I am outside Valley High waiting for my son, Junior. I heard the closing bell a few minutes ago. While waiting, I go through my work notes. I am totally engrossed in my reading and didn’t see Deaconess Sandra walk up to my car. She knocks on my window and I quickly get down from the car to exchange pleasantries with her. She looks dull today. Maybe she prayed all night.
‘Mummmyyyyyyyyyyyyy’ my son shouts as he runs out the school gate towards me.
‘My favourite man’ I squeal as I embrace him in a bear hug.
I don’t notice Daniel, Deaconess Sandra’s son, until he speaks.
‘Good afternoon mummy. Good afternoon ma’ he says.
I hug him close to me and give him a peck on his cheek to acknowledge his greeting. At 16, Daniel was very tall and handsome. Deaconess Sandra barely looks at him. She doesn’t even answer his greeting. Her face is set like stone. I wonder why. But I don’t dwell on it. She must be cranky from praying in too many night vigils. I would be.
As I make to move into my car to head for home, Sandra quickly whispers to me that she would love to see me urgently tomorrow at home and then she walks briskly to her car and drives off.
As I remove the gear from neutral, I wonder out loud why she would want to see me. And Junior strikes.
‘It is probably because of Daniel’ my Junior says.
‘Daniel?’ I ask, confused.
‘Yes, mummy. He is fag’.
Bells are ringing in my head.
‘Whattttttttttttttttttttttttttt????’ I scream and almost bash a car in front of me.
‘A fag, mummy. He likes boys in a bad way. U know? He is ‘into’ boys.’ Junior calmly tells me, as if he is explaining something easy to a very dumb child.
So many things go through my mind. I can imagine what must be going through Sandra’s.
I look at my son Junior and fear grips me. My little, innocent, cute, angelic baby boy. God, I pray, please protect my son. This can NEVER happen to him. I’d kill myself. But that won’t help, will it?
In the hours following, I was haunted by every mistake I had ever made as a mother that may affect my son. I can’t think of how to deal with this situation if I was in Deaconess Sandra’s shoes. After all, didn’t God protect Christian families from the really big sins–like this one?
Life would seem out of control. Suddenly you feel like you are talking to a stranger, as this unfamiliar aspect of your loved one’s personality is revealed. The sense of betrayal can be devastating.
No wonder Sandra acted cold towards her son.
On my knees that night, I prayed for Sandra and Daniel with all my heart.
Sandra visited the next day and told me about her son’s ‘coming out’.
This was what I told her:
It’s appropriate to let your son, Daniel, know that you hurt for him. Let him know why you think his choices are unhealthy. Let him know that you will always continue to love him. And let him know that you will be praying for him. In dealing with your son, learn the difference between acceptance–acknowledging what is true in his life–and approval, which means affirming his behaviour as good and right or bad and wrong.
Separate his personhood from his behaviour. Many people involved in homosexuality push aggressively for acceptance of their immorality. Daniel may be thinking “If you reject my homosexuality, you’re rejecting me.” This attitude is based on his inability (or unwillingness) to distinguish between who he is and what he does.
Finding out Daniel is a homosexual does not negate your parental love, any more than God negates His love for His children when they have fallen into sin.
It is right that you still love your child. Observe how God demonstrates His own love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
Understand that telling you has probably been the most difficult thing your child has faced. Lovingly guard your response because your reactions will be long remembered.
Daniel revealing this piece of his life to you has shown that he deeply trusts you. What a terrific opportunity for you to show your unconditional love. That doesn’t mean you approve of his lifestyle choice, but it will help keep the door open for honest communication. In your conversations with them, it is important to let your son know that you love him and you will always be there for him.
Your child is no tragedy. He is still your child. Knowing he is involved in homosexuality does not erase all the joy and blessings he has been to you over the years. Just because you learned of the problem doesn’t mean you can’t be the same loving parent you were a few hours before you became aware of the situation.
Don’t feel guilty.
You are not to blame for your child’s homosexual struggle, but, it is also important for you to understand son’s homosexual feelings can arise from childhood pain, and sometimes parents have inadvertently contributed to that pain. Remember, the misbehaviours of our children do not necessarily indicate that we are failures as parents. Our worth as parents does not hinge on the choices of our children.
Parents are not responsible for what they cannot control. For example, they cannot control their child’s temperament. They cannot control their child’s perception. They cannot control their child’s temptations, or their child’s responses to those temptations.
And they cannot control their adult child’s moral behaviour. That, perhaps, is the hardest issue for some parents to face: the loss of control. Some parents spend years trying to regain control. They manipulate, they threaten, they yell. Ultimately, nothing works. The child is still involved in homosexuality. We don’t have to train children to lie, steal, harm others, act selfishly or demand their own way. Having a free will to make choices, all of us are accountable for our own actions. So, please keep in mind that your job as a parent is not to convict, condemn or change your child. Conviction and change comes from the Spirit.
Perhaps most important, let Daniel know that God can bring freedom from homosexuality. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, the Apostle Paul mentions those Christians in the church at Corinth who had been involved in homosexual sin. But they had ceased, and God had declared them clean and righteous in His sight. This is good news for men and women seeking change. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.
All in Christ undergo transformation. However, it will happen in God’s timing. It will happen as long as your child allows it. It will not happen by force or seeking after your own expectations
Finally, don’t give up on God. He has not forsaken you, neither has he forsaken Daniel, your child – His child. Remember Romans 8:38-39? Paul tells us that for those who are in Christ Jesus, nothing can separate us from the love of God. Your child’s sexuality did not catch God off guard, nor does it stop him from pouring his love into them. He won’t stop loving you either because you love your son. For everything, God offers forgiveness and his grace is unlimitless. God’s kindness will lead your son, Daniel, back to Him. As for you, Deaconess, God’s grace is sufficient, for His power is made perfect in your weakness. Don’t lose hope. Keep loving your child. Keep trusting in our Saviour.
By the time I was through talking, Sandra’s eyes were moist with tears. I hoped I had helped her find a little comfort in her seemingly dark world. As she nibbled on the cup cakes I had served her when she arrived, I glance through the window at my son riding his bicycle and I offer a prayer on his behalf to Abba Father. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future. For today, His grace is sufficient.
The cause of homosexuality is complex, yet there are common, agreed-upon contributing factors:
• The person’s self-will
• A dysfunctional home environment
• Spousal or child abuse
• Seduction by peers or authority figures. (Studies show approximately 85 percent of lesbians were abused or molested and 40 percent of gay men were seduced or molested by older gay men when they were young boys.)
• Media influence