The Response That Was Left Unsaid: This Is How Hate Sounds

This powerful fictional letter written by David Murray, of HeadHeartHand.org and PRT Seminary, is one of the best examples of love communicated to a homosexual son I have seen. Unfortunately, the fictional letter was preceded by an actual letter of father disowning his son. Read all the way to the end and see the differences.

The best line, worthy of being quoted: “I hope you will not call this message hate. This is how love sounds.”

Check out the original article here.

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Five years ago, Redditor RegBarc ”came out” to his father. Shortly afterwards, his dad disowned him in a handwritten letter which RegBarc shared with the world on Tuesday, adding the comment: “This is how hate sounds.”

James:

This is a difficult but necessary letter to write.

I hope your telephone call was not to receive my blessing for the degrading of your lifestyle. I have fond memories of our times together, but that is all in the past.

Don’t expect any further conversations with me. No communications at all.

I will not come to visit, nor do I want you in my house.

You’ve made your choice, though wrong it may be. God did not intend for this unnatural lifestyle.

If you choose not to attend my funeral, my friends and family will understand.

Have a good birthday and good life.

No present exchanges will be accepted.

Good bye, Dad

As I find it hard to believe that a true Christian would ever write such a letter, I’ve drafted a letter that I hope a Christian father would write (although I’m sure we all hope we’ll never have to write it).

My dear James,

I’d rather say this man-to-man and face-to face, and I hope I will have a chance to do so soon. However, to avoid misunderstanding, and to ensure that you have something in black and white you can keep and refer to, I want to make sure you know one thing: I love you, and I always will. I do not hate you, and I never will.

Our relationship will probably change a bit as a result of your chosen lifestyle, but my love for you will never change. I will continue to seek your very best, as I have always done. In fact, I will probably, by prayer and other practical means, seek your good as I’ve never done before.

Maybe you’ve been afraid that I will reject you and throw you out of my life. I want you to know that you will always be welcome in our family home. Text, email, phone regularly. I certainly will. We’d especially love you to come home for birthdays and for other special occasions. I hope we can continue to go fishing together and to share other areas of our lives.

Your male friend may also visit our home with you, but we will need to discuss certain boundaries. For example, I can’t allow you to share a room or a bed together when you are here, and I will not allow open displays of affection for one another, especially in front of the other children. If you stay with us, you will attend family devotions, and if you are with us on a Sunday, you will come to church with us to hear the Gospel.

Perhaps these boundaries are not going to be easy for you to accept, but please try to understand that I have a duty to God to lead my home in a God-glorifying manner. Psalm 101 commands me to prevent sinful behavior in my home. While extremely anxious to preserve a relationship with you, I am especially concerned that your siblings are not influenced into thinking your lifestyle is fine with God or us.

I know that you don’t like me calling your lifestyle and sexual practices a sin. However, remember I’ve always told you that I myself am a great sinner, but I have an even greater Savior. I hope the day will come when you will seek that great Savior for yourself. He can wash us snow-white clean. He is also able to deliver us from the bondage of our lusts and from everlasting damnation.

I will not bring up your sin and the Gospel every time we meet, but I do want you to know where I stand right up front, and also that I’m willing to speak with you about the Gospel of Christ anytime you wish.

I hope you will not call this message hate. This is how love sounds.

I will always be your Dad. And you will always be my son.

As I will never stop loving you, I will never stop praying for you.

With all my love,

Dad (Ps. 103:13).

 

12 thoughts on “The Response That Was Left Unsaid: This Is How Hate Sounds

  1. A duty to god to force other people to behave the way one thinks is right? That’s not a duty, it’s an imposition- not only is it an imposition it’s selective reasoning.
    Does the father also prevent people from gluttony during the holidays? Or does he arbitrarily choose which “sins” he’s going to make sure don’t happen under his roof?
    It’s a fantastically pretentious notion that anyone make themselves god’s judge by proxy.

    • Pinkagendist: Don’t miss the fatherly love displayed here. This letter is not about being the judge, that is God’s job, and that seems to be abundantly clear. This (fictional) dad has left the door wide open for communication and a continued relationship to flourish! No ambiguity is present when he says, “I love you, and I always will. I do not hate you, and I never will.” This dad is not judging his son, he is loving him!
      Will good dads let they children do whatever they want? No, they guide them and teach them how to live life. This Dad is lovingly setting boundaries that correspond to his belief system? Why is that wrong? Are you suggesting an individual cannot believe and act according to their own convictions? He is not trying to be God’s judge, he is just trying to be consistent.

