In preparing our book Compassion without Compromise, we collected questions from lots of people — too many to cover in a short article. Some of them arise from people’s own experiences. Some are hypothetical “What if?” queries that set up scenarios any of us would find daunting. Like you, we are learning the complex balancing act of reaching out in love, speaking truth with compassion, opening the doors for the gospel and trying to be a good friend or family member.
We hope these practical responses will be helpful in your context. Even more—we pray that you will be able to grow in discernment, and exercise biblical wisdom in real life situations. As you seek to exercise compassion without compromise, we encourage you to keep two key principles in mind: a) mission, and b) true love.
Our son is in a “dating” relationship with another man and wants to bring him home for the holidays. Should we allow this?
– Submitted by “Howie” and “Sue,”60- somethings with a wonderful marriage, four adult children and several grandkids.
First of all: your home, your rules. This is deeply personal; some parents just can’t handle being around their kid’s partner and that is okay. Your son can’t expect you to enter into his decisions and just accept them. To expect such blanket acceptance is just not reasonable. Your family life does not revolve around his choices. He needs to respect your boundaries and your moral choices. Instead, you can gently lay down a boundary: we love you and would love you, alone, to come home for the holidays.
Secondly, it would not be wrong to invite your son and his partner to your home for Christmas. Of course, they would stay in separate rooms. In loving ways you can be hospitable and honest. You can share the love of Christ, the gospel and show your son that you are there for him even in his sin. Personally, this is what I (Ron) would do.
Finally, there are no easy answers here. What might be good for one family will not work for another. One needs to make decisions slowly, prayerfully and lovingly. Don’t be reactive, and be willing to have hard conversations with your son. Why does he want to do this? Does he understand how painful this is? What is he feeling? Seek to love in the midst of turmoil.
This article was adapted from a section of Compassion Without Compromise: How the Gospel Frees Us to Love Our Gay Friends Without Losing The Truth (Bethany House Publishing, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2014), and is used with permission.
For more resources, visit www.bakerpublishinggroup.com.