As same-sex marriage has become more prolific and socially acceptable, there is a growing number of same-sex parents. Personally, I’ve interacted with same-sex foster parents who also attend the same church as I do. My son’s friend on his soccer team has two very kind moms. I have neighbors who are same-sex parents to children in my community. We can no longer assume that just because a child is involved, both a man and a woman are in the picture when it comes to parenting.
As our society continues changing the rules around what constitutes a family, we must carefully consider how we should respond as believers. We know that God’s Word clearly states that God’s best for marriage and family is for one man and woman to come together. Yet, hard black-and-white lines don’t work when talking about people you love. Additionally, their child has no say in the family they are brought into, and surely they need all the love they can get as everyone needs a strong village in order to parent well.
How do we hold onto the truth of God’s Word while also being agents of God’s light and love?
It’s not easy, that’s for sure!
The Church Is Struggling
Right now, the Church is struggling along with many believers with how to navigate the great changes we see in our culture when it comes to sexuality, gender identity, marriage, and more! So much of the Church has swung to one extreme or the next on this issue. We are witnessing a large part of the Church making a choice to let go of a historically consistent view of Christian marriage and begin to believe in a boundaryless love.
This goes against all that God teaches in the Bible. God’s love is full of boundaries. Obedience is a part of the Christian life because we are broken creatures following a holy God. We need his guidance in order to live our best lives. God gives clear guidance on a myriad of issues, not just sexuality, because God is personally invested in our well-being. Him loving us looks like him gently leading us towards his truth, righteousness, and holiness.
Other parts of the church have embraced harsh and hurtful language around this issue. Their lack of understanding and compassion has left many who struggle with same-sex attraction or their gender identity hurt and alone. They forget that God has and can use all manner of broken and sinful people. He is the ultimate judge of our souls, not us! We can trust God to lead his people to repentance and freedom in his own time and way.
Wisdom Is Needed in Every Situation
As a culture and as the Church, we’ve lost the ability to see the nuances of how God loves each of us, even though none of us can live up to the full standard of his holiness. Our tendency in today’s ‘cancel culture’ is to draw battle lines around things that appear wrong or we don’t understand.
Jesus shows us a radical alternative way of navigating our sin.
He asks who is sinless among us. Only they have the ability to justly throw stones! (John 8:7-11) Then Jesus, the only one with the right to judge us, goes to the person stuck in sin and gives them the chance to follow him. They have the chance to leave their life of sin and pain!
It’s our job to be Jesus to our lost friends. To encourage those who know God but continue to struggle with sin. We need to remain faithful to the standards God gives us for living in the Bible. We must also ask God to help show us how to love well. When sin exists, wisdom is necessary in each and every situation. We need God to show us how to walk alongside others that we love prayerfully, sharing truth with them in a loving way. Thankfully, James 1:5 tells us that anytime we need wisdom, God gives it.
There are a few things we can consider as we seek wisdom on how to approach this kind of situation:
-If the couple are unbelievers, they are not held to the same standard of the Bible, so extra grace should be dispensed.
-Will declining to attend harm the relationship with this family?
-Will this declining detract from your ability to show them God’s love?
-Is there another way to show the child-to-be love without participating in the baby shower?
-What is God saying to you about this situation and how to navigate it well?
-Does this couple have enough of a relationship with you to know that you believe in a historically consistent biblical view of marriage and sexuality? Will attending communicate that you have abdicated your convictions or show them that you can love them this way because Jesus always loves them?
Thinking through these factors can help you to determine how to balance grace and truth in this situation. Sadly, there is no one-fits-all answer to these questions. We need God’s leading Spirit to help us know what he is calling us to do in our relationships.
Baby Showers Differ From Weddings
A baby shower is different from a wedding in that every child is a gift from God. This sort of celebration is designed to joyfully support the arrival of a new person whom God has a special plan for. While we may understand that same-sex relationships are not God’s best, we are called to nurture and love every child. Even if we do not feel called to participate in the baby shower, we should find a way to love this family and their child.
When the couple that fosters in my community had their first placement, I brought them bags of things to help them care for their kids. I delivered a gift card for dinner and wrote notes of encouragement for them and the children in their care. This wasn’t a baby shower, but it was a way to say you are not alone in this job of loving a child. Caring for kids is hard work, no matter what your family looks like. When we don’t walk alongside other families, kids are the ones who suffer the consequences.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Anchily
Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for My Daily Bible Verse Devotional and Podcast, Crosswalk Couples Devotional, the Daily Devotional App, she has work published with Her View from Home, on the MOPS Blog, and is a regular contributor for Crosswalk.com. She has most recently published a devotional, Comfort: A 30 Day Devotional Exploring God’s Heart of Love for Mommas. You can find out more about Amanda on her Facebook Page or follow her on Instagram.