Guess Who's Coming To Dinner


The telephone rings. It's your son whom you have not seen for many months.

You are delighted to hear from him and your heart is joyful. Then

somewhere in the course of the conversation, he says that he would like to

stop by. You are quick to say how much you would love to see him, and you

may even say that it's about time, that you have missed him and would like

him to come by more often. As you are saying goodbye, he says, "We'll be

there about 6 p.m." We? You suddenly realise by what has just been said

that he AND his lover plan to come to dinner. What do you do? Do you

immediately tell him not to come? After such a joyful conversation, do you

now suddenly switch signals and reject him by withdrawing your warm

welcome? What will you tell your husband and other family members?

This question arises again and again. After much prayer and searching of

Scripture and sharing with other Christians (some who knew the Bible much

better than I), there seemed to be no easy answer, no formula that will

work on a consistent basis. Each situation must be evaluated on its own

special circumstances. I am in contact with dozens, perhaps hundreds of

parents. Some have worked through this difficult dilemma, others have not

and continue to struggle in this area often creating more problems than

they solve.

First, I would like to share with you my personal struggles in this area.

Like most parents I over-reacted at the news that my son was gay. At

first, I cried every time I was reminded of this sad situation. I could

hardly make it from one day to the next. Each time I saw a gay person or a

group of gays, I felt sick at heart. I had no hope, no one to encourage me

by telling me that things would not always be this bad

The Lord was faithful and He brought me through the first stage of my

grief, but I was not prepared for the first meeting with my son's lover.

As we stood there face to face, thoughts were flashing through my head,

scenes of my son in bed with this man. Yet I found the strength to see

this man in a different light. Like my son, he was lost. Yes, they both

were lost and some of my anger faded away. Afterward, as I reviewed our

conversation, I realised that I had handled it well, something I could not

have done without the Lord's healing in my life.

As the years have passed, I have been able to leave my son in the hands of

God. This gives me the peace that I need. I still have difficult times,

but I am learning and growing. I even have good news, what I have learned

in this situation somehow spills over into other areas of my life. My

faith has been sorely tested and tried, but I have reaped benefits from the

trials, I may not be able to fully rejoice in my trials as Peter

recommends, but I am getting closer to that goal all the time. The

situation with my son has brought me constantly before the Lord. I seek

Him to keep me in balance. I find that I have been able to love, affirm

and accept my son without ever condoning his sin.

A few years ago my son returned home to live with Frank and I for a few

months. We were helping him relocate in the area. Before he moved into

the house, my husband and I prayerfully set down some rules that we felt

were necessary to enable us to all live in the same household peacefully.

These covered his conduct while he was in our home; we placed no

restriction on his behaviour while he was outside our house. He is an

adult and is fully capable of managing his affairs in the world. It seemed

to work well. This was the first time that my son had lived with both

mother and father in the house. My husband acted as a balance between me

and my son. I was reminded when I was a nag. My son was given

responsibilities and held accountable for them. He enjoyed being a

responsible family member and held up his end of the chores and duties.

To sum up the saga of the Worthen household, I can only say, "SIN IS SIN!"

If my son were sleeping with a woman, I would not turn my back on her. I

simply would not let them engage in sinful behaviour in my house. If he

were into drugs, he wouldn't be shooting up in my bathroom. (Sure, I would

rather his problem be premarital sex or drugs or alcohol, but I can never

allow my feelings to rule my life.) Having my son at home was a blessed

time for all of us, yet I still do not feel that grown children should live

at home on a permanent basis. In some ways we were sheltering my son from

the trials and struggles of life. Our home is a place where Christians are

constantly gathering. This was good for my son since he received an on-

going Christian witness, yet there is also another side of the issue.

God's protection on our house also extends to my son. It may have

protected him from some of the things God may have been waiting to do in

his life. Perhaps, he could have never made the right choices until he had

fully experienced life as a single person, alone and facing the darker side

of his lifestyle. One positive thing is that my son has seen, lived with,

and experienced a happy, fulfilling marriage. He has seen first-hand the

love Frank and I have for each other. He now knows that he has a dad that

he can turn to in tough times. He knows where Frank came from, his

background and he can see the change. He cannot deny that God has the

power to completely turn lives around. I know it has been God's will that

my son live at home for a season, but I also know that the season had to

come to an end. Both Frank and I had to forgo our tendency to manipulate

the situation and keep him on longer when it was time to part. Now that we

don't live together, I hope my son will remember home as a place of rest,

truth, and love and that it will be in stark contrast to what is offered in

his world.

Most of us parents exhibit wide mood swings, being over-protective one

minute and considering throwing out sin and sinner the next. As we draw

closer to Christ, we are able to handle this situation more like He would.

You cannot rely on any one person to tell you how to respond to your child

or your child's friends. You must turn to God; He is the one who knows

your child better than anyone else. How do we know what is from God and

what is from our own broken heart? I am often asked, "How does your

response match up to the Bible?" The Bible is truth and any choices you

make, any counsel you receive must align itself with the Bible. But how

will you know what it says unless you consider the Bible valuable enough to

spend time studying it? The Bible is no ordinary book; it is the living

Word. God has designed it to speak to you in a way that is unique to your

situation. I would like to share two composite cases to show you the two


* * *

Linda is a single mother with one 28-year old son, Gary, who is a

homosexual. Gary has been in and out of his mother's house for all of his

adult life. He has never held a job for very long. Gary is out of work

again and needs to move home because his unemployment cheque won't support

him. Linda sets down some rules that he must live by to be in her home.

