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The “reality of our unique fallenness” is why there is so much hope in the gospel. The Lord knew our struggles, so He gave us the solution (John 3:16). But connecting Christ to our need for transformation is not a simple process.
Think of sin like a dirty drop that you put in a clear bottle of water; it discolors the entire contents of the container. This illustration is a picture of how sin makes us “totally depraved.”
Sin comes into our system, so to speak, at conception and “totally defiles every ounce of us—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We are completely corrupt. There is no part of us that has not been affected by sin.
Each person gets a “drop.” And to complicate matters, each person is “uniquely fallen.” This consequence of fallenness is one of the mysteries of sin.
After you mix in the shaping influences of sinful parents and an anti-God culture, you will not know entirely what you will have until after the child matures into adulthood. Of course, there are many more shaping influences, all of which can send a person reeling for years.
For some of us, the perversion of sin’s tendencies has to do with sexuality. Whether it is inherent from Adam or through other shaping influences, some people struggle with gender-related issues. Their issues do not make them weird. They are ordinary—in the sense that we all struggle with fallenness.
The reason I do not look down on LGBTQ+ people is that I have my “version of twistedness.” It would be intellectually dishonest and biblically out-of-bounds to think my sin is a better or more acceptable strain of the devil’s poison. Which is worse:
The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector (Luke 18:11).
Would any of us dare come to Jesus to compare our sin with someone else’s? We all have consumed the deadly poison from the devil’s vessel and have been uniquely affected by its twistedness. We are all in the collective stew, which will cook any goose if the miraculous saving power of Jesus does not intervene and persuade otherwise.
Perhaps you have a child who has embraced some aspect of the LGBT+ lifestyle. For many parents, this is their worst fear. Apart from death, there are probably not many situations that can wreak more havoc on a parent’s soul. If this is your situation, I’m writing to you.
I am going to give you six key things to think about if you are struggling with an LGBTQ+ child. These six things can apply to any wayward person. Perhaps your child is not struggling sexually. Still yet, you can benefit from these ideas.
Though they are not in any order of importance, as you read, ask the Lord to point out to you what is essential and what you need to take to heart. I also recommend you do not hide your hurt under a bushel. Find a friend—a trusted person you can spend time talking to and praying with about these matters.
Don’t Agree—We live in a world where everything must be accepted and tolerated. To speak against anything other than Christianity is not politically correct. You do not want to fall into this trap.
Jesus did not embrace our culture’s relativistic attitude, and neither should you. Imagine with me, just for a moment, if Jesus did not want to offend or step on anyone’s toes. You are right: you cannot imagine it.
There are moral wrongs in our world, and it is imperative that you talk about what the Bible condemns. There are times when you must identify sinful behaviors. If not, how would anyone know the difference between right and wrong? Do not submit to the pressure of, “If I say something, I will offend him, and he will never speak to me again.”
More than likely, he will surround himself with people who will not critique his behavior. This posture will give life to his sin. When I sin, I have to move to the shadows because sinners love darkness more than light (John 3:19). You do not want to become part of his wickedness, but somewhere in his world, he needs to see the light. You are the radiance of Christ that he sees.
Always Love—Though you do not agree with his lifestyle, you must never speak the truth of God without the love of God (Ephesians 4:15). Season your words with grace. Never stop loving your child. While you do not want to fall into the trap of sloppy morality, you also do not want to fall into the ditch of meanness.
Stand for truth and love. Your child needs to know two things—the same two things our wonderful Counselor has told you:
More than likely, your child will reject you if you speak against his lifestyle. Do not let the potential of manipulation from him lure you from sharing your heart with him. When the Savior encountered the rich young man, He had to make a similar decision—
How can I love him and tell him the truth? I will love him by telling him the truth.
Discern Clearly—No matter how much he wants to convince you that’s he okay with his sin, somewhere down in his soul is a conscience that knows right from wrong (Romans 2:14-15). He has a “hidden morality,” and he’s in a trap (Galatians 6:1-2). Sin has captured your son, and he cannot extricate himself from it. The harder he tries, the more entangled he will become.
Perhaps he has hardened his heart by now (Hebrews 3:7; 1 Timothy 4:2), but don’t give up on loving him back to Christ. And remember that his problem should give you hope: his lifestyle will not fix him.
No matter where he goes or what he does, he will never be happy until he turns to God (Ecclesiastes 1:8, 12:12-14). You may be the only person in his life who holds the key to his problem.
People have tried since Adam and Eve to find happiness outside of God’s will. Ambitious leaders, dating addicts, money grabbers, and toy-centered children follow their temptations (James 1:14-15), just like the LGBTQ+ person, as they look for contentment outside of the Lord’s favor.
