On the night of November 20, 2001, a conversation held over Instant Messenger changed our lives forever. Our twelve-year-old son messaged me in my office from the computer in his bedroom.
Ryan says: can i tell u something
Mom says: Yes I am listening
Ryan says: well i don’t know how to say this really but, well……, i can’t keep lying to you about myself. I have been hiding this for too long and i sorta have to tell u now. By now u probably have an idea of what i am about to say.
Ryan says: I am gay
Ryan says: i can’t believe i just told you
Mom says: Are you joking?
Ryan says: no
Ryan says: i thought you would understand because of uncle don
Mom says: of course I would
Mom says: but what makes you think you are?
Ryan says: i know i am
Ryan says: i don’t like hannah
Ryan says: it’s just a cover-up
Mom says: but that doesn’t make you gay…
Ryan says: i know
Ryan says: but u don’t understand
Ryan says: i am gay
Mom says: tell me more
Ryan says: it’s just the way i am and it’s something i know
Ryan says: u r not a lesbian and u know that. it is the same thing
Mom says: what do you mean?
Ryan says: i am just gay
Ryan says: i am that
Mom says: I love you no matter what
Ryan says: i am white not black
Ryan says: i know
Ryan says: i am a boy not a girl
Ryan says: i am attracted to boys not girls
Ryan says: u know that about yourself and i know this
Mom says: what about what God thinks about acting on these desires?
Ryan says: i know
Mom says: thank you for telling me
Ryan says: and i am very confused about that right now
Mom says: I love you more for being honest
Ryan says: i know
Ryan says: thanx
We were completely shocked. Not that we didn’t know and love gay people – my only brother had come out to us several years before, and we adored him. But Ryan? He was unafraid of anything, tough as nails, and ALL boy. We had not seen this coming, and the emotion that overwhelmed us, kept us awake at night and, sadly, influenced all of our reactions over the next six years, was FEAR.
We said all the things that we thought loving Christian parents who believed the Bible – the Word of God – should say:
We love you. We will ALWAYS love you. And this is hard. REALLY hard. But we know what God says about this, and so you are going to have to make some really difficult choices.
We love you. We couldn’t love you more. But there are other men who have faced this same struggle, and God has worked in them to change their desires. We’ll get you their books…you can listen to their testimonies. And we will trust God with this.
We love you. We are so glad you are our son. But you are young, and your sexual orientation is still developing. The feelings you’ve had for other guys don’t make you gay. So please don’t tell anyone that you ARE gay. You don’t know who you are yet. Your identity is not that you are gay – it is that you are a child of God.
We love you. Nothing will change that. But if you are going to follow Jesus, holiness is your only option. You are going to have to choose to follow Jesus, no matter what. And since you know what the Bible says, and since you want to follow God, embracing your sexuality is NOT an option.
We thought we understood the magnitude of the sacrifice that we – and God – were asking for. And this sacrifice, we knew, would lead to the abundant life, perfect peace and eternal rewards, even if it was incredibly difficult.
Ryan had always felt intensely drawn to spiritual things; He desired to please God above all else. So, for the first six years, he tried to choose Jesus. Like so many others before him, he pleaded with God to help him be attracted to girls. He memorized Scripture, met with his youth pastor weekly and went to all the youth group events and Bible Studies. He chose to get baptized and filled journals with his prayers. He read all the Christian books that explained where his gay feelings came from and dove into counseling to further discover the origin of his unwanted attraction to other guys. He worked through difficult conflict resolution with Rob and I and invested even more deeply in his friendships with other guys (straight guys) just like the reparative therapy experts advised.
But nothing changed. God didn’t answer Ryan’s prayers – or ours – though we were all believing with faith that the God of the Universe – the God for whom NOTHING is impossible – could easily make Ryan straight. But He did not.
Though our hearts may have been good (we truly thought what we were doing was loving), we did not even give Ryan a chance to wrestle with God, to figure out what HE believed God was telling him through scripture about his sexuality. We had believed firmly in giving each of our four children the space to question Christianity, to decide for themselves if they wanted to follow Jesus, to truly OWN their own faith. But we were too afraid to give Ryan that room when it came to his sexuality, for fear that he’d make the wrong choice.
Basically, we told our son that he had to choose between Jesus and his sexuality. We forced him to make a choice between God and being a sexual person. Choosing God, practically, meant living a lifetime condemned to being alone. As a teenager, he had to accept that he would never have the chance to fall in love, hold hands, have his first kiss or share the intimacy and companionship that we, as his parents, enjoy. We had always told our kids that marriage was God’s greatest earthly gift…but Ryan had to accept that he alone would not be offered that present.
And so, just before his 18th birthday, Ryan, depressed, suicidal, disillusioned and convinced that he would never be able to be loved by God, made a new choice. He decided to throw out his Bible and his faith at the same time, and to try searching for what he desperately wanted – peace – another way. And the way he chose to try first was drugs.
We had – unintentionally – taught Ryan to hate his sexuality. And since sexuality cannot be separated from the self, we had taught Ryan to hate himself. So as he began to use drugs, he did so with a recklessness and a lack of caution for his own safety that was alarming to everyone who knew him.
Suddenly our fear of Ryan someday having a boyfriend (a possibility that honestly terrified me) seemed trivial in contrast to our fear of Ryan’s death, especially in light of his recent rejection of Christianity, and his mounting anger at God.
Ryan started with weed and beer…but in six short months was using cocaine and heroin. He was hooked from the beginning, and his self-loathing and rage at God only fueled his addiction. Shortly after, we lost contact with him. For the next year and a half we didn’t know where he was, or even if he was dead or alive. And during that horrific time, God had our full attention. We stopped praying for Ryan to become straight. We started praying for him to know that God loved him. We stopped praying for him never to have a boyfriend. We started praying that someday we might actually get to know his boyfriend. We even stopped praying for him to come home to us; we only wanted him to come home to God.
By the time our son called us, after 18 long months of silence, God had completely changed our perspective. Because Ryan had done some pretty terrible things while using drugs, the first thing he asked me was this:
Do you think you can ever forgive me? (I told him of course, he was already forgiven. He had ALWAYS been forgiven.)
Do you think you could ever love me again? (I told him that we had never stopped loving him, not for one second. We loved him then more than we had ever loved him.)
Do you think you could ever love me with a boyfriend? (Crying, I told him that we could love him with fifteen boyfriends. We just wanted him back in our lives. We just wanted to have a relationship with him again…AND with his boyfriend.)
And a new journey was begun. One of healing, restoration, open communication and grace. LOTS of grace. And God was present every step of the way, leading and guiding us, gently reminding us simply to love our son, and leave the rest up to Him.
Over the next ten months, we learned to truly love our son. Period. No buts. No conditions. Just because he breathes. We learned to love whoever our son loved. And it was easy. What I had been so afraid of became a blessing. The journey wasn’t without mistakes, but we had grace for each other, and the language of apology and forgiveness became a natural part of our relationship. As our son pursued recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, we pursued him. God taught us how to love him, to rejoice over him, to be proud of the man he was becoming. We were all healing…and most importantly, Ryan began to think that if WE could forgive him and love him, then maybe God could, too.
And then Ryan made the classic mistake of a recovering addict…he got back together with his old friends…his using friends. And one evening that was supposed to simply be a night at the movies turned out to be the first time he had shot up in ten months…and the last time. We got a phone call from a social worker at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle asking us to come identify our son – that he had arrived there in a coma, in critical condition. We spent 17 days at Harborview, during which time our whole family was able to surround and love on Ryan. We experienced miracle after miracle during that time, things that no doctor had any medical explanation for. God’s presence was TANGIBLE in Ryan’s room. But that is a long, sacred story that I’ll have to tell another time.
Though Ryan had suffered such severe brain damage that he had almost complete paralysis, the doctors told us that he could very well outlive us. But, unexpectedly, Ryan died on July 16, 2009. And we lost the ability to love our gay son…because we no longer had a gay son. What we had wished for…prayed for…hoped for…that we would NOT have a gay son, came true. But not at all in the way we used to envision.
Now, when I think back on the fear that governed all my reactions during those first six years after Ryan told us he was gay, I cringe as I realize how foolish I was. I was afraid of all the wrong things. And I grieve, not only for my oldest son, who I will miss every day for the rest of my life, but for the mistakes I made. I grieve for what could have been, had we been walking by FAITH instead of by FEAR. Now, whenever Rob and I join our gay friends for an evening, I think about how much I would love to be visiting with Ryan and his partner over dinner. But instead, we visit Ryan’s gravestone. We celebrate anniversaries: the would-have-been birthdays and the unforgettable day of his death. We wear orange – his color. We hoard memories: pictures, clothing he wore, handwritten notes, lists of things he loved, tokens of his passions, recollections of the funny songs he invented, his Curious George and baseball blankey, anything, really, that reminds us of our beautiful boy…for that is all we have left, and there will be no new memories. We rejoice in our adult children, and in our growing family as they marry…but ache for the one of our “gang of four” who is missing. We mark life by the days BC (before coma) and AD (after death), because we are different people now; our life was irrevocably changed – in a million ways – by his death. We treasure friendships with others who “get it”…because they, too, have lost a child.
We weep. We seek Heaven for grace and mercy and redemption as we try – not to get better but to be better. And we pray that God can somehow use our story to help other parents learn to truly love their children. Just because they breathe.
Linda Robertson – Originally posted on FaceBook on January 14, 2013
If you’d like to listen to a much more extensive version of our story, it was filmed at Towne View Baptist Church in Kennesaw, GA in May 2022. There is also a recording of my presentation from NorthPoint Church in Atlanta from May 2021, which does not include everything from my more recent presentation, but does include a Q&A time that I’ve told has been helpful for many parents.
You can also view our story as presented as part of For They Know Not What They Do, available on Amazon & iTunes.
I am now working full-time (as a volunteer) working with parents of LGBTQ+ children whose children have just come out, or who are struggling to reconcile their faith with their love for their child. If you or someone you know has an LGBTQ child and needs support, I lead a weekly Parent Support Group that meets every Wednesday, and I’m also on the board of QChristian Fellowship, where I lead the Parent Team – we have all kinds of great resources (other Biblical resources can be found at The Reformation Project‘s website – I’m a big fan!)
I’ll be at a conference in Washington D.C. for LGBTQ people of faith (or from faith backgrounds) in early January 2023…if you are from the community, a family member, pastor, or ally, come join us there!
I’ve also got a conference coming up in Chicago May ’23 for parents and family of LGBTQ people – more details to come.
Much love to each person who has found their way here…
March 30, 2022
For resources, click here.
2,427 responses to “Just Because He Breathes”
Thank you for your kindness and love in sharing this story. My son is gay and I would give my life for him. Recently I have understood the power of the words in Isaiah, words I have long known but are open now. “I chose you” and “I knew you before you were born.” God chose my son and knew him before he was ever known to us. My son is made in the image of God. Then, with astonishing clarity, Jesus “what you did for the least of my brothers, you did for me”. His brother. My son, his brother. No half life, no half made or faulty image of God, His brother. All my fury at the church, I am a Catholic and the Church’s words are not those of God on this, all my fury is abating. God has shown me these words anew. Jesus died for my son too and I’m happy to say it. He answers prayer. Love your sons and daughters without reserve. I say this with joy today. Love them.
Derek, the Catholic church’s words are most certainly not those of exclusion, warranting fury. Please sit down with your pastor, he’ll understand and you’ll realize the love and compassion you both need to know. Above all, your son needs to know that Jesus is hurting with him and walking with him and carrying him, as he does with us as parents. My gay son found such love and consolation, compassion and strength through the Church.
