Dear Blog Readers:
I apologize for my absence from my blog. My daughter recently got married and I took some time off just to be a “mom” and plan and recover from the wedding. It was great! If you want to see a picture, sign up for my newsletter at my home page www.leslievernick.com. A photo will be in August’s newsletter.
I will post a new question and answer every Monday. If you’d like to submit questions, contact me on my website. While I can’t answer every question, I will respond to as many as I can.
Q. My daughter just informed us that she is a lesbian. We are Christians and feel devastated. We don’t know how to handle this or interact with our daughter or her “friend”. Help! We feel so alone. Donna in Connecticut
A.It is never easy for us as parents when our children make major life choices that differ from our own values and beliefs. As Christian parents it is especially hard because we have God’s word that shapes our values and defines sinful behavior quite specifically.
Yet, all of us are sinners and all of us sin in many ways. That will be an important principle that will help you continue to show grace and love in the midst of your daughter’s choice. God demonstrates his love towards us in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). That does not mean anything goes and that we do not speak up or set boundaries against sinful behaviors or lifestyles. It just means that we don’t throw stones at sinners because none of us is without sin.
That said, what specifically can you do to show truth and grace, love and mercy toward your daughter, and perhaps even her friend? We’ve heard the phrase hate the sin, love the sinner. But actually doing it isn’t always easy. Your daughter must have had enough confidence in her relationship with you as her parents that she opted to be honest with you. Now ask her if you can be honest with her.
After you’ve had some time to collect your thoughts and process your shock and grief (and perhaps you may need some counseling or additional support to do so) invite her to come and talk – without her friend. You might say something like this:
“Honey, we love you. We are your parents and will always love you no matter what. But we are so sad that you are walking contrary to what God says is best. We don’t understand everything about how you feel or what has caused you to make this choice. But we know that God still loves us, even while we still sin. That’s why it’s called amazing grace. We don’t earn it or deserve it. None of us do. We hope that someday you will realize how much God loves you and you will want to follow him more.”
Let that sink in some and see how she responds. You will have to decide whether in the future you will allow her “friend” to come over with your daughter for family visits. It’s tempting to ban her friend but that’s won’t change your daughter’s heart – it will probably only alienate her. I would pray about the possible positive influence you and your husband can still be in your daughter life as well as with her gay friends.
Many Christians view homosexuals in the same way the people of Christ’s day viewed lepers. They were outcasts! Untouchables. Rejects. But Jesus always stopped to minister to the lepers. Let God show you how to turn what Satan meant for evil, into something beautiful for his glory.
For additional resources and support for parents of children who are homosexuals visit:
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What rubbish. Being gay isn't a choice!
If it isn’t a choice then why do people leave the lifestyle, acknowledging that they made a mistake. Suicide is much higher with homosexuals and trans. There’s a reason for that. They are hurting and are not dealing with the hurt, just burying it.
So, Leslie….when you were going through puberty…did you CHOOSE to be straight? Did you choose to be attracted to boys. Of course you didn't. You have no concept of what it's like. Why would ANYONE CHOOSE to be gay and possibly outcast from their family, unless it was something they can't help being. Their daughter has more courage than whatever her parents will say back to her. Your answer isn't kind. I hope they don't listen to your advice on this.
. . . I am astounded at people’s views on homosexuality. The Bible is so, so clear. It’s not like other questions/issues where we have so many variants, alterations, textual discrepancies that we really don’t know. . . . . . . Three weeks ago, my female co-worker who attends a Bible church (A Bible Church!!!) and has had many discussions with me about Jesus walked in my office and said “I and Alice are going to have a baby”. It was like a flash grenade. 1) I don’t know she was a lesbian. 2) They are having a baby together. Well, I always have something to say –always. Not this time. Blank Out. People don’t see anything wrong with it and it doesn’t even bother them. More than this, they don’t even consider the possibility that it could be wrong. She told me: “Why should I allow that same God to tell me how to raise my kids when he had to drown His own in the days of Noah? She went on to say: Homosexuality is very natural, since it happens in a thousand species that God created!” Wow, I was speechless. . . . . The church just lets cultural norms set everything and they are dragged along with the times. 30 years from now we will have “The Five Love Languages: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Edition” . . . . Luke 18:8: “. . . when the Son of Man comes, will He find that faith on earth?” No, HE will not.
