What if Someone You Love is Gay?
- Whitney Hopler Live It Editor
- 2001 29 Nov
Your loved one waits for you to respond. What can you say? What can you do?
Here are some ways you can respond when someone you love announces that he or she is gay:
- Don't be afraid to fully express whatever feelings you're experiencing - perhaps fear, shame, guilt or grief. Cry, talk to friends or a counselor, and pour out your feelings to God in prayer.
- Realize that, as much as you might like to change your loved one's behavior, only God can transform him or her, and then only if your loved one wants to change and turns to God for help. So rather than investing your time and energy into trying to convince your loved one to change, pray regularly for him or her, asking the Holy Spirit to give your loved one the motivation and power to change. Know that you can trust God to answer your prayers faithfully by working in your loved one's life.
- Separate your loved one's behavior from who he or she is as a person. Realize that your loved one is still the same relative or friend you knew before, except that he or she is struggling. Try not to pull away from your loved one even though his or her behavior deeply upsets you. He or she needs to maintain a relationship with you.
- If you're concerned that you may have contributed to the environmental factors that may have influenced your loved one's homosexuality, ask your loved one if you can talk privately with him or her about the past to hear how he or she feels about it. Then ask your loved one to forgive you for anything that your loved one says hurt him or her. Also, seek God's forgiveness, then forgive yourself. Know that you can't change the past and that any mistakes you may have made didn't, by themselves, cause your loved one to become homosexual. Ultimately, each person is responsible for the way they respond to their circumstances and the decisions they make. Pray that God will heal your relationship with your loved one and help you build a stronger one as you head into the future.
- Keep your spiritual life strong, praying, reading the Bible and participating in church regularly. Maintain other important aspects of your life as well, such as your work and hobbies. Don't let responding to your loved one's homosexuality crowd out everything else in your life.
- Learn all you can about homosexuality, so you're informed when you talk with your loved one about it.
- Spend plenty of time with your loved one, and don't use every time you're together as an opportunity to talk about homosexuality. Try to share some fun times together in which you don't bring up the subject but instead focus on just building your relationship.
- Be patient. There aren't any quick fixes for homosexuality. Continue to love and pray for your loved one even when you don't see any changes and throughout what will likely be a long process of change.
Adapted from Someone I Love is Gay: How Family and Friends Can Respond, copyright 1996 by Anita Worthen and Bob Davies. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Ill., www.ivpress.com, 1-800-843-4587.
Anita Worthen has been involved with ex-gay ministry to family members and friends for years. She has a son who is struggling with homosexuality. She and her husband, Frank, work together at New Hope Ministries in San Rafael, Calif. Bob Davies is executive director of Exodus International-North America, a network of agencies for men and women seeking freedom from homosexuality.
Do you know someone who's gay? If so, how have you been able to continue a relationship with that person while also praying for him or her to find freedom from homosexuality? Visit Live It's forum to respond, or read what others have to say. Just click on the link below.