“But nothing changed. God didn’t answer Ryan’s prayers – or ours – though we were all believing with faith that the God of the Universe – the God for whom NOTHING is impossible – could easily make Ryan straight. But He did not.”
I am so sorry to read about Ryan. I starting crying at my desk when I read this in office this morning. I am a 30 year old man. I come from a family of God fearing Christians. Like Ryan, when I was younger, I joined youth groups, served in church, went on mission trips, prayed and prayed and prayed that I would become straight. But God never answered. Somehow the same God that said that it was not good for man to be alone, decided it was fine that this man would be alone for the rest of his life.
Being the eldest son from an Asian family, meant my parents pinned all their hopes on me, I did exactly what a model eldest son will do – got good grades in school, served in church, looked good (enough) and helped out at home. It would break me if I would disappoint my parents, yet I know all my achievements would be for nothing once they knew that their perfect son wasn’t that perfect after all. A few years a ago, I deliberately applied for a job position that would relocate me far away from my family because I couldn’t bear it anymore. Although I love them very much, I figured it would be better if I saw lesser of them.
I live alone now, I do not attend church anymore. Till today, I struggle with who I am daily and have problem accepting myself still. I hope there will be a day where I wake up and the world just isn’t such a sad place anymore.
Oh, Rex…I am so very sorry. My heart is breaking for you. I would love to connect with you. Will you either email me or find me on Facebook (Linda Mueller Robertson)…?
I first read this in 2013, and Ryan’s story comes to mind often. Mainly because there are so many similarities between his and my own. So much hurt and pain that was so needless, and that was inflicted upon me by people and communities who were SUPPOSED to be kind and loving. I know that you have learned and grown and changed and opened your heart, and I know that I need to be forgiving and show that same love and compassion and lack of judgment toward others, but that’s very difficult to do and sometimes I’m actually really angry at you Linda, even though I don’t know you! But this story still haunts me. And I did learn one very important thing…I have two nephews now. The older one actually has the same name as your son. And every time I see them, I make sure to tell them I love them just because they breathe.
Thank you for sharing, Ellen…and it seems really understandable to me that you are still angry with me, After all you went through. I am so very sorry. I rejoice, though, that you’ve found such peace and redemption in your life, Ellen. Much love to you.
I read your story and I couldn’t stop crying. I am gay and had a hard time being gay. I lost out on a lot of opportunities because of my fear. For a long time, I couldn’t shine and find myself. I never dabbled in drugs or alcohol but I was suicidal during my teens. Now, I’m more out. Although, I’m not out at work. I still have to watch who I confide to. I’m better off now but I wish I had parents who supported me being gay and encouraged me to be unafraid.
I’m jealous of all the kids coming out today. How they live in a better world. How they have so many representations in the media.
Oh, Jon…it sounds like you carry so much trauma and grief and loss in your body, in your heart and in your soul. I wish I could give you an enormous hug! And no wonder you are jealous of kids coming out today…in so many ways things are better now.
Let me know if you ever need help getting connected to other LGBTQ people who have walked a similar journey. Sending you so much love, my friend.
Good morning Rex God has put you in my heart. Like Linda I thought I knew what God said about being gay when my son first told me. He woke me up at midnight evidently his “I can’t take it anymore moment”. After daily fervent prayer for almost a month God gave me His answer. Let go of what you think you know and Love. Jesus gave us the New Commandment of love. No judgment no interpreting Gods word and scripture just focus on Love. We are to love each other and love God above all else.
My heart goes out to you feeling alone. My son married an Asian man and they have a beautiful daughter. It was hard for my son to tell me he was gay he knew where I thought I was in my walk with God.
You are respected and loved by God Rex. He knows you completely. Please look to Him for guidance.
Gos is using Ryan’s death for good. He wants you to be happy. Embrace joy!! Your parents will either be there or not. God will always be there for you. Stand firm with Him and life may not be easy but at most you know You Are Loved and God has your back. You have great purpose here in the world. I’m praying for you to live your life!
There WILL be that day. I didn’t think there would be either. I’ve sat where you have. Ryan’s story is mine too. It took a lot of time, and love, and patience, but my family came around. And the world doesn’t look so sad. I see the beauty. And there are Churches that will accept you and love you just as you are. But what the most important thing is, is for you to love and accept YOURSELF. When that day comes, it matters so much less what those around you think.
Rex, God created you just the way you are. He created you in your mother’s womb. He doesn’t make mistakes. He gave you gifts and talents. He loves you. He has a purpose for you. He does not want you to be alone. God fully loves and accepts you just the way you are and wants you to live your life to the fullest (including a relationship) knowing his love. His love is so great that he gave his son for you. I encourage you to talk with God and remember the depth of his love for us. I pray that you come to accept yourself for the person that God created and will be filled with his love for you. I also pray that your family will open their hearts to Jesus’ message of love and accept you as God created you. I hope that you find your chosen partner.
Rex, many churches now are affirming and inclusive because they have researched the Bible and it’s true interpretation of homosexuality being a sin. Look up th “clobber verses” and read some of the many books that tells what the Bible is really referring to and why in 1947 the translation of the Bible by scholars of the 6 verses dealing with same sex activity was changed from pedophilia and forced sex ( mostly done by heterosexual Roman men) to homosexuality. It is very interesting how men have altered the translations in the Bible to agree with their feelings not God’s. Being gay is Not a sin. You were created in God’s image and by his love for you. He never stopped loving you and never will because you are created the way he wanted you to be created. God is so much bigger than bubble Christians realize. Read The Universal Christ by Richard Rohr. Stay away from non affirming churches and hateful people. Live your life and learn to love yourself as God does.
Hi Rex! I read your story, and would like to know how are you doing today? Did you tell your family? Are you still alone? Did you go back to church?
We are so very sorry for you and your families tremendous loss of Ryan. Fifteen years ago when we “found our son out” as being gay we responded very similarly to you and your husband. If you could have done it wrong, we did!!! In our case we were able to reconcile our relationship with our son, but like you our heart continued to break for the countless families who get torn apart in this messy world, in the name of Jesus. Consequently two years ago we created Embracing the Journey, where our sole reason for being is building bridges between the LGBT community, their families, and the church. Yesterday some great friends at North Point Church in Atlanta shared with us about you, your story, and your ministry. After reading your story we immediately posted a link for your blog on our website, and recommend it as a must read for all Christian parents with a child who identifies as being LGBT. Thank you for your incredible ministry that is full of love, humility, grace, honesty and a incredible amount of candor. We hope our paths cross in person sooner than later.
Greg & Lynn McDonald
Thank you for bravely sharing with the world your very moving story. It moved me to tears. I would like to do a reading of your piece for my company’s Pride event this year, but first wanted to get permission from you. Please let me know what you think. I am happy to give you more details and personal information about myself if you like.
Much appreciated, and thank you again for spreading this powerful message of love.
Of course, Mike…use it in any way you think would be helpful! Much love!
Stories like this give me hope. I am sorry for your loss though… I am 35 and been with my partner for almost 12 yrs and still struggle with my parents and brothers. I am depressed but yet try to keep my head up. I feel that I am beginning to lose my faith and now I think my family is finally giving up on me… Sucks! There is a lot more to my story but I can’t keep myself from crying when I think about it or talk about it.
Oh, Angel…I am so very sorry. That DOES suck. So very much. But your family’s response has absolutely nothing to do with how much your Creator absolutely ADORES you…He delights in you exactly as you are!
Heartbreaking story. I wish this young man would have found a different way. How do you rectify what scripture says though? Can you really be gay and a Christian? If so, would you not have to toss out the Bible?
Hi, Dale. I will attempt an answer, as I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. First off, what is the Bible? Is it a book of rules to be obeyed? If so, then it is just another “Law” to live by, as an alternative to the grace of the Gospel. I say, the Bible serves man, not vice-versa. But as to whether the authors of the Bible really mean to condemn homosexuality, I would say no. The passages (“clobber passages”) that seem to refer to it really refer to it in the context of pederasty, prostitution, and orgiastic activity (or “situational homosexuality,” committed by straight people. I’m thinking of the Romans verse.). A good resource, if you’d like to explore it more, would be the book “The Children Are Free,” by Jeff Miner. It’s available on Amazon. Hope that helps.
Absolutely you can, Dale! And no, you don’t have to toss out the Bible AT ALL! There are lots of Christians who believe that the Bible doesn’t actually say anything about the kind of committed same-sex relationships that occur today…and that the writers weren’t referring to LGBTQ people as we know them today…they weren’t visible or recognized at all in that time & culture. Take a look at Matthew Vine’s book, God and the Gay Christian (and the book by his mentor, James Brownson, Bible, Gender, Sexuality)…and there are so many other great books, blogs & videos on the topic as well. A few to start with:
The Bible and LGBTQ Inclusion: 5 Things You Need to Know by Dr. Brownson, Karen Keen, Matthew Vines
B.T. Harman’s Blog:
Justin Lee’s Video for Parents:
Pastor Danny Cortez – “Why I Changed My Mind on Homosexuality”:
Rachel Held Evans – “The Bible Was Clear”:
I could go on and on! One of these days I need to create a comprehensive resource list…but for now, here is a start. Thanks for considering this…wish more people would.
My parents only believe THEIR version of the Bible (and my brother is gay) so simply offering another viewpoint of the Bible won’t work for them. My past comments to them hAs been simply, ‘it’s our job to love each other, it’s Gods job to judge.”
I’ve heard that before- it’s our job to love each other and Gods job to judge. That’s absolutely true and that’s a statement that we should all aspire to understand and carry out in our lives. However, we must make sure we fully understand love and judgement. If my little boy is in the road about to get hit by a truck and I yell at him to move out of the road- I’m not judging him, I’m loving him. In the same way, if I believe a man or woman who lives a homosexual life is in danger of going to hell for eternity, It would be the opposite of love to not tell them they are in error. A lot of people try to argue with me on this- most people suggest I read a book and nobody uses the Bible to defend their stance. The Bible is plain as day on this. This is a salvation issue and it should be addressed.
Dale, I respect your consistency, and your desire to protect those you love. Thanks for chiming in here. Respectfully, though, there are many, many people who use the Bible to defend their affirming, pro-LGBTQ stance. Myself, for one, and countless others. Please start by reading James Brownson’s book, Bible, Gender, Sexuality. He is a New Testament theologian…and his book would be a great start for you.
In terms of the Bible being “plain as day”…please consider that advocates of slavery, owning women as property, etc, etc, have used that same argument (see https://rachelheldevans.com/blog/bible-clear ). There are committed followers of Jesus Christ on BOTH sides of this issue.
The Bible is plain as day on divorce and adultery, as well. Do you put the same effort in keeping them from hell’s fire? If not, you’re being selective in your judgement. And, how about the third commandment to not take the Lord’s name in vain? Do you lecture every person who uses God’s name in vain in order to save them, Our president recently used God’s name in vain in front of children at a political rally. Do you, like the vast majority of fundamentalist Christians, still support him? Or, do you stand up and say stop Mr. President or you’re going to hell? God says of liars that he will spew them out of his mouth. God doesn’t have a lot to say good about whoremongers either. Lies and chasing women are hallmarks of this president whom Christians hold in such high regard.
Remember, we have all fallen short of the glory of God…even you. So, as my mom always use to say, sweep under your own damn doorstep before you sweep under mine.