      • “Good dad’s let children…?”
        We’re not talking about children, we’re talking about adults choosing their own path in life. A person’s beliefs should be between them and their god, not a weapon with which to assault the liberties and choices of their fellow citizens. When we cross the line from belief to the imposition of beliefs we end up with honour killings and stonings, so common in the near and far east.
        He’s not just trying to be god’s proxy judge, he’s making himself god’s enforcer, a bouncer.

    • Reading over your reply all your descriptions of the fictional dad are so negative. “assaulting the liberties”, “imposition of beliefs”, “enforcer”, “bouncer…” This letter is nothing but caring and loving. It’s a dad who wants to be there for his son, not be a bouncer. I don’t want to assume anything, but could you possibly be transferring what you think a christian would say for what is actually in the text above? This letter is so far away from “honor killings and stonings” and so much nearer to the example of Jesus with the woman caught in adultery. (John 8:1-11 if you want to check it out) Jesus protected her from her accusers, spoke kindly to her, forgave her sins, and challenged her to then “leave her life of sin”. He did not wink at sin, saying she was not really wrong in her actions, but he called her to the truth in a loving way.

      I know many christians react in the wrong ways to homosexuals. I am sorry for that. If we were to meet I can promise you that I would treat you with respect and dignity. I (and all people claiming to follow Christ) should lovingly and graciously interact with anyone and everyone. But it is God who defines what sin is, not me. While I am gracious to all, I must speak truth graciously.

      Eph. 4:14,15 says Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ (NLT)

      • Perhaps I didn’t express myself accurately. What underlies my argument is the unusual and somewhat arbitrary choice of which sin(s) a person believes they have the right to condemn/impede- and the belief that that right supersedes another individual’s free will.

        By that I mean does the hypothetical father tell his overweight child that they can visit, but whilst under his roof, the child’s eating will be monitored so he/she does not incur in sin? And let’s be honest, being overweight is just as recurrent a sin as (homo)sexuality.

  2. Dear Dad,

    I want you to know that you are always welcome in my house and in my life.

    But when you visit, there will be certain boundaries. There will be no mention of your religion, the god you believe in or your opinion that my lifestyle is a sin under my roof. Nor will you be allowed to share your religion with my children, as I do not want them thinking that your beliefs are okay with me.

    I understand that may be hard for you, but this is what love is like.

    Your Son.

  3. Adam, I sent your post to someone I know who is both Christian and the mother of a lesbian daughter in college. With the help of a counselor, her daughter came out to her during high school. The counselor met with the whole family and said that the daughter was lucky to have a loving, supportive family, which many gay youth do not have. I asked her what such a letter might look like from her as a mother, and she wrote this, a letter reflecting on her years of knowingly parenting a gay child. This is posted with her permission:

    Dear Jane,
    Thank you for being open and honest about your attraction to girls. As you know, it is fine with me. I love you regardless. When I was in college, I had a couple of gay friends and they were afraid to let me know. Once I found out and was fine with it, we had long talks and our friendships deepened. I’m glad you felt comfortable enough to clue us in at an early age.
    As I’ve learned over time, “coming out” is not only something that gays do. Parents of gay children have to also “come out”, where we speak up for you and openly encourage you. I am ashamed that it took me a while. I really thought I wanted you to hide, or at least not advertise, who you were because I didn’t want people to shun or be mean to you. In hindsight, I probably didn’t want people to look at our family differently. I wanted to protect us all, including myself.
    Since you’ve been away at college and given me permission to be open about your sexual orientation, I have been much more vocal and “out”. Remember last summer, when we found a predominantly gay Christian church with a young adults group? Dad and I fell in love with the church and have been attending regularly. At church, WE are the minority. Daddy and my sexual orientations are not “normal”. The community has opened up and let us be part of them. It took a while for them to learn to trust us because of how some Christians have behaved. Many weeks I hear stories of how members, even leaders in the church, have been kicked out of their families and not been allowed to see siblings, nieces, and nephews. People at church have lost their jobs simply for being gay. How can that pain be inflicted on them in the name of God? Know that you and your girlfriends, and eventually, God willing, your wife will always be welcome in our home.
    God made you the way you are, perfect in every way. We are so proud of you and love you so much!
    Mom

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