My Own Struggle With My Son’s Struggle
This week one of my sons took a brave step in publicly confessing his struggle with sin. I wish I had the same courage, courage enough to not be afraid of backlash or repercussions when discussing my own sin. But human nature does that to people. No one likes rejection. No one likes to be thought of in an unpleasant way and certainly no one likes to be isolated for being transparent and open about their sin. I was one of those people. My son struggles with same-sex attraction. The first time he ever spoke to me about his feelings, it was like a dagger went through my heart and my intestines were being ripped open. Seriously, that is how I felt. I was physically ill and it was one of the saddest moments in my life to date. Selfishly, I had flashes of a daughter-in-law and grandchildren fading away. My dreams for what I imagined his life to be were fading away. I know that sounds over the top to describe my emotions, but I am a Christian and this was very difficult to take in due to my beliefs — incidentally my son shares those beliefs.
I could not process it actually. What did he just say to me? He has attractions to both men and women? No way. He knows God’s Word. We taught him that. He reads his bible faithfully — did he miss those passages where Scripture clearly says that homosexuality is an abomination? What in the world did we do wrong as parents? My son was raised in the church, literally. He is a Christian. Why is this sin any worse than any other sin? Sin is sin.
I cried for weeks and that continues at times. I realized that my son was in a battle — is in a battle. I get on my knees and pray daily for my son to be delivered and freed from this thorn, this torment that he carries. I do not believe God will have him suffer for too much longer. It’s been long enough and one day, very soon, he will be released from the loneliness, despair and pain that this conflict has brought upon him. I believe it is Satan himself attacking a Godly young man. As a mother, a Christian mother, my heart aches not only that my child is tempted by sin in this way, but that he is as he puts it, “torn in two.” But one day he will not be torn in two for he will be triumphant and be made whole.
We have kept all of this pretty much within our immediate family. No one wants to discuss the issue of SSA within the Christian community. It’s been taboo since the beginning of time. Then my son was asked to write an article about this topic. He shared his story and publicly posted it on a social media publication…for the world to see. Again, selfishly, I thought to myself “please don’t, “ ”what are people going to think/say?”
What’s funny is that I was more concerned with how my fellow believers, our church friends, would react to this “news.” It’s not news, it’s a battle, a spiritual battle, in my opinion. What’s sad is that I felt/feel that I could not talk with anyone in my church about this for fear of judgment, embarrassment, and the like. I spoke candidly with non-believers who were very sympathetic and supportive – go figure! What’s wrong with this picture? I should have no second thoughts of calling up a fellow Christian woman/mother who will stand with me in prayer during this fight for my son’s deliverance, who will listen, let me cry, and will not judge this particular topic but understand we are fighting against sin, plain and simple. I love my church. I love my church family. I believe my pastor preaches the gospel and our congregation is a loving body in Christ. I also believe us “church people” tend to define certain sins whether we realize it or not and that leads to passing judgment. I’ve done it myself I’m ashamed to say. We as followers of Jesus need to do better. In any case, I felt alone. But I imagine that I am not alone in numbers – that other Christian families have fought similar battles of sin in their life and the lives of their children and even going through such a time now. My son was very involved in his Christian school and in our church ministry yet he could not confide in anyone for fear of judgment and rejection — at his own church. My heart aches knowing that he felt that way. One fellow Christian mother and longtime friend, whose son and mine have been friends since they were about four years old, helped me realize that I should give my spiritual family a chance to stand with us. I’m doing that today. One of the hardest things I feel I’ve had to do, but why? Sin is sin. I am going to trust my brothers and sisters in Christ.
