Homosexuality is a topic that is prevalent in our culture. You can see it regularly in adult television shows or movies as well as hear about it on the news and see it on the front of magazines. A few weeks ago when I noticed that Honeymaid Graham Cracker commercials had very smoothly added it to their advertisement which ran on a children’s network, it officially hit me that I needed to start thinking about talking to my six year old about this so that she received proper biblical instruction in the matter and not the mixed messages of a very secular society.
I have family who has family who are homosexuals. I have friends who struggle with family and friends who are homosexual. How should they act around them? What should they allow their kids to see? How do they talk to their children about homosexuality? What and who should they allow in their homes?
It isn’t a struggle over whether they should disown their family. They love their family and want to have fellowship with them, but there is this definite spiritual struggle of calling sin, sin, and protecting one’s children from mixed messages. Some might call that judgment. Others might call that over-protective. I call it Christian parenting.
We all struggle with wanting to care for the minds and hearts of the children God has blessed us with. Maybe we do go too far sometimes, and then sometimes we do not go far enough. We only do any of it by the grace of God.
So where do we begin now that we are barreling head on into a future where sin seems constantly before us? When our grandparents were young divorce was taboo. When we were growing up adultery was still something that was shameful. Now, divorce, adultery, homosexuality, and more are all just a part of our self-serving society. “Whatever makes you feel good, is exactly what you should do!” … or so many state standardized school textbooks are telling us.
Where Do We Begin?
As Christian parents, we need to remember that children deal in black and white, so we must first consider how they might see all of this. Take your child’s age and comprehension level into consideration before breaching this topic. If your child is young then spare the details, but speak of Biblical relationships and marriages should look like.
If your child is older, he or she, might have more specific questions. Be honest with your children. Be careful not to divulge unnecessary details or paint pictures in the minds of your children that they might obsess over. Always remember to point them to Scripture and to Christ!
It is so important to remember that homosexuality is only one way in a pantheon of ways to mar the image of Christ and His Bride, the Church. So often I hear homosexuality described as this particularly gross sin by other Christians, as though adultery and divorce are somehow not as sinful. It might be a particular perversion of the marriage union for sure (Romans 1) but sin is sin, and it is all worthy of judgment in the eyes of a Holy God. It is confusing to our children if we do not treat it as such.
So what is Biblical Marriage?
Genesis 2:22-24 says, “Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman, ‘ for she was taken out of man.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” (also Matthew 19:4-6)
God performed the very first marriage ceremony in the Garden of Eden and it was between a man and a woman. This is a covenant (a special promise) that should not be broken. Paul also told us in Ephesians that the union between a man and a woman in marriage was a picture of Christ and His Bride, the Church.
In the same way that Christ sacrificed Himself for the Church by dying on the cross for our sins, so should a husband put his wife’s needs before his own – he should love and protect her. In the same way that Christ is faithful to the Church by offering a salvation that is eternal so should the marriage covenant never be broken.
In the same way that the Church is faithful to Christ, so should a wife be faithful to her husband. In the same way that the Church submits herself to the leadership of Christ as her Head, her Leader, her Captain, so should a wife submit to her husband’s loving and guiding leadership. This is a Biblical worldview of the institution of marriage.
Ephesians 5:22-33 says, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church– for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery–but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
Here is a sermon clip from one of my favorite pastors, Paul Washer, The Glory of God in Marriage
How Does our Society View Marriage?
Sadly, our society is very rapidly abandoning the Biblical institution of marriage. This is why children need to be taught the difference. If they are not, in a way they will become immune to the news articles and the advertisements and not be able to practice proper discernment between right and wrong from a Biblical perspective. This is a skill that we should desire to develop and also pray for in our children.
I think it is important to point out to our children that what was once taboo fifty even twenty years ago, is not considered shameful anymore. In fact, it is praised in our society. Sin is praised in our society. All kinds of sin.
Our children should know that marriage is not considered sacred anymore in our culture. Divorce rates are high. Spouses are unfaithful to each other. Homosexuality is promoted … but what about the seemingly smaller things? Men and women living together and having babies outside of marriage, Women who do not submit to their husbands authority, men who put their careers before their families, parents who are harsh toward their children, these are not part of a Biblical worldview either. It is important to not be hypocritical. Sin is sin, and we must treat it all as such.
Why is Marriage so Important?
The Biblical institution of marriage is incredibly important because it is not primarily about us – the two who are married. The primary purpose of marriage is about glorifying God. It is a picture of Christ and His Bride. That is exactly why we cannot be flippant about it and just create what we desire of it.
