“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” That’s crap. Absolutely untrue. Bones will heal, words can hurt forever.

I have a flood of emotions as I read this letter from a Dad to his gay son. I am a parent of five children and my primary job is to love them and display God’s love in their lives. They will make a lot of decisions about who God is and what kind of God He is, as well as decisions about themselves, based on their relationship with me. It’s just the way it is.

We parents have a massive impact on our children. Our words, and our love and acceptance – or our withholding of love and acceptance – will impact their lives forever.

This father’s selfish words and condemnation will impact James for the rest of his life…

“James: This is a difficult but necessary letter to write. I hope your telephone call was not to receive my blessing for the degrading of your lifestyle. I have fond memories of our times together, but that is all in the past. Don’t expect any further conversations with me. No communications at all. I will not come to visit, nor do I want you in my house. You’ve made your choice though wrong it may be. God did not intend for this unnatural lifestyle. If you choose not to attend my funeral, my friends and family will understand. Have a good birthday and good life. No present exchanges will be accepted. Goodbye, Dad”

Parents, please do not inflict this kind of harm upon your children. It is not only your task, but your privilege to love your gay child. Above all else. Even if you are conflicted. Even if you disagree. Your love and acceptance are at the core of your child’s understand of the love of God.

Regardless of where you stand on this particular issue, I beg you to look beyond yourself. It took great courage for your child to come out to you. They are brave. They are scared too. They are probably wrestling through a lot of issues. Not only do they need your affirmation and acceptance – but you have an opportunity to actually take some of the weight off their shoulders. You can love and you can help bear their burdens.

Err on the side of love, acceptance, approval and affirmation – even if you disagree – and let the Holy Spirit work in your child’s life in His perfect way and timing. As Billy Graham said, “It is God’s job to judge, the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, and my job to love.”

Your child needs the same love God gave to you. Your child needs your approval. You child needs you.

Click here to read “Your LGBTQ Kid is Going to be Fine”

“Have a good life. Goodbye.” – Dad

85 thoughts on ““Have a good life. Goodbye.” – Dad

  1. I am appalled at this father’s reaction to his son! As a father myself, who recently was confronted by my 13 son that he may be gay, I told him that I love him. How could I reject my own son? Why would I want to reject him even if he comes out as gay?

    Doesn’t this father know that he is being a barrier to his own son? Is that what he wants?

    I feel for the young man.

    I as a conservative Christian father will love, support and accept my son. I wish this father could do the same.

  2. What a heavy burden for James. It seems like the father had a knee-jerk reaction and (in trying to reject his son’s choices) rejected his son. It is sad when anger and embarrassment get in the way of true love. My guess is (contrary to other readers posts) this father does genuinely love his son.

    Unfortunately, many men from this generation were not taught how to process their feelings; for example, crying was not a good thing. How much better would it have been if the father had taken the time to pray, to sort out his feelings, and then to logically (and lovingly) discuss his differences of opinion with his son. It may have been tearful, it may have been difficult, but at least James would have known that he was valuable enough to his father to have the conversation with him. Sadly, James will never know how his father truly feels and instead will only feel the rejection.

    Alternately, James has a Heavenly Father who wants to lavish him with perfect love. This Father is willing to take the time, to have the difficult conversations, to rebuke and to correct in love. His embrace is warm, His advice is timely, His guiding is gentle and His Word (the Bible) is trustworthy.

    I hope that all of your Christian readers choose to respond in prayer for James and his dad. God’s love for each of them is equal. God’s forgiveness for each of them is available. God’s healing power is inexplicable. God’s heart for them is reconciliation and healing.

    “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

    • OOPS. Typo.

      ” It is sad when anger and embarrassment get in the way of true love. My guess is (contrary to other readers posts) this father does genuinely love his son.”

