John Pavlovitz’s original article was posted on his blog. It was very stirring & made me think. Thanks, John!
Sometimes I wonder if I will have gay children. I wonder if any of them will end up divorced, wealthy, in a live-in relationship, abused, overseas, addicted, homeless, or if they will be married and have 2.3 kids living down the street from me in the Nashville suburbs. But I also wonder if they will be gay. Do you? Is it because I have good friends with gay children? Is it because I have gay friends? Or maybe because I see so many youth grasping for their identity, struggling with gender issues today? I don’t know, but I can tell you this…
1) If I have gay children, you’ll only know if they want you too.
If my children “come out,” that will be something they tell me, so I will respect them enough not to breech their confidence or steal their thunder for the sake of my own agenda. If they want privacy, they will have it; if they want shock and awe, you’ll get it. Some treat this issue with the same pride as if their child just made the A-B honor roll – except with other kids from the neighborhood. It’s become a ‘badge-of-honor’ issue where many measure their PC-ness by their level of gay-pride. It won’t be up to me to broadcast their gayness (or straightness, for that matter). If they own it, they can share it – on their terms.
2) If I have gay children, I’ll pray for them.
No, I won’t pray for them to become heterosexual… I’ll pray for them like I pray for the rest of my kids, like I hope others pray for me… that God would reveal Himself to them, that He would get glory from their lives, that they would live for Him and love Him more each day. That won’t change just because they are gay.
Everyone is broken; we all need prayer. Anger, lust, jealousy, indifference, addiction, fornication, greed, laziness… we all struggle and we all need Jesus. I’m not one to put same-sex attraction in a category above any of those as the worst – but it is among them. If we’re honest, there’s not one on this earth who does not wish we couldn’t live without the traitor within. We live in the conflict. We are conflicted. Myself included. Please pray for me, as you read this — that I will become more like Jesus Christ every day as a child of God and parent to my 6 kids.
3) If I have gay children, I’ll love them – and not judge them.
I realize that it’s inconceivable to many that I could love my child while disapproving of his/her lifestyle. I most certainly can love them while not accepting their choices. It is in this same way that God loves me! His love does not mean that He condones all that I do. His unconditional acceptance (grace) is not unconditional approval. I’m not saying this will be easy, but I will love them with far more than an unsympathetic, removed, passive, or agree-to-disagree kind of tolerance. No! I will love them with zealous passion, with tender affection, and with no-strings-attached affection.
Since God doesn’t love me for who I am (I’m nobody special), I won’t make an issue of why I’m loving them. Their sexuality will not determine my level of love – one way or another. I will delight in them because they are mine – and because they bring me joy – period.
4) If I have ‘proudly’ gay children, I will likely struggle with self-blame and disappointment.
Please hear me out… I couldn’t disagree more with Pavlovitz’s fourth point. The Scripture is clear and absolute about homosexual behavior. Gender and sexuality aren’t up for grabs. They are much more than societal norms; they are moral absolutes. This is not to say that many are not conflicted with thoughts of same-sex attraction, but to act on those leanings is an entirely different story. Hungering for revenge (hatred), thinking I deserve more (greed), and desiring to rape (lust) do not justify their behaviors. Nor may we simply say, “they were born that way” and be done with the conversation. We are all born bent towards certain temptations, sin, and evil – but we are not vindicated to act with corresponding behaviors.
I’ll admit it, I will struggle. Because I would likely see this as a parenting failure, I would blame myself. But it wouldn’t matter what it was… I would have the same feelings if one of my sons moved in with his girlfriend without marrying her, I would have the same emotions if one of my children told me he was an alcoholic. Whether or not I could have changed my child’s decision will become a burden for me to carry. I will awake to wonder where I went wrong. I can’t say that I won’t be disappointed, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t love unconditionally (see #3).
In conclusion, I couldn’t agree more with the spirit of Pavlovitz’s final comments, but I wonder if he really believes it. He says that it’s not about us, yet he posts this on a public blog and shares it for the world to read. It IS about you (the reader). Pavlovitz would have us believe there are only two positions in this situation: his and the extreme bigot. Not so. It is possible to disagree with love. It is possible to “speak the truth in love” and to tell the truth without being judgmental. It is not wrong to set expectations on my kids that are Biblical. It is not harmful or abusive to establish absolutes as boundaries while they are at home, in my care — IF I can do it in a loving, nurturing environment. It is foolish not to. It would be tragic not to.
Just like Pavlovitz, I do not write to offend or to tick anybody off, I just see it differently. I appreciate him making me think this one through (or start to, at least). So what about you… What if you have gay children? How would you respond to this?
*Note: The word “gay” refers to the LGBTQ community. It is not meant to be a derogatory term in any way, only to simply and clearly communicate the concept.