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Ask A Pastor: How do you show Christian love to a family member leading a gay lifestyle?

Question:

How do you show Christian love to someone in your extended family who is living out a gay lifestyle? How do you react to their publicity of their lifestyle as they seek to desensitize people who live in relationships planted in God’s Word? How do you even pray for them?


Answer:

These are not easy questions, and they need to be considered with much care, sensitivity and dependence on the Lord.  It is always painful to see family members living out sinful lifestyles, in this instance a gay lifestyle.  Showing Christian love to family members who are living in sin will include reminding them of the clear teaching of the word of God, although making sure to do so in love, with a loving tone, heart and manner (Eph. 4:15, 31-32). Always remember that Christ Jesus came to save sinners and that He calls us to turn to Him and trust in Him (Matt. 11:28-30).  Depending on the relationship, showing Christian love may involve setting boundaries – for instance not permitting the practice of the sinful lifestyle in your home (1 Cor. 5:11; 2 John 9-11). Another point to keep in mind is whether the individual is purposely and aggressively trying to “convert” others to his or her way.  Some people, by their spirit, need to be engaged, while others may be ignored (Prov. 26:4-5).  It may well be that with people who engage in open, defiant rebellion, you need to walk away from them.  But that should be done only as a last resort and with great sorrow (Tit. 3:10-11; Phil. 3:18).

It will be important for you to keep reminding yourself of what the Lord says in His Word, so that you do not become desensitized to the sin(s) (Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:17-24).


As for prayer, it will be important for you to pray for insight, understanding, prudence and wisdom for yourself as you seek to care for and love those who are caught up in sin.  When you pray for such people, you can pray for their minds to be changed and their hearts to be humbled.  It will be important to pray humbly and earnestly.  On the one hand, none of us is any different or any better by nature, and we all need the grace of God.  At the same time, God is almighty, and He can well change the hardest and darkest sinner.  As Jesus has reminded us, “with God all things are possible” (Mk. 10:27).


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