Words few parents want to hear.
Then, shock, fear, shame, guilt, questions (“How will we deal with….?” “What will our friends think?”)
As a pastor who has walked down this road with numerous parents and siblings, I appreciated the sound wisdom of the recent Harvest Newsletter.
What do you do when you find gay pornography on your child’s computer? What do you say when he or she comes home for Christmas and announces, “I think I’m gay?”
While there are no easy answers, here are suggestions proven by time and the Scriptures.
1. You don’t need to know all the answers, or all the questions. You don’t have to respond right now. You’ve got a lot to think about.
2. Affirm your love for your child. Nothing should cause you to lost that love. Keep the lines of communication and relationship open. Ultimately, your child is not rebelling against you.
3. Ask him/her what they mean? HOw long felt like this? Is this a conclusion drawn because of gay feelings?
4. You don’t need to know details of your child’s sexual activity. When a child is over 18, it is enough to ask, “are you in a relationship? With whom?” If the child is under 18, ascertain the level of behavior: is it limited to porn? Has there been sexual contact? Have laws been broken? Has a predator been involved? This can be a difficult conversation and a Christian counselor can certainly help.
5. Ask your child if he is content to be gay, or if he wants to change?
6. You can’t change your child – no matter how hard you pray, or plead, or threaten, or convincingly argue. Only a transforming relationship with Jesus will lead to a heart change which leads to behavioral change.
7. Your child doesn’t need to become straight. Yes, you read that right. What your child needs is what God calls everyone to – a life of faith and repentance. Heterosexual sex will not solve problems. The opposite of homosexuality is not being straight – it is believing the truth about God and living a lifestyle of faith and repentance, a life of worship of Jesus.
8. Your child’s struggle with homosexuality is something the Lord means for your good You can’t control your child’s struggle or repentance. YOu can respond to what God is calling you to do – live a life of faith and repentance yourself.
9. Bring others in. No matter how strong you are, you can’t deal with this alone. This may be the greatest battle of all – to share your heart with trusted and spiritually mature friends.
10. Boundaries may be necessary to protect your child or your family. Boundaries are not punitive or manipulative. Boundaries are in the spirit of speaking the truth in love.
11. Pray, love him and give him space to make his own decisions. You can respect those decisions, without condoning or agreeing with them. You can be honest about your hurt, but do not withhold your love.
12. God has placed you in this situation with a son or daughter who is struggling. He is at work in a 1000 ways you can’t see.He has not forgotten you.