"Just Because He Breathes: Learning To Truly Love Our Gay Son"

mack20

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This is a very interesting (and heartbreaking) account of a Christian family's struggle with their son's sexuality. These parents didn't react with hate or disgust. They told their son how much they loved him. They told him that they would never stop loving him. But they did react with fear. And the tragedy of their story is that they came to overcome that fear and love their son entirely as he was "just because he breathes" and in the end it didn't happen soon enough.

People on this board use really ugly language when discussing gay issues, but this story humanizes the struggle in a different way. These are parents who LOVED their son. They LOVE their God. And they genuinely believed that they were reacting to his sexuality in the best possible way. In my opinion, their story is worth reading.

Though our hearts may have been good (we truly thought what we were doing was loving), we did not even give Ryan a chance to wrestle with God, to figure out what he believed God was telling him through scripture about his sexuality. We had believed firmly in giving each of our four children the space to question Christianity, to decide for themselves if they wanted to follow Jesus, to truly own their own faith. But we were too afraid to give Ryan that room when it came to his sexuality, for fear that he'd make the wrong choice.

...

We had unintentionally taught Ryan to hate his sexuality. And since sexuality cannot be separated from the self, we had taught Ryan to hate himself. So as he began to use drugs, he did so with a recklessness and a lack of caution for his own safety that was alarming to everyone who knew him.

...

Over the next 10 months, we learned to truly love our son. Period. No buts. No conditions. Just because he breathes. We learned to love whomever our son loved. And it was easy. What I had been so afraid of became a blessing. The journey wasn't without mistakes, but we had grace for each other, and the language of apology and forgiveness became a natural part of our relationship. As our son pursued recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, we pursued him. God taught us how to love him, to rejoice over him, to be proud of the man he was becoming. We were all healing, and most importantly, Ryan began to think that if we could forgive him and love him, then maybe God could, too.

And then Ryan made the classic mistake of a recovering addict: He got back together with his old friends, his using friends. And one evening that was supposed to simply be a night at the movies turned out to be the first time he had shot up in 10 months -- and the last time. Ryan died on July 16, 2009. And we lost the ability to love our gay son, because we no longer had a gay son. What we had wished for, prayed for, hoped for -- that we would not have a gay son -- came true. But not at all in the way we had envisioned.
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S.J.

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The problem with some (perhaps most) Christians is that they get hung up on the letter of the law and fail to understand the heart of the law.
 

Delta4Embassy

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Tragic about the son, but no sympathy here for the parents if they had to 'learn how to love their gay son.' If love is conditional, it isn't love.
 

Sunni Man

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The kid betrayed his parents by becoming a faggot.

Yea, he is still their child but that doesn't mean they have to accept his perversion.

Plus the parents shouldn't feel guilty or responsible for his death.

Many kids that aren't homos have trouble with drug abuse.
 

Katzndogz

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Parents can love their children and still not accept their behavior as normal. Jeffrey Dahmer's mother loved him up to the day he was murdered.

Plenty of parents love children who behave in all kinds of reprehensible ways. They still don't accept their children are acting normally.

This boy was mentally ill. His homosexuality might have been a manifestation of such mental illness as was his drug and alcohol addictions. That's what killed him. Not his parents. Like a lot of addicts, as soon as they get clean, they move right back into the circle of friends and lifestyle that contributed to making them so sick in the first place. This kid is really no different that Hugh O'Connor, a drug addict who also committed suicide, without being gay, and with a very loving and supportive family.
 
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mack20

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The kid betrayed his parents by becoming a faggot.

Yea, he is still their child but that doesn't mean they have to accept his perversion.

Plus the parents shouldn't feel guilty or responsible for his death.

Many kids that aren't homos have trouble with drug abuse.
Get out. If you can't be a halfway decent human being for even a few minutes and state your opinion on the topic without using words like faggot, homos, and perversion, then screw you, you aren't welcome here.
 
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mack20

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Tragic about the son, but no sympathy here for the parents if they had to 'learn how to love their gay son.' If love is conditional, it isn't love.
That's the incredibly sad lesson that they had to learn. They didn't understand how devastating what they were doing to their son was until it was too late. And they paid the ultimate price. Now they try to help other parents struggling with the same issues understand the things that they didn't understand in time.
 

