How do you recommend someone who is SSA who asks for acceptance of their lifestyle, claiming "Love is wanting someone to be happy."

Hi Sam,

I can’t begin to tell you what your experiences, openness and commitment to Christ have meant to me. About 2 years ago our daughter, then 26, told us she was gay. It was heartbreaking and to be honest, our first up close and personal encounter with homosexuality. I had always heard and believed that it was the result of abuse, a poor relationship with parents, especially the father or a very poor example of a happy marriage. None of those things were true for our daughter. While certainly not perfect, my husband and I have had a great marriage and going into our 39th year are still crazy about each other. He was and is an amazing dad who adores his daughter and our 2 sons and I loved everything about being a mom. None of us had the slightest inkling of our daughter’s struggle prior to her telling us. After reading your book, “Is God anti-gay?” and listening to you and many, many others (LOVE Rosaria Butterfield’s story!) God is teaching me about SSA and the very real struggle that it is. My biggest grief is that our daughter has walked away from the Lord, with whom she had a very sweet relationship as a little girl, loving church, Sunday school and even youth group as a young teen. I think I understand her struggle, that as long as she believed the Bible, she felt shame, and couldn’t shake the SSA, so something had to give.

We have continually expressed our love for her and have told her over and over there is NOTHING she can ever do that will ever change that. But she knows very clearly that for us the Bible is the inspired Word of God and we can’t embrace her choice to live a lesbian lifestyle. She lives several hundred miles from us. We did visit her and her girlfriend several months back and to be honest, it was the most difficult week of my life. I’m grappling with how to show her love (and her girlfriend who is also made in the image of God) while watching them snuggle, kiss and caress each other. It is so much easier to do so over the phone, or when she comes home alone and we aren’t face to face with it. We really, really want to be Jesus to our daughter, and that is our greatest prayer, that his kindness will lead her to repentance and she will call him Lord. But in the waiting we still want to be part of her life. Can you give us some advice? “What would Jesus do?” is my very real question. Would he watch them in relationship and ignore it and just talk about other things? I know she doesn’t need, or want, to hear our thoughts and beliefs on the matter as she grew up knowing where we hang our hats. Her question early on was “Why can’t you just be happy for me? Isn’t that what love really means, you want me to be happy?”

Again Sam, I so appreciate your ministry and I’ve found so much hope through it. God bless.

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Dear Laurie,

Thank you for writing so openly about your daughter. I am glad you felt able to. RZIM Connect is meant to be a place for these sorts of discussions and for us to be able to share what is going on in a context where we can encourage and support each other. It is a privilege to respond to you.

I can’t help but think about the fact that Jesus spent considerable time with sinners. He was even stigmatised for doing so. We know he frequently ate with them, which in that culture meant more than it typically does for us. It was an expression of friendship, of being open to other people. That he was known as a “friend of sinners” shows us both how habitual and how kind these deep interactions must have been. All of which is to say, he knows exactly what it is like to be immersed in a group of people he cared about who were engaged in sin all around him. I can’t imagine the distress it must have caused him. Our own distress is but a shadow of how he must feel.

So you are right to feel this tension. God wants you to want the best for your daughter. He also wants you to continue to open your life to her, and hers to you. So it seems to me that can only involve pain for you, deliberately drawing close to her, in her space, and thereby seeing her sin more closely too. But that must be the right way forward, painful though it is for you. It strikes me a Christlike that you be the one who feels the awkwardness and pain of this as you visit her, rather than simply insisting on her visit you and thereby making her be the one who accommodates to you. So I think what you are doing is a form of Christlike hospitality, coming to her and accommodating her. I don’t think there is any other way forward. To step into her world is to have to take a front-row seat to her sin. But this is the long game to be playing, it seems to me. To keep pressing into that difficult space. It will show her, over time, something of the love that God has shown us all: coming right into our mess. It was the only way he could reach us. And, I’m convinced, this will be the way he will reach your daughter, through you doing for her what he did for us.

Thank you again. And the Lord bless you.

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