      Perhaps; I did not mean to say the father did not love the son at all, but my point is that a parent’s love is supposed to be *unconditional* and all too often it is anything but. I have known fathers to stop speaking with their sons just because the son refused to go into the family business, or follow the father’s trade. People wax sentimental about the *unconditional* love of a parent but as often as not that love has more conditions than the Constitution has Amendments. And fathers are not the only ones guilty of gross expectations which if the kid fails to live up to (s)he is persona non grata. I’ve seen it too many times,

      • I have seen it too, Scott, plenty. “More conditions than the Constitution has Amendments!” SO true. Parents must go out of their way to convey unconditional love, no matter what. And take it from me as a parent, you don’t really know what your conditions are until they cross them. Then you’re faced with a choice: am I committed to my condition or to my child? It sounds stark on paper, but that really is the question. To say, “Well, the Bible says…” Is a copout. Jesus tells us to love and love and love some more. If HE doesn’t reject our kids (and He DOESN’T), how in the world do we justify doing so? Thanks for writing.

        • When I came out to my parents, I discovered which parent was the one who loved me unconditionally and it wasn’t the one I expected. My taciturn and often rather stoic (in other words typically Norwegian) Dad simply looked at me and said, “You’re my son, and that’s that.” My mother, on the other hand, fussed for years over everything from what will the neighbors think to I won’t have any grandchildren (despite the fact that my brother was straight) to it’s just wrong and I don’t know what else. My Dad was the one who finally had to tell her to stop it because, in his words, “If you make Scott choose between you and Dennis (my then-husband), he’ll choose, and you won’t like the choice he makes, And then you will never see him again.”

          I dunno if that last bit was true, but Dad was the only man I ever knew my mother to listen to, so it made things a lot better between us. Not perfect; my mother had a talent for snark that fortunately I could match her wisecrack for wisecrack, so aside from a few smart remarks things improved immeasurably.

  3. when I came out as Trans, I thought my mom would go ballistic and cry, nervous break down ect., but she was very much the opposite! Looking back, im sure she knew or suspected. As for the rest of the family, I was utterly rejected. Things came out of my aunts mouth that I thought she would have never said to me. and my sister just increased her separation from me. My step dad tolerates it but my mom is fully accepting and still loves me dearly. I nearly cried when she called me “betty” (that was also my grandmas name,whom I was very close with.) Thank GOD for Mommies!

  4. Wow. Even though I’m pretty liberal (and certainly support gay rights), I have to admit that it would be difficult if either of my two sons came out and told me that they were gay. Still, writing this letter to your son telling him you’re disowning him is over-the-top outrageous. He’s still your son, and his “sin” is nowhere close to sins such as greed, rape, insulting other people to their faces.

  5. When my son decided to “come out” he told each one of us (Mother, sister, three brothers, and me) individually. I was momentarily at a complete loss for words. I prayerfully and very quickly considered how to respond. In just seconds I told him that my biggest concern was the potential for immense difficulty associated with being gay but that “NO MATTER WHAT, you are my son and I love you.” As a family, we have his back and pretty much try to live our lives as if it just doesn’t matter. I pray there will be a day when it doesn’t but won’t hold my breath. Thank you for providing this forum for those like my wife and myself. I have already benefited and am grateful. God Bless!

  6. Parents really need to think long and hard about their reactions when learning that a child of theirs is LGBT. Withdrawing love is what this father did and it is unforgivable.

    I was very blessed; my Dad was the accepting parent. His attitude towards me was basically “My son, right or wrong” and at any rate even if he thought being gay was somehow wrong (I don’t think he did but just for the sake of the argument), it would never have occurred to him to say anything to me about my private life; I was twenty-one and to Dad that sort of thing would have been off limits, unless of course I came to him for advice.

    Mom’s reaction was more complicated, and while I never felt she withdrew her love, we remained in tension with each other for the rest of her life. Things did get a little better after my father told her, just before he died, in no uncertain terms, that what she was doing was playing with fire and that if she forced me to choose between her and Dennis (my then-husband), to quote my Dad, “he’ll choose, and you won’t like it. And you’ll never see him again if that happens.

    Dad was the only man I ever knew that Mom actually listened to, so the last few years were a bit better; at the very least she swallowed whatever bile she might otherwise have spewed and chose to remain silent. Unfortunately it was an imperfect solution; when my mother died, there was much left unsaid between us, and things that would never be resolved. That was not the case with my Dad. Parents: think: gay or straight, it’s still your child.

