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Passion and Pain. Jayne Ozanne - 26/12/2019

Thought for the Day

How good was your Christmas Cracker joke this year?

Mine normally just leaves me groaning, even if they’re written by friends, such as this year’s:

“How many vicars does it take to change a lightbulb?” To which the answer of course is: “Change?!!”

You see, we all find change difficult.

When I was a management consultant, I used to explain that the two main drivers of change are always “passion” and “pain”. People change either because they have no option to, as the pain they are enduring is just too great, or because their desire (or passion) for something better is so strong.

Passion and pain. Passion is always preferable, although sadly it is usually pain that ultimately spurs us into action.

I know this to be true in my own case – where the mental anguish of trying to square the impossible circle of wanting to love and be loved by another woman, which I thought was totally unacceptable in the eyes of God, nearly cost me my life.

My story of the pain I endured is echoed by so many others who have found themselves trapped between their religious beliefs and their intrinsic human desire to love and be loved. Indeed, this “living hell” originally drove me to seek out conversion therapy, involving yet more pain and trauma and resulting of course, in no change, save to my ever-diminishing levels of hope.

Finally, faced I felt with no other option, I took what has to be one of the most difficult decisions in my life – I dared to believe that whoever I chose to love, God would continue to love me - for that is the meaning of unconditional love. Love with no caveats or exception clauses. I allowed myself to love and be loved, and the impact of that love was transformational.

While I acknowledge that people have different theological positions on this, I know from experience that changing one’s religious view is possible and is usually due to a revelation made through love.

One person who has spoken powerfully about changing her views is Megan Roper-Phelps, who was once part of an American Church that condemns homosexuals.

In explaining what helped her most, Megan shares that it was the kind and patient interactions of the people that she met on social media. Surprising as this may seem, Megan says: “they did not abandon their principles, just their scorn”, proof, if we ever needed it, that the best way to help someone change is always through loving engagement rather than angry or painful exchanges.

For love changes everything.

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3 minutes