Your child is gay. Your love for your child seems to somehow conflict with your faith – at least according to what you may hear from church and Christian friends.
How is that possible?
Many voices tell you that your child needs ‘tough love’, needs to be ‘confronted in their sin’, maybe even needs to be kicked out of the house. But your heart screams in confusion – doing that just doesn’t make sense.
Like it or not, you are on the first steps of a journey. What do you do?
We say it all the time… err on the side of love, breathe, and let the answers come as they come.
Unfortunately, we continue to hear horror stories of parents who don’t do that. Instead, they follow the wrong counsel of the non-affirming church and reject, condemn, shame and judge their child, often disrupting the relationship.
There is indeed confusion when your child comes out. I understand. I’ve been there. As parents, we don’t understand everything and, initially, we have lots of questions and not a lot of answers.
Think about it… lots of questions and few answers… is that the best time to do something that might shame your child to the very depth of their being and drive them into destructive and often life-threatening situations? Or is that the time we need to reinforce our love for and commitment to our child, and begin our journey – err on the side of love, breathe, and trust that the answers will come.
This letter, taken from our book “Mom, I’m Gay” – Loving Your LGBTQ Child Without Sacrificing Your Faith, was written by a Dad who might just be feeling the same way you are right now…
“Son, first thing I want you to be sure of is that we love you, always have, always will. We are proud of you. We admire the young man you’ve become. Thank you for telling us about this part of you. I can only imagine how difficult it was for you to say to your old mom and dad! You already know that homosexuality goes against our beliefs. But we are going to pray to God to help us see this from God’s perspective, apart from the culture and the church. I admit we are also concerned for you—mostly because this world can be cruel and we don’t want you to be hurt. Know that we will do our best to protect you. I realize you may be tempted to protect us from family and friends who disagree with homosexuality. We want you to know that you are not to concern yourself with that. That is our job as your parents. No matter what, we love you and would never do anything to hurt you.”
They felt the conflict between their love for their child and what they hear coming from their non-affirming church, and made the choice to love and begin a journey to discover the source of that conflict.
I want to stop here and say that you may be the parent of a child and this is NOT how you first reacted. We don’t always respond initially the way we wish we had. Many parents express remorse at words they wish they could take back.
Please hear my heart… your child is grace-giving. They understand what it is to say something in the heat of the moment. We’ve all been irrational, demeaning, and even cruel. They are more than happy to forgive; they’re just glad to realize you still love them.
If you did not react the way you wanted to, go to your child, apologize, and say the things now you wish you would have said before. Don’t be tormented over mistakes. We need to learn to forgive ourselves and let others forgive us too.
I often told my five children – there are only five people on the planet who can call me Dad. A parent’s place in their child’s life is like no other. We hold their hearts in our hands, and have an immeasurable impact on their lives and their futures. The world will provide no shortage of people who want to tear them down and judge them and shame them. Our job is to love them – as unconditionally as God loves us – even when we don’t understand.
Maybe especially when we don’t understand. It conveys the vital message that, no matter what, our love for them is unshakable.
Love your child, breathe, and let the answers come. This is your journey and, remember, you are not alone.
If you are a Dad and you need someone to talk to, please email me at email@example.com
We have pay-what-you-can video courses helping parents love, accept & affirm their LGBTQI children; helping those in the faith community be more loving & fully inclusive; and helping LGBTQI heal shame from family, church & community wounds. We also have private support groups for parents, and other resources. Please click here.