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Gay Friend Offers Teachable Moment

gay pride crossQ: Recently, a boy at my daughter’s Christian high school revealed to his lunch table buddies that he is gay. The group was caught off guard, but not surprised. After a few days, the novelty of this news wore off and the general feeling on the part of the kids is, “Whatever.” In short, it’s clear that even in an institution where kids are taught that the practice of homosexuality is sinful, the acceptance of the gay lifestyle seems to be universal. How can we help our kids to understand the principle of “loving the sinner but hating the sin” when their gay friends — who are terrific, loving and even faithful people — seem perfectly normal and acceptable?

A: This is one of the toughest issues for parents who are committed to rearing their children in the church and want to instill the values of their religious faiths with respect to sex and sexuality. In particular, the aggressive agenda of the gay-rights movement to be not only tolerated but wholeheartedly accepted and approved of by everyone presents a difficult challenge for those who are teaching their children to live by Gospel values.

The most important of those values is love, and fortunately, that’s the part our children’s generation clearly understands. Despite lots of focus on the epidemic of bullying (or perhaps because of it), children and teens are growing more sensitive to the feelings of others, especially those who feel marginalized for whatever reason. Their desire to demonstrate unconditional love for their friends is a wonderful impulse that we mustn’t undermine.

But, and it’s a big one: the pillar of faith for Christians is truth, and truth isn’t up for debate. The truth is, God created us as sexual beings for a procreative purpose; one that is complementary, selfless and life-giving. This is why marriage between a husband and wife is the only setting for which God’s gift of sexuality was designed.

This is a tough sell to the MTV generation. The hypersexual culture in which our children are living has convinced them that sexual relationships are simply part of the continuum of intimacy (you’ve heard of “friends with benefits”?) and that everyone is entitled to have whatever sort of consensual sex they choose. If this were the basis of your assumptions regarding sex and sexuality, how could it be fair to deny your gay friends the opportunity to experience loving relationships, just as your straight friends may enjoy?

The point, then, is that it’s not about homosexuality. It’s about sex. It’s about helping our children to learn and speak the truth — in love — about God’s plan for sexuality in our lives, and to stand for their values while also loving and cherishing their friends.

The social and cultural environment in which we live demonizes those whose religious beliefs about sex and sexuality preclude the possibility of normalizing homosexuality, much less espousing chastity as a core value. It’s now a world in which merely expressing a difference of belief frames people as bigots and bullies. What child wants that label? Better to accept the “new normal” than be perceived as mean.

The key, then, is that first principle: love. We need to teach our children to love unconditionally — as Jesus did — and simultaneously to speak the truth — as Jesus did. (It goes without saying that trying to do either of these things the way Jesus did will be nearly impossible, but we get points for trying.)

The revelation that a high school friend is gay creates yet another (as if you needed one) teachable moment about sexual morality. For parents who wish to impart their Christian values regarding sex, these moments are essential to guide and instruct our kids toward a proper understanding of our beliefs, and, more importantly, toward a truly Christian response to those we encounter on life’s journey.


Marybeth Hicks is a columnist for The Washington Times and founder and editor of Ontheculture.com.


  • goral

    The rainbow cross is offensive.

  • noelfitz

    Thanks for this article. It is thought-provoking. However the practical way of handling issues raised is simple;

    1. Sex outside marriage is sinful.

    2. We cannot judge others.

    All we can do is our best, and hope in God’s mercy. In the article the emphasis on love is truly Christian.

    • Struble

      Noelfitz: On pt. 2: Instead of repeating the liberal shibboleth about not judging, John 7:24 offers a more balanced approach: “Judge not by appearances, but render just judgement.”

  • cfish

    Teachable moment one might begin when the parent shows concern for the child claiming to be ‘gay’ and goes to the administration who hopefully will have a talk with the poor kid about the fact that one cannot be gay unless one is having sex , which hopefully he isn’t and explains to him the churches teaching on chastity. Barring that, the ‘gay’ friend should be talked to by his peers about what he means. Is he having sex? certainly his friends should discourage that. If he isn’t having sex then what makes him think he is ‘gay’. Does he feel attacked to other boys? If that is what he means he should seek professional help.

    • noelfitz

      cfish,

      your reply is excellent.

      In a case such as you consider great sensitivity is needed. The child should be shown love and respect and be protected from bullying.

      Professional advice may be completely the wrong thing, because often expert professionals lack empathy, common sense and/or Christian values.

      I would suggest essentially support and encouragement

      • cfish

        Well, i guess by ‘professional’ i meant a solidly catholic pshychologist (such things do exist) / and or priest. Someone who can offer real alternatives to ’embracing your sexualtiy’ aka ’embracing sin and rejecting God’.

  • noelfitz

    Bob,

    many thanks for your contribution. As you know I respect highly your knowledge of history, your sound judgement and you general insights.

    So we rarely, if ever, seriously disagree. Perhaps it is only in emphasis.

  • jack

    I was and am still, my whole life, gay. I never liked girls, though I liked girlish things. My christian parents kicked me out when I came out to them. I was cast out of my family for loving someone of the same gender. I still love them, and we are happily married with two children today.

    Please explain how such a loving religion caused me to bear so much hate from my own parents. If this religion is about loving the sinner and hating the sin, why are so many gay children bullied, thrown out of their own homes, self hating and suicidal, all for loving someone?

    No wonder people call you bigots for having “different opinions”. Your different opinions have ended lives and destroyed relationships. This is not tolerance. Its hateful.

    • cminca

      jack
      They don’t care what you think. They are wrapped up in the glow of their self-righteous bigotry.