The famous Super Bowl Halftime Show has been a discussion point of every youth group party. Do we show it or not? I think with most of those parties we last maybe 30 seconds before we turn it off and draw attention to the food table or a group game. It might have started with Janet Jackson, but this past year’s experience made me cringe because my two young boys were with me. Did they see why this is awkward and inappropriate? Do they get the sexual…everything about this? Should I say something? 

I will not go on and on about the ways our culture is saturated with sexuality. We know. But I do want to give some encouragement and maybe some gentle prodding on how to talk to our children about this. We need to be talking about this because they are. I promise you that whether students are homeschooled or public schooled, sex is being talked about and thought about all the time. The common statement I say or hear almost weekly is, “If we (Christ-followers) don’t talk about it, the world will.” We do not want the world to teach our children the values, morals, and purposes of sex. I want to give you just as few things to pray through and work on. 

Teach them God’s plan for sex

Teach your child that God’s plan for sex is amazing and perfect. Teach them that from Genesis 2, God desired sex to be within marriage. We need to be teaching the full breadth of scripture and not skip over the awkward passages. We need to tell them that it is not simply a physical act but an emotional/spiritual one as well. Check out these sessions from Rooted Ministry to give you more talking points with your child. 

Expect a slow start with honesty

Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (ESV) We know and expect any talk about sex and purity with our children will be awkward, that is a given. No matter what the specific subject is, puberty, sex, or pornography, expect that your child will most likely answer questions with lies. Now, the younger they are they will do this out of ignorance or fear. They are unsure how to truly answer. They have never talked about this subject before, so they lie to protect themselves from embarrassment. If your child is older, the lies become more out of protecting themselves from punishment or judgment. If you were to ask your child if they’ve ever seen pornography and they answer no…it probably isn’t the truth. Again, these beginning conversations are trust-building and their honesty will come once they know that they can be truthful. Attached to this email is Covenant Eyes Porn Fact PDF if you would like to see some of the data they have on the internet pornography problem.

Point them to the disease, not simply the symptoms

Even with middle school students, preparing them for the future battle of purity is important. These conversations need to be happening early and often. These talks, however, need to be ones about your child’s heart for Christ, not behavioral modification. Psalm 51 should be referenced a lot, “create in me a clean heart…” The real problem is that we are fallen beings that pursue things of this world and not the things of our Father. We take every gift he has given us and taint it. We will see them grow in sanctification when they grow in their theology of sin and salvation. 1 Peter 1:16 says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

Teach them grace and mercy

Chances are likely that your child has made a few mistakes already in the battle for purity. They probably already feel bad about this, which is why they might lie about it. You and I know that because Christ promises to forgive us, it frees us up to repent more. We can go to Christ with CONFIDENCE that he will show us mercy and extend grace to us. Tell them Christ WILL forgive them and you will too. Parents, be like your heavenly Father, and show grace and mercy to them. Tell them you are on their side. Tell them you are fighting and praying for their purity. I promise you that the more your child understands the extent of God’s grace and mercy, the more of a repentant heart they will have. 

In our next session, we will look at some practical ways we can guard our child’s eyes and hearts. There are ways we can remove some temptations and even some accidental exposures.

Andrew Moffitt serves as the Pastor of Student Ministry at Bethel Church.

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