As long as I can remember, my mother — and especially my father — have been the kind of Christians who practice what they preach. They were honest in what they said, and I knew I could depend on them to keep their promises. Both of them really gave themselves to do everything they knew to care for me, my brother, and my sister.

I saw in my parents a real love for Christ and a love for us children.

This blog’s featured photo was taken after 30 years of marriage, and they obviously still loved each other. They had some difficult times, but their love was deeply felt, demonstrated by action and representing a genuine lifetime commitment.

Before I go on, I know that many of you will be thinking that I am describing a perfect Christian childhood and leaving out all my parents’ faults and other problems. I will definitely mention those things later.

But my main point now is to make it clear that a guy can have the “right kind” of Christian upbringing, no abuse, and good bonding experiences with his father — yet still develop an attraction to other guys.

Unfortunately, many parents wrongly think they should somehow take responsibility for raising a child badly and “making them gay.” I am a prime example of someone who was parented well, yet still developed same-sex attractions (SSA). The way a child is raised will definitely have an effect on how he responds to SSA, but it will not necessarily determine if he has SSA.

I remember my father showing me love that I could feel while also being a benevolent authority figure, explaining to me why he was telling me to do something and disciplining me when I needed it. Like his parents before him, he had a very heartfelt relationship with God. He would often sing songs of worship to God when working around the house or driving. Whenever there was a crisis, he would stop and pray, taking the situation to God instead of worrying.

Several times I remember God very specifically answering my father’s prayers! Once he had lost his job in a bad economy and asked God to provide one locally so he wouldn’t need to move and uproot the family.

Before his severance pay even stopped, a different part of his old company called him back and he was working again under a different boss.

Another time — long before the days of GPS — I was in his car with my father when he ran out of gas. He stopped the car and prayed to find a nearby gas station. He then coasted in neutral down a hill — and to his and my surprise, there was a gas station, just at the bottom of the hill!

There are many examples of God clearly at work in my father’s life, and I could go on and on about them, but all I need to say is this:

I saw that my father had a very real relationship with God that was uncommon, powerful, and very much full of joy. I knew I wanted to be close to God the way Dad was!

Can you think of how your parents’ good qualities positively affected you? How has your father impacted your spiritual journey?

  • Thanks for sharing Marshall! It’s wonderful the way God was present in your father’s life and the example he provided for you. I feel it’s really important that parents are never blamed for their children’s same-sex attraction. While it is one of many factors, it’s not as if they made a conscious choice to do whatever it was that helped push it along just as I didn’t make a conscious decision to be attracted to men. When I first told my parents several years ago, I probably made it sound more like they did something than I should have and would have with what I know now.

    • Unless parents sexually abuse a child, I would not want them to blame themselves for a child’s SSA either. There could be many factors at work to cause same-sex attraction. Many researchers have studied the issue in depth and still disagree on the causes.

  • It is so refreshing to read that your parents did not have some responsibility for creating your SSA. I went through several processes of deliverance in attempts to trace the cause of my SSA without any results, leaving me to conclude that my SSA had nothing to do with how I was raised or with some perversion or abuse that I might have been subjected to as a child. I have, therefore, come to believe that it was something planted in me by my heavenly Father as an integral part of my being.
    My parents were both religious in their own ways though of different beliefs/persuasions. It was the fact of their different beliefs which led them not to pressure me or my brothers to take up a particular path. I am always grateful to them for that freedom to choose. My wife and I had the privilege in later life to actually minister to them and bring them to an acceptance of Jesus as their Saviour, for, in spite of their religious backgrounds, neither of them had ever received Jesus as personal Saviour.

    • I am happy to hear that your parents experienced a relationship with God! Though I do not blame parents for causing SSA, I personally would not attribute it to God either. SSA is a temptation for a kind of sexual sin, and I do not believe God tempts us to sin.

  • I think that is so important to note: your upbringing will most probably affect how one responds to SSA, but does not cause it. it took me a while to realize that a lot of things I read in reparative therapy resounded with me because my upbringing did affect me and my desires for men but not in that it caused my SSA but that it made it seem like a good idea for a long time and henceforth a more desirable path

    • Yes! Our upbringing has a big effect on how we respond to a temptation like SSA, but I think there may be several factors at work to cause it. What matters most is how we respond, hopefully by resisting temptation and turning to God for help.

  • Thanks for sharing some of your upbringing, Marshall. Particularly as it relates to SSA and your father. I was also raised by a loving, godly dad, going on father-son adventures with our church — and even then, I still wrestled with these same-sex longings. Even though I wouldn’t open up to him about my struggles until my late teens, I’m grateful for a dad who would spend time with me, teach me, and love me throughout my childhood.

    • Yes, you have so much to thank God for in your father! For some guys with same-sex attraction bad fathering does seem to contribute to the problem, but that is not always the case. Besides you and me I know several other SSA guys who have good relationships with their fathers. There is more to it than bad fathering.

  • My parents also both loved me and my brother well and raised us in the fear of the Lord. My father wrestled with me and my brother on the living room floor quite often, we played games together as a family, and Dad did what he could to teach us how to be responsible adults. I don’t believe my parents caused my SSA. My brother has no trace of SSA whatsoever, in spite of having been raised by the same parents as me. For whatever reason, I’m just special like that, I guess.

    • Kevin, it sounds like you have a lot to thank God for in your father too! Even if I can’t figure out why I am tempted with same-sex attraction, what is more important is how I respond to it. With God’s help I resist the temptation and instead seek to love God and others in a healthy way.

    • Kevin, it sounds like you have a lot to thank God for in your father too! Even if I can’t figure out why I am tempted with same-sex attraction, what is more important is how I respond to it. With God’s help I resist the temptation and instead seek to love God and others in a healthy way.

  • Glad someone had an awesome upbringing! I did too, and both my parents did their best to love me, yet show me how to be responsible. Isn’t it great to see your father loving God above all else, yet his life oozed out love and sacrifice. That’s what I love about this post mostly!

  • Marshall

    Jesus told us to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. I seek to do that with great joy, because He is better than everything we give up! Also I want to love others in an unselfish way as Jesus taught. I currently do my best to live out that kind of love with 15 other friends on a farm near the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. I love talking about what really matters, and seeing a friend's heart turn from pain to joy, from fear to peace, and from despair to hope! My writing tends to focus on the topic of friendships with other guys. I have never married and am currently the oldest author on YOB.

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