I recently heard from yet another Christian mom whose daughter was rejected by their extended family. They had rallied around in love and sacrifice to accommodate the significant physical challenge she was born with, but when she revealed her same-sex attraction, their unconditional love became, well, conditional. We love you – but we cannot accept this about you. We love you – but you must change. All the sacrifice required to love her in her physical requirements vanished when it came to her orientation.
I wonder if the presence of so many LGBTQ in our Christian families is likewise an opportunity for us to learn to love well, the way Jesus told us, the way Jesus loved us. I’ve seen many parents do just that, loving so fully and richly, even as they had to reassess what they thought they knew. Parents of a gay child often have their views dismissed, being told: “You just approve of this because your child is gay.” Well, what better way for God to shift someone’s paradigm than to make it real to them, give them reason to question the assumptions they’d held? Most victim’s rights laws are championed most fervently by victim’s families. They see firsthand the change that needs to be made. Instead of dismissing them as biased, we can encourage them in their fierce defense of their loved ones.
The alternative is to be unteachable. When the human being in front of you conflicts with what you have already believed, even if you believed it all your life, maybe God is showing you something new. Not to see that requires intense lack of humility.
To lay out rules for others is easy – it requires no sacrifice on our part, no challenge to our point of view. It’s extremely human. To be surprised by a gay son or daughter and then to take it to Jesus and let him guide our actions requires so much more love from us than just trying to change them. It requires us to live in the unknown even if it’s uncomfortable instead of the usual black and white that feels secure. It requires trust.
Jesus is about people and the heart, not rules. Considering how radically Jesus’ words shook the paradigms of everyone who heard Him (take a look here, here, and here), I’m going to guess He’s more interested in our relationship with Him and others than He is in the rules.
If you’ve had a paradigm-shifting experience in accepting the LGBTQ, I’d love to hear about it.