How Do We Show Love without Showing Approval for a Gay Family Member Who Is Having a Baby?

Question from a Reader:

My cousin is gay but has no partner. She has chosen to become pregnant through IVF. We are struggling with whether we should give a shower as we do with all my other family members that have babies through male/female conception (mostly after marriage). 

There is a lot of confusion among my family about this. However, the specifics of the situation aren’t the baby’s fault, so should we give a shower? Often my emotions get in the place of logic/facts from the Bible. 

Answer from Eternal Perspective Ministries Staff:

It can be so hard to know how to balance showing God’s love to others but not approving of what is outside His moral will. And it gets a bit more difficult if you are dealing with unbelievers in the family and are trying to communicate grace and truth and love without sounding condemning of your cousin as a person.

Rosaria Butterfield writes, “The difference between acceptance and approval is the line that a Christian who loves someone trapped by these lies must navigate. It’s a fine line.” She explains that “Acceptance means dealing protectively and gently with the person who is lost.”But it doesn’t mean to approve, which means you give the whole situation a blessing. (See this interview.)

Randy writes in The Grace and Truth Paradox: “Ephesians 4:15 tells us to speak the truth in love, not to withhold the truth in love. We should be full of grace and truth, as Jesus was and is (John 1:14). ‘Hate the sin, but love the sinner.’ No one did either like Jesus.”

We staff members discussed this scenario together as a group. It sounds like your concern is that giving a typical baby shower might communicate approval for her choice of purposely creating a child through IVF and leaving the child fatherless. Our consensus was that the main goal should be finding a way to creatively show love that can leave the door open to have a relationship with the child and her mother in the future, yet doesn’t violate your conscience about God’s standards related to marriage and family.

Certainly, a new life is worth celebrating no matter how she or he was conceived. One idea could be not to host a shower, but for each family member to send a gift for the baby and a card to the mom that provides encouraging words but avoids phrasing that would give any sense of approval such as, “You are so brave to take on this parenting role alone.”

Another idea could be to have an open house after the baby is born, where family can stop by and meet the child and bring a gift. Doing it this way would avoid the need for everyone to come together at the same time for a structured event where a family member has to lead it and could be in an uncomfortable position of knowing what to say exactly or giving a false impression of support for her decision. This seems like it could be an event that more clearly celebrates the child’s birth and is a bit different than a baby shower.

This article addresses some similar situations and talks about how two different Christians made different choices, but one did feel regret later that her actions might have conveyed approval.

The Lord promises to give wisdom when we ask (James 1:5). May He give you great wisdom, and the ability to convey His truth and love, to your cousin and the rest of your family.

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