Help For Parents and Friends
For the great majority of parents, it is very upsetting to find out that a child of theirs is having homosexual feelings or experiences. It is one of those times when it is essential to remember that we have a God who knows all our afflictions and really cares about us. "Cast all your anxiety on Him, for He cares for you" 1 Peter 5:7. It is He who will bring us through such trials if we open ourselves to His perfect counsel. Whatever we may have done, or whatever may have damaged our lives, He is a God who loves to make all things right! After all, "all things work together for good for those that love God" and this is a time to love God more than ever. How do we respond to the news that a son or daughter is having homosexual feelings, desires, and/or experiences? You are not helpless - there is much that you can do, and here is some proven counsel that will help.
Stay calm and avoid overreacting. You may hear more than you are comfortable with, but it is vital that your son or daughter be allowed to share their thoughts and feelings. Be careful about attitudes or actions that would cause alienation, because openness is essential. Loving embraces are important, and they don't mean that you are condoning the problem - you are loving the person.
Take their feelings seriously. Though the condition is not unchangeable, they may believe or fear that it is. They have been tormented by confusing feelings that have led to some wrong conclusions, and they need some sympathy and wisdom.
Show your acceptance of them. They may want to tell you things they have never told anyone, and this is a deep privilege to hear. Most people fear rejection if they tell what is really inside them, and unconditional love and acceptance will help overcome this fear. You are very important to your child at this point. They may put up a wall, but it is most likely a defense from possible hurt. They didn't ask for the feelings they have, so this is not the best time for a lecture on sin. We believe it is not a sin to have homosexual feelings, but if we accept them or give in to them in thought or action, that is sin.
Help them reject the identity of "homosexual". This is a false identity, and only complicates the issue. It is not "who they are", but how they have been feeling for some time. Yes, we can be labeled by our habitual behavior, such as "thief", or "alcoholic", but that isn't our basic nature!
Show your vulnerability. This may not be easy, but it can accomplish a great deal. If they see you can care and feel with them, that you can admit your own weaknesses and be hurt, they are more likely to open up. Sharing some fear or crisis from your youth will help.
See them as persons. Yes, this is the same child you loved, held, and cared for. He or she has not turned into some difficult stranger, but is believing a lie in his or her emotions. Try to see him/her as God sees - a valuable person with needs for love, compassion, and the truth that will set them free.
Rely on God. Your patience and love may be tested by the rebellion and lies that come from the "gay" philosophy and from their own hurts and anger. There are powerful spiritual forces working to destroy your child. If possible, both parents should pray together to fight this destructive force. Pray that the Lord's truth, love and redemption will flow through you to your child.
WHAT IS HOMOSEXUALITY?
The attraction to someone of the same sex is basically an emotional issue arising out of a combination of factors in childhood. The feelings begin most often before age ten, and this tells us that the home situation is central to the development of the condition, though not its only source. Many people from stable families have been sexually molested outside the home and couldn't talk about it. It has been found that generational sin, personality type and social pressures all contribute. Those social pressures can be, for example, violence in the school or neighborhood, abusive names ("fag", "queer"), or being left out of sports or other events. These and other factors have a strong impact in the developing years.
You must realize that the feelings are not necessarily sexual at first. They are basically a cry for affection, belonging, and identity, which become emotionally linked with the sex drive. When these attractions or temptations are felt, many make the terrible mistake of taking on a homosexual identity - "I must be gay!" This seriously worsens the problem, because we can't change what we are, but we CAN change how we feel. After all, having the feelings is no valid basis for an identity. The truth is, the Lord has created all of us heterosexual, and sin has distorted that design.
The most important element of a homosexual syndrome is buried emotions. For instance, a child who has been through a combination of painful experiences can feel fear, rejection, anger, resentment, and other strong emotions. When the family offers no resources to handle these or to talk about them, the child buries the feelings and keeps surviving, as most humans do with unmanageable issues. The emotions did not go away - THEY ARE BURIED, AND THEY WILL AFFECT ADULT BEHAVIOR AND RESPONSES. Since these emotions are a kind of escape, homosexuality is often addictive and will be a bondage until something is worked to change it! This is why it seems permanent to the person affected, and why merely stopping the BEHAVIOR, though that is vital, is only the first step on the way to victory and freedom.
It is absolutely essential to remember that the grip this problem has on someone is in relation to the intensity of the buried emotions and the person's unique ungodly response. We have seen some people break through the bondage in a month of counsel because they had several positive factors active in their lives and a lesser degree of hurt. Others have taken years to get free due to the negative factors impacting their lives.
HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? WHAT CAN BE DONE?
This is the most difficult part for parents to consider. The news of a son or daughter having homosexual feelings can cause a lot of guilt to rise up in a parent. What should Christians do when faced with our fault in a situation? We have a Savior who knows all our weaknesses and is eager to bless and heal. Let us draw closer to Him and find grace, mercy, wisdom and strength for this time of need!
It would be unwise to claim that we as parents had nothing to do with a child's homosexual feelings, and equally unwise to say it is all our fault. If we look at all the factors that contribute to a homosexual syndrome, we can see which pertain to us. With the Lord's help, we can avoid the pitfalls of condemnation, complacency, or denial, and make a way for Him to change lives! Please read Psalm 34 and 37 for encouragement!
What causes a young person to be attracted to someone of the same sex? A poor sense of self-worth, unsettled gender identity, feeling left out of family life, different, alienated - any of these can create a need for same-sex approval. The feelings are frightening, yet the young person doesn't know who to talk to about them.
LOOKING AT THE PAST
Let's make it clear that not all family situations that contribute to homosexuality are sinful. The circumstances of life can be very demanding, and sometimes our best efforts can bring unexpected stress. A conscientious father, working two jobs to support the family, may find his children are hurt by his absence or fatigue and are feeling that he doesn't love them. Much patience and forgiveness is needed as we look back at these issues. In some cases, if the child was molested outside the home and a high standard of morality or a lack of openness prevails in the home, the child may be afraid to tell of the molestation, keeping it bottled up inside.
Here are some traumas children experience: divorce, death of a loved one, violence or loud arguments between parents, alienation or rejection from one or both parents, sexual, physical, or verbal abuse. It is the sensitive child that is affected, and he or she can feel they are the cause of the parents' fighting, or are responsible for the abuse or rejection. Children are not equipped to process adult motives and problems, and tend to believe whatever is told them or inferred by actions. Many men have told us of the father abruptly stopping the practice of hugging them and saying instead, "Men shake hands"; others speak of having no touch from their fathers until some point of achievement, such as college graduation. A father's inability to express love to his son is often taken as rejection.
Consider some other factors that may have contributed to homosexual feelings: rejection of the child's true gender because the parents wanted the other sex; being a "replacement" child for one that died; a father's resentment of the boy's lack of masculinity or athletic ability; perfectionist parents with standards the child can never meet, making him/her feel unaccepted; alcoholic parents who never gave any security; sons taken as surrogate "husbands" (emotionally) by neglected mothers; parents over-worked or over-extended in church work so that the children compete for attention; boys upset with fathers who allow the mother to control the home, and may resent the mother too; "religious" parents who demand good behavior, but don't show love and affection. This last category especially may give the child a bad idea of God's character, and this can last for years unless corrected through ministry.
IS IT DIFFICULT TO CHANGE?
The major areas of damage are the emotions, the thought processes, the identity, and the concept of God. When ungodly emotions and thoughts are cleaned out and the false identity and the false concept of God are realized and corrected, and truth is applied to these areas, significant change occurs, and the person finds freedom! For example, a sensitive child is hurt by circumstances in childhood; he feels afraid of meeting people; he thinks he can't change; he sees himself as unlikeable; he sees God as harsh and condemning. Emotions, thoughts, identity, concept of God - four areas where lies have taken hold, and where the truth will set him free. Here is a rougher, but common example: "I'm angry and I hate my father, I never wanted to be like him, I like being gay, and God made me this way!" Here again, the truth will set him free, but surrender, repentance, forgiveness, counseling, and perhaps deliverance, are essential to the freeing process.
One common contributor to this problem is a home atmosphere of covered feelings, unreality, and superficial relationships. Facing this and learning to relate honestly may be painful at first, but it will yield good results. God wants to help us in such matters. Arrange times for "telling it like it is" (please pray beforehand for love and patience!), and avoid keeping peace on the surface when emotions are seething inside. We need to break the old unreal patterns, and this honesty will do much to get your son or daughter out of homosexuality. You will be blessed also!
To encourage you, here is one man's experience with his family:
These open sharing times are useful to bring up delicate issues like a lack of emotional involvement by the father, or control by the mother, and you can pray to correct and redeem these problems. Pray that difficult matters like alcoholism, adultery, incest, etc., will be brought up and that apologies, repentance, forgiveness and healing will be sought. Of course, having a Christian counselor present is necessary in some cases. Honesty, love and forgiveness will do wonders for your family and will destroy Satan's work!