  7. The “issue” was a different one, but this is so like a letter I received once, written by my biological progenitor (female) at the instructions of the male progenitor. It takes more than being a sperm or an egg donor to be a parent, to be a mom or a dad. Oddly enough, my progenitors were livid when I was eight or so, I told a neighbor I was sure I was adopted, and when I was asked why I thought that, I said that I knew that no REAL parents would treat their children like mine treated me. I was wrong on the biological facts, but I was right about what a “real mom and dad” are.

  8. I was fortunate. My mom knew I was gay before I even had the courage to tell her myself, and she’s always accepted me and loved me in exactly the same way. She always says that as long as I’m happy, she’s happy. It’s absolutely heartbreaking when things like this happen, but I think if they’re not prepared to accept who you are then they’re not worth the effort anyway, no matter what relation they are to you. Good riddance to them

  9. As bad as it is shouldn’t the fathers ideologies be given just as much respect? should not his beliefs be tolerated just as much?

    Can ask for something and then not give it… that’s just the way it is.

    I feel for the kid getting hammered like this, I honestly do. But you cant expect the world, or even your family, to support everything about you (choice or not) And some aspects of your lifestyle may be in direct contradiction to what some other members of your family or social group feel are acceptable.

    • A father is given the job of loving his children, first and foremost. He doesn’t have to approve of everything about them, but he has no excuse to withdraw his love and reject them. Period. To accept his son only when he does what he approves of is conditional acceptance, not love.

      • Agreed. There is no reason for a parent to “disown” a child. My own children make choices I don’t agree with, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to cut them off! Love for one’s children needs to be completely without condition. “I’ll love you but only if you…” No. That’s not love. That’s control.

    • Holding to certain ideologies doesn’t negate loving others. I think Jesus was pretty clear on this throughout the Gospels. While he has every right to disagree with his son, he has no right to reject and disown him. I see no humility in this letter. When I think about what was really going on in the Prodigal parable (the son basically telling his father that he wished he were dead and, oh, by the way, show me the money), I am overwhelmed at the father’s grace-filled response and open-hearted love for his son. Even if the son hadn’t returned, the father’s love would have never been withdrawn. “Love bears ALL things.” ALL means ALL. As parents, we must always ask ourselves if it’s more important to be “right” or to have a relationship with our kids. The father in this letter, because he is heaping burden upon burden upon his son, is on very dangerous ground.

      • I cannot disagree with your assessment on a personal level. I would not disown my child or being gay for example, however I am also not speaking for a religious standpoint but rather a practical one.

        The father in this example is horrible and the kid is better of without him in his life in my opinion. But it is the very idea of tolerance that has the opportunity to be examined here. The father has none for the lifestyle of his son, does that make it acceptable then to have none for the fathers while condemning his actions and words?

        From a personal standpoint…. again…. yes… But for the same reason that I believe he was wrong in my personal opinion I believe he has every right to express it.

        • You pose an interesting question. I think my eyes lingered on your sentence “But it is the very idea of tolerance that has the opportunity to be examined here” because lots of folks are arguing over the word “tolerance” these days. This dad is throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. For believers, Jesus’ didn’t ask us to be tolerant but commanded us to love. The dad has a right to express his feelings, of course, but he did more than that: He flat-out rejected his son. The son also has a right to express his feelings, but he didn’t do the rejecting. I think it goes back to rejecting a person. Where do we draw the line? I think Jesus drew it for us. Rejection not allowed.

          • And this is where we find the difference. Tolerance is not the same thing as acceptance and universal love is impossible. It is sad that this family is now destroyed because of the fathers lack of love for his own child, that the kid is going to have to deal with this stigma for the rest of his life… it’s heart breaking… But then I look at all the choices and decisions that get made every day by the people around me that are also based in either faith, dogma or belief… and against that I cant fault the father for expressing his feelings.

