How do I explain to my younger children what it means for someone to “come out” as gay?

If your children watch television, go to school, play any youth sports, or get out of the house at all–in other words, if they’re not hermetically sealed inside your home–then this is a question you’ll have to address. Here’s my advice: If possible, lay the groundwork for that conversation long before it comes.

It begins by teaching your children that God is the Creator. He made this world and everything in it. God designed all the beauty that we see. He made human life and put us here in this world. As the designer, God knows how everything is meant to function. In other words, he has a design plan for life. That amazing design plan, when pursued, leads to flourishing, abundant life. When ignored, it leads to brokenness.

Along with that basic, affirmative view of God’s design, teach your children that God has given us access to his “design plan” in the Bible. We are meant to live in God’s world according to his Word. When we sin, whether it’s lying or cheating or hurting someone else, we’re essentially exchanging His design plan for our own.

As much as possible, I try to teach these two principles to my own children. We try to connect the rationale for our “house rules” back to this idea that our family wants to live in harmony with God’s design plan.

So, when the question comes up, we’re equipped with the beginnings of an answer. It goes like this: When someone “comes out of the closet,” it means that they want to be close to (or “be intimate with”) someone of the same gender in the same way that mom and dad are close, maybe even get married. But the problem is, that’s not how God designed us. He designed marriage as a life-long relationship between a man and a woman. God made us and knows how life is supposed to work, so we want to obey him. We still love this person and want what’s best for them. We just don’t agree with some of the choices they’re making.