Q: How are you to treat close family members who are into perverted lifestyles that are considered an abomination to the Lord?
A: A lot of family members struggle with this issue. The first thing a believer must do to determine how to properly respond to certain individuals is to discern if that member is a believer or not. I admit it is hard today to ascertain if a person is saved or not because most people consider themselves to be saved. Whether it is the presentation of “cheap grace,” the lopsided presentation of God’s love, or the promotion of Universalism, where everyone somehow makes it to heaven; or whether they have repented and truly received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, many people claim, assume, and presume they are “Christians.”
God is very clear about His attitude towards sin. If an individual was involved in abominations in the Old Testament, they were to be stoned and the parents or closest friend were to be the first to cast the first stone at them (Deuteronomy 13:6-10; 17:2-5; 21:18-21). God has not changed His mind about sin and its seriousness. Sin must be brought to the light, addressed, and repented of in order for reconciliation to take place at every level where it has wounded souls, bruised hearts, and destroyed relationships. However, if a person insists on their rebellious ways, they will die in their sin and taste the bitterness of judgment.
If a person is saved, the Bible is very clear you are to go to them out of love and meekness, and warn them of the dangerous ground they are standing on due to trespassing the moral aspect of the Law and bringing offense to you and a reproach on the Gospel. If they refuse to repent, you are to bring a witness with you to contend with their soul, and it they still refuse to repent, you are supposed to bring the matter before the congregation (Matthew 18:15-17).
In the incident of the man committing fornication in 1 Corinthians 5, the Apostle Paul warned that a little leaven tolerated or ignored in the church will leaven the whole lump and that if such a person remains unrepentant, then they must deliver him unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit might be saved. Due to the discipline of the Body, the man did repent and in 2 Corinthians 2:6-8, the Apostle Paul told the body at Corinth to restore him.
If a person is unsaved, we are not responsible to contend for the truth with them for they are blind to it; rather, like Jesus, we must be willing to be an example to them, pray for them when they are put on our hearts, and speak when prompted by the Holy Spirit, knowing that if the Spirit does not convict them of their sin, there will be no repentance or real conversion on the part of the person (John 16:7-13).
The Lord sat with sinners, reached out to seeking hearts with kindness, touched the untouchable, rebuked the Pharisees, and contended with His disciples. Truth was not sacrificed to get along with the sinners and to maintain surface, worldly relationships, rebukes were not given out of personal frustration, and contending was not done in vain. Jesus knew how and when to hit the mark of people’s lives. It takes the discernment and sensitivity of the Holy Spirit to know what to do. It takes vision to see that regardless of relationships, it is about souls and no matter the cost, the ultimate desire of every believer is to see a soul won for Christ, a lost coin found in the dark places of despair, and the lost sheep and prodigal children brought home to once again know the committed ways of the Shepherd and the love of the Father.