I hear you. I'm not an expert in this arena but I do know that there has been a fair amount of debate over the choice "no choice" idea of homosexuality. A good book to read that presents research on the other side of the issue is one by Yale Psychiatrist Jeffrey Satinover called Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth. If you're open you might find some new ideas in there that you haven't heard before.
Many people have impulses to act on what they know is morally wrong. It doesn't mean you follow through on the actions. Choosing to be gay means you follow through on the impulses. Therefore…it is a choice.
As stated by the American Psychiatry Association, being gay is neither a disease, nor a choice. It is important to embrace your child for who they are during such a difficult transitional period in their lives.
As I stumbled upon this blog, I was hoping to speak about my process as a Christian parent of a gay daughter. I wanted a confidential place to speak with other struggling parents…honestly. There are so few places for us to go. But to my disappointment, there are more antagonists than we parents here. I love my daughter very much & that will never chance & she knows that. I care deeply about her chosen partner and treat her with love & respect as she does me. But naturally, I deal with an assortment of emotions that come with this process. Honestly, as I held my baby girl in my arms after she was born this was not one among the dreams I dreamed for her. Now, those of you that aren’t struggling on my end of things may not like hearing that, but it’s the truth. I’m concerned that her “lifestyle” will make her life harder and no parent wants their child’s life to be difficult. I have been honest with my daughter from the beginning that I will be struggling with this reality & grieving too. She’s been understanding, honest & patient with me. You see, it goes both ways…love, respect, honesty, patience, understanding. You see, we struggle on both sides. I would like to participate in open, honest communication with other Christian parents on this blog without the concern of name calling & judgmental comments. Please.
“I would like to participate in open, honest communication with other Christian parents on this blog without the concern of name calling & judgmental comments. Please.”
I am willing to try to do that if you think I can help you. I am also willing to just listen, comment free: Aleea_Rodgers@yahoo.com
You can e-mail me or just start the conversation right here on the blog or on the forward threads (posts). I don’t know how often people visit these past posts even though some very good topics are back here. I know your daughter has more choices than to be branded a sinner and live life alone; to abandon her faith which hopefully, is the one thing she holds most dear in the entire world; or to lie to everyone, pretend she is straight, and forget about it all. I see the dangers from the research papers. —If you are gay or lesbian (—and in the closet or your sexuality/belief system unresolved) ….research shows it can drive you crazy or kill you (suicide). —Also, it should be noted that this research has shown that the very places where Christian people should feel safest (—in their churches, Christian homes, schools and with friends) are actually places of harm.
I’ve found your book on my shelf and came here to check out your site.
I know this was written in 2008, that was 13 yrs ago! My own faith and understanding of the LGBTQ community has changed so much since then. I’ve been presented with new information that I have had to evaluate. In my earlier years I fought gay marriage and I listened to Focus on the Family and supported their “Love Won Out” “ex-gay” ministry. I also supported ministries like Exodus International. In 2013 Exodus apologized for all the harm they caused in promoting conversion therapy and shut down their ministry. (I noticed you had an Exodus link at the end of the article.)
Many christians have taken the time to listen to gay individuals and the harm christian churches caused them. So many experienced emotionally destructive relationships through theology that was not poorly formed and scripture that was misinterpreted.
Healthy relationships push the pause button and listen.. I wonder if you would change the way you approach this now 13 years later. Starting out with, “Honey, we love you. We are your parents and will always love you no matter what. But we are so sad that you are walking contrary to what God says is best.” sounds so condescending and in no way puts you in a position of listening!
There are many resources out there from christians who have listened to the harm churches did to the LGBTQ community. Here is one of them and it includes exegesis of all the “clobber” bible verses: http://canyonwalkerconnections.com/about-walking-bridgeless-canyon/
Your work around boundaries and forming healthy relationships is so vital to a healthy church. I hope you will re-consider the way parents should communicate their LGBTQ child.
Thanks for your feedback. I will think about this more.