Sleeve Notes 101: Living in the light of honesty

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Living in the light of honesty

My friend Peterson Toscano was recently featured on the Montel show, talking a bit about his struggles trying to reconcile his faith with his sexuality. Peterson touched briefly on honesty and being truly honest not only with all around you, but being honest with onesself.

I understand exactly where Peterson is coming from because it wasn't until I started being honest with myself that I started seeing true healing and health come into my own life. Determining to be honest, no matter the cost (which is sometimes quite severe), brings benefits even if they aren't seen in the short term. Hiding behind who we wish we could be; who our friends want us to be; who our church thinks we should be is nothing more than hiding...period and turns us into crippled fragments of what we were intended to be. If we are constantly hiding, then we aren't really living the life that we were created for.

In my own life, it wasn't until I was honest with myself, that I was able to be honest with God, my family and friends. Even though God knows all there is to know about me, in my humanity, I attempted to keep certain things veiled in the hopes that He would overlook them. Walking out of the dark and into the light was blinding...not just for me, but for those around me. But allowing my life to be sanitized by the light of honesty, has allowed me to grow spiritually and emotionally.

Whitney sang that learning to love "yourself" is the greatest love of all. But that truly can't happen until you are honest with yourself. I can't say that walking into the light of truth was all that easy because it wasn't. But when I look at the life I'm blessed with now and look at the life I had as I cowered behind who I hoped I might be, I can say with absolute clarity that the difference is as stark as the difference between black and white.

Thanks Peterson for your friendship and for continuing to allow your life to be lived in the light of honesty! Your testimony of honesty, grace and growth is reverberating around the globe to an ever widening audience that need to hear it. Blessings to you my friend!

j.

8 Comments:

Blogger Peterson Toscano said...

You are very welcome, Jonathan. And good news, I am coming to CA at the end of June I better get to see you!!! :-)

1:46 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Whitney sang that learning to love "yourself" is the greatest love of all

and whitney is?
answer, not God.

Some kid gets sexual absused at a young age and now thinks he his 'gay'. He as plenty of help affirming his 'gayness' in a world saturated with sexual pleasures outside of God's will.

Now what jonathan? This kid should be honest with his desires? This kid should accept that because he feels something it's ok with God? it's natural and healthy? worthy to be celebrated?

I pray not!

A man honest with his own heart before our Holy God, knows the depths to which we can sink, and then give thanks to Jesus Christ for delivering us!

11:11 AM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Frankly Mark I think your response shows your complete and total lack of understanding regarding the gay issue. And since, as you've admitted in the past, this is not an area that you've "struggled" with, it's not surprising. Your comments on gay issues remind me of people who give parenting advice but have never had children of their own. It's amazing how the advice changes once they've had their own children.

Unfortunately Mark, a lot of people are never really honest with themselves, much less God. We use all sorts of methods to mask over issues and frankly it may help to make us look good to others around us, but it does absolutely nothing when it comes to growing in grace and knowledge.

j.

2:21 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Frankly Jonathan, there is NO Gay issue, only an issue of sin and God's holiness. Something you have refused to define, much less using God's word. You, publically professing to be a follower of Christ, makes that even more troublesome.

I, nor does anyone, need to have children, nor be attracted to other men sexually, or a host of other Jonathan type requirements, inorder to proclaim the word of God.

It's amazing how the advice changes once they've had their own children.

It's more amazing how one's life changes when living under the Lordship of Christ, and not just pretending to be by our good will and acts. Did the gospel of Matthew not do enough of that for you Jonathan?

What is "amazing" is how much your gay message resembles that of the Pharisees during our Lord's walk on earth. They too had a goal, a picture, an image of God's holiness and their salvation. They were wrong, no?

Christ confirmed God's eternal law, Christ fullfilled it (with great explanations even! refer to NT). The question now is: Who rules your life? keywords "heart" & "flesh".

btw j, I 'know' as much about celebrated sin as you do. No one needs to be 'gay-centric' to qualify under jonathan standards inorder to realize the struggles of sin and submitting your life to Christ.

Now if you have Biblical evidence living in God's holiness encompasses anything sexually outside one man one woman in Marriage, do tell. I look forward to judging your message with the very words of Christ.

Peterson's honesty is not light, Christ's message is not a buffet, nor is His grace.

3:46 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

We use all sorts of methods to mask over issues and frankly it may help to make us look good to others around us,

Is that like how you never use a J vs a j when writing your name? Are you ok with standing before God with boldness?

I ask that because I want you to be 'bold' Jonathan. Not 'bold' in your own right, but 'bold' in Christ. The crucial step in that direction is knowing sin. The sin Christ exposed in all of us, then laying it down upon Him and His shed blood. That my friend requires Faith, to teach otherwise is of the flesh...and our flesh is weak, but the spirit is stronger.

There is no better place to strenghen the spirit, than God's word. ok?

5:12 PM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

I don't know Mark, quite how to respond to you. Granted, I could argue with you all day long and feel quite certain that at the end of the day, have made serious hay of the dogma you've laid forth. I'm not sure that I feel led to do that. I will say that I am praying for you Mark because you seem, in all of your zeal to expose sin, to have missed out on the love of Christ.

A good friend of mine who is a linguist for the United States Army, currently stationed in Moscow Russia, wrote the following in a recent exhange:

Flaming fearmongers like Jonathan Edwards loved the Angry God message. I've read that despite the masses praying for mercy after his scathing sermons, few remained devout for long. Fear and panic will milk out a good number of hasty stops at the mourner's bench, but the love of a Father who knows our weaknesses, and won't beat us everytime we foul something up - that will burrow down under the skin and spread through one's system like a healing balm.

Mark, just because you declare something doesn't make it so. Much like your pschyo-analysis of the way I sign-out, your understanding of the issues leaves something to be desired. Probably because you don't know enough to make a firm pronouncement.

Thankfully Mark, I believe that God suffers fools and children (as the old saying goes) and it's a good bet that both of us fall into one or the other category.

Blessings,

j.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Your good friend who is a linguist for the United States Army, currently stationed in Moscow Russia misses the point sadly. Christ provides the love of a Father and that will will burrow down under the skin and spread through one's system like a healing balm.

What's next? Will you and your friend call John the Baptist a Flaming fearmonger ? I pray not! Maybe ya'll can correspond with each other about what Christ said about John the Baptist's message and what Christ said about those who did not like it. That jonathan would explain where I am coming from.

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Joe P. said...

I don't think John's message can be characterized this way. Two primary messages of Johns are recorded in the NT:

A general message for all - Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand!

and one for the Pharisees and Sadducees that was a little more terse - "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

"Fearmonger" has a connotation that I don't think applies to John. John didn't go about deliberately stirring fear in everyone, routinely using fear as a primary motivator. Appealing to the imminence of the Kingdom of Heaven and the real need to repent is a far cry from ranting that sinners are loathsome in the eyes of an angry God who is ready at any moment to cast them into the flames of hell. In the NT, these kinds of sharp messages were generally reserved for the self-righteous (such as the Pharisees and Sadducees above).

11:39 AM  

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