A couple of my strongest supporters just happen to be a gay woman and a gay man! Yes, that’s right! My sister-in-law and my brother-in-law are both gay, and of the most liberal class—and yet they strongly support my ministry and Larry’s, and are so very proud of us! They even share our ministry activities with their friends with pride! My brother-in-law really surprised me one day by making this statement to me while a well-known female Christian speaker was in his hometown for an event: “Well, that’s exactly where you should be, Christi, really!” Wow! I chuckled at the thought but definitely received his warm support and confidence. It is a precious memory . . .
How can this be? How does this type of thing happen? Larry and I have discussed this often over the years—and we think it must be because they just know that we love them, and have lived a consistent Christian life for decades. Without doubt they know our life-opinions and life-decisions; our worldview, are based on Holy Scripture. But they also know the love we have for each other and for them, is also based on Holy Scripture. They have been eye witness to our love in action, over and over; even when it hasn’t been easy. And we know that they love us too! They are always respectful of our convictions, never putting us in conflicting situations, which also speaks to their character!
Have we ever blown it? Of course! We’re a family, and we certainly aren’t perfect either. The only perfect thing about me and Larry is that we are “perfect sinners!” But when we haven’t been our best-selves, we humble ourselves and we always apologize, without making excuses! A sincere apology expressed without excuses goes a long way! Perhaps that’s why the Lord allows our buttons to get pushed, just so that we can practice humility!
One afternoon, years ago while having lunch with my sister-in-law, we entered into the deep . . . and I told her that she and I weren’t much different, in fact I told her that we have the same problem! Oh, you should have seen the look on her face when I said that! But then I went on to explain that I was a sinner too, just like she is. (I do not consider her a sinner and myself not one.) Because this is the thing: not only do we have the same problem—we can have the same resolution! I would love to say we then prayed together . . . but that didn’t happen. But I believe . . .
You see, it seems she is very intrigued by our faith. She asks questions, even political questions, wanting to know our take on things. She knows we are thoughtful in our decisions and that we don’t have knee-jerk reactions. And when there is a crisis, she wants us to pray. When we have meals together, in home or at a restaurant, we pray the Lord to bless our food, giving thanks to Him for the food and for her, and we pray in Jesus’ Name. She holds hands with us and bows her head. I’m not sure if she closes her eyes, as I haven’t peeked yet! But Larry’s brother does the same. They never put up a fuss or seem embarrassed when we exercise our faith. I think they know our faith is real!
It can be very difficult to share your faith with family members for many reasons: fear of conflict, real conflict, rejection, awkward family gatherings . . . But the reality is if they die without Christ, they will spend eternity separated from God’s love, and yours too, in hell forever. That understanding is enough for me to tread through the quagmire, exercise extreme patience, and take every opportunity that I can to pierce the darkness. Because I simply love them.
I believe they know our faith is real and that God exists. But if they choose to follow the God of the Bible, they also know there are things that they must choose to walk away from—and so far, that’s a choice they are not willing to make. Our prayer has been that they would just choose Him now—and let Him help them with all of the other stuff. They simply can’t make those other choices now, because they don’t have the heart to. God is the one who gives us a new spirit, and a new heart! (Ez.36:26)
I’ve never felt led to share this before, but I know there are many who struggle navigating through these types of waters, and just maybe the Lord can use our experience to encourage and even direct some of you a little bit.
Remember: prayer is your battlefield—not family gatherings.
The Lord bless you,
“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:25