February 1, 2024

Parents of Sexual Strugglers: Fight Lies with Scripture

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When my brother and I were growing up, we were naturally often resistant to my mother’s efforts to train us in biblical thinking. Personally, my rebellion was silent and mental; my brother’s was a bit more vocal. However, I remember that she had two standard responses when we repeated or actually generated distorted thinking. She reeled us in by saying, “Well, you know where THAT thought comes from!” Or she’d guide us by saying, “What does Scripture say about that?”

In either case, she gave us a warning against the readily available errors of the day, and she reminded us of our ultimate and authoritative Truth source, God’s Word.

Parents of LGBTQ+ (including trans-identifying) strugglers can be easy prey to plausible distortions, especially at first, when the shock and sadness of their child’s choices are fresh and when they may be too disoriented to examine the responses commonly offered.

Consider these three common starter-level misconceptions that can detour parents from biblical thinking regarding their children (minor or adult) who identify as LGBTQ+.

1. It’s my fault. I should have been a better parent.

Why do many parents instantly blame themselves?

This assumes that the parents are responsible for their child’s choices. Not true.  

This assumes that the parents, either by doing or not doing something, have been able to derail God’s sovereign plan for their child. Not true.

This assumes that God cannot use, for his glory and the good of others, even the destructive behavior that the child is now embracing. Not true.

Remember, Satan loves to bog us down in false guilt. If a parent is preoccupied with guilt, the focus shifts to him or her, not the struggler—and even worse, not to God. 

2. There has to be a way to talk my child out of all this.

If your child is pursuing an LGBTQ+ identity, he has, to some extent, bought into a pseudo-gospel that promises to lead him to happiness—whatever that is in his mind.

For our own information, it’s good to know the basics of this pseudo-gospel. But don’t research it with the belief that you’ll be able to argue or debate your child away from his choices. Your child has opted for a heart attitude that ignores a Creator God. That is a heart decision and can only be genuinely corrected by the work of the Holy Spirit.

What your child needs most is God’s truth. So work to deepen your knowledge of Scripture and your personal relationship with Christ.

What your child needs most is God’s truth. So work to deepen your knowledge of Scripture and your personal relationship with Christ. Be ready to share your testimony, not well-crafted zingers. Consistently model to your child that Christ transforms lives. Stand with the Lord’s purposes in your child’s life by being a prayer warrior for him or her.

3. I should love my child unconditionally as God loves me. That means accepting him as he is.

God does love us unconditionally. True.

God’s love is to be our pattern toward others. True.

The problem here is the meaning of unconditionally. Biblically explained, it means that one does not have to fulfill any conditions in order for God to love him. God knew us and loved us before we even existed (Psalm 139). Unconditional and unchanging love on his part means that his love is in place because it’s part of him. We cannot earn it; we need not fulfill any conditions to get it.

God’s pattern of love for us does not, however, mean that he leaves us as we are. Quite the opposite is demonstrated in the coming of Christ (John 3:16). He loves us enough to deal with our sin. He does not say, “Oh well, that’s just the way they are” and then leave us as we are!

Stand with the Lord’s purposes in your child’s life by being a prayer warrior for him or her.

Therefore, loving our children unconditionally means our love for them cannot be earned or lost; it is permanent. Godly love on our part also means that we love our children too much to approve of things that God says are destructive to them.

Our children are worth our thinking biblically in the face of distortions that sound convincing. They’re worth the effort of immersing ourselves in Scripture as not only our starting point, but our ongoing safeguard.

“All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” (2 Tim. 3:16)

“For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.” (Ps. 36:9)

For your child’s sake and for your own stability, build your understanding of Scripture. It is your Truth source, your always true filter. And don’t listen to the other stuff!!

More resources you might like:

Joan McConnell

Director of Parents and Family Ministry

Joan McConnell is Harvest USA’s Director of Parents and Family Ministry, providing fellowship, advice, and biblical encouragement for those impacted by their family members’ sexual struggles. Joan holds an MA in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Liberty Theological Seminary.

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