Talking About LGBT Issues with Kids
Surprised By My Kid's Questions
A few years back I picked up my kids from an enrichment program and had no idea what I was about to encounter. On the drive home my oldest said to me, "Hey mom, I have something inappropriate to talk to you about when little ears aren't around." I didn't think too much of it, but appreciated that she knew the questions she was about to ask needed to be asked in private. Thank God for that! For this was the day I had to break my daughter's heart and tell her about levels of depravity in the world she hadn't known existed.
We got home and started doing all the normal things--putting backpacks up, getting a light snack, etc. When I started making dinner later that evening I invited my nine year old in to talk with me. The younger kiddos were busy playing and bathing so we could have a semi-private conversation in the kitchen together while preparing dinner. Little did I know that this was going to be one of those, "keep a calm face while your jaw drops to the floor inside your body" conversations. It sounded a little something like this...
"Mom, today my friend told me that her horse riding instructor's daughter used to be a girl but now is a boy. They chopped off her breasts and sewed on a penis. She saw the scars mom, she saw the scars!...I don't wanna hear anything else from this friend for the first time, so please tell me everything cause I wanna hear it from you."
Partnering With the Holy Spirit
"Hold on one second sweetie," I calmly replied. My heart broke and I felt the wave of fear and dread for the conversation we were about to have. I went to my husband and gave him the thirty second version of what had just come out of our child's mouth. He was supportive and incredible. He told me to drop everything and go talk with our kiddo and he would take care of the other kiddos. What a blessing it was to have such a strong servant leader heart in my husband in that moment. Our oldest was heavy with spiritual questions and a heart aching to know what was happening in our world, and thankfully I have been blessed with a man that not only leads our kids into deep spiritual waters but also holds down the fort while I tend to our children's hearts with one on one conversations.
We went into my bedroom and shut the door. With tears in my eyes I proceeded to tell my daughter about the hunger for Truth in our world and the lies of the enemy. I remember a friend telling me once to use bigger words in hard conversations like this so that it would be harder to repeat--at least for now. (This is such a tender topic that I didn't want our child to be introducing other children to burdens they are too young to bear.) It was so hard to tell my child that people around us are mutilating their bodies because they do not believe God created them to be who they actually are, and there is so much mental illness and darkness surrounding this issue. We talked about transgenderism, homosexuality, witchcraft, and all the lostness that surrounds us in our neighborhood. I said things like, "and these neighbors are gay, but we love them and God loves them. And this neighbor is a witch and we love her and invite her into our home," etc etc. There are so many lies people have been led to believe that our heart should break for those lost around us--that was a huge emphasis of our conversation. Rather than a bunch of finger pointing, our conversation was focused on how we are all broken and in need of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. (And some have even heard God's Truth but chosen to reject it).
While I hadn't prepared any kind of script for this conversation I knew that I had to do two things: Be honest about what sin is, and point everything back to the NEED for Jesus. This IS the basic gospel message. (Romans 3:23-we have all sinned and need Jesus!) Satan loves to twist the truth and make darkness sound sweet and inviting. However, I wanted to be clear about the reality of certain behaviors--like two gay guys can't have a baby together because that's not how God made our bodies to work. I also wanted to make it clear that we can still be loving and gracious to the people around us who believe differently. We can pray for opportunities to share truth, but also focus on being Christ's light through open homes and generous hearts.
In the midst of sharing such dark and burdensome realities with my oldest I had such a great peace. I felt the Holy Spirit giving me words to speak and encouraging me that this child was old enough to know and carry what I was about to tell them. When I was a kid I had no idea such behaviors existed until I was much older--and I went to public school! It wasn't something very present in our culture at that time and you certainly didn't see such depravity on commercials every five seconds like you do today. However, I had no idea I was going to have to talk about such brokenness so early in parenting--but she was ready. Thank you God for getting us through our first talk about this issue and for the grace to continue to conversation the last few years as needed.
Trusting Your Relationship With Your Kids
I never would have known any of this conversation happened between my child and their friend had my child not felt safe enough to tell me. They knew that mom and dad were the place to go for truth! And they knew I could be trusted to tell them the truth and walk with them through it. I praise God for the timing of this conversation! Our relationship was strong and open and because of that I had the privilege of being the person my kid went to in order to find answers! While it was hard to watch my precious daughter cry learning about the brokenness in our world, it heightened the need for Jesus and how HIS ways are the BEST ways and we can TRUST and OBEY Him because HE IS GOOD!
Unfortunately there were some hard conversations to have with the leader of our enrichment program and the mom of my kid's friend. I was concerned that if a child was "seeing scars" that there might be some form of sexual abuse going on so of course I made those phone calls that night! Thankfully our enrichment leader is biblically solid and knew how to stand firm against such teachings, and my kid's friend was safe (besides being grounded for lying about some of the things they told my kid).
Loving People Who Are Lost
There are always going to be lost and hurting people around us no matter where we go. Heck, that's what the church is--a place for the broken, and we are all broken! The difference today, however, is that there are so many Christians who have decided that they can accept Jesus as their Savior, but not as their Lord--meaning they don't believe in or commit to obeying His Word. They've placed their feelings and own ways on the throne of their lives and have completely gone astray. I've watched this unfold multiple times. It starts with wanting to believe that homosexuality isn't a sin, and before they know it they are miles away from truth and preaching transgenderism and other falsehoods.
We HAVE to be engaged with the world around us. We CANNOT hide ourselves and our children in a bubble thinking that they won't be affected by the darkness of this world. We must walk beside them as we love and minister to those around us. We have hard conversations about what it means to love somebody and care for them, yet still be able to humbly disagree with how they live their life. This is the mark of maturity in a believer--no longer being influenced by the world around them, but spreading Christ's love radically wherever they go.
I know God has us in this town and this neighborhood for this exact reason. People are attracted to the light and love within our home and children and want to know how we have such peace. Don't get me wrong, our family is a bunch of sinners walking around on two legs just like everyone else and when people start to put us on a pedestal we make sure that the glory goes to God for how He's redeemed different behaviors and habits in our own lives . Our Hope has a name. We KNOW who we are in Christ and are not tempted to change that identity to fit into the mainstream world.
When we can love someone and give them radical grace despite completely disagreeing with their worldview and belief system it helps remind us of this truth---Jesus loved and received sinners encouraging them to believe, and then obey. I once heard an underground pastor speak this truth: most often in church circles we see this: behave first, then believe, and THEN you can belong here. Scripture is clear---belong (as a child of God made in His image), believe, and THEN behave. It's only AFTER we become a believer and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit that we can start to see how to "behave" differently. The Holy Spirit partners with the living and active Word of God to convict us of areas we have neglected in our hearts to surrender to the Lord. We can trust and obey God's Word because there is SO MUCH FRUIT when we choose God's ways! With God's help and the dwelling of the Holy Spirit I've been freed from addiction and shame and the disease of perfectionism. I've also seen friends freed from homosexuality, alcoholism, pride, greed, and lives of deceit and infidelity. One thing is for certain, it is God working through us to transform us into His likeness, and He IS love himself. Regardless of what the world says "love is" or "love looks like" we can trust in Love himself to teach us Truth in this area through His Word and His Spirit.