Many parents are faced with this declaration and have no idea what to do. Their faith leaves them totally guessing as to how they should react to such an announcement. Do they abandon their child? Do they abandon their beliefs? Both of these are extremes that parents often take. A parent needs to know how they should respond to their child in this situation in order to guide them to what is right. In some cases the child has already entered into a same sex relationship, so your reactions become even more important. Let me make some suggestions that hopefully can help you in this situation.
1. Make sure your pride is not the issue.
It is not and cannot be about you or about what people think of you. Many a macho dad has allowed his pride to get in the way of guiding his son, and many parents have cared too much what others would think. This is about your child. Do not let pride get in the way.
2. Do not assign blame for their feelings.
Assign blame to no one: not to you, not to others, not to the church, and not to God. By all means, do not assign it to your child. Instead of finding blame you must find answers to help them. In our ministry we have seen many young adults begin to understand their uniqueness because a parent looked for answers for their child rather than someone to blame.
3. Do not scrutinize their confusion or their mistakes.
You will drive them away if you spend too much time nitpicking. They are often as confused as you, so accept the fact that they may make poor choices. A nagging or Bible thumping parent has chased away many a child who was open to help.
4. Do not dwell on the situation.
Go on living and serving. No “what if…” sessions. Be careful not to grieve a child who is not gone. They are not hopeless. There are answers and God has the power to set them free once they find those answers. Parent, do not go into a panic mode, either. Stay calm and believe that God is in control.
5. Do not preach at them.
They know right from wrong, but they are often in conflict with their “feelings.” Let the Holy Spirit convict them of any sin without your interference. Do not play the Holy Spirit. The truth will make them free, not your persuasion. Often parents repel their child from truth rather than praying them to it.
6. Keep evidencing your love for them.
Tell them and show them. Do not withhold your love from them. Love them as you always have, and do not push them away.
7. Do not cut them off.
They are your child. Celebrate their Birthday and treat them like your child. Sometimes parents try to punish their child by taking away things or not acknowledging them as they once did. That is a mistake. God does not do that to us, so we certainly should not do that to them. Do not make threats, either.
8. Get closer to the Lord yourself.
Parent, this is the time you need to be in prayer, not in panic. It is easy to go into panic mode and fail to take this situation to the Lord asking for his intervention in helping your child find the truth.
9. Don’t talk about it too much.
Don’t whine—to anyone. Your tongue will lead your spirit. Do not feel like you are bearing the burden of the world. Do not announce it to the church. Do not tell all your friends. Respect the privacy of your child while you are helping them find answers.
10. Do not believe their life is over.
IT’S NOT! Parents can throw their children away when God is preparing them, simply because the parent cannot see the possibilities for the child’s future. We have had our idealistic view of what their lives would look like. Forget your plans and remember that God has his own plans.
11. Stay patient.
God is working, and we must not get pushy. Do not rush what God is doing. It may take some time for your child to go from their conflict into the light of God’s purpose for them. Wait on the Lord as he works on your child.
12. Rejoice in the Lord—Always means always.
How can we rejoice in the Lord, knowing our child is dabbling in same-sex relationships? How? Well, because we are told to. In fact we are commanded to give thanks in everything. How can we give thanks in this? We give thanks by believing that the truth can make your child free and reveal to them God’s purpose for their life. It is called faith.
13. See their good even in their bad.
Don’t miss the positives that still exist. No matter what sins they have committed, you must believe that God can turn any bad into good for His glory. The sins they commit can not only be forgiven, but one day they can be used to help others. Be careful not to see their bad as the end, but as a means to an end for the glory of God.
14. Don’t ask what you don’t want to know.
Sometimes it is best not to know what all they have done. Many parents cannot deal with the thought of their child having committed same-sex sins. You do not need to know what they’ve done. Your responsibility is to help them find the truth and then let God deal with them about what they have done. Many parents have become distraught because of asking what they really did not want to know.
15. Do NOT change or go backwards.
Discouragement is a huge tool of Satan. Your life is not over—nor is your effectiveness—because of your child’s sexual identity conflict. There are pastors who have considered resigning their church because their child faced this issue. Don’t do it. Your child needs you now more than ever to go forward for Christ. They will blame themselves if you quit. They need to know that you still trust the Lord and believe that God is in control.
Many parents have faced what you are facing now. Some have mishandled the situation and have lost their child completely while others in their wisdom were able to lead their child to the truth. Your responsibility is to be the parent and respond in the mature and proper way. Hopefully these instructions will be helpful in guiding you as you help your child find the truth.