly related to the problem of getting practical help when sick and abusive religion gets in the way.


Objectivity is basic to finding help.  Emotionalism under pressure hinders helping yourself or helping others to find resources and solutions.  Be objective and realistic about your own feelings and point of view.  If your emotions are so involved with a troubled person that you cannot really pull back and be objective, you can encourage the person to find someone more neutral and professionally trained to provide information and to find long-term help that might be available.

Judging and condemning are never effective approaches to getting or giving help.  Self-acceptance and self-esteem have a lot to do with a person's desire to get help and to believe that reliable help is available.  Depression and self-rejection can lead individuals to give up and begin to believe that they do not deserve help or that they cannot be helped.

Unexpected new pressures and fears are being heaped upon many people all around you.  International students are special targets for unusual suspicion and pressure in the San Francisco Bay Area, especially at the University of California at Berkeley.  Hear what other people are saying, listen with your heart, and let the compassion that generates your ability to identify with others guide your treatment of other people.

Perhaps the most helpful thing you can do is to become conditioned by the Spirit of Jesus to create an accepting nonjudgmental atmosphere wherever you go.

See material in my book for information and practical guidelines about handling stress, fear and depression in Chapter 7 (The Second Step) and Chapter 9 (The Fourth Step).

Rembert Truluck

Link on "Giving Advice"

Update added January 18, 2001

Saturday is Inauguration Day.  A new President of the United States who received less than a majority of the votes is being sworn in.  Many minorities in this country view this historic event with fear and anger.

Some of the people who have been nominated to the new presidential cabinet and other positions seem to be selected as a concession to the politically powerful religious right.  This is like making concessions to the Nazis.  Attempts to appease Hitler did not change Hitler but instead led to the destruction of millions of people.  Rapidly committed fundamentalists in religion and in politics do not listen to logic and do not change because of being given what they want.  Giving in to bigots only encourages them in their bigotry and ignorance.

Surrendering to playground bullies and appeasement of religious bullies have the same results: more bullying and more pain.


Nobody can take away our LGBT gains in public acceptance and in our soaring self-esteem.  The greatest change that we have experienced in the past 30 years is the coming out of millions of Gay, Lesbian, and Transsexual, Bisexual people.  We are a mighty living force for honesty and fairness for all people.  Nothing can stop us, except perhaps our own fear and anger.

Fear and anger make us vulnerable.  Fear and anger blur our vision and can lead us to terribly self-destructive decisions.  Years ago, Surgeon General Dr. Everett Koop declared that we need a stronger term than "homophobia" to describe the anti-gay attitudes that he had found in many churches.  Dr. Koop said that we need a word for the raw anger that many religious leaders have towards homosexuals.  He said that he had met many religious leaders who would gladly push the button if they had one that would destroy all homosexuals!

I see little evidence that this attitude has declined significantly in our religious and political society.  Of course we have made progress.  Of course MCC, SoulForce, Act-Up, and you have made a difference.  The majority of the traditional religious forces in America, however, are still arrayed against us with passionate charismatic zeal.

Homophobia is the deep-seated fear of homosexuality in our selves and in others.  Homo-hate is the offspring of that fear and leads us into self-destructive behavior and into self-defeating relationships.  Anger that we feel in response to anger from others can distort our minds and loosen our grip on reality.  These inner forces have created for us a crazy-making environment that must be challenged and overcome.


We shall overcome only when we overcome our own fear and anger.  If Jesus helps us with anything, Jesus helps us follow a totally different path from fear and hate.  Jesus calls us to follow the road less traveled.  The road that you follow when you follow Jesus is clear in all Four Gospels.  That road is the way of love, compassion, humility, practical help to others, acceptance and affirmation of yourself and others, and the way self-giving that Jesus called the "way of the cross."

You cannot control how other people feel about you.  You can, however, with God's help control how you feel about the feelings of other people.  You can face and deal with your own anger.  You can resist letting other people's craziness make you crazy.

(See links below to my material on Fear and Anger in my web site and book.)


SoulForce under the leadership of Mel White, Gary Nixon, Jimmy Creech, Laura Montgomery Rutt and many other faithful volunteers has begun a new phase of positive response to religious abuse against all minorities.  A full description of this new strategy is given in the SoulForce web site and in the SoulForce message below.

The strategy is very simple.  It is a call to all LGBT people to withhold financial support from religious organizations that use their power and influence to abuse, diminish, oppress and spread misinformation about LGBT people.  This is not intended as punishment.  It is intended as a clear and effective way to get attention from those who have been intentionally blind to our existence and to our suffering at their hands.

