Coming Out and Being Left Out


Someone close to me recently “came out” and disclosed to their family that they are gay. This person’s parents have had a hard time dealing with this, and there has been a gap of I think hurt and anger between the parents and their child.

My views on alternative lifestyles are clear to those who have read other posts in this blog, which is that we are all God’s creatures, and that how we live our own life is between us and God, subject to whether our lifestyle hurts or compromises the lives of others.

In this light, my friend’s “coming out” really hurts no one.  It does cause emotional stress for the parents, but only because they are not emotionally or intellectually prepared to deal with this new reality in their lives. Their reaction to this is (I think) a mixture of anger, hurt, and “how could my child do this to us?”  They need time to adjust, and need to be willing to love, and to be changed by their love.

My advice to all those in such a situation is to remember that your child, particularly your adult child, is a child of God even more than they are your child. And, since they are an adult, it is no longer up to you how they live their lives; it is up to them.

As parents, when our adult children do something (like this) that we cannot comprehend, we need to be willing to realize that their telling us of it is a major challenge for them, because they know they are likely to be rejected, just as they have felt shame, hurt, oppression and anger all of their lives, trying to hide this inner self that they feel is an inescapable part of who they are from the world.

So, my advice is to remember that your son or daughter’s life is hard enough, living with this reality. As parents, we may not understand their lifestyle, or like it, but they are our child. As such, it is important to remember that our Father in Heaven loves us the same no matter what we do, and even though none of us are perfect.  Regardless of who we are, we are called by Jesus to love others, most especially our children, in the same way.  Even though they are just as imperfect as us, God sees the perfection that is within.

 

Copyright (c) 2011, Allen Vander Meulen III, all rights reserved.  I’m happy to share my writings with you, as long as you are not seeking (or getting) financial benefit for doing so, and as long as proper credit for my authorship is given (via mention of my name on your site, or a link back to this site).

Author: Allen

A would be historian turned IT Professional who responded to the call to the Ministry, and is now focused on social justice and community service. He is a father of two (ages 28 & 7). He and his wife enjoy life near Boston. You can follow Pastor Allen on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PastorAllenV/ or on Twitter @allenvm3.

3 thoughts on “Coming Out and Being Left Out”

  1. Thank you for these compassionate and thoughtful words, Allen. As a gay women it’s always nice to know that those who are not gay have some understanding of what it means to be the “alternative” to the norm.

    But in the interest of moving this understanding forward I would ask you to examine/clarify what you mean when you use the word “lifestyle.” Simply defined this refers to how one lives one life but the connotation is that it is a choice. There are many different kinds of lifestyles and how we choose to live can be considered “our” lifestyle. But being gay is not a choice. It’s as natural to me as my the color of my eyes and my race. We don’t say that a straight person is living a “heterosexual lifestyle,” or a black person is living an “African American lifestyle” – instead they are just “living” – in the only way that they know possible.
    I feel the more appropriate word to use here is “orientation.” And while some people’s orientation is not fixed (as in the case of bisexuals) for most of us there is no conscious decision made to be attracted to one gender or the other. To quote Lady Gaga (horrors!) we’re simply “born this way.”
    Now, this may be what you believe as well and you just haven’t gotten out of the habit of using the word “lifestyle” – if so I’m sorry to sound like a nitpicker! 😉
    But for those who still haven’t grasped the understanding that gender attraction is not a choice, the language they hear others use will either validate their belief (it’s a “lifestyle”) or challenge their belief (it’s an “orientation”).
    Now I will get off my soapbox.
    Great post! Thanks Allen!

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    1. I stand corrected. I tried to get at this same idea by stating that this – orientation – is an inescapable part of who my friend is. However, your suggested wording is much better. (And, given that you live this reality while I am only an observer, how could I say otherwise?) I will use the word “orientation” from now on.

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      1. … and I should also note that I DO NOT believe that homosexuality or any other orientation, for that matter, is “imperfect.” When I say “imperfect” in this blog posting, I am stating that we are ALL imperfect, and believe that when we see imperfections in others, it is as much (or more) a reflection of what is imperfect in us than it is a statement of reality – as Jesus “whitewashed tombs” statement in Matthew 23 (and other passages) teach us. Finally, I believe that any “imperfection” – whether perceived or real – has nothing to do with how God sees us, which is as perfected in Christ through his sacrifice on the Cross.

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