Above all, it’s critical that we represent Jesus to our relatives by maintaining a relationship while also trying to share the truth (true love will seek the highest good for another person). Most people give up on one or the other. Keep loving—biblically.
Sometimes, what’s difficult is that our child or other loved one has seemingly made a profession of faith, attended church, led a seemingly upright moral life, and ended up in this situation. Be aware this is happening to young people—and many not so young—all across the country, and sexuality and identity are the places where Satanic spiritual forces are most focused on attacking young people in our time. Another area of attack is the subject of truth itself and the validity of the Bible. Unfortunately, young people are being constantly bombarded with the idea that truth is relative and that what works for one person does not have to be true at all times and in all places. They are getting this from every direction, especially through media. So our relatives may well be able to believe that the Bible says something is wrong, believe they love God, and still do something consistently that God says is wrong because they feel it “works for them,” and can’t possibly be wrong for everyone at all times. This is a gross misunderstanding of the Scriptures, but it’s the battle we are all facing. As you love them, you will have to seek God to help you be strong for the subject of the absolute truth of God’s Word. That’s part of love, sharing truth that will save someone from tremendous pain and heartache. The fact is, Jesus came in real history and has a real identity and a real and truly narrow road He calls people to walk, and as Lord, He gets to be in charge. If we say we follow Him but do not strive to obey Him, we are lying to ourselves and do not belong to Him.
We who truly believe in Jesus are declared righteous by faith alone in Christ alone, and His work on our behalf is now finished. However, that does not provide license to sin. The clear testimony of Scripture is that those who practice homosexuality won’t inherit the kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9-11) and those who deliberately practice sin don’t belong to God (1 John 3:4-10). Deliberate lifestyles of sin point to deeper issues of the heart that show us whether our allegiance is truly to Christ or to self. If our allegiance is to ourself, we may call Jesus Lord, but He will say “I never knew you.” An unwillingness to repent or turn away from a life of sin is what keeps someone from turning to Jesus to receive eternal life and the indwelling Holy Spirit in the first place. The crux of the matter is this: you can only truly place your trust in Christ as Lord and Savior if you also repent of your sin. Part of discovering who Jesus is as the Lord of your life and Savior of the world is realizing that He is the holy God against whom you have sinned, and for you to place your trust in Him for forgiveness for your sins against Him, you have to acknowledge your sins against Him and choose to turn away from them, knowing they are against His holy nature. In the turning away from sin, you are turning towards God for forgiveness and new life.
When your faith is placed in Jesus, His finished work makes you a new creation as you are born again in the Spirit, and you then begin to experience the sanctification of God as He conforms you to the image of His Son. Once Jesus makes you new, there is no going back, because it’s His work, not yours, but God’s Word is clear (see 1 John 3:4-10) that whoever deliberately makes a practice of sinning does not belong to God. You may have to accept the idea that your relative, if they are willfully choosing a wrong path, does not know Christ and never has. And you’ll need to treat them like someone who needs to discover the true saving grace of Jesus Christ and be given a new identity by a second spiritual birth, setting them free from a lifestyle of sin. To help you with your journey of understanding and communicating with your relative while seeking to help them discover Christ, the following sources might be helpful. You might start by watching the In His Image movie and considering their ministry resources. Restored Hope Network is made up of people who have been saved out of homosexual or transexual lifestyles and who want to share what God has given them by ministering to others who face the same struggles. Your relative could look into getting some help from them, or they might help you understand them. You might also consider reading/listening to apologist Josh McDowell’s The Beauty of Intolerance.
Something you’ll want to remember that’s more important than most anything else in your struggle is this: Jesus said people will not come to God unless the Father draws them (John 6:44-45), and the Word also says that God is not willing for any to perish but for all to reach repentance (2 Pet. 3:9). Our Heavenly Father’s heart is to rescue your relative, so God is with you in that effort and there is power in prayers for that. But there is also a burden lifted in that it is God’s job to draw your relative to His Son. You can’t make this happen. But you can pray, and God is still in the business of changing people. Press into prayer, and consider reading and meditating on the truths within E.M. Bounds On Prayer to begin growing in the power and consistency of your prayer life. Also, mostly all of Bounds’ books on prayer can be found online somewhere for free if you don’t mind reading pdfs.