The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of change. We are commanded throughout the scriptures—and encouraged by modern prophets—to repent, put off the natural man, and become new men in Christ. We understand this as a process of sanctification leading toward perfection, exaltation, and eventual godhood.
So change requires that we surrender from our character all that separates us from being like God. Nowhere in gospel writings is counsel given to accept ourselves as we are. This engenders a continual dissatisfaction with self.
But we must also love ourselves, for implicit in the command to “love thy neighbor as thyself” is an injunction of self-love. Furthermore, if we are to emulate Christ we must regard ourselves with the same kind of perfect love he feels toward us. These doctrines are crucial in therapy, where we see that Christ-like patience with our failings, compassion for our pain, and forgiveness of our mistakes is necessary for healing and growth.
As therapists, we speak of change as a process of growth toward wholeness. This process brings with it continually increasing feelings of fulfillment, joy, and a sense of inner peace, connection, and power.
Wholeness implies means living life beyond the effects of distressful emotional and psychological conditions. It means reclaiming and integrating all of the strengths and capacities that became lost to us through the soul-splintering effects of abuse and trauma. It means seeing ourselves as being fully capable of handling life’s challenges, even while we humbly recognize our limitations, frailties, and vulnerabilities. And it means living life with moderation and flexibly balancing our contrasting—or even opposing—desires, wants, needs, and perspectives.
For those working to resolve unwanted same-sex attraction, wholeness especially means affirming and loving their own masculinity or femininity while appreciating the complementarity of the opposite sex. It means resonating with others of their own sex and remaining fully authentic in their presence. It means feeling entirely at peace with their sexual desires and choices by bringing them into harmony with their goals and values. In short, wholeness means being fully the man or woman they were designed by God to be and in that state, being truly at one with God.
The role of therapy in the process of change is to free men and women from the things that block them from progressing toward wholeness. Therapy will be time limited, while the change process will be life-long. None of us will ever become entirely whole in this life no matter how long we live. But it is God’s intention that we spend our lives in that pursuit.