“My teenage son just came out to me. As a devout Christian, I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. What will his future be like? Is he truly a sinner in God’s eyes?”

Question Submitted Anonymously
Answered by Broderick Greer

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Broderick Says:
Dear Devout Christian,
Your scenario and question embody the uncomfortable corner many conservative Christians find themselves in today: a theology of human sexuality that doesn’t match their lived experience. If you would, please take a moment and imagine your son on his first day of school: his mini backpack, sneakers, and lunch pail. Remember the hopes you had for him, the joy you felt toward him, and the delight you had in him. In that watershed moment of development, did it ever cross your mind that your son might be a sinner in God’s eyes? I highly doubt it. If anything, you probably thought something like, “God, thank you for the gift of this child and for the life and goodness and beauty he exudes.”
As you savor your son at age five, ask yourself what has changed about him for you now. Does he bring you any less joy, awe, or pride? Does the disclosure of his sexual orientation chip away at your fundamental feelings of affirmation and hope for him? If so, your heart is worth searching. God does not think any less of your son because of his sexual orientation. If anything, your son’s coming out opens up a new dimension of access to God’s infinite, limitless love. Your son is not a sinner in God’s eyes. Your son is a masterpiece of divine handiwork who deserves your merciful attention. If you continue to give him the space to explore himself in honest ways, you will help lay the foundation of a hopeful, generative future for him.
As far as marriage being between a man and a woman, I agree—in part. I know many straight, married couples. However, I also know many married couples of the same-sex whose relationships engender mutuality and joy. A same-sex couple who have been together for 15 years are housing me for the summer. They are hospitable and generous in every way possible. They ask me about my day and if I need anything. For me, this summer, they are fleshing out Jesus’ command to love the stranger. If they are sinners in God’s eyes, then you need to change your definition of sin.
Sincerely,
Another Devout Christian

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Broderick Greer was reared in Texas, went to college in Tennessee, and is now a master’s of divinity student at Virginia Theological Seminary. He enjoys jogging, traveling, Beyoncé, politics, and vanilla milkshakes.

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2 thoughts on “Dear Devout Christian

  1. Who is right? You say with great clarity and assurance that her son is not a sinner in God’s eye’s and someone else would say the exact opposite. Don’t we all choose to believe what is easiest, what fits our needs the best, what soothes our conscience? I’m truly seeking clarity and wanting to know what is right and wrong. I believe we are all sinners and the best we can do is to love one another. But to say that God does or does not see homosexuals as sinners….who has the answer for sure??

  2. Perhaps in your view only the Eternal has the answer for sure. If each of us is made in God’s image, and has in us a divine spark, then I suggest you can find YOUR answer in your own divine spark. What someone else would say is really between that person and God.

    There are many scriptural verses we no longer follow literally. Deuteronomy 23:2 (in King James) :3 (in Torah), for example: “A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter in to the congregation of the Lord.” Or 23: 28-29 (in both): “If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;
    Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife.” Jewish and Christian congregations alike neither exclude children of unmarried parents nor force rape victims to marry their rapists. We look in our hearts and our Books, and a find a preponderance of direction to “love your neighbor as yourself,” “not hate your brother or sister in your heart,” and “honor your father and mother.” LGBT people are our children, our siblings, our parents.

    Here is an interesting sermon from a Jewish rabbi written right after the 1993 march in Washington to end the ban on gays and lesbians serving in our armed forces, posted by Keshet, a national organization that works for the full inclusion of LGBT Jews in Jewish life. http://www.keshetonline.org/resource/a-simple-matter-of-justice-achare-mot-kedoshim/

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