He is not to have any sex in or out of her home. He will go to a

counsellor. She will help him save money by being in charge of all his

money, handing out small amounts if she feels the need is legitimate. On

the plus side (for Gary), she will not charge him rent or make him pay for

food. Gary is forced into accepting any agreement because of his desperate

financial situation.

Linda has been both wise and foolish. Some of her rules are necessary, but

behind others is her strong desire to once again be in control of her son's

life. Her manipulation causes Gary to do things behind her back, lying to

her and hiding his true feelings. Their communication becomes shallow and

meaningless. Linda can never manipulate Gary into being "good". Her

strict rules have reduced Gary to the state of a teenager. Her strong

desire to have things as they once were, with Gary completely dependent

once again, will backfire and cause hard feelings and eventual separation.

Linda can never really recreate the past and have her little boy back

again. Gary is her world and she lives in fear of loosing him. Linda

loves her son, this cannot be denied, yet she cannot live with the

situation of her son being an adult and responsible for his own decisions.

She can only feel peace when she is in control of the situation protecting

him. It is very likely that she is standing in the way of God doing any

real work in Gary's life. Gary is growing to hate his mother more and more

each day. One day he will lash out at her and she will melt into tears and

say to him; "after all I have done for you."

Linda needs to help Gary to find his own place to live even if that means a

room in a run-down hotel. He needs to be in control of his own money and

to face the results of his wrong choices. She must hand over control to

the Lord and start to build her own life. God wants to use her in His

Body, the church, to get involved in helping others. Parents who have

experienced real pain and have worked through their difficulties are the

ones who will be able to relate to and understand others going through such

trials. As parents begin to reach out, the real healing starts in their


* * *

Now let's look at another family who is handling this situation totally


Mike and Kate are both Christians with several children. One is Lynn, a

24-year old daughter who is living in a lesbian relationship. A few months

ago Lynn was living at home and going to school. When her parents found

out about her involvement in the homosexual life, they asked her to give up

her immorality or leave their home. These parents deeply hate and resent

Lynn's lover. The hate and hurt seems to grow daily. All blame is placed

on the lover for the seduction of their little girl. They see themselves

as blameless and their daughter as simply being foolish for allowing

herself to be duped by this evil person. This one person must bear the

responsibility for the ruination of their daughter's life. Lynn knows that

if she changes her living situation, she will be welcomed in their home.

She also knows that her parents have no understanding of what caused her to

seek comfort from another woman and that they are not open to hearing

anything about her emotional needs.

Mike and Kate and other parents I deal with feel this is what Jesus would

have them do, and they produce Scripture to support their actions. One

example that is used is 1 Corinthians 5:9 and following. Paul is talking

about not keeping company with those who call themselves Christians but

continue to walk in sin. Along with sexual sin, he also lists greed,

swindling, idol worship, abusive behaviour and drunkenness. Paul says God

will judge those outside the church but we are to judge those in the


As I read this, I see a person who has turned his/her back on the church

and is no longer part of the fellowship. I don't know about your family

but my family gatherings would be mighty slim if I couldn't eat with any

calling themselves Christians but involved in the above sins. I can see

myself telling my Mother that I can't see her because she spends ten hours

a day in front of the TV. What about my Uncle Bert, who has a real problem

with the bottle. And talk about greed, I have a sister... I could go on

and on but you get the idea. If asked, all of these people will say that

they are Christians but their lives don't show it to me. I can't seem to

figure out who is and who isn't a Christian in this group. But God has

shown me I don't have to. I want to be around them to love them and let

God to do the convicting. My son knows he is out of God's will. He is not

part of the church. I don't know if he has lost his salvation or not.

Along with my mother, my sister and the rest of my family, he is in the

hands of One who loves him more than I ever could. I will trust them all

to Him. The Lord knows what it will take and at what time to turn them


There are lots of Scriptures I'm not sure how to apply to those walking in

sin who are dear to me. Some day, the Lord Himself will explain it all to

me. But for now, I will just look to Jesus as my example. This makes it

easier for me. All through the New Testament, Jesus interacted with those

who were not religious. He ate with sinners and got a lot of flack from

the religious community, too! He said that He came not for the healed but

for those who were in need of a doctor. That's good enough for me.

Each child is different, and God may want to have us respond in different

ways at different times. Sometimes God may call us to protect our child or

to help them out in a time of need. Another time, He may want us to show

tough love, which is always the hardest. We must look to God because He

is the one we will answer to on that day of Judgement. As for me, I have

developed a strong love for my son's lover. He is welcome at my dinner

table. I pray for him as often as I pray for my son. I trust God knows

that perfect time to reach him. Who knows, he may come into the Kingdom

ahead of my son and it may be his witness that will reach my son where

nothing else can. In the words of Samuel, "Far be it from me that I should

sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you". (1st Samuel 12:23)


By Anita Worthen


For further information about homosexuality or about other areas of sexual

brokenness, please contact:


GPO Box 1115


Phone (08) 371 0446

This article is reprinted by permission from:

Love In Action

P O Box 2655

San Rafael California 94912



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