ASK BOB: “Should I continue a close relationship with my sister who is in a lesbian lifestyle?”

Occasionally people ask my opinion on various personal or church issues. I recently received the following question which I have reprinted below, followed by my response.



My sister, a minister’s daughter, has decided to live a lesbian lifestyle.  I cannot stop loving her or including her in my life, but my heart is completely heartbroken.  How can I continue to include her in my life?  I have told her I will never stop loving her, but will not applaud nor accept her behavior.  She only heard that I would always love her, not the truth.  Please help me with this.


Many of us have relatives who live in a similar unbiblical relationship.  When they profess to be a Christian, that makes it difficult for us to balance caring for them without endorsing their sin. Galatians 6:1 reads, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.”

If you have already confronted your sister and it appears she has disregarded the truth part of the conversation, I would suggest writing a brief letter in which you once again express your love for her and yet clearly communicate your concern about her lifestyle.  The letter could also establish future boundaries. (Can she bring her girlfriend to your home?  Will you allow your children to spend the night at her house? And so on.)

First Corinthians 5:11 instructs us to withdraw close fellowship from those who call themselves Christians but are living sexually immoral lives.  “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people- not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters.  In that case, you would have to leave this world.  But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler.  Do not even eat with such people” (1 Cor. 5:9-11).

The purpose of distancing ourselves from fellow believers is to motivate repentance.  Since total withdrawal may not be possible when the wayward Christian is a family member, your letter to your sister might inform her that you don’t intend to make it a frequent subject of discussion (you won’t nag) and that you want to be a part of family gatherings and keep communication open.  But she should not mistake your future silence or ongoing kindness as an endorsement of her behavior.

You might anticipate the argument, “God created me this way” or “I’m just doing what comes naturally,” but Galatians 5:16-17 is a clear reminder that God’s people are not to do what our carnal instincts tell us to do, but to walk by the Spirit.  “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Sprit what is contrary to the flesh.  They are in conflict with each other so that you are not to do whatever you want.”

We each battle different carnal desires…and some are more intense than others.  However, people with anger issues are urged to control their temper, and people with addictions are encouraged to “abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul” (1 Peter 2:11).  In the same way, since Romans 1:26-27 makes it clear that homosexual relationships are contrary to God’s natural order, we should tactfully prompt Christ-followers who have same-sex attractions to live a celibate life and walk in God’s will.

I pray the Lord will grant you wisdom, courage, and compassion and that your sister will respond favorably to your counsel.

– Bob


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