Family Relationships: The Fine Line Between Hope & Denial


After he came out, his mother burned his birth certificate and all his childhood photos in the front yard. She sent him a black funeral wreath that said, “In Memory of My Son.” She never talked to him again. Ever.

A son’s honesty with his parents failed to yield the love, compassion and forgiveness they taught him to value.

Should you always have hope? Is it ever time to let go?

This is Rob, Susan’s husband, writing today.

We have heard stories of people who came out and were then rejected by their parents, by their family and friends. People who held out hope for years, even decades and the relationship finally reconciled. The family member finally came around to love, accept and affirm their gay child.

playAnd we have heard stories of people whose hope was never fulfilled. There was no reconciliation. No restoration of the relationship.  You can watch one of those storiesthe one of the gay man I mentioned at the beginning of this post – by clicking on the photo to the right. An incredible story.

So what makes the difference in how things turn out?

What is the key to knowing how long to hope for something?

I wish I had the answer.

I am not a therapist, I am just a dad of a gay child. But I love my daughter, and I love Jesus, and I do believe that as I grow, and open my eyes, and learn, and love, and forgive, I come to know more about the heart and truth of God.

The truth that you are loved – unconditionally – for exactly who you are. Perfect, imperfect, beautiful, messy – for just you, as you are. No conditions. No exceptions.

If you are in the situation where you feel torn, you don’t know where that line is between hope and being in denial, the advice I would offer you is…

Never let the behavior of others destroy your peace.

The only way to assure yourself of peace in the middle of a personal conflict with a family member is to take the other person out of the equation. Don’t give that person power over whether or not you have peace in your heart and life.

Rest in the full unconditional love, acceptance, and affirmation that you have from God – as you are, for who you are, perfectly created.

Just be in that truth.

It is horribly difficult – to be rejected by family, just for who you are. It’s shocking and painful. Perhaps the most pain possible. And there is absolutely nothing you can do to fix it. 

If your parents, or anyone else, do not unconditionally love and accept you, it has nothing to do with you. It may seem like it does, and if you could just figure out the right combination of words or behaviors, then you could fix it – but you can’t fix it.

Their issue is with God, and you have to leave it right there in order to find your peace.

I pray that you can do just that.

I pray you can reclaim your birthright as God’s beloved.

10 thoughts on “Family Relationships: The Fine Line Between Hope & Denial

  1. I am so heartbroken for those of you who have not been accepted and embraced by your family’s. There are many in this world who LOVE you exactly as God made you to be. We want to be an encouragement and source of support for you. May God BLESS your hearts and lives so that you never ever feel alone or less than. I can assure you, you are LOVED ❤

  2. Good post. After reading a few of the comments here, and knowing many more people who have been put out, thrown out, or turned away from parents, it just breaks my heart. 😦 I guessed my son was gay when he was in tenth grade. I suspected it actually earlier then that. I asked him several times about it and he would always say “no.” After his first year at college I asked him again about it and he said “yes.” After many conversations I can say we are closer then ever. My heart was breaking for him because I could only imagine what he had been going through and what he now may face in his life. People are mean any way, and now he would have to deal with all the other hate and baggage that comes with being LGBT. Sigh. I have to say, at first, he seemed to have accepted his orientation and life a lot easier then I had. I guess because I am his mom. 🙂 🙂 I now am an advocate for the LGBT community. I always have been really, but now I am even more so. I too, as a parent of a gay son, have felt the rejection of friends, church, and a lot of the social stigma. It is painful to me. I have cried many nights, not for myself, but for my son. I too have given it to God and have let go of a lot of those in my life that have shown judgment. I am at a much better place after a year of the news, and have a much better understanding of my own salvation. I always extend the olive leaf and walk away on good terms so if some thing happens there will be no regrets on my part, we do have to live with ourselves. 🙂 I can tell when many are rejecting me now, but they can’t even have an adult conversation about it. I have just taken myself out of the line of fire. I am sorry that many have experienced so much pain in all of this. I know there are other things in life that drive families apart. Some times things just have to happen. I too now live a very different life and have become almost a loner. I just try to make sure that it is all in truth, good judgment choices, and what it is that God would have me to do. I am just staying on the narrow Christian path and one day we will look back and have a greater understanding about all of this. I truly believe that. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 Love to all.

  3. There was a time when I took a ‘break’ from my mother. I was very hurt by her minimal response to the death of my partner. On some level, I am still hoping for that full acceptance where she can openly call me her gay daughter; but I know that will not happen. I have opened my heart and shared that I want a deeper relationship and have received nothing more in response. While it hurts, I know I did my part to have a closer relationship.

    I mourn that my mother does not have the same wishes I do when it comes to this. So, I seek it where I know I can actually get it.

  4. “Rest in the full unconditional love, acceptance, and affirmation that you have from God”…..I love this line! It’s ironic that people want to take this peace from you, and offer you their struggle/turmoil instead.

    And this: “And there is absolutely nothing you can do to fix it.” At 31 I’m finally starting to understand this, not just know it, but understand it.

    There is so much freedom in these two statements together. Knowing your place with God, and letting go of what others have to say about it. Whew. Preach Mr. Rob!!

  5. Excellent! I tried to be “good enough” for my parents my entire childhood and 25 years into my adult life. Until the day it occurred to me that perhaps God was not happy with the way I ALLOWED my parents to treat me. Perhaps I was grieving the very heart of God by ALLOWING myself to be manipulated and controlled for the sake of “keeping the peace”. Once I asked my parents could we just not make the best peace possible, leave the past in the past and move forward and they responded “You have caused us more hurt and shame than anyone else in our lives, we cannot just get over that.” It is so painful to walk away. To let go of hope. But I promise it is infinitely more painful to live in the cross fire day in and day out. It is difficult to believe God loves you when your very biological parents do not. For me, I had to separate myself from them in order to feel and receive the full grace, mercy and unconditional love of God.

    • Bless your heart. I am so glad you made that break. Sounds like it was absolutely necessary. The love and kindness I have heard from you in your comments reveals a tender heart that, as you said, required that separation. Painful, but necessary. Thank you for sharing.

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