“Hater!” is a hurtful label.
“Dad!” called Chad. “Kim and I are leaving! See you later!”
Todd appeared at the door of his wood shop, a stained paint brush in one hand. “Hey, kids. What’s on your agenda today?”
Kim smiled. “We’re going to watch my brother run the relay in the International Gay Games downtown.”
Todd’s smile disappeared. “Absolutely not. This family does not support gay activities.”
Kim blushed. “I can’t deal with this,” she muttered to Chad. “Meet you at the car?”
Chad nodded. He waited until Kim got into his Jeep before he turned to glower at his dad. “So you hate gays now?”
“Of course not! I’m just trying to help you take a stand here, Chad.”
“Take a stand against my girlfriend?” asked Chad, incredulously.
“No, Chad. Just this particular activity.”
“Dad, Kim’s brother is gay. Her dad kicked him out of the house, and it’s like you just kicked her out.”
“Now hold on,” Todd sputtered. “I did nothing of the sort. And until just now, I didn’t know Kim’s brother was gay.” He glanced over at Kim, who was intently watching them. He lowered his voice. “Look, Chad, I don’t have anything against gays, especially Kim’s brother. But I don’t like them pushing their lifestyle on the rest of us. It’s sinful. I shouldn’t have to remind you of that.”
“And I shouldn’t have to remind you that Jesus told us to love everyone,” retorted Chad. His face darkened. “If I told you I was gay, you’d kick me out, too, right?”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Chad!” cried Todd. “I love you more than life itself. Homosexuality is still wrong.”
Chad turned away, clearly angry. As he climbed into his Jeep he yelled, “I am going to the games. Admit it, Dad. You’re a hater!”
What’s a Parent to Do?
The dreaded “Hater” label. Shudder. It’s almost worse than a root canal or the annual company review.
But if your kids are tossing this label at you, can we beg you to cut them some slack? It’s tough being a kid today. With so many messages aimed at them, in every communication vehicle possible, our youth are struggling to figure out which ideas to listen to. If we lose our cool, it will be hard to keep the lines of communication open.
It is the wise parent who gets on his or her knees and asks for guidance in being an echo of God’s truth, no matter the issue. Know the word, so that you’re speaking with God’s authority, not your own. It might be helpful to you to catch up on our earlier blog posts on the subject of intolerance: True for You, But Not for Me: What is Truth, Why Don’t My Kids Embrace Biblical Truth, and My Parents Judge Me for My Moral Choices.
The battle for our youth’s minds and hearts is fierce. But be calmed by the fact that although society now demands full acceptance of all lifestyles, the wise person seeks God’s truth. You and your kids will definitely be blessed by living a God-centered life. Again, it is crucial to know God’s word. Is the Bible part of your daily family life? Do you encourage your kids to seek it out, to know the stability and joy of personally knowing Christ?
Thought to Ponder
This week, as you parent, note the times you are able to 1) stop and pray before you speak, 2) speak in love, not criticism, and 3) keep a dialogue going with your kids. Satan loves to make us angry, and he loves to shut down communication. If we’re not talking, we’re not having the conversations we should be having. Our kids desperately need to hear that God loves them, accepts them, and yearns to have a relationship with them. It’s tough being a parent, especially if you’re tossed the “Hater” label. But with God’s help, we can keep our cool. And they shall know us by our love … may they also know us by our patience, joy, and ability to speak in wisdom when tossed hurtful labels.
This blog post has been adapted from the book The Beauty of Intolerance, by Josh and Sean McDowell. To purchase a copy of this helpful parental resource, please visit our Store page.