One of the great things about having middle-aged kids (and by middle-aged, I mean we are at the midpoint of their time at home with us, assuming they fly the coop around the age of 18-20) is that I am often forced to look at things from their perspective. Nine and eleven year olds don’t look at things the same way that adults do, and when world events are difficult to understand even for adults, that can be hard for kids that age to process. So, as mom and dad, we are set to the task of simplifying so they can understand.
I don’t know if you’ve been living under a rock (it’s possible!), but the Supreme Court handed down a decision about homosexual marriage last week making it legal in all 50 states. And some people kinda got upset. And some people kinda started throwing parties. And we realized “our kids may be home schooled, but they don’t live under a rock and they are going to hear about this”. So I went to bed on Friday night earnestly praying and thinking of how to form the conversation with our girls.
Our children have heard the term homosexual before. It came up at church when Dennis Jernigan came to speak and give a concert. Not recognizing the word, Carebear asked about it on the way home and we told her that “homo” means same and “sexual” is another word for gender and it basically means that a man likes men or a woman likes women in a romantic way. And that was enough for her. So over oatmeal this past Saturday morning, we told the girls that we wanted to talk with them about something important that happened in America because they might hear about it and we didn’t want them to be confused or uninformed. (Because, seriously, if this had happened back when I was their age I probably would have freaked out if someone told me a man could now marry a man or a woman could now marry a woman, and I hate being caught off guard.) First, we reminded them what the Supreme Court is and what the Court’s job is (to interpret whether laws are constitutional or not) and how there are nine Justices (mere humans!) and when they decide on things, they take a vote. Then we told them that the Justices made a decision about homosexual marriage in America and 5 of the nine decided it should be legal in the United States of America for a man to marry a man or a woman to marry a woman. Because the majority voted for it, it is now the law in every state.
We talked about God’s laws and man’s laws. We talked about how just because something is legal in the United States of America doesn’t mean that it is what God wants. In this case, God says marriage is between a man and a woman and homosexuality is wrong. As other examples, we talked about divorce and abortion. Divorce is legal in the USA, but God says He hates divorce. Abortion is legal, but God says murder is wrong. (There are other examples, but we thought these were the easiest for the girls to understand.)
We reminded them that God’s greatest commands to us are to love Him and love each other. And we love ALL sinners, regardless of their sin. We can love someone who sins like we sin, and love someone who sins differently from us. We can love someone who lies, just like we can love someone who steals, just like we can love someone who practices homosexuality, just like we can love someone who has killed a baby. Because we are human, it is sometimes harder for us to show God’s love to sinners who are different from us, but to God it is all the same. Sin is a separation from God, and what God wants more than anything is for all His children to repent of their sin and turn to Him, letting Jesus cover them. That’s why Jesus died for us, after all, so that we could be together with God, and not be separated by our sin.
When a sin is recognized by the highest court in our country as perfectly acceptable, that can be hard. It has happened before, and it will undoubtedly happen again. But we told our girls that we don’t want to argue with people about whether or not homosexual marriage is okay. We can disagree with someone and still love them. If someone asks their opinion, it’s okay to say that God’s law does not agree with this new law.
If you haven’t talked to your kids about this yet, I urge you to do so. They don’t live under a rock, and it is going to come up at some point. (It will probably even come up at church!) I know I feel better knowing that our children heard about this straight from us and we are continuing to shape their worldview not based on what is popular but on what is right according to God’s word.