To lighten the mood on an otherwise weighty subject, I’d begin by saying, “That’s okay, as long as you’re not a liberal.” (Sorry libs…but this lib(ertarian) would have a hard time swallowing that pill!) Shortly following, I’d playfully provoke him by telling him that he wasn’t born that way since I witnessed his first crush on the pastor’s eldest daughter when he was 3 years old and his fondness for a little blonde gal that continued throughout his elementary school years. Moving on, in all seriousness, I’d start by thanking him for continuing to share his life with me. You see, my young son of 9 has been persistently encouraged to include me in on any feelings he is having, whether that be disappointment or elation over any issue on his heart. I’ve reminded him that his mom has quite the colored past and that nothing he shares will shock me or lead me to love him any different or any less. Who’s to say if our transparent discussions will endure as he enters his teens and into adulthood, but I’ll always prod him and listen to what his mind has on it. Having a similar relationship with my own dad, I have hopes that I’ll carry on that legacy of openness and frank honesty, whatever the topic may be.
That being said, my response to his coming out as a gay man would depend heavily on how he decides to portray living an unashamed homosexual lifestyle. Assuming he’d still confess his faith in Jesus Christ, I’d ask how he reconciles this with his revealed news. If he has decided to deny the existence of God, then his sexuality will have to take a back burner as I’d be more interested in discussing his spirituality before bothering with the other less pressing topic. With his faith firmly in tact, if he acknowledges that being a sexually active gay man is a sin in God’s eyes, but is intending to do it anyways, I’d respect his decision to persist in unrepentant sexual immorality. This would be because I myself chose to disregard God’s laws against sexual licentiousness for years and nobody could’ve said or done anything to make me change my ways. I’d have to assume my son inherited the stubborn and wanton independence from me, so as long as he admitted it was a sinful lifestyle to pursue by biblical standards and that he was individually accountable to God, I’d give him a warm hug and ask if he could stay for a game of chess after dinner.
If the conversation took a different turn, one where he began to challenge whether the Bible really means homosexuality is a sin, let the games begin. As a confessed bibliolater, I wouldn’t be walking on eggshells hoping to not offend my son, but passionately pursuing how he could’ve come to this conclusion. Even at his current age, he comes by being argumentative naturally, so if he’d be willing to engage in a theological debate regarding his doubts, I’d be all in. There would be no fear of him walking out the front door, never to return due to my religiosity. Although that’d be in the back of my mind, maintaining my integrity and a clean conscience before God will always take precedence, even above family ties. God doesn’t need me to defend His Word, but my son would already be well aware of the esteem I have for the Bible and that, as unfortunate as it may be to hear, is a reality that soars above all else.
As parents, as Christians, it’s not our duty to coerce others into believing as we do. It is our duty to love God, commission the spread of His Gospel, and to love one another. With that in mind, let Jesus guide us as He says, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law — a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:34-38). There will be discord among family, but we’re to keep these verses on our hearts as we strive to keep the peace between us. Loving Jesus and His commands come first, loving one another rests under that. As much emphasis as corporate worship has amongst the Christian community, each one of us, individually, are accountable to God.
Fundamentally, the most pertinent concern would be that my son is finding his identity in anything other than Christ. If he were to primarily place his identity with another woman, a career, children, hobbies, his physical appearance, or even in a church, I’d be there to call him back to Who he needs to find his worth in. In my call, I’d remain at peace as he navigates his way through the life God has planned for him, always with an open ear to hear and an open Bible as our guide.