This dad’s letter beautifully expresses our duty as parents to embrace and protect our children.
This is a letter to all of you who might consider me, or Debbie, or one of my children a friend.
I ask for your forgiveness and prayers as I confess that we have lied to you for several years. My dearly loved daughter Suzanne is gay and we have lied to you to keep it a secret.
When you are faced with a moment in life that you never anticipated, your first reaction is shock. It is quickly followed by other emotions such as anger, denial, and shame. You look inward and consider everything you did in life wondering ‘what could I have done differently.’ You quickly get to my least favorite reflection which is ‘what are people going to say about me.’ And then you finally get to ‘I can’t live like this anymore, I can’t fix things to everyone’s liking, and I must control the one thing that I can control, which is I must tell the truth.’ That is where I am.
Please lay aside for a moment the issue of sexuality (and please know that I do not downplay it, I only seek to address the multiple emotions involved). All of you, I imagine, can at least understand the difficulty of dealing with such news regarding such a volatile topic, as it relates to the individual, to the parents, to the siblings, to the near family, to the general family, to friends at church, to friends at work, and to friends in the community—and how everyone would probably react differently and say ‘this is what I would do.’ Well, until you are in this position, you really don’t know what you would do.
My only request of you is that you pray for us all, try not to spread rumors (gossip), and repeat only what you have heard directly from us. [That means don’t repeat what someone told you, only listen and pray.] We have confided in few and therefore few know any aspects of the truth with regard to Suzanne.
Suzanne was born in 1988 and is our first daughter. As a child, she was energetic and a handful to maintain. But, oh, was she creative, imaginative, and full of life. Nothing about her disappointed me; I did and still do adore her. What you might not know is that she went through some difficult times (which I leave to her to share), that I only learned of around her 9th grade year. She matured through it all and became more and more dependent on the only one she could trust, which was God. Suzanne was a spiritual giant in her youth and remains so to this day. She practices something Jesus said, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” She has continually demonstrated this love for others, especially to individuals who look different, who are often labeled and excluded from churches because they feel they are not ‘righteous’ enough to even enter a church building. In many ways she relates better to them than to the ‘churched.’
So now the issue: sexuality, specifically heterosexuality and homosexuality.
I speak only of what I know. I know how I have felt from early in my life—I am attracted to females. I did not choose this, this is what I am. I was never confused and so I never thought about it. I do not remember my age when I first understood or even considered an alternate thought to sexuality.
I know what is recorded in Genesis 19, Leviticus 18 & 20, Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 6, and 1 Timothy 1; no one need remind me.
But since I never struggled with this, I used those verses only to judge and condemn others. I never considered how those who were burdened with this were struggling to reconcile these words with their faith. (I’m so sorry. I ask for forgiveness for my callousness. May God have mercy on me.) Now I do.
I would never consider telling you what to think. On the contrary, I encourage you to remain convicted as you are. All I ask is that you do so with love being at the foundation of your convictions. People often say, ‘the least I can do is pray,’ but I believe the most any of us can do is pray. Please do not approach men and women who are gay with condemnation and scripture. Approach them with prayer and love; when you do you are not shirking your duties as a Christian—on the contrary, you are being Christlike. Remember Jesus Christ’s own actions were that of compassion for those within the Jewish world who were considered the worst of sinners (i.e. the prostitutes & stealers of money). Modern-day imitators of Jesus need to be known for their love instead of their judgment. God and Jesus alone will do the judging. (Whether you rejoice in that fact or shed a tear, I think, may reveal much about your heart.)
Whether anyone believes me or not, I have sought God my entire life. In so doing, I have guided my family with a few foundational principles—one being that they individually must seek God. I cannot tell them what to think or what to believe; faith is personal and no one can command it. If God gave me free will, then as a father to my children, I too must give them free will.
I will continue to be an active father in my daughter’s life. Nothing has changed between us—I love her and would lay down my life for her.
May God bless you all and please keep Debbie, Suzanne, Beth, and Lauren in your prayers.