            I think we spend far to much time now a days caring way to much about individual sexuality, I don’t identify myself as straight when I introduce myself to someone, don’t mention it as I am getting to know them, don’t make a point of expressing it… I have never, for example, gone to any family member and told them “I’m straight.” To me it’s pointless and in doing so you open your personal life to public scrutiny… And when you do you have to be prepared for the fact that there will be people that are incapable of accepting that fact. Expecting acceptance of every individual choice (and I’m speaking specifically of the choice to “come out” not opening up the “Born this way” vs “choice” debate) is in itself the most intolerant act a person can take. I can no more expect you to accept me, my choices, my lifestyle, than you should expect it of me… Tolerance yes, but even in that there is a limit… but acceptance… that requires something more than just a declaration will ever be able to provide.

          • You are so right – universal love is impossible, unless Jesus loves through us. “Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God…” 2 Corinthians 3:5. We cannot provide the kind of love Jesus does, but He will do it through us. Thank you for your comment.

        • Read the letter again … it’s not the intolerance that is the end issue. Intolerance often stems from ignorance, lack of awareness, and/or the dogma in one’s mind that cuts of all lines of communication. Right to express it … yes, but where does one go from the father’s statement, “No communications at all.”?

      • The father is actually following the teachings of Jesus closer than you think. Jesus said for anyone to be his follower, he must hate his entire family, and himself. “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26

        • Jesus is speaking into a culture in which family is everything, and to follow Him might mean to renounce your family who simply would not have it, you following this itinerant rabbi. Jesus was saying that you have to be willing to choose Him over your family’s approval. I daresay James’ dad did not renounce his son because of his overwhelming devotion to Jesus’ requirement of him; I daresay the dad simply did not approve of James being gay and this is his way of dealing with what he doesn’t like.

        • See now this is what bad translation does. The original Aramaic which Jesus spoke had only two words to express feeling: “love” and “hate.” In-between words such as “like” and “dislike” were unknown to Jesus; He could only use the words He knew.

          Since the languages of the region had to make do with just two words for a whole range of feelings, context was most important: in this text “hate” is simply used as a way of putting across the message that one must place Jesus first in order to follow Him. I flatly refuse to believe that Jesus would have approved of a father crushing his son’s spirit by taking away his love.


          • Exactly. Jesus used hyperbole often. In the words of Marcus Borg, Jesus spoke in paradoxes “to shatter the conventional wisdom of his time. Impossible combinations abound in his teaching,” especially when he spoke about the Kingdom of God.

  10. My heart breaks for this young man. The pain will never completely go away, but you can channel it into positive things.

    My wife and I have been together for over 20 years. My biological father said similar (actually more hateful) things to me 20+ years ago. It ate at me for years. Only a few years ago, at my half sisters urging, I tried one last time to reconcile the relationship with him and he again rejected me. At that point i came to terms with the fact that it is not me that is broken, it is him. The main saving grace I have is my Dad’s (technically step father’s) response 20+ years ago when I told him tearfully that my father hated me. He was very upset and he said “I thought I was your dad, and I love you exactly the way you are.” I have not called by biological father my dad since. He is simply the source of the sperm that created me. My real dad (by society’s standard my step dad) is a loving man that chose to love me no matter how I turned out. And he adores my wife and would have me no other way.

    The pain of having a “parent” treat you this way is always truly there, but how you deal with it is your choice. You can let it consume you and destroy you or you can live a life that makes you proud and flys in the face of the condemnation they throw at you. Stay strong and be true to yourself!

  11. such parents should be fired immediately. I thank my late parents every single day for being there for me, and cannot understand this kind of cruelty at all. Why give birth to children if you refuse to love them?

  12. That was heart-rending to read. This one life, this one child, and he would discard that for his invisible, impotent friend. So little time on this earth as it is. So little time to love and be loved – how I long for the day when this ancient barbarism will be a thing of the past and only love and compassion will rule the world of human relationships.

  13. My heart breaks when I read that letter! What an opportunity that father missed, to be an integral part of his child’s life – why do some “Christians” believe that God would want them to disown their own child? Did Mary’s parent’s disown her when she came home and said “Hi mom and dad, btw I’m pregnant!” In that culture she should have been dragged outside of the town and stoned to death!!!

