by Sy Rogers
Taking a deep breath, Carol began : "It's so scary for me to tell you this, but I have to. I can't keep on pretending. I just don't want it to affect our friendship, you're like a sister to me!"
Susan reached across the table, taking Carol's hand. "What is it Carol - is it your marriage? Whatever it is, you can tell me..."
Tears began to well up in Carol's eyes. "Susan, it's not the marriage - that would make this easier I think. It's me. I ... I'm gay. I'm a lesbian."
As she passed her son' s room, she noticed the white piece of paper taped to the middle of the door. - A note from Mark. She knew something was wrong. She took the note into the kitchen, sat down and began to read:
Dear Mom and Dad,
Since you both know about me being gay, I have decided it would be best for all of us if I moved out. I know how you feel and I don't want to make things worse. I'll be staying with some friends for a while. I guess this means putting college on hold too, but please try not to worry about me. I'll make it. I'm really sorry I've let you down. I'm sorry for the big fight the other night. I didn't want you to find out that way, but I guess it's just as well you know. Most of all, I'm sorry you don't understand about me. I'll be in touch.
She laid the note aside. "Is this really happening," she thought. "It seems so strange, only a few days everything was normal. Then I had to be the one to find his "dirty" magazines ... and those letters! I had to be the one to confront him, and push him into telling me the truth. Why did I ever tell his father...? "And now," she asked herself, "will anything ever be normal for us again?"
An event most people are totally unprepared for is the discovery that someone close to them is gay. Whether the confession of gayness comes from a son or daughter, husband, wife or close friend, the reaction is often the same: ""What do I say to them now?", "How can I help?", and sometimes, "Could I be partly to blame for this situation?"
The impact of learning someone close to you is gay can be as great as if that person died, Suddenly your expectations and hopes for his future may never be realised. Often a variety of emotions, common the grieving process, will surface. First comes the shock, denial and disbelief, followed by a rush of shame, anger and tears.
Depression, even physical symptoms of distress may result. Almost always there are tremendous feelings of guilt ("Where did I go wrong?"), especially true with parents and the spouses of gays. Anger and resentment may grow into bitterness; "How could you do this to me?"), if unforgiveness is harboured. The grieving process will pass in its intensity, especially as you yield your hurt and struggle to God, trusting him to help.
The purpose of this tract is to help the friends and families of gays deal with their own reactions to homosexuality, and to help them respond to homosexuals in a positive Christian way.
There is hope!
First, there is HOPE for you!! Apart from the need of your gay loved one, God desires to help you deal with this situation. He does not want to see you overcome with frustration and despair. We have the promises of God.
Apply them to your situation. God tells us that as we humble ourselves and seek to obey him, regardless of what we face, He will supply us with what we need. He promises that His grace will keep us from being overwhelmed by our circumstances. His grace also supplies us with the faith we need to entrust out loved one into His capable care. He can give us the patience to wait on Him to work in their life. He can supply us with the ability to forgive, and demonstrate love towards those that have hurt and shamed us. God can teach us to see circumstances from His perspective, and then we see that all things are possible with God. "All Things!" includes freedom from homosexuality! Then we see that there is hope!
This is the second point: Not only is there hope for you, there is hope for the homosexual. There is a way out of homosexuality for those who want it! Although homosexual behaviour is consistently condemned throughout scripture (see references on back), as well as is all sin, there is also biblical record of people being set free from homosexuality - (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
Remember, where God requires us to change to obey His standards, He has the power to make that change possible in our lives. This is true also for the homosexual, just as it is true for the prostitute, the drug-addict and all who need Jesus!
Though your friend or loved one is involved in homosexuality, that doesn't mean they always will be. Many men and women round the world have been (and are being) set free from homosexuality, God does not play favourites. Your loved one can be set free too - but it may not happen overnight. God's Holy Spirit must be the one to draw him. Therefore, your only hope is in the unlimited power of an almighty God!!
Steps you can take:
1. Get a hold of your emotions. After the bomb has been dropped in your pal, it may be difficult to gain control of your emotional reaction (especially true in a confrontation). While emotional reactions are part of being human, try not to let your feelings get out of control. "In your anger, sin not." Try to limit your immediate reaction to lessen the strain on your relationship with the gay person. If you've already had a "blow up", you can always work toward reconciliation.
2. Forgive. Release your anger, hurt and shame through forgiveness. This prevents bitterness from setting in and speeds healing to you and your relationship with the gay person. In addition to forgiving those who have hurt you, ask God to forgive you for anything in your past that may have contributed to this situation. With God's forgiveness you need not remain a prisoner to guilt and condemnation. Once you've received His forgiveness for any failure on your part, mark the date on your calendar. Remind yourself and the devil that on that date you know God forgave you for your past mistakes.
