As an adolescent, my son Greg Jr. and I would frequently have conflicts and in most cases, it was always over the same issue, follow-through. It could be forgetting to cut the lawn, pick up his room, forgetting his homework etc. At some point, I convinced myself that it was plain and simple rebellion on Greg’s behalf. It seemed if I wanted something done Greg was determined that he wasn’t going to do it. I remember my temper flying with raised voice and Greg growing increasingly quiet. My confrontations were placing a big wedge in our relationship.
Several years later I was genuinely seeking to understand why Greg had developed such a defiant spirit. In a vulnerable conversation with Greg he shared that he wasn’t trying to upset me, or his teachers but he genuinely just forgets stuff... Fast forwarding ahead… we learned that Greg had a significant case of ADD. Once treated, life became so much more manageable for Greg, his self-esteem grew, grades increased and our relationship moved to a healthier place.
Many of us have had the pleasure to be involved in relationships with a spouse, child, friend, coworker etc. where both people genuinely listen to each other, and treat each other with dignity and respect. On the other hand, many of us have also experienced relationships where conflict abounds. It is especially difficult when a topic is emotionally charged and someone is confrontational.
One of the core characteristics of God is his desire for reconciliation. We especially see it played out where God the father offers His son Jesus as the ultimate sacrifice so we can be reconciled to him and live together in heaven for eternity **. Said another way God is absolutely crazy about reconciliation!
There is a chance that I may throw myself in front of a bus to save someone, but there is no way I could throw my child in front of a bus to save anyone. That is exactly the kind of love that God has for you, me, our straight, and LGBTQ children. I remind myself of this frequently because it is such a vivid illustration of how serious God takes reconciliation.
It’s fascinating that God creates each one of us in his own image and yet unique. Not one of us have the same fingerprints, or for that matter the same DNA. Yet for most of us we want the other person to agree with us in the way we think, and what we believe. The problem with this is when a discussion turns to a confrontation there is normally only one winner. Being on the losing end is sure to put distance between you and the other person, laying the foundation for an unreconciled relationship.Our goal is to move a confrontation to a conversation where reconciliation can occur. Creating level ground where both people are free to share their opinions and beliefs.
For many of us parents with LGBTQ children we desperately want our children to see life as we do, to believe what we believe. After all we are crazy about them and want the very best for them. The challenge is that many of us Christians have a very difficult time agreeing on a myriad of things in the bible from end times theology, to less controversial things like baptism. But even with that we see disagreement:
Often, we’ll confuse Core vs. Periphery beliefs. Being able to clearly identify which beliefs youconsider essential to the Christian faith will help tremendously in these conversations. That's because understanding the priority you place on specific beliefs can enable you to be kinder and more graceful when talking with people you don't see eye-to-eye with. To learn more about Core Vs. Periphery, check out this fabulous 10-minute video by Tim Cooper with North Point Ministries designed for small group leaders, that will help you clearly identify which beliefs you consider essential to the Christian faith. https://groupleaders.squarespace.com/core-vs-periphery
Think About It
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.