Parents and church leaders can’t avoid addressing the gay agenda in an increasingly hostile culture. Jeff Johnston, a formerly gay many who is now culture and policy analyst for Focus on the Family, offers his insights on how to share truth with love.
“I was a believer,” he says. “I knew Jesus and I knew what scripture said but here I was in these relationships.” Johnston later was freed from homosexuality after attending a Christian conference. Today he helps parents navigate gender identity discussions with their children.
“We believe it’s very important that parents begin teaching their children at a young age about God’s design for humanity, for relationships and for marriage,” he said “You’re not talking to kids about sex at this point. You’re just saying God made us male and female in his image. And that’s a good thing. Boys and girls are both good, but they’re different from each other and that’s the way God made us.”
According to a February Gallup poll, 21 percent of generation Z Americans identify as LGBTQ, nearly double the number of millennials who do so. With these numbers in mind, Johnston encourages Christian parents to talk and remain engaged, even if they don’t accept their child’s alternative lifestyle.
“I’ve seen this tear apart families,” he said. “I encourage parents to maintain a relationship with their child, to do what you can to maintain a relationship with them while you’re still holding on to biblical truth.”
It is a subject Preston Sprinkle, Ph.D., of the Center for Faith, Sexuality, and Gender often addresses with parents whose children struggle with their sexuality and seek his help.
“Somehow we need to not candy-coat the truth, not water down the truth,” he said. “We need to realize how can we best communicate this truth in a way that’s not just going to heard by a younger generation but it’s going to believed and celebrated.”
The church’s job is to stand for biblical truth while doing so with biblical grace.
“When you start talking to actual people. it does sometimes interrupt your presupposition,” he said. “So hear stories, talk to people, ask questions. Obviously, it doesn’t mean you agree with everything they say. People get blown away when they find out you’re a Christian and you’re interested in them as a human person.”