Today I am beginning a series that will answer questions that I often receive from pastors, youth pastors, and youth workers when I speak at Christian camps. I will no be giving all the detail that is perhaps needed. I will only attempt to give an overview and a starting point. As in dealing with any issue that involves the lives of those around us, it is important that we search the Scriptures and research the issues to increase our understanding. It is also imperative that we remember the time factor. Investing in lives means a huge investment of our time. Application and genuine change takes time as well. So here is today’s question:
How do we help young people who have homosexual parents?
The issues surrounding homosexuality are becoming increasingly important in our churches. As the issue continues to grow and impact our society, we must learn how to respond Biblically and spiritually. Here are four suggestions in answering the question above:
- The same way we help everyone else whom we are called to reach and serve. When dealing with the youth in our churches, we don’t have to separate them based on the situation they are facing at home. Paul told the youth in the church at Ephesus to obey and honor their father and mother. He doesn’t say they are to do so if the parents are “on the straight and narrow” but simply to do so. He doesn’t say that if Dad is straight and a good husband to mom then you obey and honor. Children are to obey and honor even if parents are divorced or dad is a jerk or mom is bipolar. We simply help our young people to obey the commands given by God. Teens should obey and honor and respect their parents.
- We teach the truth in love. This is a loaded statement because it is easy to err on one side or the other. Some stand for the truth, but do so in such a way that they separate themselves from all possibility of helping those who are dealing with this issue or who are affected by it. Truth without love can drive away those who actually may need us the most! Some are willing to love but won’t speak truth. Both words go together. We are to teach truth. We have a position — we believe homosexuality is against the plan of God and the word of God. We have to take our Biblically-based position and show that God is loving and practical in this matter. Homosexuality undermines society by its inability to reproduce. It cheapens the beauty and worth that can be found in abstinence from sexual relations outside of the marriage bond. Practicing homosexuality often results in damage to a person emotionally. It can lead to alcohol and drug abuse and to depression and even suicidal thinking. God’s prohibitions are not to limit joy and love but to keep us from losing it. When we obey God’s command to practice sexual relations only in the boundary of marriage, we open the door for great blessings and joy and favor, not only in our own lives, but in the society around us. All of that is truth. And as we share that truth, there is no place at all for snide and joking remarks. Sarcastic and cutting words are carnal words and not Spirit-lead ones. We must ask God to help us speak truth in love.
- We must love both the teens we serve and their parents and guardians. Remember that our God is love. We are called to love Him and to love our neighbor as ourselves. We are to walk in love. We are to continue in the love of God. We are to abound in love. We are to know the love of God and to comprehend the breadth, length, depth, and height of His love. There is no doubt that if we are honest to our Christian faith, we will have to stand against the homosexual lifestyles, culture, and thinking of our day. If we are to help our culture to think correctly, however, they have to know that we are the love-filled disciples of the Savior we follow. If we are to help those who are in bondage, they will have to see that we genuinely love them. So, invite them to your church. Sit with them. Eat with them and talk. They are real people with real feelings and real longings. After all, our Savior ate with “sinners and publicans” and even showed great mercy towards those who were in sexual sin. Your love may be the very tool that God uses to open the heart of the one struggling with sin. It was our Savior’s love that opened our heart to Him. I love him because He first loved me!
- Always attempt to leave “open doors” between you and the parents of your teens. We may disagree with a person’s lifestyle, but our doors should always be open to them. The time may very well come when they will need and even want the help that only God can give them through you. I personally think it is best to state the obvious. I would say it like this: “You probably know that our church would not be able to condone homosexuality but we promise to love you and to be here for your children and for you if you need us.” And then mean it! Pray for them and speak to them and invite them to church. Keep them in the “loop” just like you would any other teen’s parents. You actually may be surprised by what God might do. After all, according to Paul, some of the members of the church in Corinth had been saved out of that very lifestyle!
So how do you help young people who have homosexual parents? The same way you help everyone else. By teaching your youth the truth in love. By loving both the teens you serve and their parents. By keeping the door open between you and them.
Is it a huge issue? Sure! Does it have some awkwardness to it? Of course. Are we called of God to reach the world? Yes we are. So lets keep studying and thinking and loving and reaching. Let’s keep helping people in the raw and difficult issues of this generation.
Best of wishes pastors and youth pastors! Thanks for letting me serve you and your youth.
Thanks for reading,
Your sincere friend,