Gay Marriage – What Do You Say To Your Kids?

The worldview about homosexuality is changing.

Homosexuality used to be a subject we did not talk about with kids.

People understood it is important to protect the innocence of children, but things have changed.

 

Here are some questions that christian parents are asking:

  • How do I respond to family shows on Disney and Nickelodeon with gay characters?
  • Do I pull my kids from school if they are teaching a gay rights curriculum?
  • What do I do if I am at a restaurant with my kids and we see two gay men kissing?
  • We can pull our kids from public school, ban them from watching all TV shows, and stop going out to eat in public places, or we can begin to talk to our kids about homosexuality.

Admittedly, this is an emotional topic. There are strong opinions on both sides. You may disagree with me, and I’m OK with that. You can share your opinions in the comments section below.

If you are not a Christian you may get offended by this article, but please understand I am not speaking to you. I am talking to parents who have made a commitment to the authority of scripture.

My purpose in writing this article is not to stir up emotion, but to help Christian parents talk to their kids about a challenging issue.

Here are my thoughts:

1. Treat everyone with respect. The truth is that gay teens have been picked on and bullied for years. Use this as an opportunity to teach your kids to respect everyone, even those who are different. Respect should be given unconditionally, just like love is given unconditionally. I choose to be respectful based on who I am, not based on how others act. Words like “faggot” and “pervert” should not be part of our vocabulary.

2. Turn down the emotion. Do not freak out if your child asks a question about something he or she saw on TV, or something that was said at school. You want to keep the communication lines open. When you get angry, you are telling your kids, “don’t talk to me about this.”

3. Ask questions. If your kids are older than eight, they have some ideas about gay people. Their ideas come from TV shows, movies, friends, school, siblings and their parents. You can start the conversation by simply asking questions: What does the word “gay” mean? What do you think about when you hear the word “gay”? What does a gay person look like? The goal here is to find out what your kids are thinking so you can talk about it.

4. Answer their questions. You want your kids to come to you with questions about homosexuality. Let’s imagine that you see two men kissing at a restaurant. What do you say to your kids? Instead of running away or freaking out, use this as an opportunity to talk about homosexuality. (After you leave the restaurant) Make sure to talk about both sides of the issue – the sin issue and the respect issue. I would start out by asking, “Did you see the two men in the restaurant? Was that awkward? How did it make you feel?” At some point they may ask, “Why were those two guys kissing?I would respond by reading the Bible. (See point #6)

5. Read the Bible with your kids. Take turns reading the scriptures with your children so they are reading it too. Read Genesis 1:27-28, 2:19-25, Matthew 19:5-6. Many people say that Jesus did not say anything about homosexuality, but he did say a lot about marriage. This is how Jesus defines marriage, “Haven’t you read, that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two shall be one flesh.”

6. Keep the fire in the fireplace. I like the analogy of the fireplace. Fire is a good thing as long as it stays in the fireplace. Fire can warm you up and bring enjoyment, but if it gets out of the fireplace, it can create problems. If I start lighting fires in places that fire does not belong, it can destroy my life. (Think of marriage as the fireplace) Talk to your kids about how God created sex for marriage, and Jesus defined marriage as between a man and a woman. Sex is good if you do it God’s way. Adam and Eve were naked and they were not ashamed.

7. Talk to your kids about making wise choices.  Many people say that being gay is not a choice. I get what they are saying, but I do not agree. Even if they are attracted to the same sex they still have a choice.

This is one way to explain the concept of choice to our kids. 

Everybody makes decisions. God gives us the privilege and ability to make choices, even if they are wrong choices. Christians have the personal responsibility to make decisions that please God. Sometimes we feel like doing things, but that does not mean that the things we feel like doing are the right decision. My “feelings” can lie to me and get me in trouble. God gives us a good pattern to follow in scripture–one man with one woman. Some people are confused about that. That doesn’t mean they are bad people–it means they are confused about this.

8) Talk about sexual purity.  When your kids turn ten, you should have ‘the talk’ with them about the birds and the bees.  Do this before they hit puberty or they won’t want to talk to you about it. At this time talk to them about the various kinds of sexual sin, adultery, fornication and homosexuality.  Read Romans 1:21-27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 with you kids.

“Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” I  Corinthians 6:9-10

When having this talk about sin, it is important that you not put down gay people. One way to do this is to talk about your sin or a time when your son or daughter sinned.

Ask your kids about something they struggle with or a time in their life when they sinned. Maybe they have a problem with anger or lying. Ask them what they did when they sinned. Did you repent? Did God forgive you? Will God forgive homosexuals?