If you have a better plan, put it into action.  We can only help our opponents by fighting each other.  Find a way that fits you to make a difference for love and justice in your world.  Ask God to show you what to do.  And then listen for a response.  With that response will come the energy and ability to do it.


Negative thinking that leads to destructive behavior lies deep within the psyche of every one of us.  We all have a dimly perceived "reptilian brain" that under certain conditions can take over our personality and turn us into an unpleasant and destructive anti-self.

What gives most people control over these dark urges?  What keeps you sane, objective and realistic?  What triggers you to over-react and lash out at others in mindless rage?  Take a good look at how you handle fear and anger.  You will discover clues to how to deal with fear and anger in others.

What calms your own personal "savage beast" within?  Does this give you a hint as to how you can help others to calm down and be realistic and objective?  What part does accurate believable information play in helping you to be more accepting of your self and of others?

You probably would resent having me or anyone else ask these questions directly to you, but can you ask them for yourself and be honest and corrective in your own responses?


In the Bible, peace is always a gift from God.  The fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22 begins with "love, joy, peace."  Peace with God, peace within, and peace with others flows from your experience with God.  Read Romans 5:1-5, where faith, peace with God, hope and perseverance flow through our lives because "the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."

Undoubtedly the most tragic error of our culture today has been the distortion of the loving accepting message of Jesus into a fearful legalistic judgmental religion that separates people rather than bringing them together and that puts people down rather than lifting them up.


Soren Kierkegaard wrote a wonderful devotional classic: "Purity of Heart Is To Will One Thing."  His text was from James 1:8: "Double-minded persons are unstable in all their ways."  Kierkegaard developed the truth that the only way to will one thing and not to be drawn into willing many things to the point of distraction and despair is to will the will of God.  The book says a lot more than that.  So get a copy and read it.  The Book of James contains a lot of practical advice about angry thoughts and angry words.  It may say some things to you that will be unexpectedly helpful.

All people who champion truth and love in their many manifestations have gone through the purifying fires of their own inner struggles and external pressures.  Sometimes this takes the form of "being humbled and changed to become like a little child" (Matthew 18:1-5).  Sometimes it means letting go of everything and starting over.  Sometimes it means physical and mental suffering.  When you decide you want God to use you to do the will of God and be part of the progress of truth and love, then God will do whatever it takes to prepare you and to get you involved in the ways that will do the most good.

Rembert Truluck

"Peace I leave with you.  My peace that I give to you is not fragile like this world.  Let not your heart be troubled.  Don't be afraid any more."
(Jesus in John 14:27)

"There is no fear in love.  Perfect love casts out fear, because fear causes suffering.  The one who is afraid has not yet been made perfect in love.  We love because God first loves us.  If you say you love God but hate people, you are lying, for if you do not love people whom you have seen how can you love God whom you have not seen?  The commandment that we have from God is that if you love God you should love other people also."
(1 John 4:18-21)

Update for December 31, 2003

Yogi said, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it!"

We are at a fork in the road as 2003 ends and the new year of 2004 begins.  Where do we go from here?  At the end of 2003, the GLBT community can rejoice in a lot of progress in human rights and legal protection during the past year.  The U. S. Supreme Court, the Massachusetts State Supreme Court, and countless new businesses in granting same-sex partner benefits made profound changes in our world and in our public acceptance.

Where is your life taking you at this moment?  Are you on a path to health and wholeness or on a downward spiral into destruction and despair?  Only you really know.  Progress for the GLBT Community does not necessarily improve my life or yours, does it!

I personally have decided to take the "road less traveled".  The road less traveled is love.  Love is the most expensive toll road in the world.  Love costs you everything you have.  Love means everything that 1 Corinthians 13 says it means. (See link below.)  The bottom line is that "love never gives up."

Love means letting go and holding on at the same time.  Love means being there for someone who needs you but who thinks you stink.  Love means being like the truly human Jesus, who accepted and identified with all people, no matter how "unclean" and stupid they might seem to be.

Love means being available even when you don't feel like it.  Love is indeed "the greatest thing in the world," but it also means putting up with and ignoring really stupid destructive behavior in people that you love.


Love means telling the truth and being the truth about yourself.  Love and truth go hand in hand.  You cannot love and lie.  These two attitudes are inconsistent and will cancel out each other.

How do you really feel about yourself?  Do you love and accept yourself as you are?  How co-dependent do you have to be to be happy with yourself?  Is your love for yourself dependent upon how somebody else feels about you?


Tom and John were partners for 6 years, and then John started seeing and dating another man.  This new relationship led to sometimes violent confrontations and frequent verbal and sometimes physical fights.  Abusive language and accusations became their everyday way of communicating most of the time.

