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G ender I dentity and S exual O rientation : O ur  B est C ounsel
of secure establishment of gender identity is a problem for many persons
who become gay or lesbian. Sexual abuse, as we will discuss, may also
interfere with gender identification and sexual orientation development.
PARENTAL INFLUENCE AND PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY
Before we go further, a cautionary note from older parents to younger. We
know well a number of wonderful, competent, deeply Christian parents
whose children have gone in unhealthy, destructive, and ungodly directions
in their lives. Was this result the fault of the parents? By no means.
By arguing that parents can make a ­difference—­in this case regarding
gender identity and sexual o­ rientation—­are we saying that if things turn
out “wrong,” it is the fault of the parents? By no means.
Science has not proven that biology predetermines the outcome for
any given individual. Neither has science proven that parenting makes no
difference. But wisdom also brings us to the conclusion that even the most
effective and wise parenting can never be guaranteed to produce a pre­
determined outcome. Parenting matters, but nothing is assured.
We believe the best understanding regarding final outcomes in gender
identity and sexual orientation is that biology (genetics and other factors)
has an influence, parenting has an influence, other factors in the life of your
child have an influence, and the choices of the c­ hild—­choices small and
large, thoughtless or d
­ eliberate—­have an influence.
We also believe, however, that God oversees and sovereignly directs all
things, including intervening as he chooses in each of our lives in ways that
are utterly mysterious to us. We pray that our child will get into a better
school, will not be tormented by that bully, will not be hurt in athletics,
will drop their friendship with the “bad apple” in the neighborhood, will
recover from their sudden illness, or will not receive the dreaded ­worst-­case
diagnosis from their medical tests. Praise God, sometimes such prayers are
answered.
But praise God, sometimes they are not. Christian parents sometimes
even feel guilt that not only was their parenting flawed but so were their
prayers. Somehow, we must come to grips with the reality that our influence is l­imited—­over our children, our spouses, our social environments,
and even ourselves. And certainly, we do not control God.
In rare cases, parents make bad choices with disastrous results for a
child. Stan once made a terrible, thoughtless choice that resulted in one
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