Sometimes, I learn something that horrifies me. Like most of us, I get caught up in the usual stuff that goes on in my life and in my immediate spheres. And then something startles me out of it.
I learned that between 20 and 40% of homeless kids are LGBT.
Only about 5-10% of all youth identify as LGBT.
That’s quite disproportionate.
Maybe you think they deserve it, that they are no more than stubborn kids who ran away from home because they didn’t like mom and dad’s rules. Maybe you think their parents just wanted the best for them, and tried to help them overcome this dark and sinful lifestyle. Maybe you think that if they weren’t willing to obey their parents and try not to be gay, then they deserve whatever happens to them.
Or maybe you just don’t care.
But maybe you should.
Far too many of these kids are asked to leave by their own parents. Many leave because of intense family conflict over their sexuality or gender identity.
What would you do if it were your child?
We made a decision a long time ago that no child of ours would ever leave home believing that he or she was unloved. Our kids will never have to fight with us over their sexuality. They will never have to hear us, their parents, fight with each other about it. They will never be told that they need to conform to our sexuality in order to live in our household.
Setting aside sexual morality, we threw out “love the sinner, hate the sin” a long time ago. It doesn’t make sense in any context. It’s not our job to go around listing the specific sins people have committed and then telling them we love them anyway. We can teach, guide, and help our kids toward faith and living God-honoring lives. And we can love them. That’s all.
If you are going through this right now, know that you are not alone. Even if you are firmly rooted in your belief that homosexuality is sinful, you can still love and respect your child. Please don’t let your fears, your frustrations, your worries, your stress, your confusion lead to your child feeling unloved and running from you. Please don’t believe that asking your child to leave will solve the problem. Just love your kid.
Not “love the sinner, hate the sin.”
Not “love the sinner and pray the gay away.”
Not “love the sinner, create special rules so they don’t have gay sex.”
Not even “love the sinner.”
Your child hasn’t suddenly become someone you don’t know. This isn’t a slap in your face. This isn’t something you’re going to be able to fix or change or squelch. You aren’t doing some unbiblical thing by releasing it to God instead of trying to make it stop. It isn’t your fault, and you can’t do anything about it. And even if you believe your child is hurting him- or herself, this isn’t going to do permanent damage to the rest of your family.
You don’t have to do this all by yourself. There are people out there who can help you. There are people who will care for and support your whole family. I urge you to take that approach. The risk of losing your child to conflict in your home is too great.
We don’t have to let any more kids become a homeless statistic.