We recently had a conversation with author and speaker Sam Allberry on the issue of same-sex attraction and Christianity. One of our last questions for him was this: how should a Christian respond when a friend or family member opens up to them about their same-sex attraction?
Below was his response.
I think if someone shares that with you, it’s good to recognize that they’re sharing something that is very personal. They’re being vulnerable with you, and I think anytime someone is doing that, whatever it is they’re disclosing, it’s good just to acknowledge that they’re placing an awful amount of trust in you.
It’s interesting. One of the first times I shared that I was wrestling with this issue with a friend, the first thing my friend said was, “Thank you so much for trusting me with that.” That actually just made me feel so relieved and that I’d done the right thing by telling that person. He said, “That sounds like it was a hard thing for you to share, and I just want to thank you for doing that for me.”
I think that’s a really good way to respond, to just thank someone for disclosing something that is that deep and personal.
The second thing is actually just to listen. Rather than swinging into what-you-think-they-need-to-know-mode, just find out a bit about how they’re getting on with things. So, ask them, “How long has this been an issue for you and what’s it been like and what have been the pains and the struggles with that?” The more you listen – I know this as a pastor now – the more you get a sense of how it is you can help this person.
It may be that they need someone to just be a sounding board. It may be that they need a bit of accountability. It may be that they’re a bit confused and need a bit of clarity. It might be that they just need a friend to walk with them through this issue. Listening will help us figure that out.
If you’re interested in this topic, be sure to check out our full conversation with Sam that delves deeper into this issue.