Helping Parents Love Their Gay Child

The following post ties together with the following article geared towards parents, “Loving Your Gay Child.”  If you are a youth worker, another pastor, or a friend, walking along side of a parent who is dealing with a gay child, here are 8 important concepts for them and you.

1. God remains lovingly sovereign – God is in complete control, and though you don’t have all the answers, He does.  Rest in the assurance of who He is and what He promises.

2. Reach out in support – Help parents to create a safe place to ask open and honest questions about their situation and allow them to freely express themselves.  Some might use crude language, bring up difficult doubts, yell, cry, or even sit in silence.  The point is to help them express themselves freely in a safe place.  Assure parents that no matter what, you will be there to walk along side of them.  Additionally, assure them of God’s love and promises through scripture.

3. Do not try to answer difficult questions – We won’t have all the answers, and either will parents.  Some questions may never be answered, while others will not be answered the way we want them to be.  Help parents seek God in the midst of their uncertainty, and cling to the firm promises of scripture.

4. Surrender expectations – Author Tim Geiger notes that “neither you nor the parents can convince the child that he or she is wrong.  Only the Lord can ultimately do that.  What will generally make the biggest difference in the life of a child is parents who model the faithful, yet uncompromising love of God … Praying for change in their child’s life is appropriate.  But it may not happen immediately – or ever.”[1]  In this issue of change, assure the parents that while God does transform those who seek Him, His ways are not ours and His idea of a “healthy identity” is not our own.

5. Keep connected to God – God is the only one who knows for sure why this family is going through what they are.  Help parents to focus on their own relationship with Christ, especially through honest prayer with each other, and reading scripture.

6. Ask about the future – Again, Geiger notes, “when the storm clears, ask the parents how they could re-establish a sense of normalcy in their lives and in their relationship with their child.”[2]  Again, go beyond, “I want my child to change now” discussion. 

7. Pray with and for parents.

8. Encourage them to bring others into their journey – Whether it’s a support group or even a weekly prayer group consisting of friends (a prayer group that includes intimate worship is ideal), help the parents to connect with others who can be trusted and committed in walking with them through this journey.

As Tim Geiger asserts, and I fully agree, this new journey will challenge the faith of the parents – as well as the child.  Giving them a strong, supportive Christian presence is vital.  Parents need to “hold on to the biblical position on same-sex relationships in the face of what may be strong, deeply emotional pleas from their child to affirm their lifestyle.  This is a painful and difficult place for a parent today.  It is not altogether wrong for parents to want to see their adult son or daughter prospering and being happy … yet, the one thing that will remain painful and grievous is their unwillingness to affirm a lifestyle direction that is contrary to God’s design in Scripture.”[3]

Parents are not wrong or hateful for not affirming the life their gay son or daughter is living.  However, what is important, and where the local church needs to support parents the most, is that the parent loves their child – unconditionally – and that they hold to God’s truth – unashamedly.  Affirming a behavior that goes against the Word of God is not showing that person love – especially the love of God.  Affirming a person, while holding to biblical truth, does show the love of God to others, even to those who refuse to listen.  Standing for the truth is hard, but Jesus has called all of us to do just that (through the guidance of the Holy Spirit).  Parents do not need to hear bible verses as much as they need to see them being lived out.  Make a commitment to stand beside parents of gay children, no matter what; additionally, make a commitment to personally love on their gay child, no matter what.

Find more practical help in my book, Ministering to Gay Teenagers.

Ministering to Gay Teenagers EDYW Book Cover


NOTES:

[1] Geiger, T. (2006). Providing Comfort and Hope to Hurting Parents (pg. 81). This article appears in the book, “The Homosexual Debate and the Church: a collection of essays,” by Harvest USA.

[2] Geiger, pg. 81

[3] Geiger, pg. 85

12 responses to “Helping Parents Love Their Gay Child

  1. I am dealing with the acceptance that my son is gay. My heart has has gone to the bottoms of Hell it seems. I was brought up to believe that being homosexual is wrong and I am struggling with his sexuality. I have been depressed for a year since I found out. I just feel so much despair and I do not think I can deal with this but I do not want to lose my son. If someone can help me with words please do.

  2. My 13 year old daughter told me she was gay and in a relationship with a girl two years older than her. I am struggling to support without giving in on boundaries regarding the family rule of “no dating until you are 16″. She wants to spend time with this girl and wants me to meet her. I cannot do this yet and my husband definitely will not agree to this. I would not let her “date” even if it was a guy, so letting her spend time with her is against our set rules. I also do not like the fact that she is two years older. I don’t understand why a sophomore wants to hang out with an 8th grader, girl or guy. How do I support without giving in. This is her idea of support.

    • Hi Angela,

      Thanks for posting. If your family has already established rules about dating, I would hold to them – no matter who your daughter wants to “date.” I agree that an 8th grader should not be dating a 10th grader – boy or girl. For you to go back on the boundary you’ve already set, will enable her to push other boundaries away, too. Holding to your boundaries is supporting her, to me. To give in wouldn’t be supporting her.

      I would also want to meet this other girl to talk. Ask her to define what’s going on and the feelings being expressed towards your daughter. In talking with her, don’t come out swinging; instead, pray before meeting with her, keep control of your emotions, and listen more than speak.

  3. Husband is having hard time with stepson being gay. I have always supported and been there for my son. My son has found someone he loves and I am happy for him. The problem is my husband does not want to be around my son when he is with his partner. I am caught between a rock and a hard place. I would appreciate any ideas on how to help this situation I don’t want any hard feelings on either side. rosemary

  4. Recently my 13 year old son and I started talking about dating and sex,etc. I wanted to hear him out. I was somewhat surprised on how he viewed sex. So, I asked him to rate himself on a scale. One being gay and ten being straight, he told me three.

    I was not shocked since he is effeminate, rejects being with girls and does not like rough play with other teen boys. I told him that I love him no matter what. Since that conversation not much has been said. My wife and I want to know but not push it. We feel that if he is gay, then he will come out when he is ready.

    As Christian conservative parents, we face the possibility of having a gay son. We are scared but know that our son will be loved and we will accept him. Please keep us in your prayers but certainly keep our son in your prayers as well.

    One more thing, if he does come out we will not pray that he becomes straight but that he keeps Christ first.

  5. When our 13 year old son recently told us that he is either gay or bisexual we talked about it and told him we love him. Since that time, nothing much had been talked about. We want him to open up but won’t. We see his mannerisms everyday and my wife and I are thinking that our son is gay. We feel alone and scared.

    We want to know yet we don’t. If he is gay we don’t to treat him any differently then we do with our other children.

  6. Hi I live in PA and my daughter just told me she is gay, I don’t know where to go from here. I want to support her, I feel lost, I want to find a support group to help me understand this.

  7. I found out my daughter was gay a year and a half ago. I have been on an emotional roller coaster ever since. She still lives at home and I found out that she had been in 3 relationships in the past. She believes she was born this way and that only the “red letter” parts of the Bible are what you have to believe. I have tried to talk to her many times and she just shuts down. She continues to go to church. But every time she leaves the house I just feel sick wondering what she’s doing. We used to be very close but mostly our relationship is strained now. I feel cheated and like all my dreams for her have been shattered. I have no one who understands.

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