Sunni Man

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Get out. If you can't be a halfway decent human being for even a few minutes and state your opinion on the topic without using words like faggot, homos, and perversion, then screw you, you aren't welcome here.
I just call them like I see them......it ain't a crime.....yet ... :cool:
 
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mack20

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Parents can love their children and still not accept their behavior as normal. Jeffrey Dahmer's mother loved him up to the day he was murdered.

Plenty of parents love children who behave in all kinds of reprehensible ways. They still don't accept their children are acting normally.

This boy was mentally ill. His homosexuality might have been a manifestation of such mental illness as was his drug and alcohol addictions. That's what killed him. Not his parents. Like a lot of addicts, as soon as they get clean, they move right back into the circle of friends and lifestyle that contributed to making them so sick in the first place. This kid is really no different that Hugh O'Connor, a drug addict who also committed suicide, without being gay, and with a very loving and supportive family.
I'm wondering if you even read the full article. Attitudes like yours are part of the problem, not the solution.

Though honestly, I've seen some of the disturbing things you've written on this board and between you and Ryan, if I was to make claims of mental illness I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be choosing him.
 
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mack20

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Get out. If you can't be a halfway decent human being for even a few minutes and state your opinion on the topic without using words like faggot, homos, and perversion, then screw you, you aren't welcome here.
I just call them like I see them......it ain't a crime.....yet ... :cool:
You are not welcome in this thread until you can act like an adult.
 

Sunni Man

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The parents reacted the way any normal parent would when finding out their kid was a fudge packer.

And aren't guilty of anything. ... :cool:
 

Katzndogz

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Parents can love their children and still not accept their behavior as normal. Jeffrey Dahmer's mother loved him up to the day he was murdered.

Plenty of parents love children who behave in all kinds of reprehensible ways. They still don't accept their children are acting normally.

This boy was mentally ill. His homosexuality might have been a manifestation of such mental illness as was his drug and alcohol addictions. That's what killed him. Not his parents. Like a lot of addicts, as soon as they get clean, they move right back into the circle of friends and lifestyle that contributed to making them so sick in the first place. This kid is really no different that Hugh O'Connor, a drug addict who also committed suicide, without being gay, and with a very loving and supportive family.
I'm wondering if you even read the full article. Attitudes like yours are part of the problem, not the solution.

Though honestly, I've seen some of the disturbing things you've written on this board and between you and Ryan, if I was to make claims of mental illness I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be choosing him.
I read the full article. They had a gay son who was also a drug addict. They tried. Like a lot of parents they found that they could not love their child out of drug addiction which is what ultimately killed him. Drugs kill a lot of young people, gay, not gay, even some perfectly nice people. The parents are looking to place blame on themselves, if only they had accepted his gayness earlier, if only if only. At some point, even gay people are going to have to accept responsibility for their own behavior. They are gay, not everyone is going to like it. Even parents that still love them may not love their behavior. The parents of criminals have to deal with this every day. They have a child they love. That child does unacceptable things. You do what you can.

The boy could not move beyond his cricle of druggie friends. That's what killed him. He ended up dead like Hugh O'Connor, Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin, Whitney Houston it's a list that gets longer every day. Mindy McCready shot herself in the head due to drugs and addiction. Would it have made any difference if she had been gay? No. She was loved too. Love cannot stop a self destructive person from being self destructive no matter how parents want to make it their fault.
 
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mack20

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Parents can love their children and still not accept their behavior as normal. Jeffrey Dahmer's mother loved him up to the day he was murdered.

Plenty of parents love children who behave in all kinds of reprehensible ways. They still don't accept their children are acting normally.

This boy was mentally ill. His homosexuality might have been a manifestation of such mental illness as was his drug and alcohol addictions. That's what killed him. Not his parents. Like a lot of addicts, as soon as they get clean, they move right back into the circle of friends and lifestyle that contributed to making them so sick in the first place. This kid is really no different that Hugh O'Connor, a drug addict who also committed suicide, without being gay, and with a very loving and supportive family.
I'm wondering if you even read the full article. Attitudes like yours are part of the problem, not the solution.

