1. Pray continually (1 Thess. 5:17). From the moment of the initial confession throughout the entire journey, pray and fast in faith the same way you would engage with God for someone’s salvation or healing. “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26). Reject all fatalism and leanings towards some predestination of your child to this lifestyle. Do not believe this to be a life sentence!
2. Listen lovingly and intentionally. “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…” (James 1:19). Make a quality decision to keep the lines of communication open from the initial disclosure and beyond. It will take time to process what’s unfolding so avoid any knee-jerk response. “Pressure reveals the person” so draw on the grace of God to be gracious and self-controlled, remembering that youthful confusion about sexual identity is common.
Young people also are usually very uninformed on the serious health risks associated with the not-so-gay lifestyle. Counter the ignorance by sensitively sharing CDC facts—not made up “scare tactics”. (See Why Homosexual Love Stories Don’t have Happy Endings on my website, larrytomczak.com.) Read it aloud to your child.
3. Clarify exactly what your child means by “coming out as gay.” “The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out” (Prov. 20:5). Is your son or daughter struggling with temptation toward the same sex or acting on the attraction? Is this an incident or a persistent pattern? If the openness is there (it’s advisable to go dad with son/ mom with daughter) gently go further to inquire about origins, fantasies, gay pornography, frequenting gay bars and hanging with gay friends. Finally, try to ascertain what adults/friends are influencing your son or daughter’s thinking at this vulnerable and impressionable season of their life.
4. Encourage disclosure by calm and skillful inquiry. Ask if there has been sexual abuse; youthful curiosity and experimentation; adult manipulation or molestation; masturbation with gay pornography; etc. Lead the way here with humility, wisdom and age-appropriate transparency regarding any of your youthful indiscretions (being discreet and avoiding names) and what lessons you learned.
5. In your prayerful preparation for times of discussion, avail yourself of the right resources. “Wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Matt. 7:15) are out there like Matthew Vines, Jay Bakker, Ray Boltz and other gay–affirming leaders. They must be avoided like the plague! They’re smooth and sneaky and seducing multitudes.
Instead go to the websites of biblically faithful leaders like Dr. Michael Brown, Dr. David Foster, Dr. Robert Gagnon, Stephen Bennett and, may I humbly submit, myself, for resources that will keep you on the right path and encourage you in your time of need. At the right time, may I suggest that you sit and watch together with your struggling son or daughter, Such Were Some of You by David Foster’s ministry or Is Gay OK? 10 Things Everyone Needs to Know at my website listed above. If your son or daughter is living at home under your authority, make this a directive not an elective. Remember you are not their buddy but their parent and one day you will give an account to God for their life.
6. Take your thoughts captive (2 Cor. 10:5) knowing “fear has torment” (1 John 4:17). Be intentional in renouncing all negative thoughts such as “We’ll never get through this,” “God is punishing us,” “What will our church think?” “Our other children may follow,” “He’ll bring his ‘lover’ over and neighbors will see,” “He’ll die of AIDS,” or “She’ll kill herself.” Be radical in replacing these destructive thoughts with faith-building thoughts as you wield the “sword of the Spirit which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17). Go to larrytomczak.com and listen regularly to Biblical Declarations to Build Your Faith as a free resource to keep you “strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” (Eph. 6:10). In 42 years of ministry, this has always been the No. 1 requested resource!
7. Confide in trusted friends and, ideally, a pastor. “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up” (Eccl. 4:9-10). The Christian life was never intended to be lived in isolation but rather true community. Pray and then approach those you trust so they can hold up your arms during this season.
8. Consider contacting Lead Them Home Ministry (leadthemhome.org) for supplemental help. This wonderful ministry trains church leaders and families how to minister to those with same-sex attraction. Their Posture Shift seminar and Family Care support team can come alongside of those in need until they find their breakthrough.
9. Extend compassion and care to your child without compromising or condoning the homosexual lifestyle. God requires absolute purity before marriage and total fidelity in marriage, as He ordained it, between one man and one woman. All sex outside of covenant marriage is sin, strictly prohibited, including ALL homosexual involvement.
When a child casually or flippantly says, “I’m coming out—I’m gay. I’m just affirming who I really am” a parent has a solemn responsibility to charitably and clearly set the standard straight. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
At God’s appointed time, ideally the father in a united front with the mother must resist any manipulation or intimidation and state something like the following: “My son/daughter, we love you more than you can imagine, and God allowed us as a couple to unite in a procreative act that brought you into this world. Your thinking is totally unacceptable to God and us. It dishonors our Lord Jesus Christ, who died on the cross to save us from our sins. It is contradictory to His eternal plan for marriage, which has been upheld for over 5,000 years of human history. Therefore this ‘coming out’ needs to be a coming out of deception and, like the prodigal son, returning to the God and Father who created you, loves you and has a wonderful destiny for your life. Have we made ourselves perfectly clear?”
10. Never forget your child is Jesus Christ’s purchased possession whom He loves immensely and will fight to rescue from this deception.
No matter what the culture conveys about the beauty and finality of homosexuality, it is built upon lies propagated by Satan himself. Only God knows how many hundreds of thousands of formerly deceived men and women have been set free from the bondage of this sinful and shameful lifestyle through the proclamation of the gospel and biblical truth.
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