My denomination is dealing these days with a pastor in California who reversed his position on homosexuality. The pastor said that his shift coincided with his 15-year-old son’s announcement that he is gay.
This is a situation every Christian should think through, now. As I’ve said before, at stake on the issue of a Christian sexual ethic is the gospel of Jesus Christ. But what if, sitting across from you, is your child or grandchild?
You will, without a doubt, have someone close to you in your family come out as gay or lesbian, if not already, then sometime in the future.
How should a Christian parent or grandparent respond?
One of the reasons this is such a crushing experience for many is because they assume that their alternatives are affirmation or alienation. I either give up my relationship with my child or I give up the Bible. The gospel never suggests this set of alternatives, and in fact demonstrates just the opposite.
Every child, whether gay or straight, is oriented toward sin, and so are you. If your child or grandchild says he or she is gay, you shouldn’t act shocked, as though you are surprised your child might be tempted toward sin or that you find your own sinful inclinations somehow less deserving of God’s judgment.
Your child’s point of temptation doesn’t mean that your entire relationship with him or her should be defined by that. We don’t affirm what the Bible says is wrong simply because someone we love is drawn toward it, whether that’s “straight” fornication or gay relationships.
At the same time, that doesn’t mean your entire relationship is now to become a sparring match over Romans 1.
Ironically, those who cut off all relationship with a gay child buy into the narrative of the Sexual Revolutionaries, that every aspect of one’s identity is defined by sexual orientation and activity.
As a Christian, you believe this person is made in the image of God, and thus worthy of love, regardless of how far away from God or from you.
First of all, consider what your child is telling you.
He or she could be saying that this is an identity, from which they refuse to repent. That will require a different sort of response than if the child is saying, “This is how I feel, so what do I do?” This will change the way you respond, but what doesn’t change is your love and care for this child.
Don’t panic, and don’t reject them.