3. Get God's perspective. Get your attitude in line with God's Word. Having a gay loved one is not the end of the world. Homosexuality is sin. It is not the worst sin! It is not incurable! God does not hate homosexuals.
As a matter of fact, He loves them and has paid the price to redeem them. He sees their need for love, acceptance and identity, and longs to meet these needs. Jesus did not condemn the prostitute, traitor, adulterer, thief or murderer. Instead He offered them another chance at life. Jesus showed them a way to live pleasing to God. He offers this same new life to the homosexual. As mentioned earlier, "all things", are possible with God, including freedom from homosexuality. There is a biblical record of homosexuals being changed by God's power. Share this hope with your gay friend or loved one.
4. KEEP LINES OF COMMUNICATION OPEN. Use good judgment in sharing with the gay person. Our words will either build up or tear down. Don't make every visit or conversation a sermon on sin. Avoid arguing - be a listener. The gay person needs to know that he can at least talk to you, especially when he is hurting. Pray for wisdom in communicating God's standard. Encourage the gay person to see Jesus in a positive light, as a personal God who loves, cares and wants to help.
5. DEMONSTRATE LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE. Sometimes our love must be firm - tough love. The Christian cannot compromise God's standards or condone sin. However, it is vital that the gay friend or loved one understands that your disapproval of his sinful behaviour is not a rejection of him. Maintaining God's standards often puts us in the place of drawing the line on a person because of sin. This can be painful and necessary in some instances, but we can still demonstrate love and concern for the gay person in many practical ways. Be willing to talk and listen. Don't be afraid to hug or touch. Don't exclude the gay person from your life and activities. The gay person may resent your stand o sin, and mat isolate and withdraw himself from you. Yet, you need not be the one to turn your back on him. YOU may be an important link between that individual and God. - If not now, then perhaps later. So guard your witness. Maintain God's standards, but love the gay person too.
6. LET GO. One of the most difficult of all these steps is having to entrust your loved one into the care of God. Let them go! You cannot save that person. You cannot stop them from pursuing the gay lifestyle. You are not in control - God is. You must also learn to trust God to draw your loved one to Him by His Holy Spirit. Trust Him to protect your loved one. God's desire is to set them free from sin and deception.
Remember He loves the one you love even more than you do!
7. PRAY, FAST and WAIT. You can pray. You can fast! Prayer combined with fasting is a powerful spiritual weapon. Like it or not, it is going to take much prayer and fasting. But for the sake of a friend or loved one, is the sacrifice not worth it? Jesus knew prayer and fasting got results. He practised it, as did His disciples.
Throughout the Bible, when men and women faced difficult circumstances they prayed and fasted. God often responded in miraculous ways. Read and study ISAIAH 58, the chapter on the purpose and power of fasting. Though God does answer our prayers, He rarely answers them when or how we want. We'd like to see our loved one set free NOW! But His timing is perfect. His methods are perfect. We need to allow for the process of the answer to come forth. So in addition to everything else, wait on Him to work in the life of your loved one. Use the waiting period as an opportunity to strengthen your faith and trust in the Lord. He hears you. He WILL help you!
Finally . . .
If you are having a difficult time dealing with any person because of their homosexuality, then you need to take a look at your attitude - and work on getting it right. Being squeamish about homosexuality is one thing, but having a reaction of revulsion, hostility or violence toward a gay person is sin. It is called "homophobia", an irrational fear of hostility toward homosexuals. Homophobia hinders the effectiveness of your witness. Fortunately the Lord can set you free from this sinful attitude, and deliver you from any fears and insecurities too that you might have.
If you suspect that a loved one is involved in homosexuality) or any other form of immorality) try not to panic or lose your temper. Rather in firm love and honesty, confront the person with what you suspect. Do not accuse!!
Be prepared for lies and covering up, defiant admission that it's true, or a broken hearted confession of guilt.
Also remember the person may truly be innocent of any wrongdoing. When the situation reaches this point, or is headed in this direction, seek Christ-centred Biblical counselling for yourself, and if they will agree, for your loved one. Remember to see Christ as your hope, knowing that, According to Romans 8:28,
" . . . all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."
HOMOSEXUAL BEHAVIOUR :
Leviticus 18:22, 20:13; Romans 1:20;
1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Timothy 1:9,10.
SEXUAL IMMORALITY :
1 Corinthians 6:13-20; Romans 6:12-13; Galatians 5:19-21; Colossians 3:5,6; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8.
ENCOURAGING SCRIPTURES :
Romans 7:14-24; 8:1-3; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11;
11 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:1-10;
Hebrews 12:5-17; 11 Peter 1:3-11; 1 John 1:9; Timothy 4:18; Jude 17:25.
Portions of this article contain information made available through EXODUS INTERNATIONAL USA and it's affiliates.