How do I help my niece who is coming out as agnostic and gay?
Today, my niece confided in me about coming out as an agnostic and a gay to her parents. As most coming-out stories are, she was met with disapproval from her parents as they were members of a conservative denominational church. She is distressed by this, causing her to be emotionally and mentally distressed; hence, she reached out to me in hopes that I would comfort her in her predicament. In addition, her parents threatened that they would cut off their financial support to her if she continues to be agnostic and gay.
She is asking that I give her a lending ear when she shares her problems with me and probably some solution and advice for these problems.
I am honestly torn since I feel for her and pity her situation, but another thing is that I only met this family member online. We have exchanged messages online but we have never met in person and she is an adolescent too, so I'm being careful. However, I feel so sorry for her, and knowing that I'm probably the only church of Christ member that she comes across with, I'm wondering how I could talk her into listening to what the Bible says regarding her desired lifestyle as I fear that her heart may be hardened even more. It's hard because she seemed to be someone who attended church regularly but was discouraged from her faith due to an unpleasant experience with their church members.
An agnostic isn't certain God exists; thus, they can use that uncertainty as an excuse to do as they please and ignore God and His commands. Your niece chooses this route because she knows that claiming to believe God would also require her to obey God and she doesn't want to do that.
The claim that she is mentally and emotionally distressed is an attempt to defeat any opposition to her choices. She knew before she decided to be a lesbian that her parents would not approve of her choice. Their response was predictable and I am positive that she knew it. But by claiming to be a victim, she is trying to shift the responsibility from herself to her parents and others who won't accept her choices. In other words, she wants to sin and face no negative consequences. See What about people who play the victim card?
Notice that she also blames her rejection of God and the church, not on her choice but because others caused her unpleasantness. For all I know, the unpleasantness was that others in her church realized she was going off-track and tried to warn her.
You won't be able to get your niece to listen to God by sympathizing with her in her sins. You need to be kind and gentle, but you must also be clear and firm. Her choices lead to a life of misery. It solves nothing and creates more problems for her. She won't believe you because she wants support from people and not reason. Her heart is already hard. It needs to be cracked with truth lovingly presented. See Don't you dare change my mind, but why is homosexuality bad?
"And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh" (Jude 22-23).
I've had my realizations on this matter and your response has only solidified my stance on this matter that I should stand with the truth. Thank you Brother and God bless you with all the things you do for the church.