Talking about Homosexuality | The Kid-Friendly Approach

I had an idea of a post I thought needed to be written, but quickly realized I was in no way qualified to do so. Thankfully, Kendra from Have Mercy agreed to keep the conversation going with her perspective. I'm handing this post over to Kendra...

“What would you tell your kids if a classmate of theirs had homosexual parents?” my gay cousin-in-law asked me.

That’s technically how he’s related to me--cousin-in-law--but as a descriptor of our relationship, it misses the mark. When I met David, I loved him instantly. He’s one of a handful of people I consider bosom friends – Anne of Green Gables style.

So I said, “I’d tell them, ‘When God created families, he planned for a mommy and daddy and kids, but our world isn’t perfect anymore and sometimes families are kids with grandparents or kids with just a mommy or just a daddy and sometimes two mommies or two daddies, but the most important thing is that the kids are safe and loved.'”

Since this conversation, David has married a wonderful man and come to visit. I watched to see how my kids would react to their cuddling and affection. Neither of them were surprised or asked about it.

If asked, I was prepared to tell them David and Colin are married. And the sure-to-follow question would be, “Can two boys get married? I thought it had to be a boy and a girl?” To which I would’ve said, “I’m not sure. I’m going to read my Bible and see if I can figure out what God thinks about it.”

David, Colin, Me

I’ve grown up believing the New Testament calls out sex between people of the same sex as sin – along with greediness and other things. I’ve thought celibacy was what God asks of people who can’t be attracted to the opposite sex. And I say “can’t” because the idea it’s a choice seems to leapfrog reality, propped up with one wishful thought. That their heart-breaking plight is their own fault and we have no responsibility to them.

No need to imagine oneself in their shoes, or enter into their pain. No need to try to see what grieving the hope of companionship feels like or how their path to God might look. With David, I’ve learned about the walk of our gay siblings in Jesus, who made them ours with His death. Like Glennon Melton says on her blog, Momastery, “We belong to each other.”

I will study closer what the Bible says about this because when my kids ask, I want to tell them one of two things: “From what the Bible says, I don’t think it’s okay with God for two men or two women to get married,” or, “From what the Bible says, I think it’s okay with God for two men or two women to marry.” Following up the former with, “But you’ll never see me mistreat people who’ve made that choice because I know that would make Jesus sad.”

And by mistreat, I mean hold back love. Or church. Or fellowship. That would be sinfully manipulative, which unfortunately we do sometimes without thinking. When I did think about it, I realized taking things away in hopes of scooting them closer to Christ is ludicrous. After all, if a person changed in order to win my love back, they’ve only made an idol of my love.

Where did I get the idea that I was the Spirit’s cattle prod to punish people just a little and get them to head His way? If He stands at the door and knocks, I pray He’ll help me put down my cattle prod, because it isn’t just homosexuals, it’s everyone you know something about that tears you up inside. I’m afraid I withhold love in a hundred different ways throughout my week. Have mercy.

Colin + my kids

But I digress.

Here are two things to keep in mind when kids and gays mix. Regardless of your position, your kids will one day study for themselves and may disagree with your conclusion. I still think it’s helpful to hand down our best version of truth as a starting point, though not an infallible one.

Secondly, if you feel it’s dangerous for your children to associate with homosexuals, set boundaries so you and they can be as comfortable as possible. Pretending you’re okay with something you aren’t is dishonest and our brothers and sisters in Jesus deserve better than that.

I don’t know when I’ve admired David more than when he said, “We appreciate the authenticity of struggle.” Any mature homosexual doesn’t want you to check your brain or faith at the door.

On the other hand, don’t let discomfort make the final call. In every role model my kids have, in me or my church, they’ll see choices to sin and different ideas about what sin is. While I want my kids to know there’s absolute, perfect truth and a singular reality, I believe they’re more able than we think to see that humans, separated from God by the fall, are sometimes unsure exactly what it is.

What we can always come back to, is that the most important things are made clear in the Bible. When everything looks murky, I’m thankful I can give my kids the sparkling, shining truth that God loves us.