Butch, I agree with everything you commented on. All of those are sins. I’m a member of a church of Christ and people who divorce are only allowed to remarry if they divorced for unfaithfulness as Christ talked about in Mathew 6. I would say that all of those are sins but not all sins are equal. All sins are equal in the context of the Cross but God refers to homosexuality as an abomination. I would say committing adultery on your wife if just as bad. However, why I’m arguing here is because you are advocating for homosexuality as if it’s not sin.
Dale, may I ask…do you have a close family member or friend who is gay? What made you come read our story and comment here?
I do have a friend who is gay and claims to be Christian. And honestly is a great guy but I don’t believe he is saved. I also have an uncle who is gay. I commented on here because I wanted to better understand yalls beliefs.
Our son is gay. We love unconditionally as I believe Christ does. When our head deacon said “it is not normal” on the Church board near the road, he meant homosexuality!! However, 3 months later, he was before the Church crying. He was having an affair!!!!!! And “thats” normal………..
How does that justify anything or relate to the Bible at all?
Dale – it has everything to do with what the Bible says – we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. And Read John 3:16. It doesn’t end with ‘unless you’re gay.’ so me and my brother r saved thru Gods grace. End of story.
Shall we sin so that grace may abound? I mean I can cherry pick scripture too. The scripture says to examine yourself. A sign that you are in Christ is living a life of sanctification- growing in Christ. Choosing to live a homosexual lifestyle because you Christ died for your sins is a sign that you do not love the lord. Everybody that asked to follow Jesus were told by him to give up something huge in their life. He called them to pick up their cross and follow him. Christ promised them a hard life but he also promised them eternal life. You think a gay person would not be asked by Jesus to leave their sins behind and follow him? You can’t have your cake and eat it too. I honestly wish you could and I wish following Christ wasn’t so hard but to those true followers, there is eternal life. I wish y’all would reconsider your stance on this issue. It’s a really dangerous place to be.
Good point Marie. My gay brother knows God loves him and he loves God. This is more important to me than condemning someone because they are gay, even if the intention is because you love’ them. That will chase people away from God, not draw them to God. BTW, he did NOT choose his sexuality and acknowledges his life would have been much easier as a heterosexual.
Anyone who thinks gays can’t be Christian should research John Shore Taking God at His word: The Bible and Homosexuality
Or Michael Vines.
With all due respect, I’m not advocating whether homosexuality is a sin or not. I’m simply pointing out the hypocrisy of someone pointing out someone else’s sins and not pointing out other sins that you feel are not as bad as homosexuality. And, as far as your statement that some sins are worse than others, might I point out that homosexuality didn’t make it into the top 10. However, committing adulatory, taking the Lord’s name in vain, not keeping the Sabbath holy, not murdering and not stealing did make the top ten. However, the vast majority of Christians support the death penalty. And, I’m pretty sure there wasn’t an asterisk* by that commandment that said there are exceptions.
I’d like to additionally point out that Christian’s interpretation of the Bible has changed as time has passed. For example, when my father was growing up, he was left-handed and since Jesus sits at the right hand of God, he was forced to use his right hand for all activities because being left-handed was seen as a sign of Satan’s influence. On a positive note, he could throw a ball as fast with his right hand as his left when he grew up. Lol
Another example; when I was young, there were “blue” laws (championed by Christians) that forbid businesses from opening on Sunday. This was in keeping with the commandment to keep the Sabbath holy. But, as society grew and it became impractical, blue laws fell to the side. Now, Christians justify running/opening their businesses on Sunday one way or the other. Right now in the small town where I live there’s a restaurant that has a huge cross in front of it. Inside they keep religious material out for patrons to read. However, they are open all day on Sunday and justify it by saying…if we didn’t open, those that can’t cook wouldn’t be able to eat on that day. They somehow twist the commandment to keep the Sabbath holy to “I’m feeding the hungry, so it’s okay for me to open on Sunday”. However, I would argue that they are deeply sinning (remember you said some sins are worse than others) since by simply being open on Sunday, they are depriving their staff the opportunity to attend church. Yet, I’ve never seen anyone marching with signs outside their restaurant saying they are going to Hell because they are open on the Sabbath. However, I’ve seen Christians on t.v. holding signs saying “God hates fags”…often doing this at the funeral of a person they know or claim is gay.
I say all this not only to point out the hypocrisy of pointing out other’s sins…or perceived sins, but to show how Christianity bends it’s beliefs in order to justify their own shortcomings. I challenge you to take a deep look at yourself, as well as, Christianity in general today and see how your approach “that this sin is greater than this sin” doesn’t draw anyone closer to God. In contrast, it drives people away from Christ because they see the hypocrisy of Christianity’s tendency to judge others. And, in the end, wasn’t it’s God’s wish to bring everyone to Christ? I would suggest that the sin of judging others and causing them to not feel welcomed in the church to be a “greater” sin than being gay.
I wish you only the best as you move forward and pray that you will examine how your approach to homosexuality may drive people away from Christ, as opposed to bringing them into the fold of Christ.
I agree with your comments. Jesus never uttered a word against gays. That was written before he came into this world to change everything that was wrong by the Old Testament and after he died by those who used his teachings to promote hatred and bigotry.
I am a follower of JV teachings but not a follower of those who have used his teaching to incite hate, bigotry and war…
I’m not advocating as to whether homosexuality is a sin or not. I am challenging you on your belief that one sin is greater than the other. Simple put, while homosexuality may be a sin, it didn’t make the top 10. However, not committing adultery, keeping the Sabbath holy, not stealing, not taking the Lord’s name in vain and not committing murder did make the top ten. Yet somehow Christianity says homosexuality trumps all of these. Might I point out that Christian’s beliefs change with time. For example, when my father was young, he was left handed. At the time this was seen an an Satanic influence. Therefore, he was forbidden to use his right hand for normal daily activities. Today, Christian’s know this wasn’t true. Genetics determines whether one is left or right handed. If there was a silver lining to this…my dad could throw a fastball as good with his right hand as he could with his left as an adult. Lol
The same goes with keeping the Sabbath holy. When I was growing up, there were “blue laws”, championed by Christians, that forbid businesses from opening on Sunday. However, as this became more impractical in our fast moving modern age, Christianity dropped their opposition to these blue laws and embraced working/opening their businesses on the Sabbath. In fact, we have a restaurant in the small town in which I live that has a huge cross in front of their restaurant and lots of biblical pamphlets on the inside promoting Christian beliefs. However, they justify their business being open “because those that can’t cook, wouldn’t be able to eat if we weren’t open”. I would argue that this is a greater sin than homosexuality (since you propose the belief that some sins are greater than others). Not only are they working/opening their business on the Sabbath, but they are depriving all of their employees the opportunity to go to church and therefore, not keeping the Sabbath holy. This is nothing more than justified hypocrisy. I’ve never seen Christians carrying signs outside their restaurant saying they were going to Hell because they weren’t keeping the Sabbath holy. But, I have seen on t.v. Christians holding up signs saying “God hates fags”, often doing this at the funeral of people the know (or think) are homosexual.
The same hypocrisy goes for not committing murder. The Bible flatly states thou shall not commit murder. However, the vast majority of Christians support the death penalty. I’m pretty sure there’s not an asterisk* by that commandment that provides for an exception to the commandment. Also, take the biblical verse that states “Judge not, lest you be judged”. There’s no asterisk by that verse that says it’s okay to judge in certain cases when you feel judgement is justified. Yet, Christians turn that around and say they aren’t judging, they are just trying to save the person. My point again is Christians justifying their actions in direct conflict with biblical teachings. Those of us on the receiving end of their “judgement” or whatever you want to call it, see the hypocrisy of the actions of Christians and it often drives us away from the church.
I wish you the best as you move forward and challenge you to rethink your statement that one sin is greater than the other. Stating such doesn’t bring anyone closer to God. I would argue that it simply drives people away from Christianity as they see the hypocrisy of such statements. And, in the end, isn’t God’s greatest desire is for all to come to him?
You keep going off on this tangent of how I am singling our homosexuality??? Where are you getting this from? If there was a group of Christians, which I’m sure there are, that say it’s okay for husbands to cheat on their wives because that’s how they are made, I would be just as argumentative toward them. The reason why I’m discussing homosexuality is not because it’s a grosser sin that others, although in the context of sexual sin it is, but it’s because y’all are saying that God made people gay and to be themselves. The Bible is clear on this- homosexuality is wrong. You tried to alluded to homosexuality not being a big deal because it’s not in the Ten Commandments…are you being serious? Does God also need to list beastiality, rape, etc. for us to understand that those are very wicked acts? They aren’t listed because they don’t need to be. The Ten Commandments are 10 guidelines for the everyday Christian to abide in. The everyday Christian does not struggle with homosexuality. And lastly, God’s desire is for us to come to him but just as a Levite couldn’t enter into the holy place without being clean, we must also be clean with the blood of Christ. Don’t you know what the New Testament says about homosexuals? They will be sent to hell. I don’t know why I’m in the wrong for reiterating what the New Testament says.
Why persist in posting on this site? Clearly, your mind is closed on this issue. Do you think we have never heard these thoughts, and had these verses quoted at us before? We call these passages the “clobber passages,” because that’s how they are used. You have been treated very graciously by Linda, and she has given you some resources as good for thought, but you are obviously not interested. Do you enjoy arguing? Did people look down on you when you were younger, so you want to look down on others?I suggest you move on.
Sorry for all the grammatical mistakes. I’m at work and trying to reply fast. I’m sure you’ll get the message anyway.
Bravo on your last paragraph!
It’s been several years since I’ve commented here. While I maintain a deep reverence & respect for the Robertson family story, I have not, and still do not completely agree with their conclusions regarding the compatibility of homosexuality with Christian (Biblical) teaching. Yet having said that, since confronted with said reality in my own family (and years of deep prayer & study), my thinking & belief has evolved.
Hello, Dale. I’m the ‘anonymous’ poster from Aug, 6th. I got busy, and had to cut my post short. As I mentioned, I have a lot of empathy for the Robertson’s and their story, but have not come around to their way of thinking (compatibility of homosexuality with Biblical Christian teaching). My beliefs are seemingly more aligned with yours. Yet, over time, and with still constant prayer, my thinking has evolved. I still believe (and believe the Bible supports) that homosexuality is not in God’s longterm plan for His children (note I did not say ‘sin’). However, I do believe that a gay person (even a practicing homosexual) CAN be a Christian. Christians are not without sin, and I’m sure you’d agree that Christianity (living a Christian life) is messy and hard. In today’s world particularly, we want answers easy and quick. But, that just ain’t the way God works. Respectfully, I think that many folks on both (all) sides of this issue focus on the wrong question: “Is homosexuality a sin?” For us heterosexuals trying to grapple with this issue, I’ve come to think of this question as a secondary concern, because it requires us to look “at the other” instead of ourselves. The real question that we should be asking is: “How am I as a Christian, to respond to loved ones involved in (insert your descriptor) homosexuality, the gay lifestyle, queer life… whatever.” Trust me- this can be much harder than coming to a firm judgment regarding homosexuality and the homosexual. This requires one to come to the realization that we are not in control, things are in God’s hands, and we may never [and likely won’t] know the whole truth. It requires us to lean on faith, rather than ‘the law.’ My son is gay, and it does not please me, as I worry for him and love him deeply. Yet, I look back at those Christians and loved ones that influenced me in my early life. Not a single one was a brow-beater, overtly judgmental, or exclusionary toward me. Each one came along side me, encouraged me, let me know that God loved me, and that I was very special in God’s eye. THAT is how we should act to be “the salt of the earth.” And that’s how I’m trying to be toward my son. I wish you well.
