The program, Religious Hard Talk – Television Jamaica, is a hard-hitting, controversial and thought provoking series by renowned journalist Ian Boyne. In a no holds barred interview, Mr. Boyne focused considerably on the impact of homosexuality on my family. The entire interview is available on our Vimeo Channel and is also accessible from our Media page.
How well I remember having to tell my own family of my issue of same-gender attraction. While my confession occurred many, many years ago, I vividly recall having to pick my mother up from the kitchen floor. Literally! The ironic truth is that while I felt an immediate sense of relief that “the problem” was now out, my parents, friends, and family members were instantly projected into a state of fear, bewilderment and consumed with a myriad of questions.
Picking up the pieces of life after declaring one is homosexual is a difficult task. Take just a moment and remember the occasion when you first learned about your loved one’s homosexuality. No doubt, many emotions surfaced, with some of them tumbling over each other in rapid succession. Shock, anger, disbelief, guilt, depression, denial, sadness, and maybe, just maybe a sense of relief occurred because the truth was finally out. Responses vary with the personalities of the individuals involved.
For many, many years now, I have met with numerous people that have the same questions you have right now. Without a doubt, parents always search for what, if anything did they do wrong. Immediately, there is a driven purpose to discover what they might say or do to “change” their son or daughter. Wives have come my way wondering if the man they thought they knew was really just some stranger they had never known. And, I have had far too many tearful sessions with parents devastated by the tragic reality of learning of their child contracting AIDS.
Having waded through years of healing, discipleship, study and countless times of surrender, for me the entire topic of homosexuality is far more than professional – it’s personal. When homosexuality hit my family many years ago, it brought indescribable pain and misunderstanding with it; largely, if not entirely, because no one had any understanding about the behavior. Frankly, the only comment anyone could make who knew was – “It’s wrong!” Today, just like way back then, “that’s not good enough.”
While anger may be the first emotion to surface, “grief” will follow closely on its heels.
For the man/woman struggling with same-gender attraction: Grief is a given. Each man or woman will grieve not measuring up, rejection of society, peer pressure, being shunned by family and friends, and…disappointing God.
For the parent: Grief will occur in their hopes and dreams becoming shattered, leaving them wondering “What did I do wrong that caused this?” Grief will occur by the parent wondering what will the future bring if my child continues on the path of homosexuality.
For the spouse: There will be an instant and debilitating battle in the mind and heart of “How do I combat this?” As a result, mourning and grieving will do their utmost to make themselves at home.
For the friend: Grief will accompany a truckload of frustrations resulting in “I’m going to get all the information available and lay it on him/her!”
How is it that many do not consider and even possibly dismiss that God Himself grieves over anyone having to combat same-gender attraction because this is a behavior, not unlike many others, that was never His plan or intention?
Allow time for the grieving process. Spend time with the Lord, allowing Him to speak to the hurt that you are experiencing. It is not disgraceful or shameful to feel great pain, a sense of loss or to weep over it. Frankly, when we receive advice telling us not to grieve, it robs us of a very normal and needful response to any trauma in life. Some, however, in an attempt to deal with the traumas of their lives, make inner vows never to cry again. This, I believe, is not healthy because it possibly places us in a state of being incapable of feeling anything – including the love and compassion of the Lord. Giving ourselves permission to grieve enables us to give our grief over to the Lord who “carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4) in His death on the Cross.
Yes, homosexuality is one of the various and numerous behaviors God commands every man and woman to refrain from practicing. So, do not ever compromise your beliefs about homosexuality. Relationships can be preserved without compromise. Indeed, appropriate boundaries will need to be established and some negotiating with regard to mutual respect and patience. It is possible to be both honest and loving while remaining firm in our convictions.
Whether you have come face-to-face with your own issue of same-gender attraction or face-to-face with a loved one’s homosexuality, I guarantee you will become more aware than ever of your inability to face life’s challenges apart from the grace of God. Yes, when homosexuality surfaces in a marriage, family, friendship, or church, in some respects life may never be quite the same again.
I came to understand that God’s promises of mercy are to all that trust in Christ and I was challenged to accept them by simple faith. The more I developed my intimate relationship with Jesus, the more my fears subsided, and, in their place, peace and confidence grew.
It is very, very important to remember that God does bring good out of trouble. Otherwise sorrow will swallow us up. Homosexuality took my self-respect and gave me guilt, took my honor and gave me shame, took my honesty and gave me a double life, took gentleness and made me a deceiving, angry man. However, out of all that stuff, came a close walk with God, freedom, strength and vulnerability to help others, and maybe, just maybe, the beginning of wisdom. It’s been quite a journey and all worth while.
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14).
Pastor Phillip Lee
His Way Out Ministries
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