Plenary #3 Robert Jones
Compassion, Care and Counsel for Families Broken by Homosexuality
1. Particularly aimed at parents
2. Assume that parents are suffering because they love they love their son or daughter; but because of what they believe about Scripture, they have trouble due to their child’s embracing homosexuality.
3. Assumes a family where the child has embraced homosexuality
4. Assumes the audience for this talk
While no passage in particular refers to this matter,
Matthew 9:35–36 (ESV)
35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Here is Jesus’ regular ministry: making personal contact with the people who were in struggles. He understood their needs; they were being harassed by their rulers. Jesus understood their needs, but he brought them help: he brought himself (God’s answers).
In counsel, we enter into the family and enter into their suffer and bring God’s Word as their family and friend.
How do we do this?
First, we must enter into the world of the suffering parent. We must know who they are. If the family has a member with cancer, you’ll probably know. But if there is a homosexual child, the family is less likely to tell you. If you learn about it, they are unlikely to seek counsel. Therefore, we must be approachable and open to them. (Col. 3:12)
Second, if do know and are let him, how do we engage:
2A Thank them for letting us into their life. Acknowledge their courage to share.
2B We weep with those who weep;
2C Seek to understand
Third: Learn. Question: What are these parents experiencing? I don’t know, you don’t know until you sit down with them and listen to them. Don’t assume. Don’t say, I know what you’re going through. Don’t hijack their suffering.
Listen so well that the person you’re speaking to draws the conclusion that you do understand.
Example: The Lord, even, heard of Haggar’s suffering. The Exodus began with God heard their suffering — the Exodus began with the ears of God. This is what redeemers do: they see, they hear, they enter into that world — then they act.
There is nothing more Godlike than being a good listener: Psalm 116:1, “he heard my voice ….”
What are the common things heard:
Parental shock; numbness; they don’t expect this to happen. The child has probably been struggling with these questions for years.
Parental Confusion: Why, what, when did this happen? The parents scramble. As a pastor, you may be the last to learn.
Parental Despair: Loss of hope. “The phrase it feels like he died, comes up more than any other.”
Parental Anger: Betrayal, What have you done to me. We may have been lied to directly or indirectly. Just like any parental relationship, there is plenty to be disturbing. Anger against God.
Parental Guilt: If anger looks at the child and says, What you have done?, Guilt looks and says, “What have I done.” Nothing causes; it may influence, but not cause.
Parental Shame: Embarrassment, disgrace. What will people think of me or my child?
Loneliness, isolation: To whom can we speak? Who will relate to us? Upon discovery, most parents don’t seek (here is the importance of being approachable so others feel freedom to go).
HOW DO WE HELP?
We have entered into their world? How do we bring Christ?
Help Parents Draw Near to God, and thus find security and identity in God. The parent’s chief identity is being a child of God, not parent of this child. I am who I am before God. Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. Psalm 27:10 Though the earth give way — God is our refuge and strength. Heb. 4: Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence to receive (1) mercy, (2) empowering grace.
A counselor cannot answer every question: but you don’t have to.
Help parents distinguish parents’ responsibility from child’s responsibility.
Isaiah 1:2 (ESV)
2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;
for the Lord has spoken:
“Children have I reared and brought up,
but they have rebelled against me.
You can be a perfect parent and your child may rebel
Help parents to see what they rightly may do and desire.
We ask God to bring about the repentance of the chid.
Help parents connect with their church.
Help them to confide with some mature others. The parents need (1) support, and (2) reaffirmation as to what the Bible teaches (for instance if the child says, the Bible permits this).
Help parents gain and maintain godly unity.
Help parents to humbly love and communicate with their child.
The Pharisee and the tax collector.
I thank you I am not like other men. the only thing worse than being a robber, adulterer, is being one who is proud he is not.
Humility and love does not mean rejecting the person or compromising their convictions.
Help parents know how to think through a host of practical question: Can he live here? Can he visit here? Should we attend his same sex wedding? How do we care for the other children?
Coda: A family’s experience.
Parents needing to truly understand that God is truly good — even if my child is a vessel of wrath. It doesn’t mean I’m immune pain.
While the child was raised well and even made a profession, it was not helpful for others to point to his past experience as comfort.
Child’s grasp of God’s power: With God there is plentiful redemption. God is more than able to save our son. As long as Manassah could be saved.
**How has the church helped? We knew we were not alone, we knew that people cared. They cared for us in a knowing way. They were not experts, they learned along with us.