My best friend came out about a year ago. We grew up together in a Christian environment, and we both profess faith in Jesus Christ.
I love her dearly, and her lesbianism grieves my heart. I kept that from her and pretended it was OK just to keep her in my life. As God will do, I kept coming across Bible verses labeling homosexuality as sin. Finally, I knew I had to come clean to her.
She told me she understood but that no matter what she's done her whole life she's always been attracted to women and girls. She even lost her virginity to try and cure herself.
I'm so confused. I love her like she's my sister, and I want to protect her and know that everything will be OK for her, but she's knowingly rejecting God's commandment. I don't know what to do. I'm so sad.
I grieve for her pain and the loss of her innocence in such a cheap way. Her life is shrouded in secrecy and lies, and so is mine by extension.
What can we do when our loved ones actively choose to go against our Creator? How should I pray? What should I say to her? I feel so lonely in my beliefs, in my virginity. Where can I turn in the Bible for reinforcement on both of these issues?
Whenever a loved one gets caught up in sin or unhealthy behavior we tend to go into the “fix-it” mode. We place pressure and responsibility on ourselves to save our friends and loved ones. The first thing I’d encourage you to know and understand is that you can’t change your friend, and it’s not your responsibility to do so. Embracing that fact can free you up to focus on loving your friend and seeing her as a person, not a problem to be solved. Ultimately Christ is the one who transforms lives. So pray for her and for those moments when you can speak into her life.
You’re going in the right direction — verbalizing your beliefs to her and remaining in relationship. Your friendship may change simply because of the divergence in beliefs. But don’t allow her homosexuality to break your friendship. As her best friend you are positioned well to plant seeds.
You may be tempted to continuously talk about the subject and why you believe it’s wrong, but resist. When I was gay-identified, some loved ones made a constant effort to discuss why homosexuality was sinful. Another friend told me once that she believed homosexuality was sin, but she still loved me. Both had great intentions, but unfortunately those who wanted to argue why it was sinful made me angry and bitter. I distanced myself from them. But, my other friend — though she disagreed — loved me, treated me well, and even showed interest in my life and partner. She was a testament to the love of Christ, and I stayed close with her.
If your friend claims Christ as her Savior you must assume that is true, because you can’t judge the condition of her heart. As a sister in Christ, you have a responsibility to challenge her. On matters of sexuality, both of you can’t be right. God is not a God of confusion. Before hitting the talking points many Christians use on behavior, I’d address identity.
Your friend claims to be a gay Christian, but we are to have no identities other than that which is in Christ. As for a biblical reference, I’d encourage you to look at Galatians 3:28. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (NASB). Our relationship and obedience to Christ supersedes all other identities. To claim another identity is to divvy up our act of worship, when our entire beings should be rooted in identifying only with Him. I don’t know what your friendship looks like now, but if there is a deep trust there, doors will open for you to talk more specifically about homosexuality — always in a loving way.
Her pain is real, and we should never discredit or devalue that. The pain she has is very deep, and the only one that can truly heal her is Christ. Never doubt the power of prayer. I truly believe prayer is what transformed my own life.
Pray the Lord would soften her heart to His transformative power and that she would submit all identities of this world to Him. Pray that she would see herself first and foremost as a daughter of the King, and that she would be defined by Him and not by her emotions. Pray for healing in her past and that she would find freedom from the baggage of the past. Ask the Lord to provide divine moments when you can speak into her life His truth and love.
Romans 8:26 says, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (ESV). Take heart in knowing you don’t have to have it all figured out. Trust the Lord and His leading. Love your friend well and invest in her life. As Christians we must sharpen each other and challenge one another in this life when we can be swayed by culture. Sticking by your friend, even amidst your disagreement, will speak volumes.
For more information and helpful resources, I’d encourage you to check out Exodus International. They have an exorbitant amount of encouragement and insight for those who are trying to figure out what to say and do when a friend or loved one comes out.
I might also note that there are good networks of counselors and ministries at a couple other places, as well as terrific articles and information about the journey out of homosexuality. As always, people should use discernment and ask a lot of questions when connecting with a counselor, church or local ministry:
Copyright 2012 Chris Stump. All rights reserved.