My friend just came out as bisexual. How can I help her?

Nickname/Alias: Catty

 My friend just came out as bisexual. How can I help her and what advice can I give her?

Dearest Catty,

I’m so glad you’re interested in being a friend to your friend right now. I bet she’s dealing with some tough stuff! I’d like a few more details, so I’m going to ask you a bunch of questions for you to ask yourself and then answer what I think you're getting at.

You said your friend came out as bisexual. I’m wondering if this was just to her trusted circle of people who love her or more like a mass social media type thing.  As in, did she include you in a trusting face-to-face about her sexuality and struggles or did you find out along with the rest of the interwebs? How close are you guys? This makes a difference to the approach I might take.

You also asked about what advice to give? Does she even want advice? Is she having trouble being accepted by her family? Is she feeling left out and ostracized by those people who she calls friends? Is she hurting spiritually?

What’s her support system like? Does she have caring parents, guardians, teachers, church leaders?

Finally, how old is your friend? I ask because there is a pretty big difference between 13 and 30 as far as how much thought and understanding someone puts into this declaration. Not to make light of this situation, but I know two young women who have been hurt by a boy and decided they were now bisexual. This doesn't make sense, because the feeling of being attracted to both sexes doesn't stem from being mad or disappointed in one. :) 

It’s super normal for people to ask questions, be curious about and even imagine what it might be like to be with the same sex. This doesn’t necessarily mean someone is bisexual, so I just wanted to clear that up in case it becomes a topic of conversation.

Anyway, here’s what I’m thinking based on the info you provided.

I’m assuming you guys are pretty close (talk once a week or more) and that you have her trust and have built up a decent sized amount in the “friendship bank account.” If that’s the case, I’d say you’re in a good position to have conversation with her about what she's dealing with. As a true friend, her struggles are totally your business, because you can help her through those struggles! If you’re up for it, a good way to open the conversation is just to ask questions without judgment or argument. If you don’t know a lot about it, just ask “why do you believe you’re bisexual?” or “What are you wrestling with right now since you came out?”

I’m also assuming that you believe, like I do, that same-sex partnering is a sin. (I will not go into details but I don’t find that it’s a worse sin than others.) This topic is always difficult for family and friends of someone who comes from a traditional Christian home, and people go through the gamut of questions..why did this happen? Is it biological? Does it have to do with any  trauma? Why does God allow this? Why is it a sin?  I’m with you on having these questions…I don’t know WHY it’s a sin except that it is outside God’s organized design for life. I’ve researched quite a bit and I can’t find any way to dismiss it, so I continue to believe that it is not God’s original plan. The good news is that God promises to do what what He would do for every other sin--cover us with His grace. 

 I don’t know what your friend believes, but if she is religious she may be struggling with that. By the way, I don’t find anywhere in the Bible that says that being tempted to sin is the same as taking action to sin, so that’s a pretty big difference that might be important to the conversation if she's struggling with guilt. Here’s the very best way to help your friend…keep being in her life! Let her know that you want to be a friend no matter what. Steer her to people who are equipped to handle all the questions and stress she might be feeling! Steer her away from people who will act shocked or disgusted, as that doesn’t ever help someone’s search.

 If she asks about your faith, and how you could be friends while believing the Bible’s guidelines for sexuality, let her know that while the Bible may call same-sex romance a sin, it also calls tons of other things a sin and that the only way ANY of us are saved is by faith in Jesus.  Your number one job as a Christian is to love, which reveals Christ through action. Your number two job is to help other’s see Christ’s way of love through the word. She won’t care about number two until she is secure in number one. 

In situations where we see our brother or sister sinning, our job is NOT to be the Holy Spirit, right? You can release yourself from the fear that you have to convince her that her choice is wrong. That’s the Holy Spirit’s job. When Jesus was about to leave, He told his disciples that the Spirit was coming, “And when He comes, He will convict the world in regard to sin and righteousness and judgement” (John 16:8). So breathe easy friend, because that same spirit lives today. Pray that your friend will be convicted, and that you’ll be close by to love her and help her see God’s love for her, no matter what!

This doesn’t mean you should never speak up, but that you will pray for a right time and that you’ll work WITH the Spirit to lead your friend to God’s will. (This applies to every situation! Can you imagine someone coming at you to tell you that you’re wrong and condemned before the Holy Spirit gets to your heart? It would likely just make you defensive!)

If you’re not close or haven’t been close lately, you may offer to talk if she wants to but I would avoid “confronting” her about the issue…because that’s probably not going to be effective and may turn her away from you. In that case, do more praying and see if you can regain a stronger friendship before checking in about her recent announcement.

So, just to reiterate, the best way to help your friend is to:

1.       Show Christ’s love. Bake cookies, make a card!

2.       Pray for the Holy Spirit.

3.        Ask learning questions. When the topic comes up, prayerfully ask her questions about how she’s doing. Let her open up to you about emotional and spiritual challenges. Don’t freak out. Listen without reactions that sound like judgments on her character.

4.       Steer her toward caring professionals. 

5. Read up on the topic for your own knowledge. There are people who identify as being bisexual and Christian and have shared their story about overcoming temptation through Christ. Some of these stories come from Seventh-Day Adventists as well. I won't "recommend" any certain blog post or book because some who read this may think I'm endorsing certain viewpoints, but google Eliel Cruz and Alicia Johnston, who identify as bisexual Adventists. Wesley Hill and Rosaria Champagne Butterfield are Christian authors who discuss some of the same sex attraction struggles. I'm sure you can find a bunch of books that will make understanding your friend, supporting her in love, and praying for the Holy Spirit in her life a little easier.

Again, thanks for being a blessing in your friend's life. Talk to someone YOU trust if it gets too heavy!

Love and prayers heading your way right now.

Erica JonesComment