Ugly hateful angry words were exchanged in person, on the phone and in e-mail.  Tension mounted day by day.  Both Tom and John loved each other very much.  The conflict seemed to be insurmountable.  How was the conflict resolved?  Was it ever really resolved?  It remains to be seen.  The fork in the road always looms just ahead.  To go, to stay, to self-destruct, to give in, to give up, to fight, to manipulate, to cry, to beg, to bargain, to plot revenge, to hurt each other, to be nice, to cooperate, to see a therapist, to kill each other: what to do?  I cannot give advice, even to myself.

Have you ever faced anything like this?  How did you handle it?  Was your approach successful?  Are you dealing with a clear fork in your road as you approach 2004 this week?  What do you plan to do?


Where is God when you need someone to bail you out of a really terrible personal mess?  Perhaps you have to be your own "god" and take control of your own thinking and let go of the emotional craziness that has kept you from being objective, logical, realistic and practical about your own personal life and your most intimate relationships.

God is already within you.  You are made in the image of God.  The Spirit of Jesus is already within you.  Look deep within your own psyche and your own heart and soul and see what you have to tell yourself about how to handle your own impending fork in the road.  Draw upon your own personal experiences and learn from yourself.  Be your own best teacher.  Listen to yourself as you describe your own situation.  Write it out.  Think.  Meditate.  Be still and know.  The truth will come upon you like the breaking of dawn after a long "dark night of the soul."

You are not a helpless wretch.  You are a child of the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe.  Act like it.  Buck up.  Face your own reality.  Be honest with yourself.  Tell yourself the truth.

Let go and move on.

You already have "the victory that overcomes the world."

Act like it.

Rembert Truluck


You will never regret doing the loving thing!

See I Corinthians 13

See also: "The Road Less Traveled" and "People of the Lie" by M. Scott Peck and "Games People Play" by Eric Berne.  These three books have been all time best sellers and have helped millions of people deal more successfully with stressful interpersonal relationships.  See also "Why Am I Afraid to Love?" and "Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I am?" by John Powell.  These two brief books are so practical and helpful that I required them as parallel reading in most of my University courses.

Update added January 5, 2004:

The wonderful gift of starting over!  God lets you begin again whenever you are ready to let go and move on.

As you begin this new year of 2004, what do you want to let go and leave behind you so that you can move on into a happier and more useful life this year?  Only you know what stands in your way and keeps you from starting over.


Take stock of where you are now and why you are there.  You can and must learn from your own past, but you cannot live there.  You have no choice about it.  You have to live one day at the time.  Each day is the first day of the rest of your life.

The beginning of a new year is a clear invitation to you to "let go and move on!"  What that means for you is highly personal and individual   Nobody else can tell you where you are been or where you can go from here.  You have to be the source of your own self-knowledge and your own inspiration for new positive healthy directions for your life.


Jesus lived a life of starting over every day.  Jesus demonstrated a healthy rhythm of withdrawal and involvement.  He did not stay withdrawn all the time nor did he stay involved in activity and ministry all the time.  The clearest example of how Jesus handled pressure and started over is in Mark 3 and the synagogue incident where Jesus became angry at his enemies and then withdrew to think through his purpose and to select people to be with him and then plunge again into his mission.

Read the details of this incident in my book in Lesson 13 and in my web site in this Step 4.

Read rapidly through the Gospel of Mark and notice how many times and in how many different ways Jesus came to a fork in the road and said to his disciples, "OK, now, Let's start over!"  The human life of Jesus gives you a detailed example of how to face and deal with human stress and dilemmas that all of us confront every day.

At his death, Jesus was saying, "OK, now, this is over: We can start over again, and all of you can go with me now."  Let your imagination soar.  Where can you go from here?  Where do you want to go now?  Accelerate your vision of what is out there for you if you will just let the Spirit of Jesus be your teacher and guide and empower you to be what you are really capable of becoming as a child of the Creator and Sustainer of all things.  You have no limitations except for your own passion to live in the past.


Write out what you are letting go in order to move on.  Write out what you want to become now that you are starting over.

Make a New Year resolution to write something in your personal journal every day.  Doing this will help you to learn from yourself and to learn from your own experiences.  Even if you do not read back over what you have written, you will have made an indelible impression on your own mind and will grow in your thinking about who you are and who you are becoming.

If you want to, write to me and tell me how you are starting over now.  I will not always answer unless you ask me to, but just telling me and knowing that I am reading what you say will help you to express hope and encouragement to yourself in your journey.

Remember that the journey is the goal.  You grow and recover and build as you move along, not as you wallow in self-reflection and bog down in despair and regret.  OK, now, Let's start over.

Rembert Truluck

On to Step 5


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