9) Repent of your own sin. I want to turn the tables at this point. People do not receive truth if it is not spoken in love. I think if we are honest with ourselves, we will admit that we have been pretty good at speaking truth to the LGBT community but not extending the love of Christ. Jesus was a master at both. Loving people and speaking truth.

Allow me to be transparent for a minute.

The following story does not paint me in a very good light, but I’m willing to take the risk.

One day I went to get my hair cut at Fantastic Sam’s. A man that appeared to be gay approached the counter and said, “Can I help you?” I thought to myself, “I don’t want this guy cutting my hair.”

Then I realized, “this is a horrible thought.”

Jesus spent time with tax collectors and sinners. When the Pharisees saw this they said, “This man welcomes sinners.” The Pharisees meant this as a criticism, but for the rest of us this is good news.

Jesus came to seek and save the lost. This includes gay people and straight people.

As followers of Christ, we are called to minister to all people. Many times gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons are broken people. To make matters worse, they are often alienated from the Church.

If we are honest with ourselves, we will admit that we have failed in communicating the love of Christ to the LGBT community. I don’t have all the answers, but I believe that the healing begins with the Church. We need to repent of the sin of rejecting gay people.

The truth is that if we don’t change we will lose our kids. If our children think that we hate gay people, we come across as hypocrites and they will lose respect for us when they grow up.

Mark Harper

24 thoughts on “Gay Marriage – What Do You Say To Your Kids?

  1. faithandfamilywoman says:

    Wow. This is a great and balanced article. As a mother of two boys and children’s pastor, I get so angry at the homosexual agenda attacking our kids, I get angry at the forceful agenda, but at the same I am to love broken, hurting people no matter what the sin. Sin is sin. I think at times we placed homosexuality in its own category when the apostle Paul puts them in the same “category” as greedy people. Ouch. I know before Jesus rescued me I was very greedy. We have had the talk with our two sons, to show the love of Christ and be respectful, and at the same taught them what the word of God says regarding homosexuality and sin in general. I will print this out and have it as a resource for the parents at church. Thank you so much!

  2. Tammy says:

    Thank you for writing this Pastor Mark. I know this took courage. I am going to make some changes and I appreciate your guidance. The Lord has had me go to a gay stylist for the last two years and then I brought my boys and was not sure how to approach this. In those two years I have seen an angry, swearing man soften, let me pray with him and even in tears share some of his story with me. I love him and yet I don’t obviously embrace his lifestyle but, I just knew if I would show him God’s love and pray it would be the only way to reach him and let God break down the barriers. I’m going to start sharing with my boys like you suggest.

  3. Hermine Ermina Codjoe says:

    Blessings!! I commend you on addressing this subject from a “true christian’s” point of view, and as challenging as it gets—This is the only way we will be a true witness for Christ!!! I hope to get this printed to use when necessary—because as a Pastor, Mom, Grandma—Friend—this is a subject I have, and must continue to address. KEEP SHINING THE LIGHT IN ALL THE DARK PLACES!!!

  4. Michael James Hastings says:

    Same sex attraction is not a choice, however choosing to pursue or live in a same sex union is. There is a vast difference between the two…This is often where the church misses what is really going on. James Dobson, himself, had a radio show in the 90s which talked about the chemical wash in the womb which determines a child’s sexual orientation. According to Dobson, it’s not in the DNA, but rather in the chemical wash in the womb.

  5. Jean Wright says:

    As the mother of twin teen boys I had this conversation a few years back. I think it is important to note that homosexual sex is not the only sin related to sex. Any sex outside of God’s plan is wrong–even hetero. Also this concept of choice is confusing today’s young people. The LGBT community has done a tremendous job making the lifestyle mainstream. I do think it is a choice, but everyone struggles with different sins. For some it is alcohol, for others lying, still others have trouble being faithful to a spouse in marriage. That is how I think about homosexuality. That seemed to resonate with my kids. Thanks for the guidance! It is time Christian parents have these discussions. If we do not…someone else will.

  6. Steve Jones says:

    This was a good attempt. This is a very real and serious topic that Christians need to deal with. However, I have an issue with point #6. How do I explain to my daughter that, in Genesis 19:8, Lot wants to toss his two virgin daughters out the door to a rabid pack of presumed homosexuals so they could “do with them as you wish” (i.e., rape them) but not do “wicked things”? That’s a pretty graphic and disgusting display of how women were treated and thought of, and I prefer not to allow my children to think of God being ok with that.

