build bridges draw lines 1

Moms & Dads

Christ reconciled us to himself and
gave us the ministry of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:18

“I have a set of parents in my congregation, whose twenty-five-year-old son just came out as gay-identified.  They are distraught and on their way to my office.  What can I say to them?”  The pastor anxiously continued, “They are asking me things like: We loved our son. What does this mean about our relationship with him?  We feel so guilty.  This is our fault, isn’t it?  Where do we find support?  And, where is God in all this?”

I offered this pastor the following advice.

Build Bridges
Seize this time to grow in communication with your gay-identified son.  Tell him that you appreciate his sharing with you this very important and very difficult self-disclosure.  Express your desire to keep this topic of his gay identity and his feelings out in the open between the three of you.  Secrecy is Satan’s weapon.  It kills.  No more secrets.  Verbalize your commitment always to love him and accept his journey.  Also, clarify the difference between accepting and condoning.

Draw Lines
As you communicate, work on that relationship, and reflect Christ to your son certain priority times and events (holidays, overnight guests, family gatherings and etc) may necessitate boundaries.  Boundaries that illustrate acceptance without condoning.  Boundaries that maintain the relationship without breaking personal conscience objections.  Decisions regarding what those ‘lines’ should look like can be prayed about and talked through with spiritually mature friends as they arise.

Do not Point Fingers (between Mom & Dad)
“I made my child gay.” It’s my fault.”

“You did this. You made him gay!”

Take captive such thoughts, submit them to the Holy Spirit.

Parents, you don’t have that much power.  You cannot make your child gay!  Just like you cannot make a person a cocaine addict, over-eater, thief or fill in the blank.  It is a constellation of factors that goes into developing a same-sex attraction.

With that said, because you are an imperfect and fallible person/parent you probably did things (and perhaps are doing things) that offended or hurt your child.  So, when the Spirit of God brings to your mind ways you might have offended your child, speak to your son or daughter about them. Ask, “Will you forgive me for ________,” and make every effort to make amends.

It is not helpful to make a swooping statement, such as “Forgive me for everything I did wrong.” Or, “Forgive me for making you gay.”  Go to your child only when you have a specific event, which the Spirit brings to your mind and for which you need to ask forgiveness.

Above all, Mom and Dad, pointing the ‘you-did-this!’ finger at one another is destructive.  Your first responsibility throughout this journey must be to build up and encourage each other.  Let a man examine himself [with the Spirit] I Corinthians 11:28

And finally, consider this, Mom and Dad: God was the perfect parent to Adam & Eve and look what they did!  So, why would you, flawed and imperfect, think your child could not be lead into this fallen state of being.

To Dad Specifically…
Tune-in to Your Son
Intentionally and purposefully be attuned to your son’s body language, moods, use of words/wording and behaviors when in your presence and/or talking with you.  Make every effort to reflect to your son safety, nurturance, and benevolence.  ‘Get into’ your son’s inner and outer life as much as possible.  Spend time with your son.  Don’t give up even when he initially and repeatedly rejects your attempts.

To Mom Specifically…
Tune-down
I did not say “tune off” or “tune out” your son.  But, do direct your son to his dad for conversation and connection.  Assist and encourage your son’s father in developing a relationship with his son.  Your husband may need your assistance in what questions to ask, what observations to verbalize and what actions to participate in with his son.  The idea is for you, Mom is to allow the father-son relationship to grow by helping the two of them foster a deeper, genuine relationship.

Resources
Knowing you are not alone and finding others in similar situations is comforting, even healing.  Finding paths to navigate the journey with a gay-identified loved one is like a life preserver.  Offer resources such as real-time support groups for parents of gay-identified children in their area.  If such groups are not available in their area they can try online support groups like …
Hope for Wholeness FB Groups and Live Hope Forms (Click on “Get Help”, scroll to “Friends and Family” then to Forum)
Additionally, books are a great help.  My two most recommended books in this area of parents with a gay-identified child are both by Joe Dallas:
When Homosexuality Hits Home and Speaking of Homosexuality  

Intercede
Pray without ceasing for your loved one. Pray for your own heart to be made into the likeness of Jesus’ heart. Pray Scriptures for your child.

Caution
In your efforts to build a relationship with your son, do not yield to the temptation to compromise the truth of God’s beautiful and only plan for human sexuality and the necessity of obedience to God and His Word.

Often, the gay-identified child is seen as the identified problem and thus the only one who needs changing.  Wrong!  Through all this God is working in Dad, Mom, family and the church!  Keep your eyes, heart and mind open to what God is trying to change in YOU.  Look into the mirror of God’s Word.  Let Christ demonstrate through you His desire and power to change all of us into His likeness.

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