First I want to say I empathize with you…as much as I can. I have four small children so I haven’t encountered an issue like that but I do have a close brother in Christ whose son is gay. It hurts him very much. In regards to you believing homosexuals will go to heaven, the Bible specifically says on numerous occasions that they will not. 1 Timothy 1:8-10, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, and of course Romans 1. Not only does scripture say they will not inherit heaven but it shows us Gods plan for true believers. We are to be changed, renewed, practicing holiness, growing with Christ, achieving new steps in sanctification, and ultimately becoming more like God. If a person practices an abominable, detestable act against God habitually, while knowing what his word says, and continues to do it…they cannot walk with Christ. Walking with Christ takes sacrifice. I mean Christ told people who wanted to follow him to give up their families, their wealth, their lovers (woman at the well), their jobs, their reputation, etc….do you really think somebody can walk with Christ and choose to not give up anything that he or she wants? The scripture says to examine yourself and see if you are in the faith. It says you will know them by their fruits. Christ promises two things to those who follow him- a cross to die on and eternal life.
Dale…Respectfully, this is the last comment I am going to approve from you on my blogsite for several reasons.
First and foremost, your interpretation of the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality is the exact kind of thinking that led to our son’s death and to the death of literally countless others. Like almost all LGBTQ+ individuals who have grown up in the church, he knew every one of your talking points backwards and forewards and spent years praying and laboring over the verses you use to “prove” that those who are LGBTQ+ (by no choice of their own) are NOT accepted and loved by God and will, indeed, go to hell. Your interpretation has produced an egregious amount of bad fruit (read Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:17-18), and I can’t continue to allow you to share it here. There are many other places you can freely do that.
Secondly, I would feel differently if you were actually reading and listening to the voices of those who hold different viewpoints than your own. If you care about this as much as you seem to, based on the time you are spending commenting here, please take the time to start truly listening to other perspectives. We demonstrate great love for others when we actually listen to their stories and hear their pain. Please have the courage to truly study why those very few verses have been translated and interpreted as they were, and to understand that there were no committed, monogamous same-sex relationships in the times of the Biblical writers, so the writers could not have been referring to kind of relationships we see today. There are faithful Christ-followers on both sides of this “issue”. Besides, Jesus said nothing about homosexuality. He did, though, have a great deal to say about those who use the law to drive others away from Himself…and though I am sure you aren’t intending to do that, that is exactly what you are doing.
I would be more than willing to send you a more comprehensive list of resources, but for now, I’d encourage you to take a few years simply to listen to and learn from the voices of LGBTQ+ Christians. We in the church have all spent decades giving our attention to those who feel that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people aren’t worthy of being listened to…that somehow they are less of God’s children than we who are heterosexual. But when I look at the life of Christ, I have a strong hunch who HE’D be hanging out with…who HE’D be talking with over coffee. And it sure wouldn’t be those of us who have spent most of our lives working to keep others OUT of the Kingdom of God.
Brava, Linda. You know, Dale made a good point in his final post, about how Christ calls us to give up certain things in order to follow him. The most difficult thing for me to ever give up in my life was legalistic religion. It is truly an addiction, and one that is socially acceptable, so it usually takes something earth-shattering to even inspire someone to want to leave it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? And then, once someone realizes they want to leave it, it is very difficult, much more so than deciding to leave a homosexual “lifestyle,” or any other lifestyle that is deemed sinful. And it is so important, because if someone believes their standing with God depends on their ability to believe and do the right things, then that person might consider that they are treading on dangerous ground. When it comes to the Gospel, it is 100 percent grace and zero percent effort. “All things are permissible, but not all things are beneficial,” and we can experiment to figure these things out. This can be very liberating, and also very daunting. “Where is my safety net?” But to follow Christ, we have to leave behind our dependence on religion. It will cost us, as Jesus warned. I hope Dale and others like him can find the humility and grace of Christ, such as you display, Linda.
Okay I understand. If your son could talk to you right now, I truly believe he would beg and plead with you to just follow God’s word. You can stand on Gods word or you can stand on sand. Good luck and Godspeed
This is a reaction to Linda’s response to Dale:
Linda, apologies for this. I’m writing from a very distant angle, not only geographically, but also ideologically. Yes, Dale’s “interpretation” of the Bible led to your son’s death (not the interpretation sec, but the furthering of this interpretation in the social context of your family then, but anyhow). How about other interpretations (of the Bible)? There hasn’t been a war in the last 1700 years or so that didn’t meet with approving “interpretations” of the Bible. You believe there’s an interpretation of the Bible that will not cause harm?
I grew up in the mainstream Lutheran context of Berlin, Germany, after WWII, which, you may be aware of, had been infected by intra-theological Bible-skepticism and converged on a fairly narrow selection of still-acceptable parts of the holy book, in particular on the first three chapters of the Gospel—the reason possibly being that those parts focus primarily on Jesus Christ, and not on archaic prophets that rarely saw a stoning they didn’t like.
Jesus Christ, then. Jesus has nothing to say about homosexuality. However, he has a lot to say about the marriage as a holy union (and not as a private contract, the way it was seen in the Roman Empire and still is in the Islamic tradition). So, if we stone each other with the words of the Bible, why do we hear so little about DIVORCE these days, which seems to afflict a much larger part of the population than homosexuality. Perhaps you could ask your readers.
Thank You for your patience, Greetings, Michael Ampersant
Dale, thanks for your reply. I see that Linda has informed you that no more of your posts will be approved, so I’ll expect no response. That saddens me, but it is her prerogative. Since you have 4 small children, I’m going to assume that you have less experience at the parenthood game than myself. One thing you will learn over time is that parenthood is a very, very humbling experience. Someday (if not already) you’ll develop a growing awareness of what I’m talking about. Your children are not yours- they’re God’s children… and you’re just a temporary custodian, trying your best to guide them in both the ways of the world and spirit. I know in my case, my mother spent years on her knees praying for my welfare & spiritual awakening, long after she’d lost dominant influence over me (or, so she thought). Yes, I do think a practicing homosexual CAN be a Christian. But, that’s just my opinion. In all honesty, the older I get, the more I realize I don’t know [and likely never will]. Yet, I do not know that individual’s heart. I don’t know if they struggle with guilt, shame, regret, humiliation, etc. Those are issues of God’s purview… not mine. I do know this- Across the pages of history, there is not a single Christian that was or is without sin… not even AFTER becoming Christian. I’ve heard a lot of Christians put forth the view (as you have) that (if I may paraphrase) the more deeply & longer you walk with Christ, the less of a sinner you become, ultimately becoming “more like God.” Respectfully, I think that’s a dangerously arrogant belief. Might I humbly suggest you ponder 2 borrowed words from your last post (taken out of context)- “Examine yourself.” If you’re honest about what you discern, I think you’ll find you’re just as unworthy now as you were before you became a Christian. I do wish you well. Be kind & grateful.
Thanks for your reply mike. I am a young inexperienced father and appreciate your advice. Although I don’t agree with you now, I do appreciate you taking time to try plant seeds within me. I’ll be as kind and grateful as I know how to be. Wish you well too sir. Thanks again. Thanks for everybody who has taken their time out of their day to reply to me. I really do respect your courage and desire to seek truth. Good luck to everyone of you.
I have been following Rob and your testimony and blog which have been very encouraging and comforting – Thank you .
My son came out to us around this time last year which was very difficult for us
We love him and have accepted him, and we are trying to learn more,understand him as well as the LGBT group more.
Sometimes we find that it’s quite a struggle and challenge to reconcile maybe because of our culture and faith.
Can I talk to you more on this. Infact we are in Seattle this weekend and if you are free , we could meet up.
Linda and family,
I first came across your story when I read the book ‘God and the Gay Christian’ by Matthew Vines. It was a brief synopsis but nevertheless it was a punch in the gut. That was my story. I won’t forget the line in the book which encompassed one of the lessons you learned. That you taught your son to hate his sexuality and since sexuality is something which cannot possibly be separated from self, you taught your son to hate himself. I bawled in my car thinking to myself they get it! They get it!
I’m a 39 year old man and in recovery. Finally reconciling with Jesus Christ and losing my terror of surrendering to him. I was a distinctly spiritual child from a very young age. Raised in a devout and conservative Christian home. I believed wholeheartedly and wanted to follow all the rules. My mother and others in our congregation took notice and said I would go far in the church. I think I was a bit precocious, lol. Before I knew better, I lectured the neighborhood kids that they weren’t supposed to be outside playing on Sundays because it was the Sabbath. I would tell myself I didn’t want to break any rules or sin because that was even more pain I would have caused Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. When I was 13 years old, my mother gave me the ‘sexual sin’ talk and I started crying. I told her about my interest in other boys my age. She sent me to see the pastor to get the help I needed to overcome these temptations.
For the next 5 years I met with the pastor on a weekly basis to help me overcome my homosexual attractions. I truly believed in the church and wanted to do everything i could to overcome these feelings. I memorized scriptures, sang hymns, and prayed, and prayed. I was told over and over again if I had enough faith then Christ would take these feelings and attractions from me and replace them with healthy heterosexual ones. The result was I began to hate myself. If I did everything they told me to and it still didn’t work, then something must be wrong with me. In my shame I began compulsive behaviors which were also considered sinful and this compounded the situation. I was subjected to ‘church discipline’ and was no longer allowed to take communion. I was very musically gifted and could no longer sing in the choir, play the piano for the men’s meetings, or give performances in the service with other church youth. I began to fantasize about suicide starting at 15 years old. I attempted when I was 17. When that still failed to get me the help I needed, I joined the military to get away from the toxic environment I was in. I’m convinced that saved my life. The events leading to my enlistment could only be attributed to God.
I think the military helped to slow my downward spiral but eventually my destructive behaviors became addictions. Life finally landed me in recovery a few years ago and it was a long and painful process to extricate myself from the belief that the Christian God didn’t love me and wanted me to change who I was. In my mind there was no such thing as unconditional love. I couldn’t trust God and therefore surrender was impossible. It has been a long road but the faith I had as a child is finally surfacing again. It was put in my heart when I was born and I’ve always yearned for a closeness with Christ, and to do the right thing. Faith and surrender is scary but it’s a relief. I love the song ‘I AM’ by Mark Schultz. I envision myself singing it out to the heavens and earth in defiance of what I was told when I was young. I can be a follower of Jesus regardless of my sexual orientation. God has always been faithful. It’s a matter of letting God do His will, and not what myself, or others think it should be.
I am so sorry you lost your son. I hope you can and have forgiven yourselves. You didn’t know what you were doing. Although my parents will never change their stance or believe what I endured was traumatic, the truth you speak gives me hope and validation. My prayers are with you and your family. Your friend and neighbor in Seattle,
I am the father of a beautiful 11-month old girl, who I expect to be 16 any minute now. Your story brought me to tears. I am constantly in fear that I will affect my child negatively, and that she will suffer for any faults in my parenting. I am a fairly liberal, not particularly religious man, but there are still many situations that are not so clear-cut and easy to handle as a parent. There will be many of my own hurdles to cross in my lifetime as a father, and I hope that you find some comfort in knowing that your experiences and lessons learned have made a significant impact on me, and that I will draw upon that whenever the time should call for it. Your story has changed at least one more life for the better.
