How should Christian parents respond if one of their children comes out as gay?
As homosexuality becomes more acceptable and even encouraged within our society, Christian parents are increasingly confronted with the dilemma of how to respond when one of their children identifies with a sexual orientation other than heterosexuality. In general, the church has not always set a great example for parents to follow in addressing homosexuality. Its methods tend to either condemn it as the worst of all sins, which alienates people from the church, or accept it with open arms, thus disregarding biblical truth.
The Bible is very clear in defining homosexuality as a sin. In both the Old Testament and the New Testament homosexuality is specifically referred to it as sinful (Genesis 18:20—19:29; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26–28; 1 Corinthians 6:9–11; 1 Timothy 1:10–11). In the book of Leviticus, God spoke to the Israelites through Moses giving them the Law to follow so that they would be set apart as a holy nation. Leviticus 18:22 states, "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination." However, it is important to note that homosexuality is not the worst sin, as it is sometimes portrayed. Although the consequences for each sin are different, all sin is equal in that it separates us from God.
So how should you as a Christian parent respond if your child identifies with a different sexual orientation than heterosexuality? First and foremost, you should respond with love. Following the example of the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11–32, you should always love your child no matter what choices he or she makes. Even though God's people, the Israelites, turned away from Him time and again, He never stopped loving them. He does the same for us: "Or do you presume on the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?" (Romans 2:4).
Secondly, you should speak the truth. As stated above, it is important to love your child; part of loving your child is not straying from the truth (Ephesians 4:15). Remind your child that the Bible is God's Word and the ultimate authority (2 Timothy 3:16–17). Begin by asking your child questions in order to better understand where he is coming from. This will help you to understand if your child is just struggling with thoughts of same sex attraction or acting upon those thoughts and living a homosexual lifestyle. Emphasize the fact that his identity is in his relationship with Christ and not his gender or sexual preference. Your child does not have to label himself a certain way because of his thoughts or actions. If he has put his faith in Christ, his identity is as a child of God (1 John 3:1–2). Encourage him to make God his number one priority and to focus on growing in his relationship with Him. If he is truly seeking God, he will eventually become aware of the sin in his life and have to make the choice to repent or knowingly continue to disobey God.
Finally pray for your child. While your child might see how his sexual orientation is in conflict with his relationship with God, it is also possible that he is blinded by lies that there is nothing sinful about homosexuality. In this case biblical truth will fall on deaf ears. Pray specifically that God will transform his heart from one of stone to one of flesh so that God's spirit can begin to work inside of him (Ezekiel 36:26).
Ultimately, all parents must entrust their children to God. He loves our children with perfect love.
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