    My coming out experience was a lot more productive: my mum’s comment was “I always thought that might be the case!”, my dad I was worried about because of comments he’d made in the past, but he surprised me, he was supportive and understood – i tried never to push boundaries with him, but I had boyfriends come around and even stay at my parents’ house and there was never a problem.

    Now as a minister of religion I despair at those who claim to be acting in the name of a God who is the personification of limitless and unconditional LOVE and yet act like this man. I only hope that the recipient can look past this rejection and realise that he is loved by his heavenly Father regardless of who he is and who he aspires to be.

    James, if you ever read these words, God does love you and wants to be part of your life, wherever it may take you – never let anyone tell you otherwise!

  14. I say, good riddance and waste zero time dwelling. A Dad is a verb. Live and enjoy your life and if and when your father “comes to” do your best to pick up where you left off. All the best.

      • There comes a time when one must realize that the old cliché, “Blood is thicker than water” in fact does not hold water. If someone other than a member of your family wrote this you’d be able to write them off more easily. The problem here is with the father, not the son. The father in this case is a bully and obviously wants his son to be straight at all costs, and seems to believe that he can get his way by being unyielding and dogmatic (“No communications at all.). The father obviously is so blind, that he cannot understand the hurtful power of his words. Last, but not least, remember that family is not just those with whom you share blood. James, be strong, love yourself, and surround yourself by others who will love you unconditionally.

        • So true, Dennis. Thanks for your thoughtful comment. Yeah, at some point… when it’s too late… dads like this realize they have overplayed their hand, that their power [to recreate life in their own image] doesn’t quite stretch this far.

  15. This is tragic on so many levels. I hope this father wakes up one day and realizes what he has done in the name of God. If I believed in God I think he would be crying over this “lost child” and by this I mean the father and not the gay son. When you have a child you have an unconditional responsibility. I thank my christian mother and atheist father for showing me that love has nothing to do with religion.

  16. I have to say I am so, so disappointed that I have to share the same planet with people like this. Reading about anyone going through this kind of pain (or any pain, rather) breaks my heart. I can only hope and pray that James finds the courage and love needed for him to realize that this was not a reflection on the kind of person James is, but rather the kind of person his father is.
    My parents don’t particularly agree with me being gay, they say I’m too young to understand what I really am (I’m 17 and have been out since I was 14), but even then they never really stopped loving me, even with their difference of opinion. And why so many parents can not do this is just beyond me. I am not a religious person, though I do have some faith,a and if the God I imagine is real, I know that he would never wish anything of this sort on anyone, gay or not.

    My heart goes out to James, and I truly wish the best for him

  17. “Parents, please do not inflict this kind of harm upon your children.” I agree with that but also would like to add “Parents, please do not inflict this kind of harm upon yourselves.” What a sad loss, and most parents will come to realize this. Unfortunately, for some that realization will come too late.

  18. I remember when my daughter finally told me that she was a lesbian. We were driving down a snow covered road heading back to her grandmother’s home. She told me she was seeing someone and had been for a while. I ask what his name was and she said “he was a she”. My response to her was does she treat you good? Does she respect and love you? You see that was my main concern for my daughter. I told it was not the lifestyle for me but if she was happy and found a partner then that is all that matter. My concern was for her happiness and that she was happy with the partner that she had chosen…just as it was for her brother and her sister. I am proud of all three of my children and love them all more than my own life. Too bad here are so many parents that are willing to shun their kids because of who they are…I wonder how they would feel if people shunned them for who and what they are?!?

  19. Been there, done that. My father told me that I was no better than a child molester or rapist. That was December 10, 2004. We have spoken three times since then and it will always be strained…

    • I have come to understand that parents do not know as much as you think they do. There are a shocking number of parents who, frankly, do not exhibit one iota of parenting skills, nor are capable of expressing love. I can only say, keep on trying with him, be well with yourself, because, above all, you look in the mirror, and the image looking back can either be loving or critical. I think you will discover that relations with his parents were probably very strained as well. There was a time when I did not get along at all with my dad and he was all prepared to publicly disown me, because I was independent minded and wanted to live on my own. Now, we barely talk, but I do see someone who, as determined as he was to control everything and everyone, is now feeble, old, with failing eyesight and in early onset dementia. You may be fortunate to have an understanding and supportive mother, as I do, and that may well offset the toxic relationship you have with your dad. Above all, be well and be happy.

