Q. My family and I are Christians and believe that the Bible is the word of God. Recently my younger brother confessed to me that he is a homosexual. He is 22 and he said that he has known this since he was 14. He doesn't want to tell our parents. He said he knows they would disown him.

I thanked him for his trust and asked if he had prayed about this. He said that he had prayed many times and had never felt any condemnation from Jesus. He also told me that he had found a church in his college town that accepts homosexuals.

Yesterday I went to our minister and told him that a friend of mine had confided in me that he was homosexual. The minister said the Bible is clear on this subject and that unless my friend repents, he will go to Hell. He advised me not to associate with him. I know if I had told him that this was my brother, he would have insisted I tell my parents.

I love my brother and want to do what is best for him. I really am afraid that if I don't act, he will go to Hell. Do you look at the Bible the same way as my family and church?

A. Having faced a similar situation in our own family, we understand how difficult this is for you. Please rest in the truth that God is with you as you struggle with this and that you and your brother are held, this very instant, in God's comforting peace and changeless blessing.

The Bible gives many assurances that it is God's will that no child be left behind. Although in our opinion there is not the slightest possibility that your brother will go to hell, even if you were to think there is, God assures you that He will not leave your brother behind. For example, Psalm 139 states that if we make our bed in hell, God is there with us, and God's hand still leads us and holds us.

Perhaps you believe that your brother has sinned against heaven. In Jesus' parable of the prodigal son, a younger son has "sinned against heaven." What does his father do when the boy says, "I am no longer worthy to be called your son"? He embraces him and kisses him and welcomes him home. He clothes him in his best robe, puts shoes on his feet, a ring on his finger, and kills the fatted calf for a celebration. Please notice, Mary, that the father doesn't even mention the son's mistakes. God is not interested in our mistakes; God is interested in our returning Home. And God sees to it that we do.


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In our opinion, your brother is not even making a mistake, but you can see that other very sincere people would disagree with us because they emphasize different biblical passages. To see for yourself how arbitrary it is for us--or anyone--to pick some concepts and dismiss others, take a concordance and look up just the passages where it is demanded that individuals should be stoned to death. And you might also ask yourself if you know anyone who has given everything they have to the poor, or has literally plucked out their eye because they had a lustful thought, or cut off their hand because they sinned, or who prays only in their closet, or who donates so anonymously that their left hand does not know what their right hand is doing.

In other words, this arguing over passages is not true faith. True faith is the love you already feel for your brother, because God is love. True faith does not tell your mom and dad what they cannot possibly understand and what would only wound them deeply. True faith is your quiet knowing that in your brother's heart, God has placed not only goodness but the Kingdom itself. True faith is compassionate and accepts the truth with which your brother entrusted you. So keep your faith with God and keep your faith with your brother. And if any question comes up about what to do, in stillness and humility, turn to God and receive your answer in peace.

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