There are many young people struggling with their sexuality, especially Christian young adults! The church should be the first place they can run to in peace for help and support. Instead, church leaders and believers don’t always know how to deal with this topic except preaching it from a pulpit, which is of course required, but we need Christian counselors available to mentor and guide. Parents are parents, but young adults need Godly friends and advisors in their lives. I have always been able to talk openly with my children about anything, even sex, but I will admit again that this was a blow and I did not have the right words sometimes. At the onset I had harsh words. My son has forgiven me for that. I am thankful he now has a mentor and a pastor with whom he can freely discuss his struggles, without fear of shame while engaging in discussions on the road to redemption. He also has an older brother who loves him more than he knows and supports him, faithful Godly friends that stand with him and love him through this journey. Isn’t that what Jesus is all about? That’s the gospel! The body of Christ must embrace sinners to help bring them to the knowledge of Jesus and the Cross. That was Christ’s charge to his disciples. We are disciples. The church offers help to people going through divorce, grief, and even financial strains — that is wonderful. Do we offer a sanctuary for Christians that struggle with sexual sin or do we limit assistance and guidance to other struggles like drug addiction and alcoholism? Why? We are here to save souls, restore lives by confronting sin for what it is. Our young people especially need to see this love so they may turn away from sin and pay it forward.
So, the Lord has brought me to a new place during all of this. Sin is sin folks, no matter what you believe. Why do Christians seem to be OK with “certain” sins? None are less than the other — there are no categories or levels of sin. A Christian struggling with homosexual thoughts is the same human being as the one who struggles with people who have committed adultery, had an abortion, dabbled in pornography, overeating, lying, murderers…the list could go on, the topics range in nature, but yet still remain the same…sin. Each one of these souls deserves our non-judgmental support, prayer, love and peace in knowing that confessing sin will not bring upon them any shame, no matter what the nature of it. I cannot judge anyone, that is God’s job. My job, our job as Christians, is to show as I mentioned, love, support and perhaps even accountability. In His infinite love God bestows forgiveness, grace and mercy – to all people who confess and repent of sin – any sin. Jesus carried it to the cross. Think about that. The greatest love story of all time. I’m a sinner too, mine is not same sex attraction, adultery or what one would categorize as taboo, but I sin nonetheless and it is just as ugly so it’s the same…sin is being far from God, His Son and the Holy Spirit. A spiritual mentor for me was my great aunt Luisa. I once asked her why Jesus had to die by crucifixion, why did it have to be so brutal, so horrible, so repulsive, so painful? Her answer struck me. She said, “Sin is just exactly that – so brutal, so horrible, so repulsive, so painful.” It took Christ’s blood, pure and holy, the only source to wash our transgressions away and redeem us!
As I think about all the people, especially my fellow Christians, that know about my son’s story I pray that they read his recent article carefully, that no one be too harsh to judge, to gossip, to cringe at the issue (because the issue is sin), to isolate him, to misunderstand him or to not love him. He will tell you that he chooses Christ and is turning away from this sin, yet it is a struggle like any other temptation. This Mexican mama, although Christian, is human and attacks on my boy will cause me to want to do bodily harm. However, I would tell those people that if they have NO sin in their life, have NEVER struggled with sin, have never stood with a loved one during a battle against sin, then they are liars. They can also advise me where to mail a stone.
We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. (Romans 3:22-24; NLT)
If you are reading this, consider your own struggles with sin and the struggles your children have had or are going through before passing judgment on anyone. Think of the great men and women in the bible that were tempted and even gave in to sin. There was King David (sexual sin), Mary Magdalene (sexual sin) Peter, Paul…there are so many. Each one publicly confessed and received deliverance and God’s forgiveness and then went on to save others through their testimony and the blood sacrifice of Jesus.
I still care a bit about what people think (that’s my weakness), but not as much as what God thinks of me as a wife, mother, and His child. This is still difficult for me, but I believe I have a better understanding, thanks to my Father in heaven and to my son who is wise beyond his years.
My son is a man of God. He knows who he is in Christ Jesus. I could not be more proud of that. His burden will be lifted and the tears will turn to laughter. His dreams of wife and family will come true. His testimony will be evidence that we serve a God who forgives, heals and restores. My son chooses Christ, chooses to turn away from immorality, committed to his creator first. He wants to be set free, that is why we pray that he will be delivered and healed! He wants to be set free, that’s why he bravely shares his feelings. He is taking a step of great faith — trusting his Christian brothers and sisters, the body of Christ, to go to battle with him!
My son is Michael. I love him so much that I would die for him. Our family will walk side by side with him no matter what and I continue to pray that the battle will be won…in Jesus’ Name! To God be the glory for the great things He has done and will do!