  20. I have two (grown) children – one transgendered and one heterosexual. I love them both unconditionally, and equally. Always have, always will. Can not comprehend parents who can disown their children. Oh, and I don’t believe in god, heaven, hell, organized religion, etc. What I do believe is that you love your children – period.

    • I feel the same way….that I am lucky to be loved and accepted by most of my family and friends. However, the more I thought out about it, I don’t feel lucky that they love me for me….that’s how it should be. If anything, those who spread hate should feel lucky to have someone in their lives that add another perspective to it and realize that. If only….

      People who walk around with enough hatred in them to disown their own children are disgusting one way or another. No one is perfect…including them.

      • Good insight. I cannot help thinking that parents who disown their kids are deeply afraid of being inadequate. I don’t excuse them, but I point out that rather than being the heroic thing they may think it is, it is a fear response. Tragic.

    • You’re absolutely right — religion is deadly. And I hope people make the distinction between religion [people’s attempt to reach God] and life in Christ [God’s provision to read people!]. Religion is the complete opposite of new life in Christ.

  21. I am still deeply shocked whenever I hear or read about a parent disowning their child over being gay. When my daughter told me she was gay (at 17) I think I said something along the lines of, “What took you so long to tell me…and what do you want for dinner?” Elly was still the same person she had been in the few minutes before she told me, nothing had changed in her so why should any feelings I had for her change? Why on earth would a parent have any different feeling towards the son or daughter? He/she is the same person!! This person that wrote this letter does not deserve the title of ‘DAD’. 😦

  22. Yeah, almost an interesting read until you get to the god bullshit which meant any interest in reading the commentary here was extremely short lived.

    Simple answer – get rid of the god bullshit and things like this wouldn’t have a need to happen. None of you have any idea of the damaging history and roots of your own religion. You poison the well then you wonder why everyone get sick drinking the water. I have no interest in dealing with people this ignorant. What we need is a good bye letter like this written to all the religious among us then our world would finally have a better shot at peace.

    • I’m sorry, but you simply cannot paint all religious people with the same brush. I’m sure there are plenty of messed up atheists out there, but I certainly wouldn’t automatically assume that you are messed up as well – unless you prove that you are… Broad generalizations are always suspect – the world is simply not “black and white” and to suggest otherwise is completely immature. There are plenty of devoutly religious people of all faiths who accept and love their gay children.

      • That’s true, Carl. But I hope something bigger is going on – I hope people in the church can say, “What? That’s how they view us? Well, then maybe we need to reevaluate what we’re communicating.” You’re right; there are PLENTY of amazing, kind, loving people who wear the name of Christ, as well there should be! Jesus Christ IS love! But when the takeaway to a whole community (LGBTQ) is NOT that, is rejection and vitriol, then there is a BIG problem. Thank you for your thoughts.

    • The religion is not bad at the core of it. People made it bad. Religion was made to make people feel safer with death and life. It was made to have something to believe in when all hope was destroyed. It was never meant to harm people or hurt people. It was about, loving people around you no matter what. PEOPLE have changed religion into something people despise. PEOPLE made the leviticus (back in the years -500, had a council where they chose what would go in that section). Since 20 years back I think, they removed the leviticus because it wasn’t necessary. Don’t hate religion, hate the people who make it sound horrible.

      • I have to agree. I know of no reason that people oppose homosexuality that is not rooted in some religious idea, the bible, etc. it’s damaging. And you can say it’s people that make it bad, but I don’t think that’s true either. Religion is horrendous and is responsible for horrible actions and brutality, not to mention the complete immoral actions of the God in the bible. Wake up, folks.

  23. I and so many people are fortunate to have such wonderful parents, just like yourself. I have a lot to be thankful for. Thank you for this. It needs to be shared with everyone.

