What Would You Do If Your Child Said, 'I'm Gay'?

Thirty-five years ago at an outdoor Christian festival, I made an erroneous statement for which I was sued for $19.5 million dollars. Thank God the case was settled. The nightmare revolved around the mistaken notion that the author of a pop psychology book was dead. The book was called, "I'm OK - You're OK."

That catchy title is repeated oftentimes to this day in counseling parents how to handle a son or daughter revealing they are gay or lesbian. "Don't be judgmental. Convey unconditional love. Accept them as they are. Realize they're born this way. Reassure them you're okay and they're okay in whatever sexual identity they choose."

Understanding the Situation

A Catholic Republican Governor states unequivocally that he believes homosexuality is not a sin and that people are simply born that way. He'll be speaking soon at a major conservative conference and many believe he is a viable presidential candidate. His unbiblical thinking is typical of scores in our culture today.

In addition to influential politicians, advice columnists, celebrities, talk-show hosts, sports figures, famous singers, educators, counselors and even ministers affirm and celebrate individuals of all ages who are "courageous and honest to come out" as gay, lesbian, transgender or bisexual. If you are a person of some importance, you'll even get a congratulatory phone call from President Obama or Michelle!

Little children are featured in YouTube videos, in DVDs and in books like It's Perfectly Normal (more than 1 million copies in print) that are used in schools across America to educate and convince children from kindergarten up that it's okay to be gay. "I was really scared of coming out at an early age... it was soothing to hear teachers and faculty at school letting me know that it's okay. Just to know that I had that support and to hear from other people at my school that it was okay, I think it really lifted a burden off my shoulders." (From It's Elementary. Talking about Gay Issues in School).

A few weeks ago in Boston a major conference of LGBT leaders and activists convened to discuss strategies for aggressively blanketing elementary, middle and high schools across the nation. Workshops and seminar sessions were held to lay out plans for continuing to establish gay clubs in every school, promote "Days of Silence" to stifle negative comments, and more effectively disseminate information to educate as well as inspire youth on the LGBT lifestyle.

This full court propaganda press is unprecedented and of epic proportions. States are now enacting laws to prevent counselors from helping a child struggling with same-sex attraction know that they can change. It is coming at our children from schools, media and political realms, including the prominent placement of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in TV, music and films.

To compound the situation, we have influential ministers who in their churches, on radio, TV and interviews downplay the entire gay issue and smile explaining it's not really part of their ministry. Their silence is deafening as they prefer to remain quiet and noncontroversial while not "offending" people they're trying to draw into their growing ministry.

Houston's lesbian mayor just passed a law making all public bathrooms, showers and dressing rooms totally accessible to either sex, any molester, gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender person under the guise of "eliminating discrimination." The mayor models gay partnership with her same-sex lover while declaring the legislation is "the most personally meaningful thing I will ever do as mayor."

I wonder what "silent" ministers in the city will do when transgender men, identifying as women, walk in on their young daughters while they're using a public restroom?

Apostate ministers are more upfront in actually promoting the LGBT lifestyle through their so-called "biblically-based" books, instructional DVDs or their pulpit ministry. What message is sent to the youth of America when the minister at our National Cathedral in DC welcomes a transgender minister to preach with, "This is in support of greater equality for the transgender community… to send a message of love and affirmation especially to LGBT youth… that's the way God made you!"

Here's the deal: People of faith must awaken to these demonic schemes to destroy marriage and family in America while not being surprised that more and more children and youth are entertaining demonically planted thoughts: "I'm gay" or "Am I gay?" We need godly counsel so we're prepared to handle this emergent reality.

My Child Says "I'm Gay" - A Suggested Scriptural Strategy

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" (Pr. 20:5). Is your son or daughter struggling with temptation towards 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 adult/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 Vine, 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 Jn. 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... 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 number one requested resource!

Larry Tomczak is a best-selling author and cultural commentator with over 40 years of trusted ministry experience. His passion is to bring perspective, analysis and insight from a biblical worldview. He loves people and loves awakening them to today's cultural realities and the responses needed for the bride of Christ—His church—to become influential in all spheres of life once again.