Wow, Chris…Your message made my morning! And clearly, you are a wonderful father – determined to raise your daughter to know that she is loved just because she breathes!
I am moved beyond words. I am the mom of a gay son.😢🌈❤️💛💚💙💜
Thank you so much for sharing your story. For taking your heartache and letting God use it for good. You have inadvertently affected me. I belong to a private Facebook group (TR: Freedheart Moms) that has been an saving grace. This group was started out of one of your groups or because of you (not sure exactly which). It’s a group for Christian moms of transgender children. My son is AFAB transgender person. He is also the greatest gift ever given to me, besides his two siblings. God threw me out of my complacent comfort zone so I could question everything I’ve ever learned in church. I’m a researcher at heart so it was a blessing to dive into interpretations and translations of the Bible as well as context and meaning of verses, especially as you look at the verses before and after. It started with my parents who not only abandoned my child but refused to speak to me because I supported him. They did this all in the name of Christianity and the feeling of being convicted from what the Bible says about homosexuality (which is mind-boggling as my son is not gay, he’s transgender). I tried to reconcile my own beliefs when my son told us but it was his therapist who broke through to me. He is a Christian as well and he told me my son wasn’t a mistake but a gift instead and was here for us to learn from especially regarding love and acceptance. In the New Testament, Jesus asks only two things from us specifically- love one another as we would ourselves and have no other gods before me. There is no disclaimer, no buts and or ifs. In that moment in no longer was about my comfort, only about my child’s well- being. My son who once had a love for God no longer will step into church because of Christians who proclaim to know what’s best for him if only he would repent. I find myself taking up his cause now from people like the Activist Mommy and the likes of her. I praise Hod for putting me on this journey. I thank people like you who share their pain to teach others. Bless you!
A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this.
Your story…is very much like my story. I see you wrote this in 2013. It’s still making a difference.
Thank you for telling your story. How powerful for a parent to be able to share with others. I wanted others in the Seattle area to know that the Interfaith Mission of Sts. Francis and. Clare of Assisi is a welcoming and truly affirming small group of many faiths that gather to support ALL people. We are in Tulalip WA and we can be found on FB. I know there are many welcoming churches and we are but one that will support people in thier faith and recovery from the ostracizaton that may have been expreinced. We believe in LOVE.
I like boys, but my mommy and daddy don’t know. I don’t care, I will be with a boy
Thank you so much for sharing your story. My 17 yr old daughter has recently come out after nearly a year. Although I feel as I’ve handled it pretty well thus far, everyday is a learning experience. Her dad hasn’t been so understanding. I came across your story searching for answers regarding her love for God and her sexuality in fear of her letting the judgment cause her more pain than what she has already had to carry alone. Reading about Ryan broke my heart as well as gave me clarity. As Christian parents, you did what you thought was right. There is no guide to follow. As much as my heart aches for you, I am so touched by the love and grace you had for your son and he for you. You were given the chance to make his world right and you did. I read his letter, and was amazed by him and his loving heart. He knew that he was loved and supported. I’m so sorry for your loss. God bless you!
Wow…what an incredibly kind and encouraging comment, Jennifer. Truly!
If you’d ever be interested in a private online group for Christian moms with gay kids, please message me on FaceBook (linda mueller robertson). So many of the moms have stories just like yours…and many of their husbands feel like yours does. No pressure, but if you’d like some support, let me know. Much love to you, Jennifer!
My son told me he was gay over a month ago, when I asked him if he was after having a discourse about his religious paper on sexuality within the Church. He was going to tell me and his dad when he goes off to college in the fall. So my husband does not know. When I found out I cried for a week I was just so incredibly sad. Not to mention angry more at God than anything else; I have my reasons. I have read so many stories online and advice after advice on how to cope with this revelation especially for a Catholic family, I even spoke to a priest in confessional but he seemed to want to blame my husband. Hell, I want to blame somebody, myself included. Anyway, I came across your story of Ryan and it has certainly given me pause on how to approach the religious aspect of homosexuality. My son and I have been discussing what it says in the bible and he has expressed to me how so afraid he is of being alone and going to hell. Oh how I want to scream at God! My beautiful boy! I will reach out to you, Linda, maybe join your FB. I need someone to talk to. There are no perfect words for how to deal with this or help him through his questions and concerns. The priest did offer couseling for me because how can I help him when I am struggling with this, too. But reading your article I am going to try hard to trust God and leave it in his hands since he is the one who did this, not me, not his dad, and my son certainly did not choose this! Thank you for sharing your story. You have no idea how much it helped me and by extension my beautiful son.
Emailing you right now!
It was the story of your son Ryan that led to my coming out to my family in October, 2014 at the age of 58. Until that time I had been too ashamed to say anything or do anything. I just had followed God and done whatever I thought everyone including God wanted me to do. Until this past year I have been alone with no friends because I was ashamed. This past year in 2016, I had my first boyfriend and the relationship lasted 6 months. He broke it off after six months. Since that time I have been so angry at God and at myself for waiting so long to do something about my situation. I am so tired of being angry. I don’t want someone to blame. I just want peace in my heart to live as a gay man and if God sends me gay friends to be with, I would love that. I hope HE will at least do that so I will not continue to be alone. Please keep me in your prayers. Ryan would be so proud of all you have done since he left us. Do keep it up.
Oh, Isaac…no wonder you are feeling anger and loneliness and sadness and probably so many other emotions. I am certainly praying for you tonight. And thank you so much for taking the time to share how Ryan’s story affected your life…what a gift that is to Rob and I!
I wanted to join the Navy, but didn’t because people might think I’m gay. So I joined the army and hated every minute of it.
I wanted to be an RN, but didn’t because I was afraid people might think I’m gay.
I could go on, but every thing I ever wanted to do , I didn’t do for fear people would think I’m gay.
So I learned to become an actor. Everyday, 24/7 and say things I didn’t believe, do things I didn’t want, date girls I had zero interest in and at the end they would feel they did something wrong and weren’t worthy-they’d feel bad, I’d feel bad, but hopefully no one would think I was gay.
But I am. Ive known I was since 5th grade. But I never wanted to be. So I fought it and fought myself and learned to hate myself while telling everyone everything was fine. Panic attack’s in my brain and constant worry, worry I’d be found out, that everyone I loved would reject me, and my heart rate is already going up just remembering. I’ve nevee been able to tell my family my true feelings. I avoided them. We were on a cruise and I was “caught talking to two queers”. I totally panicked and my solution then on was avoid all family gatherings. I always had an excuse and became more and more isolated and alone.
I’m saying all this because everything above – are terrible sins. And why? Because those sins hurt others.
My being gay has never hurt anyone.
All the other things I did hurt everyone.
I never got into drugs or alcohol thankfully-I withdrew into myself and depression. I wanted to kill myself, but knew that would hurt the people I love and I couldn’t. If I told them I was gay it would hurt them. If I killed myself it would hurt them. So I did what I had read in a book, “you can accept that you are gay, but you must accept to not sin you cannot give in to your desires, you either must find a relationship with a woman that will accept you or be alone-God is testing you”. That was basically what I read, and my heart just sank even more. I was the one being tested and would have to live my life in misery, while those that are “normal” get to have the things I want-I’m being punished for being like this-the way I never wanted to be and wished I wasn’t and it’s such a simple thing really, why does it have to be attached to everything?
And I knew everyone would hate me and make fun of me just like in school and this would never end.
I regretted reading that book. I didn’t buy it, I was reading it at the Media Play bookstore and in secret trying to find out what to do.
But then I heard it…I didn’t notice the two guys that happened to have went out of their way to go to the section I was in and read what I was reading.
“Look at this faggot reading a book on how not to be a faggot”. I just melted not from the physical fear but worried others would know. And right there reading the how not to be gay book in the Christian and motivational section I was assaulted. I felt no need to fight back-when I was in my truck later in the parking lot and crying to myself and knowing I could never tell anyone I just felt it was all fitting and that this would be my life. That I was the sinner and the one going to hell. And that I deserved everything coming to me.
25 years of that.
I never thought I was the bad guy.
Going to hell.
Dear Triple G,
I just read your tread and it breaks my heart because I know exactly how you feel. I am sure that I am older than you for I did the same thing you did except I did it for 40 years. I tormented myself for that long thinking that it was what God wanted me to do but do you know that after 40 years I finally told my family ( not all of them but just those I trusted) that I was gay and God began the healing process of healing me from the inside out. He began to show me himself that HE had made me gay for a reason. My therapist asked me one day, “Have you ever considered the possibility that God created you gay for a reason?” For a moment I was taken back by his comment. I had thought about that. I had realized that because I had suffered so much from being gay that I was more compassionate and more understanding of the suffering of others and therefore I tried to help others more. And is that not what God commands us to do. To show His love and HIS compassion. PLEASE PLEASE don’t keep torturing yourself for something that God has allowed in your life. He made you that way for a reason. And you and I know that the Bible says that God does not make mistakes. HE knows beforehand what HE is doing and why he is doing what HE is doing. Accept your gayness, give God glory and let HIM use you for whatever purpose HE has for you in this life. You are one of HIS children. I am not saying that life will be a bed of roses when you do this. Mine has not been and is still not. Most of my family still does not understand and I have accepted this but I know that as long as God is happy with my life and approves of what I do for HIS glory, what else matters Triple G. IS that not what we want? To make our heavenly Father happy?
It is time to accept your gayness and to begin to live your life as God intended you to. You will be surprised at the things you will experience and the joy that God will give you. HE is such a wonderful Father, our Father in Heaven. Let HIM show you just how much HE loves you. Give HIM a chance to show you how to be the person HE created you to be. You will be surprised at what happens.
God does not make mistakes but the Bible does specifically state in Romans 1:18-32 that homosexuality is God’s curse for generational sin & pride. Homosexuality is not part of God’s Devine plan but a punishment for those who seek to circumvent God’s perfect plan. Leviticus 18:22 & Leviticus 20:13 superficially prohibits homosexuality.
Sarah, I trust that you don’t intend to cause more harm to a group of people who have been egregiously harmed much of their lives, all too often by the church…they’ve been harshly judged, condemned, cast out, often publicly humiliated, etc, etc.
It sounds like you feel that God creates people to gay as a punishment…then condemns them for it. Or maybe I misunderstand you. But either way, Paul said that Jesus is the exact representation of God, and we know, from the Scriptures, that God is not a God of vengefulness but of such abundant love and mercy and grace that we cannot begin to fathom how good He is. I am praying today that you will, yourself, come to know the God of Love….and how much He adores and cherishes you.
So you ruined your son’s life and now he’s dead. Congratulations.
So sad… Linda, there are obviously hateful people on both sides of this issue. I know you realize that, but please accept my support.
Said like a true, loving Christian. God is surely happy to see you take pride in making fun of a person’s deceased son.
I get a kick out of seeing how mean “Christians” can be. And you, certainly put on a good show of hate.
I agree Bill. That post he or she made was hateful. Probably a member of the Westboro Baptist Church which is a church that promotes hate against gay people.