God gave us a clearly prescribed formula for marriage – one woman, one man in unity, under covenant.
It is important as Christians that we protect this image because it is the image of our God. So in our marriages we pray and strive to keep from sinning. We try to follow Christ’s example as husband and wife toward each other.
How Should We Treat Homosexuals?
Go to the Bible on this one and show your children exactly how Christ treated sinners, the Gospels are rife with these stories. Christ did not run away from them in fear or disgust. He met them where they were at. He was kind, courteous, and relational. Most importantly, He shared the Gospel. He extended to them God’s grace and mercy as He showed them their sin in love. He called them to repentance.
The most important thing that we can do for anyone, the greatest way that we can show our love for someone, is to share Christ with them. We know that if it were not for Christ, we would be under the same judgment (Romans 3:23). When we keep that in perspective it keeps us humble. It is only by grace that any of us are saved, and it is only through Christ that we can come to salvation (Ephesians 2:8).
For further study, I found this video from Voddie Baucham and Russell Moore on the legalization of homosexual marriage particularly helpful: How Can Homosexuality Be Wrong if it Doesn’t Harm Anyone? and Desiring God’s Why Is Homosexuality Wrong?.
The most difficult moments are when you are with your young children and you see a homosexual couple on the street, or a child at school has two moms or two dads. What about when you have a close family member who is a homosexual that is coming for dinner with his or her partner? What do you do then?
I would love to say, “When this happens, do exactly this”, but these situations are all so different. Let this be a springboard to begin these conversations in your home. Pray over the individual people and situations and ask God for what He would have you to do. Let the Holy Spirit lead you in truth and love that you might be a Gospel witness to these individuals and even to your children.
When you are questioning what to do, I would encourage you and your husband to pray over it first. Pray that God would help you to have discernment as to what your sinful emotions are about the situation and your righteous anger towards the sin might be. That is important because only one can be wielded in love and in Christ and the other only in anxiety, fear, and sinful anger.
If your children are of age and if you feel like it is the proper time, talk to your children about the situation. I think it important to watch your words and tone. You are not tearing down the person, but you are helping your children to understand right from wrong.
As your children get older you might desire to look at more in depth study on what the Bible has to say about homosexuality and point to history. Show how it seems that Romans 1 is fulfilled in the destruction of Rome. As Rome became more perverse in its sexual appetites and dug deep into other sinfulness God gave them over to their passions and lusts, ultimately resulting in the destruction of a great nation. We do not want to scare our children unnecessarily, but as they grow older they will be able to process these truths with the help of the Holy Spirit all while understanding God’s faithfulness to His people and sovereignty over them.
When it comes to more real-life involvement and ministry, only you will be able to decide if it is appropriate for your family to invite a homosexual couple around your children or not. I think either way it is important to show respect and Christ-like love and care for a person, because everyone is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) even if we are brutally marred by this sinful world.
I have heard of entire families ministering to homosexual individuals and couples. Maybe the Lord will lead you to do this. We ought to be open minded in all ministry related areas to what the Lord might have us do. We all sin, and we all need Jesus.
Raising Up Unique Voices
Finally, I love what Jonathan Parnell says in this article, Why Homosexuality Is Not Like Other Sins:
“As Christians, we believe with deepest sincerity that the embrace of homosexual practice, along with other sins, keeps people out of the kingdom of God. And if our society celebrates it, we can’t both be caring and not say anything. Too much is at stake. This means it is an oversimplification to say that Christians — or conservative evangelicals — are simply against homosexuality. We are against any sin that restrains people from everlasting joy in God, and homosexual practice just gets all the press because, at this cultural moment, it’s the main sin that is so freshly endorsed in our context by the powers that be. Let’s hope that if there’s some new cultural agenda promoting thievery — one that says it’s now our right to take whatever we want from others by whatever means — that Christians will speak out against it. The issue is sin. That’s what we’re against. And that’s what should make our voice so unique when we speak into this debate.”
It is so important that we raise our children to not get the mixed messages that one sin is somehow less deserving of judgment from a Holy God than another. We must train them from an early age into a Biblical worldview. We must pray over them that the Holy Spirit would save their souls and would teach them the lessons of God’s Word we are feeding to them day in and day out.
We must raise soldiers for Christ who would speak against the evil in the world and would shine the light of Christ’s love into it. May they be that unique voice of hope that speaks into the darkness.