Question: “I have 2 gay siblings who have decided they can no longer be around my sister and me because, as Christians, we believe homosexuality to be a sin. We’ve loved our sibs for years and have never condemned them and have always embraced them and their partners. Now they will have nothing to do with us. Should we simply stay silent and respect their wishes?”
Reply: Hello, _____:
Thank you for your question. And I’m sorry this is happening to you and your family. But let’s take a look at what is really happening here.
In the beginning, when Adam and Eve sinned against God, what did they end up doing? They hid from Him. They were afraid to be around Him. They were riddled with guilt. Sin cannot stand in the presence of a holy God, for He is a consuming fire where ever impurity (sin) exists. God loved Adam and Eve no less after their sin than before their sin. He, knowing what had happened, walked in the garden to be with them. Of course, He had to shield them from His presence in order to protect them, now that they were “unclean.” God was grieved at the loss of His intimate relationship with His children. But we see in this story this sober fact: Sin separates. “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2)
Like God, you and your sister are now grieved because the sin of homosexuality has now come between the two of you and your two gay siblings. Most likely you have done nothing to offend them. They just no longer feel comfortable around “holiness.” I say “holiness”, not to judge you as being perfect, but to make the point that as you are growing in grace day by day as Christians, becoming more and more like Jesus, (and I hope this is so, for by beholding Him daily we become changed into His likeness), the guilt of your siblings makes it very difficult for them to be around you. You say that you have never condemned them and have always embraced them and their partners, so the fault is not in yourselves. What you are experiencing, Chris, is what Jesus is experiencing every moment of every day. People that He loves so dearly that He was willing to give His life that they might not receive the wages of their sins (John 3:16), these people are throwing all that love and sacrifice back into His face, not wanting it, nor caring about it. Oh! How He must continue to suffer because of the sins of His children!
Your question is, “Should we simply stay silent and respect their wishes?”
I’m sorry, but you can only get as close to them as they will let you. Yes, it is the right thing for you to do. Respect their wishes. However, never stop taking every opportunity they do allow to show them unconditional love and acceptance. And never stop interceding for them in your prayers. Talk to the Lord about their lifestyle of sin, not to them. Commit them daily to His keeping. After all, He loves them more than you do, right? Try to never miss an opportunity to send them greeting cards: Birthdays, Holidays, Thinking of you’s, Thank you’s, etc. Like with anyone and everyone else you keep in touch with, don’t mention their sins. Mention your love and fond thoughts and interest in their activities and work, etc., that are not related to their life of sin. There’s much to mention in these types of greeting cards.
Another thing I believe to be very important is that you make sure that they always see Jesus in you, in your life, in your behavior, in your words. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5) Be consistent in your own lifestyle, so that they have no room to see hypocrisy in you. You may be the only Bible they may ever read. So, make sure that what they do read in you and see in you is the character of Jesus Christ.
Please don’t be too hard on yourselves. You must stop and realize that even Jesus, even God the Father, cannot save someone against his/her will. Look what happened to Lucifer in heaven. However, you can pray that the Lord will do whatever it takes to get their attention; whatever it takes to make them face eternal realities. He cannot force the will, the power of choice. But He can get their attention and bring circumstances around to where they have to face eternal realities. This you can pray for, and then rest your minds at ease.
God be with you, dear ones. Be of good courage! Jesus will step in where you reach your limitations.
All Power to you!