I was in my bedroom when I heard my wife burst out in sobs downstairs! I thought one of the dogs had died suddenly or something equally shocking. I rushed downstairs to see what was going on, and Kim handed me a letter. It was from our son! He had left it on the kitchen table as he left for work early that morning.
The letter was heartbreaking as our son explained that he was gay and that he had taken over a year to find a way to tell us. Even so, he had decided to tell us via a letter as he did not think he could tell us face-to-face in fear of our reaction. He had packed a bag with spare clothes, and taken his cash intending to find a place to stay in case we did not allow him back home!
I was devastated, firstly over the shock of his news, but also that he feared our reaction so much that he was prepared to leave. After an hour of my wife and I consoling each other, I sent a text message to my son saying “You are our son. We still love you. Come home!”
That evening was to be an emotionally difficult one when our son was to return home. My wife and I wanted to him to know that we still loved him no matter what, just as God loves us no matter what! We asked him to have patience with us as we come to terms with it as he had over a year to do so, and this was very new to us. We also needed to consider what effect this would have in our church life and how we would be treated when the news broke out. I had heard of some parents experiences where they were given a damning judgement by church leaders and made to feel uncomfortable by allowing their child to behave in this way.
As a lay-pastor, a few years ago I had counselled a couple who had been poorly treated by their previous church when news of their gay son broke out. I was disappointed to learn that some church leaders dealt with the issue with no grace or compassion, and totally contrary to the teachings of the Holy Bible. Instead of providing love and support to them, they were castigated and made to feel like ‘the scum of the earth’. This is definitely not the way to treat anyone, let alone a couple who were in real need of the comfort of the church and wise counsel of its leaders.
In a way I would have never expected, God had turned my situation around from one of providing love and support in this situation to one who was in dire need of it!