It is vital to repent of and renounce any occult practices or beliefs, including those that might seem "Christian", such as the Masonic Lodge. A rather exhaustive list of these can be found, with prayers, in the booklet, "Clearing the Land" available from Abiding Life Ministries, Box 1141, Lindale, TX 75771, or from LIFE Ministry.
We believe the power of generational sin is real. (See Leviticus 26:39 and 40, Nehemiah 1: 5-11, Daniel 9: 4-19). We have found in some people that the sins of the parents and grandparents, have had a residual effect and need to be broken in prayer. These sins can be: occult beliefs, love of money, hatred of the opposite sex, immorality, rebellion against God and His word, etc. (See "Clearing the Land"). Learning to pray for each other over such issues is a marvelous step toward spiritual health.
"While I was praying before dinner, the Lord said, "tell your parents". Instead of fear engulfing me as I expected, I was filled with a peace that made me cry with relief. That night at dinner, I told them of my lifestyle, and assured them that I had decided to change and was seeking counsel. There was an explosion of feelings, both good and bad, but it opened up the channels of communication. It destroyed walls it had taken me years to build. I was able to express all my years of anger, etc. toward both of them and especially my father. That alone made me feel as if the world had been taken off my shoulders. I had to listen to my parents' side too, and unfortunately, I was no angel for them to deal with either! We were up all night talking and crying, and for the first time that I can remember, my father hugged me - not a wimpy hug, but a real tight and endearing one. I broke down again, but this time my Dad was crying too."
The Lord promises that the fervent prayer of the righteous will be effective. Therefore, seek His cleansing for your life, then pray! You can definitely pray against the deceptions that cloud their minds, e.g.,"gay is good", "I was born this way". Pray that the ungodly supports in their lives, whatever gives them stability outside of God, will fail (this is real love). Then, you must be ready to rescue them.
Check your present lives - what are your values? Are your lives centered on money, power, appearances, influence, pride? Let's put away all idolatry and return to God, and He will work on our behalf.
It is obvious that the unhealed and ungodly traits of the parents - a father who hates himself, or a mother beset by fears - will affect their children. Praise God, these flaws can be corrected by submitting to the Lord's loving counsel, and He wants us to see all of this as an opportunity to purify and strengthen our lives for our good and His glory.
What about the son or daughter's "partner"? It is quite normal to want to "rescue" your son or daughter from them and to resent anyone who drew them into the lifestyle, or keeps them there. However, we must remember that the "lover" has real problems too, and most of all, needs to see God's answers. Let's show them love and respect as someone for whom the Lord gave His life, while making it clear that we don't accept homosexuality. The same boundaries apply for all of us - in respect for you and your home, let there be no immorality there.
The wounded rebel may use coercion and emotional bullying to get you to accept their reality and "truth", and when they get their way, then they give "love" on their terms. They may try to manipulate by threatening not to visit if you restrict them, but you must be strong and choose what's right instead of their approval! They may reject your standards, but love them anyway. Demonstrating the love, grace and righteousness of the Lord will have a redemptive effect on all concerned, and may be the only love from parent figures that the "partner" has ever seen!
For support, try to visit a ministry that deals with homosexuality and learn all you can. Send for LIFE material, study, and perhaps join a parents' group in your area, or start one! Dealing with this issue will purify your life and draw you closer to God, and that's good!
It should be clear in all this that having homosexual feelings is not just a matter of being sinned against, but having a sinful response, even if it seemed involuntary at the time. If we were merely hurt by others it would be much simpler, but it is our response of anger, vengeance, self-pity, resentment, etc., that has made the problem worse. Many people trapped in the "gay" lifestyle think they are looking for love or companionship, and are not in touch with the deep hurts and anger that drive the sexual temptation. The emotional consolation of the lifestyle seems like an answer to them, and the ideas of sin or change seem like a problem! Their feelings have become the truth for them, and it takes love and patience to break through with God's truth that will set them free.
IN YOUR DISTRESS, IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER...
Find your peace, worth, and stability in the Lord Himself so that you are not upset by circumstances and human nature.
Don't deny or dismiss the problem, nor is it the end of the world. It is as serious as God says it is, but not impossible.
