Occasionally I get a letter from a concerned parent about their child in a gay relationship or leaving their Christian faith. Often these parents are paralyzed with fear. Fear of condoning or accepting immoral behavior yet fear of losing their child to choices the parent disagrees with. Based on correspondence with these parents, I feel many in the name of “truth and righteousness” draw their swords only to find it turned into a tragic event that was avoidable.
I enjoy exercise and healthy eating. I share with family/friends the pros of a healthy lifestyle and give simple suggestions to implement it. They see my daily choices of going to the gym and preparing healthy meals.
And when it’s time to eat, generally I choose something healthy while they grab food that is anything but that. And we eat in peace. Why? Because:
- I don’t say, “If you order that double stuffed lasagna, you are not welcomed at this table.”
- I don’t slap the donut out of their hand saying “I told you before! You’re going to get diabetes from eating this!”
- I don’t turn up my nose and say, “Unless you include exercise and proper diet into your life, you’re not welcome around here!”
Because of past conversations and my personal, visible life, my family and friends ALREADY know where I stand on health and fitness. Smashing their faces into their pies destroys the relationship and, I believe, is offensive to God. All involved are hurt and nothing gained.
Here’s what I do do:
- I say, “How’s that double stuff lasagna? Did it turn out? It looks great!"
- I ask, “How was your weekend? Were you able to get out of the house?"
- I show interest in them, regardless if I agree or not with all their choices.
Here’s some phrases from letters/conversations I’ve received that need to stop:
- I can’t ask him about his boyfriend. He’ll think I’m supporting it.
- My son didn’t serve a mission, so we can’t help him pay for college.
- We have to treat my daughter differently because she’s not keeping the commandments.
Here are some suggestions folks:
- So Mike, what do you like about dating Ben? What are his best qualities?
- Our son chose not to serve a mission. We’re going to help him with college and hope he does his best.
- Karen, what things have you been working on lately? Anything I can help you with?
Journalist Dennis Prager summarizes it best:
Goodness is about character - integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, moral courage, and the like. More than anything else, it is about how we treat other people.