I am you. Just one major experience and a few years removed.
I ALSO am a multi-generational Christian who believes in her God, her Savior and her bible. I’ve always believed the bible holds the answers and the ultimate truths. I still do. And I know you have a hard time believing that.
One of the most frustrating parts of being a Christian parent of a gay Christian child is that everyone believes I had to ignore parts of my bible in order to accept my son’s sexuality. I understand why conservative Christians believe that, because I used to think the same thing. But it’s not true. I have spent two years studying nothing but homosexuality in regards to the bible. I’ve not ignored parts of my bible; I’ve studied those parts more thoroughly and deeply and from every angle I could imagine. To have my hard-earned beliefs discounted simply because I have a vested interest is more than frustrating.
It’s shocked me that so few of our Christian friends and family have actually asked us what we saw and read that changed our beliefs. The lack of willingness to ask and listen to me is indicative of a complete lack of respect in me as a Christian. I assume the lack of questions stems from the desire to not hurt my feelings or argue. But that in and of itself indicates the belief that nothing I say could be right. WHAT IF I am right?? What if I have studied and found something you don’t know, dear Christian? Are you truly so confident in your own knowledge that you are willing to ignore the possibility that you might be wrong?
Again, I know what that’s like. I was there. Three years ago, I never believed there was the possibility that homosexuality might not be a sin. God showed me differently. Yes, you read that right: GOD SHOWED ME DIFFERENTLY.
When our son came out to us, we freaked. Total fear. We spoke to no one, and for months walked around believing our son was condemned to hell. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but when you read those few NIV verses, it seems so clear. And that was unimaginable pain.
We didn’t take this lightly. We jumped onto our proverbial horse to run in and save the day. We showed him the bible verses. We sent him to Christian counseling. We made him confide in and talk to a minister at church. We prayed CONSTANTLY. I can’t emphasize that enough. We slept little and I prayed through every minute I was awake, scared, at night. It was my DUTY as mom to show him the sin and help him work beyond and through it.
But here was the problem — he did everything we wanted him to do, and he wasn’t changing. No matter what we said or showed him or did. That idea had never occurred to me. We had done everything we knew to do, and … nothing. We were literally at the end of our rope. We had no control, ZERO.
But when I was at my weakest, God was at His strongest. I was folding laundry one day and was in despair at how I was going to live my life knowing my son was lost.
God spoke to me … “because you ALL are lost.”
That was my answer. That’s when things changed. When God convicted me of my own self-righteousness, and the fact that I had this secret idea that I was earning my way to heaven through obedience, rather than relying on His gift of grace, whom He gives to whomever He chooses. That’s how the thief on the cross made it to heaven — he didn’t earn it, but it was given to him. A beautiful gift with a big red bow on top. One he never deserved.
My son is a good Christian young man, and my job as mom hadn’t changed at all: I am to love him unconditionally and do whatever I can to help him develop a personal relationship with God, and the rest is up to him. He is a baptized Christian, and the Holy Spirit lives in him. I have to have enough faith to believe the Spirit will convict my son of whatever sin is in his life.
I was Hannah. The biblical Hannah that prayed for a child and promised to give him to God, and did so as soon as she was able. I had this clear mental image of physically handing my precious son (in toddler form, of course, since it seemed weird to picture my 6′ tall bearded boy cradled in my outstretched arms) over to God each and every day. He was/is God’s anyway, but I needed the mental exchange to remind myself to give up the control. It gave me a sense of peace, and put me firmly in the passenger seat so God could lead me where HE wanted me to go.
Where He took me was a candlelight vigil for our local university SAFE (Student Alliance For Equality). There we listened. And shared. And met some dear Christian LGBT kids. God lead me to OKC’s Gay-borhood on election night, where I comforted people who truly feared for their future. My Father walked with me at the Pride Parade, where I hugged literally hundreds of LGBT people with His arms. People who had not had a hug from a parent, much less a Christian, in years.
God took away my reputation, and gave me instead a mission. Not to seek and save the lost, but to love. To LOVE. To love the very people I had spent my life condemning. How humbling. How rewarding.
We ARE all lost. All of us, straight, gay, trans, whatever and whoever. We all have sin in our lives. Maybe you believe the sin in LGBT people’s lives is their LGBT-ness, maybe you don’t. But THEY are just like US. Actually they ARE us. Sin is there, just like it is in our own lives. We all rely on grace. Maybe instead of spending so much time and energy on labeling which sins everyone has that keeps them from God, we should instead love each other and encourage personal relationships with our Father and Savior, and let Him handle the rest.
Let’s stop trying to change hearts (since that’s not our job anyway) and start to share hearts.
That, my dear friends, is where this terrifyingly wonderful journey has taken me. And it’s been worth every single scary step.