There was a time each year, when Pride Month came around, I would roll my eyes and make fun of the month. Then in 2015 my son told us that he was gay. As a family, we were crushed; we were embarrassed, ashamed, angry, and we felt all alone.
A New Level of Solitude
I was embarrassed because my son was gay. I felt ashamed because I was ashamed that my son was gay. I was angry at myself, believing that I had done something wrong as a parent. I felt alone because I had no one to talk to. Without realizing it, my wife and I began to believe the lie that we needed to keep this quiet. Nobody could know, because if word got out that I had a gay son it would ruin the ministry, because he is a well-known pastor’s grandchild. This took our family to a level of solitude that few could understand.
If you follow my wife on Facebook, you will know she can be very transparent. We felt alone because she posted something on Facebook which said that we desperately needed prayer. I cannot remember what the post was precisely, but if you’d read it, you would have known something was incredibly wrong in our family. We felt alone because there was only one person in our inner circle who reached out to us during this time. I thought, “Maybe no one cares, maybe we are an embarrassment,” but we had to do what was right for our family.
Not knowing what else to do, we reached out to Janet Boynes Ministries for advice, hoping to get some answers to a situation that was unfamiliar to us. Not only did we talk with her, but so did our son.
A Different Group
In January 2018, we had diversity training in our church. I had just moved back to Minnesota and begun working again in the church’s Christian school IT department. I was assigned to sit in every training meeting for tech support just in case something went wrong. Every individual associate and their team heard the instruction one time from the trainers. I heard it many times!
During one of the sessions, while we were discussing racial diversity, the Lord began speaking to me about a different group. He began to tell me that there is a diverse group that the universal church judges. This group gets looked down on by people who think that they are better than them.
He began talking to me about the importance of loving them where they are. He also told me that a significant percentage of His children take it upon themselves to try to clean the fish before they catch them and then they take it upon themselves to continue to clean the fish after they have been caught.
The Lord reminded me that day that in His Word He did not tell us to clean the fish but to catch the fish and then it is the Holy Spirit’s job to clean them. Jesus said in Mark 1:17, “Come follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” We must speak the Truth but speak it in love and allow the Holy Spirit to work in their hearts.
Trust the Holy Spirit
Jesus also said that when the Spirit comes, He will convict the world of sin. (John 16:8) This brings us to the alternative lifestyle of homosexuality. Deep down in their core belief, most of this community believes they were born this way. They believe this with every fiber of their being.
So, when we, as a church, tell them that they are in sin, they receive it as a mixed message. If I was born this way, how can God love me and yet call my lifestyle sinful? Their response to that type of message can be one of hopelessness and not of hope. So, we must use wisdom and trust that the Holy Spirit will show them who He really created them to be.
I Had to Repent
Many times, the church holds certain sins to a higher degree than other sins. Jesus said to remove the plank from our eye, then we can effectively remove the splinter out of someone else’s eye. (Matthew 7:5) That is the message of I Corinthians 13 which says that love is kind, patient and believes the best about others.
When He said this to me, I had to repent because I was one of those who judged the homosexual community in an incorrect way. I made fun of them instead of praying for and sharing the Gospel with them in truth and love. The concept of loving them, without compromising the truth of God’s Word, has set me free from embarrassment, shame, and anger regarding my son. We can now agree to love one another in spit of our deep disagreements.
Today we are not only dealing with a son who says he is gay, but also dealing with the fact that he went from believing he is gay to being non-binary to saying he is transgender. My wife recently told me that with therapy, our son has realized that while he will never get his dad to agree with his lifestyle, he knows that his dad loves him.
The Church Should Reach Out
The reason I am saying this to you is because it is time that the church should reach out to those who find themselves in the same position we were in eight years ago. The church needs to be a safe place, regardless of what people are facing. We, as a church, need to have compassion without compromising the word of God.
I am not saying that we need to change our doctrine to accommodate same-sex or transgender desires or impulses, since it remains sin. Not at all. What I am saying is that we need to educate our congregation on how to love people where they are regardless of what type of sin they are in because the bottom line is that sin is sin. Whether people are struggling with porn, addiction, homosexuality, or gluttony, we as a church need to be a place of hope and restoration.
You are Loved
I have a vision that one day churches in every community would begin an outreach during the pride week. A church could set up a tent during the pride festival in their city with a group of people with T-shirts that say, “How can I pray for you”? We would give out free water and tie-dye bracelets with the statement “You are loved.”
All churches should be involved in an outreach like this. The focus should be to demonstrate the Scripture that says, “The kindness of God leads us to repentance.” (Romans 2:4) We believe that a connection can be made with some people we meet, which could lead to sharing the Gospel of salvation with them. But these individuals must know that we are motivated by love for their souls.
I also believe it is time that churches offer a support group to help parents know that we love them and will help them through all the emotions they are going through such as my wife and I experienced. We also would like to see ministries such as Janet Boynes’ get the support they need so they can continue helping the church have a better understanding of how to deal with homosexuality in our churches and in our homes.
Pastor Micheal Minton works in pastoral care and ministry at his church. He attended Jerry Savelle Ministries Bible Institute and School of World Evangelism. He has been married for 26 years and has two children. In his free time he enjoys watching sci-fi, studying the Word of God, playing board games with friends and going out adventures with his wife.