    Point #8…wow. Still? I will not teach my son or daughter that homosexuality is a choice. Anyone who actually knows someone (not knows OF someone) who is homosexual finds this statement at best woefully ignorant. And no, I have not been subverted by LGBT propaganda–I used my God given eyes and my God given brain to reach this conclusion. You can choose not to engage in sex, but it doesn’t change your sexuality any more than my choice not to buy Nutella chocolate spread today makes me less of a chocoholic.

    But as I said, a very good attempt. We need to continue the dialogue.

    • Super Church says:

      Steve,

      I’m not sure why you are bringing up the story of Lot and Sodom. It is not a story that I would read to kids. I suggested the Genesis account of Adam and Eve and what Jesus said about Marriage in Matthew 19:5-6.

      I know that there is disagreement on the whole choice thing and I respect your opinion. The reason I feel choice is something that needs to be discussed with kids is because children are easily influenced. When kids watch the documentary on Nickelodeon they will naturally identify with the kids that are being bullied. (Which is the point of the show.) If a child hears a teenager say the words “I’m gay” many of them will think “Maybe, I’m gay too.”

      I am hoping to counter that thought by talking to my own children about it. They have a choice to choose to obey God or not. I do not feel that “Coming Out” is a show that should be broadcast on a kids network, but Nickelodeon did not give me a choice.

      There may be people who are wired to be gay, but I also think that for some it is all in their head. On the other hand, not all males that have effeminate behavior are gay. Some of them just grew up imitating their mom.

      Admittedly I have never dealt with same sex attraction so I don’t know what it is like. One thing I do know is, if someone is attracted to the same sex they can choose to follow that temptation or not. We all have desires that are displeasing to God. When I became a Christian I surrendered my life to Christ. In a practical sense I give up want I want to do, to do what He wants me to do.

      One last point. I have a brother that is gay so please do not call me “woefully ignorant.” I’m OK if you disagree with me. You even make a good point, but please cut out the sarcasm and the name-calling.

  7. TruthSeeker says:

    Spot on. Doesn’t mean this is easy to do but praise God that you had the boldness and courage to speak the Truth! May God cover your family with His blessings!!

  8. taradiekmann says:

    Great article! I had to slightly talk to my oldest son about this when he was in kindergarden we lived in Florida he had kids in his class that had two moms he brought it up so depending on where you live parents may have to have the conversation earlier. Again great article and thank you for taking the time to boldly write this.

  9. Derrick says:

    Very insightful article. While it is geared towards children, it is also an excellent aid for adults who need to be able to discuss this issue biblically, thoughtfully, and respectfully. Thank you for your efforts Mark!

  10. Dr. Isaac Trejo says:

    Great article… Thanks for the info… Love the aproach….Can i use it to translate it to spanish? In México we still have Conservative laws, but its only a mater of time, before we get our laws changed and have the same subject as top news. We are praying for wisdom in the midst of darkness. Dios te bendiga!

  11. Elton Wells says:

    Mark, my wife and I are missionaries in Guatemala (focusing on children’s ministry) and with the current Supreme Court decision we have had numerous conversations with locals about this. If you could somehow make the Spanish version of this article available to all of us, it would be greatly appreciated.

  12. Linda Kelly says:

    Dear Pastor, as you may or may not know, I have family members that are members of your congregation. I was raised in the Christian Church. I was a faithful follower. Unfortunately, I left the church because I no longer felt welcome.

    I am not trying to pick a fight or cause problems. I do feel the need to comment though. First, let me make this clear, I am gay. I spent many years trying to be in a heterosexual relationship. I have known I was gay since the age of 13. I prayed for help from God. I prayed for him to take this away from me. By the age of 32 I was depressed and suicidal.

    I prayed once more. You can call me crazy, tell me I am a liar, what ever you choose. I honestly believe God told me he did make a mistake with me and I needed to embrace who and what I am. I cried many tears. I stopped fighting against myself and the only choice I made was to accept who and what I am. I am a lesbian. Why, in the name of all that is holy, would any sain person choose to be gay? Do people honestly think we like to be bullied, beaten, spat upon, shund, hated, abused killed or have our live threatened because we love someone of the same sex?

    Since I stopped fighting it. Since I stopped trying to be what I am not, I am an awesome person. I love me. If your child came to you ammeter told you they were gay what would you do? What Would Jesus Do?

  13. Jon says:

    Yes we have to teach our kids to love unconditionally at the same time letting them know that it’s still a sin in the eyes of the Lord. Loving the sinner but not agreeing with the sin.

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