Though honestly, I've seen some of the disturbing things you've written on this board and between you and Ryan, if I was to make claims of mental illness I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be choosing him.
I read the full article. They had a gay son who was also a drug addict. They tried. Like a lot of parents they found that they could not love their child out of drug addiction which is what ultimately killed him. Drugs kill a lot of young people, gay, not gay, even some perfectly nice people. The parents are looking to place blame on themselves, if only they had accepted his gayness earlier, if only if only. At some point, even gay people are going to have to accept responsibility for their own behavior. They are gay, not everyone is going to like it. Even parents that still love them may not love their behavior. The parents of criminals have to deal with this every day. They have a child they love. That child does unacceptable things. You do what you can.

The boy could not move beyond his cricle of druggie friends. That's what killed him. He ended up dead like Hugh O'Connor, Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin, Whitney Houston it's a list that gets longer every day. Mindy McCready shot herself in the head due to drugs and addiction. Would it have made any difference if she had been gay? No. She was loved too. Love cannot stop a self destructive person from being self destructive no matter how parents want to make it their fault.
He wasn't a drug addict until they had spent 6 years telling him that he had to choose between his faith and his sexuality though.

And I'd appreciate it if you would stop comparing him to criminals. It's very interesting to hear what you came away from this article with. It differs greatly from myself.
 

Sunni Man

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The kid lived a sordid life.

If he hadn't died of drugs the kid most likely would have ended up an AIDS victim.

The parents need to quit blaming themselves. ... :cool:
 
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mack20

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The kid lived a sordid life.

If he hadn't died of drugs the kid most likely would have ended up an AIDS victim.

The parents need to quit blaming themselves. ... :cool:
Nope.

(and by the way, a dirty needle will spread HIV)
 
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Sunni Man

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According to the article he was over the legal age of 18 when he overdosed.

That makes him an adult and his actions not the responsibility of the parents. ... :cool:
 

theword

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This is a very interesting (and heartbreaking) account of a Christian family's struggle with their son's sexuality. These parents didn't react with hate or disgust. They told their son how much they loved him. They told him that they would never stop loving him. But they did react with fear. And the tragedy of their story is that they came to overcome that fear and love their son entirely as he was "just because he breathes" and in the end it didn't happen soon enough.

People on this board use really ugly language when discussing gay issues, but this story humanizes the struggle in a different way. These are parents who LOVED their son. They LOVE their God. And they genuinely believed that they were reacting to his sexuality in the best possible way. In my opinion, their story is worth reading.

Though our hearts may have been good (we truly thought what we were doing was loving), we did not even give Ryan a chance to wrestle with God, to figure out what he believed God was telling him through scripture about his sexuality. We had believed firmly in giving each of our four children the space to question Christianity, to decide for themselves if they wanted to follow Jesus, to truly own their own faith. But we were too afraid to give Ryan that room when it came to his sexuality, for fear that he'd make the wrong choice.

...

We had unintentionally taught Ryan to hate his sexuality. And since sexuality cannot be separated from the self, we had taught Ryan to hate himself. So as he began to use drugs, he did so with a recklessness and a lack of caution for his own safety that was alarming to everyone who knew him.

...

Over the next 10 months, we learned to truly love our son. Period. No buts. No conditions. Just because he breathes. We learned to love whomever our son loved. And it was easy. What I had been so afraid of became a blessing. The journey wasn't without mistakes, but we had grace for each other, and the language of apology and forgiveness became a natural part of our relationship. As our son pursued recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, we pursued him. God taught us how to love him, to rejoice over him, to be proud of the man he was becoming. We were all healing, and most importantly, Ryan began to think that if we could forgive him and love him, then maybe God could, too.

And then Ryan made the classic mistake of a recovering addict: He got back together with his old friends, his using friends. And one evening that was supposed to simply be a night at the movies turned out to be the first time he had shot up in 10 months -- and the last time. Ryan died on July 16, 2009. And we lost the ability to love our gay son, because we no longer had a gay son. What we had wished for, prayed for, hoped for -- that we would not have a gay son -- came true. But not at all in the way we had envisioned.
SOURCE
God gave life to all wicked flesh that will perish during this age to stop the strong delusion that He created to deceive His created invisible people.
 
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mack20

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According to the article he was over the legal age of 18 when he overdosed.

That makes him an adult and his actions not the responsibility of the parents. ... :cool:
At least that's civil.
 

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