No matter how firm he makes his case or how sophisticated his arguments, you know the truth. You must keep your eye on what is real. Like a laser locked on its target, do not be persuaded by his worldview. It is not the truth at all. He is a hurting soul in search of wholeness through means that cannot deliver (Jeremiah 2:13).
Stop Blaming—Let’s go ahead and get this one out of the way—you were a “bad” parent. So am I. None of us are perfect parents. What parent can stand up and say, “I did it perfectly, and I know how to parent children well.” That is idiotic, and you know it.
If you are tempted to rehearse what you did wrong as a parent, I call you to repentance. We all have messed up. Could it be any other way? The person who over-focuses on where they messed up and wallows in regret has a small view of God.
Individuals who tend to wallow in regret are legalistic thinkers. What they are saying is that if they were different, their child would have been different. Can you perceive how foolish that is? A parent’s behavior does not determine the morality of the child. The grace of God does. The gospel declares,
You cannot do it. That is why I came. You are a failure. This news should not cause discouragement, but a recalibration of your sight-lines to look to the cross. Only in me do you have hope.
If you keep looking at yourself, you will be discouraged because you will never be able to do what I can do. If you need to do better, do better, but never believe that your good works will change a person. Will you trust me now?”
Keep Praying—The most powerful thing you can do for your child is to pray for him. (1) Adam has tripped him up. (2) You have tripped him up. (3) Your son has undoubtedly made mistakes. (4) And the culture has sold him a lie. It is the perfect recipe for the power of God.
Your position is never to stop praying for him. In Christ alone is your only hope. Yes, I know you know this, but I also realize that when things like this come to roost in our homes, we forget our gospel moorings and our souls begin to drift.
It is hard to think clearly in a hurricane. There is a storm in your soul. So, let me be clear: pray for your son. You may also want to print this article and read it as often as you need to reorient your mind back to the hope that you have in the Lord Jehovah God.
Remember Heaven—Your goal and value are not in this world (Hebrews 11:9-10). You have set your affections on things that are above (Colossians 3:1-4). This blessed assurance is also the goal for your child. It is possible that you and your child will not enjoy the life you hoped for him.
Perhaps his journey will be hard. Maybe you will not get the relationship you wanted from him. Sin can do that to you. I know intimately well what it is like to have your dreams shattered when someone (or something) takes your children from you. Relationships broken and sacrificed on sin’s altars is a constant, reverberating pain in the soul.
Though sin will not allow all things to be beautiful on earth, this reality should not control your hopes or your strategies. Make sure your confidence is soundly in Christ, and you plan to help your child get to heaven.
Think with me for a moment. Suppose your child became a Christian (or is a Christian). He will eventually die and go to heaven. Though it is hard for us to think this way, there will come a time when none of this will matter. Carefully read these words:
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away (Revelation 21:4).
This future reality is what you want for your son–even more than “heaven on earth.” This hope was the thing that gave our great Lord persevering grace as He endured unimaginable hardships in His life. Let’s sing His psalm, as written by the writer of Hebrews:
Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:1-2).
You may believe an LGBTQ+ person is different from you. If you do, it will throw you for a loop when you think about them. Yes, it’s a different sin, but if you substituted their sin with any other captivating problem, you will see how they are similar to every person and how your thoughts of them should be similar to how you think of any other trapped person.
LGBTQ+ is not as confusing of a sin once you give up being repulsed by it and see how it is just as insane as the so-called workaholic or relationship junky or the person who obsesses about how she looks.
I realize that working through this problem is more challenging than many of our other problems, but it can happen. You do want to provide unique care for his unique fallenness, but there is grace for any person who wants to change their life.
In one sense, the woman who wants a prettier face is similar to the man who wants to be in a woman’s body. It is like the man who hates being poor and is jealous of those who are not poor, so he lives a life of anger and jealous discontentment.
The obsessing woman, transgender thinker, and the poor man do not like who they are or what they have, so they crave to be something different. They are dissatisfied with how God has made them or where they are in life, so they are using different means to fill the awkward void in their souls.
Any person like this will be depressed until they have a transformative experience with the thirst-quenching Jesus. Pray your son has this experience. Stand like a loving, truth-telling light.
Find him the unique care that he needs if he’s willing to receive it. Guard against “accelerating your care” of him according to your timetable. He is not you. Pray for the opportunities to help him redemptively. May the Lord God use you to give him this kind of encounter with Christ.
Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life (John 4:13-14).
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).