“Mom, Dad… I’m Gay.” A Christian Parent’s Response

David Murray, Professor, Pastor, Author

“Mom, Dad… I’m Gay.” A Christian Parent’s Response

Rachel Held Evans concludes her blog post If my son or daughter were gay with this paragraph:

If God blesses Dan and me with a child who is gay, I would want that child to know without a doubt that he or she is loved unconditionally. I would want her to know nothing could separate her from the love of God in Christ. I would want her to know that she isn’t broken, she isn’t an embarrassment, she isn’t a disappointment.  May I be part of creating a world in which I will not have to protect her from the bullies.

I believe Rachel’s motivation is to create a more welcoming and loving environment in the church for those who identify themselves as homosexuals, or who struggle with homosexual desire. I admire and agree with her motive, and must say that I’ve learned from her in this area of being much more careful in how I speak and write about homosexuality.

However, I would challenge Rachel in two areas.

First, she doesn’t communicate any concern about the sinfulness of homosexual desires nor the immorality of homosexual actions. She seems to convey that homosexual desires are not part of human brokenness, and that to pursue homosexual practices does not have any bearing on a person’s relationship with Christ. No matter what they do, they remain Christ’s “little ones.” There is no indication that she sees anything wrong or unbiblical about homosexuality.

Second, Rachel seems to identify everyone who takes the view that homosexual desires are part of broken human sinfulness, and that homosexual actions are sin, as bullies. Are there bullies who hold these views? Yes, sadly, of course there are. However, it’s irresponsible and unfair to group all who say that homosexuality is immoral as bullies of Christ’s little ones. In doing so, Rachel is, unwittingly I’m sure, aiding and abetting the militant LGBT movement who want to demonize and silence all opposition to their agenda.

I’d like to offer an alternative response to Rachel. It’s not perfect either, I’m sure. Like many Christians I’m still learning how to respond to the social and cultural revolution of the past ten years or so. However, I think it is more biblical than Rachel’s, without being bullying.

First of all, I’d say to any parent in this situation, to be thankful that your son (or daughter) told you; that he felt your relationship was strong enough and safe enough for this major disclosure. Tell him that you understand how this is one of the hardest things for a young person ever to admit to; that you realize it has probably been preceded by months, maybe years, of struggle, pain, and fear.

Second, assure him of your unchanged love in both word and deed. Put your arms around him, hug him tightly. Tell him that you will continue to seek his very best, as you have always done. Promise him that you will not disown him, reject him, throw him out, or cut him off. Rather you will continue to involve him in family activities and that you’ll do everything in your power to ensure the rest of the family respond in the same way.

Third, STOP. Ask him for time to think and pray about what he’s told you, even just for a day. It would be a grave mistake to start trying to ask “why?” or “how?” It would be an even greater mistake at this early stage to launch into sermon mode or to starting quoting bible verses. You need time to process this and he needs time to recover from the trauma of telling you. Ask him if it’s okay to just press “pause” for a day as you think it through.

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