  24. This is heartbreaking. It is so hard, so scary, to come out to the people you love. This is why. But it’s so necessary, too, because our need for authenticity, integrity, and true intimacy is so great. I am so grateful for my mom’s response, not only for my sake, but for hers. She opened her heart to me when I came out, and after I started being honest with her, our relationship deepened and became truly close and beautiful. She was shocked and saddened when I told her about an acquaintance who had been disowned by her parents for being trans. She said, “That’s not Christian!” And then when cancer was killing her I was able to give her comfort and love and be so close. I’m afraid James’ father will die bitter and alone.

    So parents, know this: loving your LGBT child is not only a gift you hir, it’s a gift to you.

  25. People always feel the need to judge….when I was a kid parents were disowning there kids for marrying out of race, we had a couple ran out of town, a black guy married his high school school sweetheart she was latino. People think nothing of black and latinos marrying now, but not in 1974. So I can only wonder in 35 years what will the disowning thing and we will look back on this and think did people really do that. So do what what in your heart fills right to you, do not let others be the judge of what you do and who you love.

  26. Susan, If people would only live the words in your last paragraph: “Your child needs the same love God gave to you. Your child needs your approval. Your child needs you.”

    This saddened me deeply to read. As a mother of a gay son, and a sister to a gay brother, my heart ached for the young man who received this letter. I couldn’t help but imagine my son and/or brother receiving something like this, and then imagining seeing their faces — the “picture” of unbelievable pain afterwards.

    Those words went deep into James’ heart; never to be forgotten. What James (or anyone else who’s experienced this kind of rejection) experienced is the complete opposite of God’s character. I hope and pray he knows that this is NOT about him — this is about a father who is fearful, but can’t dig deep enough to articulate his own fears.

    I go back to your last paragraph, Susan. Had the father written James about how much he loved him, with the same love God showers on him; had he written that nothing could separate the two of them, like nothing could separate either one of them from the love of God, and had he written about how much he needed his son in his life (even though he may disagree) . . . a whole new world would have opened up for James — one of not hiding, and one allowing James to live in freedom, finally! That kind of love is the true, unconditional love of a father that understands grace.

    I’m saddened that didn’t happen to James, and it will happen again in someone else’s life, unfortunately. These kinds of letters and voices of rejection will continue. That’s why it’s important for people like you, Susan, to keep it up — keep writing for those hurt lives. In the midst of the harsh land we live in, you are the “refreshment” to so many hurting souls. What an inspiration you are to so many . . . to me as well!

    • Very nice post,Rhonda. You said it all. I’m so happy there are people,like you,among others,in this world. Life is hard enough,sometimes,without the very people we rely on,rejected us.

  27. I am in tears after reading this – devastated for both James AND his father. James, if you are reading this, know that many of us who follow Jesus would never condemn or shun you. Never. You are God’s image bearer and precious beyond words. You are LOVED.

  28. So sick about this! So sad when a persons love is conditional! My heart breaks for this father and his Son. I hope he knows God is his Father that delights in him and rejoices over him with singing. God is good!

    • Me too. If it’s conditional, it’s not love. One time my father said something especially rude, trying to get a reaction, and I realized in a flash that that comment – and all the others – had nothing to do with me. NOTHING. They were about him and always had been. If you are in James’ position, please realize a parent’s words only reflect them, not you. And not God either.

  29. Ugh–Ugh–Ugh—I wish I could give James the biggest hug ever right now, but I know it could NEVER make up for the heartshaped hole this father is inflicting on his heart. I wish I could wad up these words and throw them in the trash, but even then, their power will still linger throughout this young man’s lifetime. How in this world do parents align this kind of treatment with the teachings of Jesus? I am so weary of Christians killing Christianity–for all of you LGBT’s out there, I am the mother of a gay son, who is also a Christian, and I am telling you this is not of God in any way –shape–or fashion. I am an ally and a friend forever.
    Thank-you again Susan for all of your work!

    • Thank you for your beautiful words, Carol. I hope James – or any other person in this position – will take this in, your hug and everything you said! Those who have rejected their children have shown themselves to be unworthy parents, and I pray that God will provide others to fill that role.

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