As the battle rages on in our society about gender identity and the treatment of same-sex relationships under the law, the church is not immune from addressing these issues head-on – even at the dinner table. If you are like me, these questions are a constant source of debate with teenage children who are bombarded with social media and classroom discussions on the topic that challenge our Biblical views on sexuality, marriage, and gender.
Alarming statistics from a recent Gallup poll show that the onslaught of LGBTQ messaging directed at our youth is working. The report states, "younger generations are far more likely to consider themselves to be something other than heterosexual. This includes about one in six adult members of Generation Z (those aged 18 to 23 in 2020)...and more than half of those claim they are bisexual." The fact that the rise is most pronounced in young people and the majority is not experiencing same-sex attraction, indicates that the deliberate indoctrination of our children not to accept traditional gender roles is increasingly successful.
When it comes to gender identity, the drastic rise in young people that identify as "gender fluid" has generated fierce debate. Prominent academics and health professionals advocate for a gender affirmative model, claiming that gender is determined by an "interweaving of biology, development and socialization; and, culture and context, with all three bearing on an individual's gender self." Therefore, parents should accept the "gender" as stated by the child, regardless of their anatomy. Juxtapose that to the stance of child advocates, researchers, and Christians who firmly believe the rapid onset of gender confusion in our youth results from underlying emotional disorders and manipulation from schools and other institutions that are engaged in some form of conversion therapy on our children. If you are not familiar with this debate, I encourage you to read these resources and understand the extent of the battle for our youth's identity and emotional well-being.
Surprisingly, the church as a whole is not of one opinion on the issue of sexual preference and God's condemnation of same-sex relations. The acceptance of openly gay members and clergy are on the rise. Some denominations that ordain homosexual pastors and worship leaders defend their stance by claiming Jesus loves everyone, and research shows that a significant number of Christians find no conflict between their religious beliefs and homosexuality. Thankfully, many evangelical Pastors do not legitimize same-sex couples and instead encourage the individual to rebuke the sin and lean on the power of the Holy Spirit to fight the urges of same-sex attraction just as one would other sins like fornication or adultery. In His Image, the movie does a beautiful job describing just how a Bible-honoring Christian can convey the message of the love of Christ to someone struggling with same-sex attraction. Organizations like Changed Movement help people find community with others struggling with similar issues but who left the LGBTQ lifestyle for freedom in Christ.
Even as a new believer, I knew the Lord did not intend to condone same-sex relationships based on Scripture (1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Timothy 1:10) , but I struggled with how I could convey these principles to my daughter in a spirit of love and compassion. Last month, I was fortunate to attend an event for Living Stone Ministries at my church to hear from other parents of children struggling with gender identity and same-sex attraction. It was a wonderful time of support and worship with other parents, but the most amazing part of the evening was listening to former gay believers talk about their journey and the impact their parents had on their road to freedom in Christ.
Two of these young men and women empathically said their parent's unwavering commitment to the Gospel stuck with them the most when deciding to leave the homosexual lifestyle. As one young man put it, "no matter how I tried to manipulate my mom or convince her that she was wrong and just didn't want to support me, she never wavered on the truth that Jesus wanted a better life for me and I would never find true happiness in a same-sex relationship." It was the truth of his mother's words that rung in his ears when he survived an attempted suicide and finally gave his life to Christ for healing and restoration. Another young woman said her Christian mother took the opposite approach and went to gay bars with her to make her feel accepted. It ultimately backfired and made her resent her mother for not helping her leave the lifestyle. Hearing these stories brought me so much peace because it was a truth I knew in my heart but hearing it from someone with lived it affirmed my conviction.
So despite the arguments and accusations that my stance is homophobic, outdated, or just "my truth," I continue to tell my young daughter that Jesus loves all sinners but despises the sin. It is no different than if she came to me wanting to do drugs or engage in premarital sex. I would warn her that a life of sin will never bring happiness or the freedom that comes from a life in obedience to God.
In light of all that is coming against our children to draw them into a life of death and depression, it is unfortunate that any church would condone same-sex couples and even allow openly gay pastors to lead a congregation. How can we teach our young people to follow any of the Bible's commandments if we compromise the one that destroys the sanctity of creation and monogamy between a man and a woman in marriage? It is just one more example of how liberalism is unraveling the fundamental principles of the Gospel. Ultimately, it is a massive disservice to people who want to break the strongholds of addiction and be restored through the love and redemption of Christ.
Hedieh Mirahmadi was a devout Muslim for two decades working in the field of national security before she experienced the redemptive power of Jesus Christ and has a new passion for sharing the Gospel. She dedicates herself full-time to Resurrect Ministry, an online resource that harnesses the power of the Internet to make salvation through Christ available to people of all nations, and her daily podcast LivingFearlessDevotional.com.