When a new baby is born into a family, we tend to be all smiles, with excitement about their future exuding our every word and thought. Grandparents may be heard to say, “She is the most beautiful child I’ve ever seen.” We are often sure they are they sharpest knife in the drawer. In our minds it is obvious that our child is the leader all the other kids in the room are ready to follow. We may fantasize about what great things they will do in the future.
Far too often that excitement turns into despair as the years slide by. A parent may even be heard to say, “What happened to my child? It seems like some other person has moved into their body and taken over their mind.” Sometimes the parent is sure that the devil has taken over and is possessing the very one that is the apple of your eye. How could such a thing have happened? We brought them up with love, taught them the Need to make right and moral choices and showed them the way to live for God and have a close relationship with Him. Where did we fail?
A mother is horribly distressed because that beautiful daughter she had pictured as a lovely bride and devoted mother has just announced that she is coming out of the closet and letting the world know she is gay. She tries to explain to her mom that she has always felt different and has always been attracted to other girls instead of a guy.
In such a time, there are many difficult choices that must be made. Think about all the ways I could handle such an announcement. I could deny that anything has happened and go right on pretending that nothing has changed. I could tell her that it just isn’t true and that she is just mistaken. I could tell her she just hasn’t found the right boy yet but she will and to never mention again the thought that she is gay. That is certainly a choice, but not a very good one.
I could respond by saying “Get out”. I could simply reject them and their choices and tell them they aren’t welcome in my house any longer. Many have followed this plan but it seems to me that you are making a tragic mistake in such action.
I could respond by blaming God or getting angry at Him for making her the way she is or even for teaching that homosexual relationships are wrong. Closely tied to this choice would be to determine that God isn’t real or that there is some mistake in His word and the Bible doesn’t really say that homosexual relationships are wrong.
I could respond by declaring that God didn’t make anyone this way and that no one is born with homosexual desires, that the person has just become deluded and is making a horribly wrong choice right now. At this point I might say to the child “What you need is some intensive counseling that will get your thinking right again.”
There are certainly other choices that could be made by the parent or the young person. But all of these bring on some questions that are important to answer.
1. Does the Bible really teach that Homosexual relationships are wrong? Perhaps more specifically, does the New Testament say it is wrong? In Romans 1:18-32 Paul explained how people had gone away from God and into all kinds of immoral behavior to the degree that God gave them up. In verses 26-27 he said, “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” In I Timothy 1:8-11 homosexuality was listed among the sins that had left people lost and away from God.
2. Is a person born homosexual or do they choose that orientation because of things that have happened in their early life? There are certainly many who choose that way of life as teens or adults for a variety of reasons. But there are some that were born with the tendency toward homosexuality and it is often obvious from very early in their life. One may respond to that by saying that such isn’t fair and that if they are born that way they shouldn’t be held accountable for their actions. But people are born with all kinds of tendencies that they still choose whether or not they will give in to the choices. For example one may be born with a tendency toward addiction but if they don’t give in to the drinking or drug use it won’t affect their lives.
Every person is born with desires toward others. Most desire someone of the opposite sex fairly early in life. But one can’t fulfill those desires without committing sin until they actually marry that person. In Hebrews 13:4 it says that “Marriage is honorable at all times and the marriage bed is undefiled. But the sexually immoral and the adulterers, God will judge.” If one were unable to find a partner for marriage they would never be able to fulfill their desires without sin. If one is divorced or widowed they struggle with the same desires for another person. But unless they find another person to marry they are still commanded to remain unmarried and without sex.
It isn’t the fact one has homosexual desires or feelings that is wrong but the actual sexual relationships with someone of the same sex. While the political theme of our time is to have marriage available to those who are of the same sex that doesn’t solve the problem. But from the sense of right and wrong, it makes no difference whether the law of the land recognizes homosexual marriage. What matters is that God only joins people who are of the opposite sex and who get married to each other.
3. Can a person change? In I Corinthians 6:9-11 God’s word says, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. AND SUCH WERE SOME OF YOU. BUT YOU ARE WASHED, YOU ARE SANCTIFIED, YOU WERE JUSTIFIED IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND BY THE SPIRIT OF OUR GOD.” Obviously there were people in the church in Corinth who had been homosexuals but had been converted to Christ and their lives had changed. I’ve known many to change their sexual orientation and go on to live very full and happy lives in marriage to someone of the opposite sex.
4.How should we treat people who are homosexual? We should treat all people will love, respect, kindness and consideration. The thought that a Christian can be ugly to a person who is homosexual and treat them with disgust and still be right with God is not only wrong, but makes Christians look like religious hypocrites who follow the Pharisees more than Jesus. He told us to treat all people like we would want to be treated. We need to remember that God listed heterosexual sins right alongside homosexual ones and declared of both that you couldn’t live that way and inherit the kingdom of God.
As parents our children may make many announcements to us along the way that sadden us and that leave us wondering how such a thing happened. But if we think back we often saddened our own parents with some announcements we made. If you want to be a Christian parent, affirm your love always and let them know you love them unconditionally. You may not always agree with their choices or lifestyle but you will love them as long as you live and they will always be your child, welcome in your home. Instead of erecting walls between you and them, try hard to build as many bridges as possible to have a good relationship. Who knows where it may lead in days to come? Read Luke 15 again and prayerfully follow the actions of the Father with his sons.