Brutal. And absolutely true. What is the Scripture they love to quote? “Whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap.”. So, you truse LAZY, WICKED CLERICS who put LIES in GOD’S MOUTH by ADULTERATING THE TRANSLATIONS OF THE SCRIPTURE and when the WAGES OF THAT GRIEVOUS SIN TURNS OUT TO BE DEATH, you run right back to those same LYING CLERICS WHO TIE UP HEAVY BURDENS ON MEN’S BACK & WON’T LIFT A FINGER TO MOVE THEM. Brilliant! I was raised in a “Christian”, homo-phobic home/town/school, church. At 19, a friend put a gun to his own head. BANG! He left a note that raised more questions that it answered. I eventually figured out WHY he did it and the secret he was carrying. It was the same “secret” I was carrying. I conducted my own Bible study that lasted for DECADES and ANSWERED ALL THE QUESTIONS. And in light of it, I have little room for FOOLS. Years later, someone wanted to post my Answers online. Here it is (clerics beware): https://www.g0ys.org/DeconstructingDemonics.htm
This is just a general comment for those who struggling with sexual indentity. No matter if you are gay or not you are loved unconditionally by the source of life referred to as God in religions. If you are gay it was because it was part of your life’s purpose to be and never has God had an issue with homosexuality. It has always been men who had issues with it. Also I mentioned in a comment a long time ago a book that discussed the near death experiences of gay and lesbian people who almost died and went on a journey to heaven. While there not one of them ever received a rebuke for being gay. It is as if it doe not matter at all.
Wrong. God has issues with homosexuality. God specifically states that homosexuality is a curse for generational sin (Roman 1:18-32). God also specifically prohibits men having sex with other men in Leviticus 18:22 & Leviticus 20:13.
There is not one instance in the bible that affirms romantic same sex relationships.
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”
Ephesians 5:31 does NOT read as
“For this reason a man will leave his father & his other father & be united with his husband & the two will become one flesh.”
Bible specifically states God created woman to keep man company. Bible never states that a man was created to keep another man company.
Sarah…thanks for taking the time to read our story. Though we, obviously, disagree about how to interpret the very few things that the New Testament says regarding homosexuality (Jesus Himself stated that we do not have to follow Old Testament law. If we did, we’d have to follow all of it, and none of us do that.), I respect you for taking the time to read things that fly in the face of your own convictions.
I am curious – why does this topic upset you so, friend?
Who knows what Sarah’s issues are – dealing with her own homosexuality, or maybe she is just a “troll” on this site. But, Linda, I admire your way of going right to a loving response, when it can be so easy to return evil for evil. You are an example for us all!
I don’t know about that (thanks, though <3) but…what I do know is that if we keep screaming at each other from opposite sides of the fence, we'll never end the polarization of this country and the constant online hate that happens. I want to do my part to nurture respect and thoughtful communication. That said, for me, that is way easier to do on the internet than when someone in my own church community is saying something that condemns LGBTQ+ people, people of color, immigrants or other marginalized groups. Then my heart races and I have to breathe before I speak and ask God to give me the same love for them that He has. It is hard, right?
Or maybe God is far more understanding and compassionate than any book can say. God is supposedly against homosexuality yet it still exists and I personally see nothing wrong with it even though I am hetero. If God really had issues with it then he would answers the prayers of the multitudes of gay people who have prayed to be straight. Yet it did not happen. They are still gay. Maybe because there was a divine purpose to their being gay and no one should judge them. If you feel the need to use the bible to judge others then maybe you should read where Jesus said not to take the speck out of someone else’s eye when you have a log in your own.
Brother, you’re going to believe what you want to believe. Your argument doesn’t hold water. Basically, because people have homosexual desires, God wants them to be gay. What about the desire to kill or steal? Do we also acknowledge those as something from God? I’n the end, I will be standing on the word of God and you will be standing on your own opinions. You think what you want to.
I need help, a need. Since I revealed about my homosexuality to my mother I have been suffering, and I have not been able to have the same conversation with my father. My father prefers a dead son to a gay son, I’ve heard of him.
Your father made have said those things but as your father he might react differently. If not it will not be your fault in any way. You still have your mother to love you and I don’t think your father will want to lose his family over this and maybe he will accept it no matter how he feels. You are in my thoughts and I wish you the best outcome.
Hi I am Kenny
Your true story same as What I am feeling now, since I opened my gay personality to my parents 3 years ago ,my parents,younger brother,and my grandma not accept me being gay. And my parents always do pray to the lord Buddha for me not being gay , but it’s makes me feel stress, I said to my parents I feel gay when I was 5 years old. I am not feeling depression when my grandma and my younger brother guess their to bring me to psychologist but I said no I don’t want to go there , when my parents force me to go psychologist , I directly go to room and crying, and I pray I want said my family accept me being gay. 1 years later I bring and introduce my boyfriend from Singapore to my house.my grandma and my younger brother make my bf not comfortable until he leave and choose stay in hotel. I said to my bf I will visit you to your hotel in here but he said in messenger no you don’t need visit me where the hotel I stay because I have a new bf” when he said that to me I cry, depression, and i feel wanna suicide but I think again suicide its finish all problem . And I try to calm myself. And now I have find true bf in my life he from US. I share many things to him and he share too. My bf experience same as me get rejected from peoples when he open being gay
I really want to meet my bf in US but I don’t know how to meet because I need visa , flight ticket to go.there
I hope.someone in here can help me to bring me to meet my bf in US
Because I don’t want stay with my family again, because many depression I get if I must stay long time with my family
God bless you , we said the wrong things with my son Burtton who had told us he was gay. He went off to college and shot himself in the head. I found him . I’m forever regretting a lot of things. It’s been two years since my forever twenty year old son passed away .
Oh, Cindy…I mourn with you. Your loss is so very fresh…my heart is breaking this morning. I am praying for you & your husband today – Especially because it is Father’s Day. I just can’t imagine what it must have been like to find him, on top of losing him.
I sure do know what it is like to be burdened with regret. The only thing that has really helped is the gift of a good therapist…one who really gets it (and lots of visits to see him). I sure hope you’ve been able to find one, too. I am sending you so much love today, Cindy…<3
Though I hardly ever use FaceBook anymore, if you’d ever like to connect more, find me there (I can’t find you)…Linda Mueller Robertson. Again, much love to you. Wish we could sit and have coffee and you could tell me all about Burtton.
God does work with you and talk with you. I know he did with me.
A lot of things are between God and
Yourself and people should quit judging and understand that. I refuse to attend a church where I have to sit and listen to sermons on the evils of homosexuals. There are a lot of things I disagree w/ when it comes to gays and gay culture but you could say that about straights and straight culture as well! God bless this woman!
People die from drug and alcohol addiction because it’s drug and alcohol addiction! I think it’s terrible that this poor mother is blaming herself for her sons death! It’s NEVER your fault when your addict kills themselves! Don’t believe this for a moment! You didn’t cause it and you can’t cure it!
Oh, and if you’re struggling sex addiction like this go to PFOX, Exodus is worthless!
Ryan did not die in vain. His death and your. Sacrifice has saved man y lives and has helpeds so many moms and dads to love their gay children. Thank you.
Thank you, Linda.
I have read (and shared) your story so many times over recent years. I am still finding my words, cadence, and temperament to share. It is so easy to react to the Bible being used to condemn others, or to just shut down.
The more time I spend in the word, the more confident I am in my position.
The Bible is so clear we are NOT to say who will go to heaven/hell – calling those who do hypocrites. That word is used again when it says “do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Mt 7
Verse after verse, I am confident and trust that love is the foundation. My heart breaks for those who suffer, due to the arrogance of those who feel qualified to speak with authority. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, His ways are not our ways. Each person was created, and is deeply loved. How foolish it is for for others to speak otherwise.
Thank you, sincerely for all that you do. DeAnn
An AWESOME STORY !!!
Thank you for sharing your story. The hardest part is the “religion/God” aspect of it – coming to grips with what I’ve been taught my whole life. In my heart of hearts, I know that my daughter is a child of God, and so does she, and I can’t wrap my head around the idea of that paternal love being conditional. That just doesn’t sound like my God. So I pray and try to rest in the peace of knowing that if I love her as instinctually and fiercely as a parent does from their core, so must our God the Father love her infinitely more.
Linda, thank you for sharing this. I think it must be so hurtful for you and I am really sorry for that. I will share this story in Facebook, now I’m trying to make a difference between the people of my church and my city. I know that everything is going to be better and this story will help a lot of people to understand the importance of love and acceptance 🙂
A committed same sex relationship is not a sin. We have too many beings on our planet, so Leviticus does not apply. Unemotional sex, using sex for power or manipulation are sins. Paul starts his worst tirade against same sex relationship with wrath of God. With the gift of His son Jesus, God changed his strategy to love. Since the start of the chapter is off point, I discount the entire chapter. God, the Creator, does not care about sexual orientation or gender identity. STOP preaching falsehoods that cause youth to reject Jesus and God when they hit puberty or in the case of Transgender persons when judgemental “christians” tell them they are not loved. You would be better to tie a milestone around your neck and throw yourself in a lake than to drive a child from Jesus. Follow Christ and love the Creator with everything you are and love your neighbor as yourself, no exceptions!!! If you are doing as you are instructed, you will realize that God creates purposefully. Read your Bible for yourself asking the Holy Spirit for guidance. Being unequally yoked is another valid reason for divorce, speaketh the Child of God who was married to a non-believer.
Sin aside, how does one peer into the heart of another to determine their salvation ? I’ve asked clergy this and they say “well, just ask Jesus into your heart and your saved, … that’s how we know, if you recite the sinners prayer … it’s that simple really? Formula Salvation? I believe it’s way more then a sinner’s prayer that determines this. It’s a tender delicate mystery of the heart that only God can see into.
And what’s the excuse for those who’ve done this and still commit sinful acts? I dated one, almost married him … he was a complete fraud and lived a double life, had me fooled. I’ve explored my faith for many years and I’ve seen some really hateful bigoted Christians in my day… much of the teaching…shameless and false … redemption and salvation are a beautiful mystery that, like the wind, comes to take up residence in the heart that only God and Christ has knowledge of … I’m sick and tired of hatred and hateful bigoted Christians thinking they got a corner on another person’s redemption … you do not have this kind of power ! Okay Dale … and every other person who arrogantly believe they have this magical measuring rod to know the state of one’s heart. I began feeling so uncomfortable while around some fundamentalist that I had to cease attending church … and for other reasons, too many to list here.
I wanna tell you how my heart felt when I read your story Linda about your beautiful son Ryan … I remember what fundamentalist did to Matthew Shepard … how horrible! … your story gave me hope that love covers a multitude of sin. I’ve wrestled with my faith and my entire family are fundamentalist who’ve cast me aside and exiled me for my beliefs. I’m darned tired of it ! I have cancer and all of them have abandoned me. This is not how we show love … the love of Christ has gone out of Christianity and hate and judgment have replaced it. Dale say’s sin is not all the same but I digress … stealing a pencil and lying are sin … both could be used as a weapon to murder someone … I cried ! When I viewed the video clip … you and your husband obeyed the law of Christ…you came to a place of love and graced poured out ! As I said bf “love covers a multitude of sin” … may God pour out his peace upon you !
Thank you. I am undone. This is one of the most beautiful life giving ❤️ articles I have ever read. I am a better person for reading it.
Thank you for sharing this story. My son is gay, now 21. He came out at 16. I struggled with my faith and fortunately, had the liberty to question what I had been taught and the “buts” that you so clearly point out in your story. I was tired of “loving them”, but…. My son’s boyfriend is in a totally different place, hiding his sexuality from his parents and I truly pray your story will one day shed light into the harm this causes. Thank you Linda.
