Our Lord was once asked to single out the most important of the over six hundred laws of Moses (Matt. 22:36). Without hesitation, He replied,
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.
How could it be otherwise? The Lord God is the Creator and Lord of all. He pre-existed the universe; He created it, sustains it, guides it. He alone is worthy of our ultimate devotion. All else is the Creator’s creation, deserving only the value He assigns to it – never the reverse.
When a person becomes a Christian, he abnegates the throne he’d attempted to usurp. He denies himself, embracing death to self-worship, and he embraces Jesus Christ as Lord (cf. Matt. 16:24).
The break is decisive, radical, and final. Jesus is now his Lord (Rom. 10:9), to the exclusion of all competitors. Jesus expressed this very vividly: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). The closest and dearest human relations, and the ardent love that binds them to us, must so pale in contrast to our love for Christ that they look more like hatred than love.
In a contest between Christ’s Lordship and any human’s opposing will, there can be no contest.
As with every aspect of our devotion and faith, we should expect our love for God to be tested. Trials come in thousands of forms, and when we respond in faith they always mature and strengthen us (James 1:2ff.). Of these tests, surely the sharpest and most painful arise from loved ones – from friends and relatives.
In these instances, the Bible has always spoken with one voice. No one of any rank or relation can be allowed to draw us away from loyalty, love, and obedience towards God. It makes no difference whether it’s “your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul” (Deut. 13:6).
Do you love God as God deserves, as He merits, as He commands? Do I? It’s easy enough to say so. Talk has always had the same market value – cheap.
So what happens when your son announces that he is “gay”? Or your daughter tells you she’s decided she really wants to be a boy? What if it’s presented very emotionally, and you learn that your dear child has experienced great pain in this conflict? Of course your heart naturally goes out, and you want to ease the suffering.
What if, in addition, there’s an implied (or stated) ultimatum? You’re told, “Accept my decision to embrace same-sex cravings, accept my decision to deny my body’s created sex, or I will disown you, and you may never see me again.”
This is where we find out what we really believe, and who we really love with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength.
For in this case there is no middle path. God says unequivocally that the embrace and pursuit of homosexual desires is the way of death and destruction (Rom. 1:18-32; 1 Cor. 6:9; 1 Tim. 1:8-11). God created male and female, as reflected in our bodies’ design – not an infinite sliding scale of subjectively determined variety (Gen. 1:27; Rom. 1:26-27). God identifies the embrace of such broken cravings as sin, and sin invariably merits His eternal wrath (Rom. 6:23).
So what do we do? We want to help our broken, miserable child. The easiest way – the way the world approves – is to affirm him or her in the world’s imitation of real love, “unconditional [i.e. amoral] love.” We become enablers, aiding and abetting our child in the direction his passions are pushing him.
In so doing, we are making our child our lord, and accepting his self-interpretation and self-prescription as our law. And we’re doing it with the best of intentions.
But the one thing we are not doing is this: we are not actually loving our child, much less loving God.
Love is intelligent and purposeful, and it is devoted to the other’s good. If we are Christians, we start with the conviction that no one knows anything better than God does (Prov. 1:7). So no one knows better what is best for our child than God does – and God is crystal-clear on these matters.
So we point our child to God’s truth: the way of life is in repentance and faith in Christ. Our hearts are completely unreliable guides (Jer. 17:9), only God’s word has the wisdom we need (2 Tim. 3:15-17). Christ can wash away all sins, and He makes us new within, enabling us to walk God’s way of life and healing, of genuine love and hope (1 Cor. 6:9-11). Our child needs to know God in Christ (John 14:6) – and if we love him, we’ll tell him so.
This situation, as I say, is an ultimate test: Do I view God through the lens of a superior love for my child? Do my child’s choices dictate how I love and serve God? Or is it the reverse?
If I believe God, my love for Him will always point me to His word to see how best to love my child. This is the only real way to love God, and love my child.