“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
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.
Another Devout Christian
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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