Linda and Rob, I just finished reading Linda’s blog about Ryan. You are both courageous in your struggles and steadfast in your powerful faith. I pray for your continued healing! I was looking for a way to reach out to you to express my sorrow for your loss and to let you know I keep you both and your family in my prayers. In God’s love, Greg Vasquez. Peace
I just recently watched the video of you all speaking this and was brought entirely to tears even from just hearing the beginning of the story, especially because it mirrors so much of my coming out story, as the first thoughts of my parents beyond love was reconciliation with religion. And to be honest, to this day I don’t attend church anymore or even have a relationship with God because of damaging things said to me by church leaders. Parents are the heart and soul of their children and it was so difficult for my parents. This video made me cry like twelve times not because it mirrored my experience entirely, but because it is so real and raw and you are so brave and admirable for sharing your story to help others. I am inspired by you and by Ryan to be authentically myself and seek God in the coming future because this has given me hope that being gay and being Christian can be in the same sentence.
Much love from Kentucky, thank you for sharing your story.
A newly 21 year-old that really needed this today
I am so sorry, Noah, for all the pain you have experienced. Just know that God loves you, even though the church has failed to show that care for you. You might want to check out the website https://www.fortheyknow.org. It gives you information on how you can watch the movie that tells how the Robertsons and three other families have dealt with the LBGTQ issue in love in spite of what they may have been taught by their church. My prayers are with you and I’m glad you had the courage to write.
Oh Noah, I am so sorry for the damage that had been done by Church leaders. Just know that, Church is not God and God loves you like crazy totally and exactly as you are! There are many Christian LGBTQ people out there like Justin Lee, Matthew Vines, Julie Rodgers who are amazing in their spiritual walk and love for God. If you are interested, look them up online and connect with them. They have resources and community. Thank you for writing. Hang in there!
To the Robertsons,
Thank you for telling the world about your son. I have a 24 year old son. He chose to come out on Facebook after going back to his dorm at college. He says he is bisexual. At first we were shocked and did not reply. Then a few days later I responded with is this a joke? We at first told him we loved him. We did not try to change him. We brought him up in church. We don’t think he is saved. He is mad at me because I do not believe in LGBT even though I love him with all my heart. I just pray that God will save him and surround him with the right people. He is also ADHD and Aspergers. My husband says he still is immature. I stand in the gap for my son. My heart is heavy. I just pray Gods will be done. My son is not talking with me right now because I don’t like the bisexual and because I am a republican. He has chosen to be a democrat. The only thing I know what to do is pray. Thank you
While there are countless things that I would like to point out about your letter that concern me, I’ll address the last thing you mentioned in your letter…that the only thing you know to do is pray. Might I suggest you also tell your son that you love him and nothing will ever change that AND thank him for his honesty. When I came out to my mom back in the early 70’s that is exactly what she told me. Her acceptance drew us closer and we spent a lifetime sharing our ups and downs. We cried and laughed as we shared our experiences. We traveled nationally and international together. And, when she came down with Alzheimer’s, I gave up my job and my home to take care of her the final six years of her life. It was the greatest experience/privilege of my life. My point being… how you respond to your son now will determine your future relationship. It can be filled with love and laughter or disappointment and sadness. THE CHOICE IS YOURS. I pray you make the right choice.
I have told him many times I love him no matter what. I will be there for him no matter what. God hates the sin but loves the sinner.
Does your son feel loved? What can you do to in these circumstances to help him feel loved by you? Is it possible to let the fact that he told you he is bisexual go, and just love him, and trust God with the rest? What do you think you can do on your end to help heal your relationship?
Religion shouldn’t enter into this at all. I do know that GOD does not judge, humans do. My son is gay, and he confirmed my feelings in 1993. Never for a second did my feelings towards him change. I have to say that I cried every day for his safety because it was around the time that a beautiful soul was killed…his name was Matthew Sheppard. Love your children no matter what because they are all special. GOD doesn’t judge…humans do.
I understand his pain and feeling, but I understand more what Ryan felt, because I feel the same, I can’t get out of me what was planted, rationally I know it’s not wrong for me to be gay, but I can’t to be happy, I’m always accusing myself, I used marijuana for a while and it really is a momentary relief so I understand again Ryan, but I stopped because I was afraid of hurting people, but I think about dying every day because I never I felt part of nowhere in the world. I am a Brazilian who lives in Boston, I moved in a feeling of despair to try to feel better, but that did not happen. I feel lost, scared and confused
Aargh! Andy, I just posted a response to you and then was told I have to reset my password… when I got signed in, my post was gone. In case you can’t see it, I encourage you to seek out community. Boston probably has a MCC (Metropolitan Community Church), as well as several other LGBT-affirming churches. Just Google it, and lots of options will come up. These folks will give you empathy and support, as well as provide the connectivity you might be missing by being in a new city and country. I wish you the best!
I just want to encourage you. God loves you, there is no shame in being Who You are. God loves you, exactly as you are. God loves you. There are a lot of organizations out there for lgbtq people that you can connect with that understand. Q Christian Fellowship, Beloved Arise, so many stories of Christian gay folks who probably at one time or another also struggled like you. Matthew Vines, Justin Lee, B.T. Harman… Please look some of these people up and reach out. Just know that you are not alone. I’m praying for you, that you will feel the love and acceptance of God who sees you, who knows you, and who loves you with every part of his being. I’m holding on to hope for you.
This breaks my heart. Please know you are not alone. There are so many people who stand with you, and care deeply. We are working do desperately to share stories and change hearts and minds. Those who condemn others, in Jesus name are doing a grave injustice. Please stay strong and know we are here. Sending much love. DeAnn
Andy, I can tell you without a shadow of doubt that God loves you and wants you to fully embrace your sexuality as a part of who you are. Being attracted to the same sex is NOT a sin, acting on that attraction is NOT a sin, telling people that from the pulpit or repeating it is the sin. Please don’t let the poison that you heard over and over destroy your relationship with God or cause you one moment more of grief or doubt. Deprogramming yourself isn’t easy. As others have said, seek community so you can hear this positive message over and over and over until it sinks into your very being. Once you accept this part of yourself and get rid of or limit the negative relationships that still give you the wrong headed message, I see your life becoming much more joyful and peaceful – which is ultimately what God wants for you.
Andy — if you are Catholic, there is a great support group headquartered in Boston, DignityUSA dignityusa.org. If non-denominational, try the Metropolitan Community Church. And, if not religious, there is Boston Pride and Boston Alliance lgbtcenters.org
Joining a support group gains you community — a community who do understand many of the issues you face. Good luck to you.
I want to say thank you so much. I have been grieving since I found out that I not only have 1 gay son but I have 2. They showed signs since they were little. Although I don’t approve I accept them and Love them. You message changed my whole perspective and will change our family dynamic forever. GOD IS LOVE. I’m looking for support group to help me as a single mom on this journey.
There is a private Facebook support group that Linda had started that I am an Admin of called Just Because They Breathe. I would love to talk with you! Please send an email to email@example.com or get in touch with me through Facebook using my Facebook profile here. https://www.facebook.com/berty.quantzwalker. Looking forward to talking with you!
My son is transgender. A year into his new life. He lives 10 hours away from me. I wish he was closer but he doesn’t want to live closer. I pray everyday that God takes care of him. And I tell him every chance I get that I love him! Thank you for your story. Blessings to you and your family
Hi there! I too have a transgender son. I would love to talk with you! If you would like to connect, please email me or send me a fb message using my fb profile at https://www.facebook.com/berty.quantzwalker. Looking forward to hearing from you!
I love the heart of these parents – from their attempt to lovingly share their understanding of God’s perspective, to the continuing forgiveness and openness to their son during his addictions, to their openness to meet him where he was when he was ready to re connect. He seemed to experience their love in everything they did regardless of the stand they took on his sexuality. That is a gift. Our daughter came out, a little at a time, at the age of 19 – at the same time she was sliding into a severe mental illness for which she refused medication but rather complicated her illness with the use of street drugs. We started where these parents started with some of the same responses. But after much prayer, Scripture studying, God seeking, reading and watching different perspectives (including those Matthew Vines, Sarah Bessey, Fr James Martin) we are still there, believing that God loves our daughter as He loves all of us, fallen and sinful in different ways, but has Truths regarding sexuality (the practice of it, not the person involved) that are clear. Is there no place for us to say “We love you and understand your position but don’t agree with your conclusion in the light of Scripture and Church Teaching.” And leave it for her to work out with the Lord? We have reached out repeatedly to our daughter who left our home and dropped out of college to move in with her girlfriend (who is 12 years her senior). Our daughter lives 10 minutes from our house yet refuses to see us. She refuses most times to even speak with us. I know some of this comes from her mental illness but she will lay her refusal at the feet of our faith conclusions. In her words we have to deny our beliefs and “approve of everything” she does or she will not see us. Is it too much to expect or hope that, as we try to understand her views of Scripture that she would acknowledge that ours are different but that she could still have a relationship with us?
Embracing the Journey I want to recommend a Ministry called Embracing The Journey. They are an amazing group of parents who just meet people right where they are. Here is a 6 minute video clip of their founders titled “Greg and Lynn’s story”. It will provide you a good idea of who they are and where they are coming from. They’re also one of the Ministries with Parent connect that Linda shared the link for.
Embracing the Journey has a one-on-one ministry where they talk with parents over the phone to help them process the myriad of emotions that accompany having a LGBTQ+ child. They may be able to help with your relationship with your daughter. That has to be pretty painful for you both.
Embracingthejourney.org is their website
Berty Quantz Walker not Berry 🙂
Tara…I’ll reach out via email, but I think the presentation I gave at NorthPoint Church in Atlanta this past spring addresses your question. If you have time, you can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyThjXl7V0A
Much love to you!
Thank you for the video! I identified with much of it and of course, it raised questions too. The “Letter” your son wrote to you has been texted and spoken to us by our daughter pretty much whenever she chooses to contact us. I know it comes from deep hurt. But, honestly, it also hurts. I know we need to love her, but as I said to my Spiritual Director, “I don’t know what that looks like”. Thanks for giving some clear examples. I never doubted that God still loves her in the midst of everything – completely and utterly, enough to die for her -and I never want her to doubt that , I also don’t want to mislead her that Grace is cheap and what she does doesn’t matter to God…it doesn’t change His love but I think it matters. I leave that for Him to work out with her. Thanks for your honesty in sharing what you’ve learned. Thanks, also, for not pretending to have all the answers and for leaving room for God to work in each of us.
Would you want to have a relationship with someone that every time you saw them, you received unspoken condemnation of who you are and how you were lovingly made? God does not care about sexual orientation. God wants us to have loving relationships in all aspects of our life. Please stop listening to the Church and listen to God. The Bible was inspired in some parts by God, but it was written by man and the Church. The condemnation of the love that your daughter has been blessed to find will continue to keep you away from her. Jesus said it is better to tie a millstone around your neck and throw yourself in a lake than to drive a child from him. Has the teachings you follow been driving children from God? Do they continue to drive children from God and even into the grave?
Ok this is exactly the kind of situation I am trying to avoid. Not because I am closed to hearing alternative views but because you are doing exactly to me what you are afraid I am doing to my daughter – without knowing me – or her. You have arrived at your conclusions through (I assume) careful and prayerful consideration and research. I have as well.My conclusions are not knee jerk the Church says reactions. I have a personal and living relationship with the Lord who has forgiven me plenty and I seek God’s face moment by moment but I am not where you are. I have come to different conclusions and am still called to love just as Jesus loved the woman caught in adultery or the Samaritan woman or the thief on the cross…or me. My goal is to love my daughter with God’s very love because mine is not enough. It’s human. And I trust my God enough to carry us both and He leads us. I was being honest for the first time about this because I thought that’s what this blog was for. There are tons of groups for Christian parents who feel that homosexual activity is fine. There are even groups for parents who believe it’s sinful and have cut kids off. I am looking for a way to love my daughter, allow her space to have her own relationship with God seeking His plan for her while not compromising what I understand to be God’s will and best for His kids. I still believe this is possible.