Let yourself express the emotions all of this brings up, and keep a journal of your feelings so that you can work toward godly responses and turn it all into a blessing!
Fight for your child in faithful prayer, but realize he/she may not choose God's way. It may get worse before it gets better. Let them experience the consequences of their choices - many have found God this way!
Surrender them to the Lord as much as you can. He is able to do far beyond what we ask or think! If you let the Lord do His work in you, you can be a great blessing to others who need help in this. There is a grave need for a national parents' organization that will deal with homosexuality in TRUTH so that lives can be saved. Please get in touch with us if you are interested in being part of such a group.
HERE ARE SOME HEALTHY RESPONSES TO THE WORLDLY VIEW...
"People should be accepted for who they are."
Feelings can't be a source of identity - they are too easily affected by circumstances.
"I want to stop hiding and being afraid."
That's what we want too. Let's talk about what's bothering you. "You don't understand, I didn't choose this." You didn't choose the feelings, but you can choose not to follow them. Let's look at what causes them.
"I really believe God created some people this way."
We know that feelings and efforts to change may lead to that idea, but there is no scientific evidence to support it. After all, would the Lord create someone a certain way and then condemn them for it?
"The Bible doesn't condemn homosexuality."
To change what scholars and theologians have agreed on as true for 1900 years, is to elevate humanity's feelings and opinions over the word of God. Biblical "scholarship" that endorses homosexuality is a very recent development, and is in direct conflict with the clear message of the Bible.
"What's wrong with it, if it makes people happy?"
Human happiness is not a reliable measure of how healthy a relationship is. People can be happy doing many things that aren't good.
"If you don't accept my being gay, you're not accepting me".
Let's be reasonable. I do accept you, but not everything about you, just as you do with me.
"We shouldn't make people feel bad about themselves."
If we love people, we must tell them the truth. It's cruel to make people feel better by lying to them and saying they donÕt have a problem when they really do.
In summary, the advice we offer here is not based on theory. It has all been proven in changed lives, and is founded on God's revelation of Himself in His word and through the Holy Spirit. The truth must be spoken in love, because God is love, and the truth often jolts our acquired view of reality. A new way of thinking and feeling is entirely possible. "Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for me?" (Jer. 32:27). Homosexuality is changeable!
A WORD ABOUT "PFLAG"
You may know there is an international group called "Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays" (PFLAG). They have formed mostly because of the anguish and confusion of those who have friends and relatives in homosexuality and don't know what to do. This group tells their members that they shouldn't feel bad about their "gay" children because there isn't anything wrong with being "gay". As with other false concepts, this is repeated enough to have a numbing, narcotic effect on the parents' and friends' feelings of concern. They become persuaded that the conflict is with society and its old-fashioned "religious right" value system, and they are working to change that.
Let's look at what the PFLAG material is telling us:
Through their testimonies, we are told that parents can learn to accept their children's homosexuality, that people can be happy in different ways, that "gays" are people with talent we can respect (therefore gay is good!), and the problem is with those who don't accept homosexuality.
Please notice that this is an ongoing effort to legitimize the problem by pointing to the person's acceptance, happiness, talent and worth. Yet, we can fully agree on the person's value without accepting the condition. To be asked to do otherwise is a coercive distortion of the truth for personal and political gain.
TO DISCARD TIME-HONORED TRUTHS FOR A POLITICAL AGENDA IS A GRAVE ERROR.
As painful as it is for parents and relatives to look at our personal implication in the issue, it is far better than accepting the cruel, unscientific argument that denies the problem! We know that people don't like to feel that they are strange or sick, but it is a gross and damaging mistake to make them feel better with a lie; to ignore the evidence and twist principles and standards to serve political and personal goals. Those who are called "homosexuals" are as valuable as anyone else, and society needs to learn that. However, to promote that fact by denying there is a problem is folly, deception and death. Again, we should realize that the concepts and definitions of TRUTH and LOVE must be independent of mankind's personal and collective opinions.
Worldly concepts and lies are rampant in today's society and they entice many into a sensual response to their affliction. We have seen people choose to give in to homosexual temptation because they knew it would offend their parents. Others have yielded because it was socially acceptable, even avant-garde, to be "gay". When social boundaries of right and wrong, the consensus of morality, break down as they have since the 1960's, all manner of evil is released upon society. Psalm 12 says, "The wicked strut about freely when what is vile is exalted among men."
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men." It teaches us to say "no" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the Blessed Hope, the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:11-14
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