As I have noted earlier, my daughter suffers also from mental illness (BPD and Bipolar Disorder) the chaos and violence of which is hard to separate out. I am looking for folks who can come along side, suggest and correct where necessary but not judge me as I walk my journey. If this is not the place to do that, so be it.
Hang in there! Your response to Linda’s video that she shared was beautiful. And you’re right not everyone will come to the same conclusions. We are no one’s Holy Spirit, and we all have that access. We are called to Love, and even ways to do that may look differently to people. Keep praying, keep trying to reach out, and keep on loving your daughter. You can find me on Facebook as Berty Quantz Walker if you’d like to chat 🙂
I wish you well on your journey. Particularly with the mental health involvement, I recommend you respect the boundaries your daughter has set. The Lord will eventually lead you where you need to be. I share from a place of love and hope for reconciliation while minimizing harm. Peace be with you
Biology is biology. There’s no changing your daughter regardless of how much you pray about it. By reading your response to another’s comment, I get the impression you are quick to become defensive. Your statement that you were honest for the first time comes across to me as you playing the victim. You didn’t get the support that you thought you were entitled and you lashed out. This is likely the same thing you do with your daughter, which will not change her or bring her closer to you or God. It will only drive her away. Your statement about the Samaritan and the thief on the cross seems to me that you think some sins are greater than others. That is simply not true. As the Bible says, we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s grace.
Let me share with you how my mom handled me coming out. I came out to her at 14. (I’m 64 now). She said three thing to me. 1) I’ll always love you and nothing will ever change that. 2) She held me my my shoulders, looked directly into my eyes and thanked me for my honesty. 3) She pulled me into her arms and told me that she knew since I was a baby. Because of this acceptance, we spent a lifetime of traveling together, both nationally and internationally. We share our good times and our heartbreaks, our sorrows and our triumphs. Then, when she came down with Alzheimer’s, I quit my job, moved from out of state to the little town where she lived and cared for her until her death 6 years later. We laughed together, I fed her, painted her fingernails and got the privilege to show her all the love that she had always shown me until the end. If she had not responded to me coming out the way she did, this may not have been the way it would have played out.
So, please think of what you may be doing now as it may alter you and your daughter’s relation for years to come. People gravitate to those who love and accept them. It’s as true today as it has been throughout history.
I’m not here to criticize you, rather to show you a better way to insure a wonderful relationship with your daughter. Simply love her and drop all the Bible stuff. Trust me it doesn’t come across as love, it comes across as judgement. Simple love your daughter UNCONDITIONALLY and everything will have a much better chance of working out for the both of you.
Please take the focus off of your daughter and look at yourself in the mirror. God didn’t make any mistakes. He made and loves you, just like
he made and loves your daughter…just the way she is. I wish the two of you the very best.
I believe this is a place where you can be honest. But the blog is open to the public so there will be other views/comments. Some that may be giving pushback might be because of pain they or a loved one has experienced as a result of “traditional views”. One thing I say is that having an LGBTQ child is a journey of learning, and stretching, much farther than we ever thought that we could be stretched. But it is also a journey of faith, trusting God, and growth. We find that our relationship with God becomes stronger and deeper also. And as we seek Him, He will show us how to love and understand beyond what we feel we are capable of. This is where the growth comes in. This is where the faith and trust comes in. We as Christians want our relationship with God to become deeper so we have to trust that this is all a part of that process. This may not be so much about our relationship with our kids as opposed to our relationship with Him and what He’s trying to teach us about love. But the more we lean into Him and open our hearts to him loving us the better we are able to love our kids. So in humility and with grace we just LOVE. Because that’s how we emulate the love of Jesus. Praying for you on your journey!
My Facebook profile if you’d like to talk https://www.facebook.com/berty.quantzwalker
Thanks. I get it. Honestly i was just so happy to read a blog and watch a video that was refreshingly different that ones that place folks in boxes of affirming or rejecting. I agree with you about our relationship to God. I would have to say that despite sought the Lord from my early teens, and walked with Him through some really intense stuff, in the past 2 years I have grown so much in knowing the Lord and His love for me and my daughter (and her partner btw) and i know He is using this time for that. And i also know i haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of the love of God Who IS love as you said. Thanks for the link. I will take you up n your offer…
Well I’m so glad you found the blog! I like to say God knows exactly what we need exactly when we need it. You didn’t get here by mistake. God is also in the reconciliation business so don’t give up hope on that with your daughter!
Hello I wanted to say how heartbreaking I found your story about your son. Absolutely tragic and I hope you can heal from this.
I haven’t seen mentioned here or in comments, but there seems to be no mention of a study of the bible in its original text ie Hebrew etc. The translations to modern day bibles are very different to the original. In other words from what I have researched, the original texts do not refer to anything about gays, only about pedophilia, rape, etc. Just wanted to mention all this. God bless
I am so very conflicted after reading this. I’ve been taught by my Christian faith to love everyone but not to stand. My grandson is 25 he’s coming out as transgendered. My daughter is having a very difficult time with it of course but has decided to embrace him and let God judge. She has fear he will commit suicide as he has talked about it. But once he came out to his mother, my daughter he seemed more at peace. He’s not talk to me at all although I’ve said nothing contrary to his decision. My heart breaks for the life he will live if he fully transgender‘s and that community definitely has a dark side with lots of violent towards each other drugs and so much sex I have decided my love for him has not changed or will it ever change but he will since I cannot embrace this decision. We’re taught that God doesn’t make any mistakes ever. If that is true, how do you explain the so-called choice of being gay? I’m terribly sorry you lost Ryan.
Paula…thank you so much for reading and commenting here! It is so clear that you love your daughter and your grandson, and are bravely trying to work through your questions. I will email you privately, okay? I have a weekly virtual group that you and/or your daughter could join to talk through all of this without any judgment…a place to ask all of these hard questions and to process the fears you have about your dear grandson coming out as trans. God is with us in all of these scary places, my friend!
Just in case someone else is interested in the group I described above, you can find more information about it here:
Paula, you sound like an amazing grandmother! I love how concerned you are for the welfare of your grandchild. Being conflicted would be pretty normal no matter what, if we believe our Faith tells us one thing and well, life seems to contradict what we have been taught right or believe to be true? I think it’s pretty normal to feel that tension. One thing I say is, although we love our kids/grandkids God loves them so much more than we do and He’s not surprised by any of this. We can believe and trust that. As a statistic transgender people do have a higher rate of suicide or attempts because of the lack of support they get so it’s important for us to just be good listeners if we can’t do anything else. So I’m glad you and your daughter have chosen to Love above all else. I myself have a transgender son. Although I no longer struggle with my faith, there were many times I struggled with the idea of transgender and what it all meant. I also highly recommend the group that Linda mentioned. it’s a great group of people who “get it”.
While I cannot comment on anyone who is coming out as transgendered, as I’m not transgender myself. As a 65 year old man who has been gay all his life, I can assure you that there isn’t a “choice” to be made in being gay. Just like straight individuals don’t “choose” to be straight.
Thank you for sharing your story and your blogs. They have ministered to my heart in ways that I can’t express. For two years, I made all the same mistakes with my college age son. And I can’t move my wife over to the place that we need to be in order to love and support our son. It’s heartbreaking. It’s as if my wife believes that if she accepts my son and gives it to God, she’s lost him. We are heartbroken. Again, im so thankful that I read your story a year ago. It changed my life and God immediately began healing me and giving me a different perspective. Me and my son now have a great relationship, but it is hindered because of the anxiety that his mom causes him. I still have hope. And frequently share you posts with her in hopes that one day – God will use your story to change her like I’ve been changed
Thank you so much for sharing what you are going through, my friend. I so wish I could connect with you, since the groups I lead have so many parents like your wife in them. I don’t know if she’d be willing to watch my latest presentation with you or to consider joining my virtual group, but it would be such a safe space for the two of you to work through your different approaches to your precious son. If you see this, reach out to me by email or FaceBook, if you’d like. In the meantime, I am holding this grief with you, and I am feeling so thankful that your son is hearing from his dad that he is loved loved loved. The fact that he has you in his corner is everything!
Why do you blame yourself for “Rex not loving himself” and “God not making him straight”.. It was your son’s sin that caused all of this pain. We all will struggle at some point with a sin that ensnares us but God said He will leave us a way out… Sin separates and cause death. No matter how much I love somebody if they are living in sin my love will not change the consequences on their obedience will. God did not spare His son for our sin so do we honestly believe He is going to do something different for ours…. Really think about it. God said what He said and He gave us the freedom to choose.
Why do you blame yourself for “Rex not loving himself” and “God not making him straight”.. It was your son’s sin that caused all of this pain. We all will struggle at some point with a sin that ensnares us but God said He will leave us a way out… Sin separates and cause death. No matter how much I love somebody if they are living in sin my love will not change the consequences on their obedience will. God did not spare His son for our sin so do we honestly believe He is going to do something different for ours…. Really think about it. God said what He said and He gave us the freedom to choose. Thank you for sharing this story.
I remember when this first came out. I was angry about it then and I find myself just as angry. I am gay and I have a gay son that unfortunately has a mother that sounds a lot like you. Draping your exclusionary judgement in flowery words meant to disguise and also excuse yourself for the truth of what you espouse. Let’s be clear: No christian church will EVER be a safe place for anyone LGBTQ+. There will always be a line in the sand for us, a place in which christians will point us out as being less than an inherently evil. You base your judgement on the bible. I’m sure you know the thousands of versions, revisions, “tweaks”, “corrections” that are in that awful book that is more a weapon than anything. The contraction with christianity is that you espouse love for everyone but you cannot love someone as perfect in your god’s eyes then at the same time harbor judgment. Simply not possible. Christians contort themselves to justify and excuse the behavior that their god claims to be against. And on top of that, their god is omnipotent and all knowing yet these mortal christians claim to divine his “intent”. If he’s who you claim he is he doesn’t need you to explain him. Bottom line, you rejected your son’s inner most being and you got what you gave.
Tom, thank you for sharing how you see me, and what my blog makes you feel.
I agree wholeheartedly with so much of what you said, Tom.
And, bottom line, you are absolutely right. I rejected my son’s innermost being and I got what I gave. I will regret doing that every moment for the rest of my life.
That is why I share this story. That is why I agreed to allow Today.com to reprint it…in the hope that it will help others see the contradictions you point out.
I am weeping as I reply to you, Tom. Please know that I value your words and am truly sorry that my words caused you pain – again.
I am so sorry for how you and your son have been mistreated. I am an LGBQT+ person of faith. It took me a long time to get here. I do not let Christian Nationalists, evangelicals or fundamentalists define my faith. My partner and I attend an excellent church that is safe, welcoming and affirming, St. Andrews United Methodist Church in Highlands Ranch, CO. The words of Jesus are truly embraced there. If you ever need an encouraging word, they do online services. May you and your son find peace and live your best life. Forgiveness is so important and any parent who has lost a child, like Linda (like my parents), deserve compassion and understanding. I hope you won’t let the anger you feel prevent you from having peace and extending grace to others. My only judge is the Lord God Himself.