There’s a problematic approach to dealing with our hyper-sexualized culture that many, many Christians are making. And it’s making the problem worse.
The problem is focusing too much on what not to do.
For parents, this looks like having talks with your kids about sex that center primarily around sexual sin. This can also look like:
- Emphasizing the most important thing is to not have sex before you’re married.
- Suggesting that someone who remains a virgin until marriage gives their new spouse a better gift than someone who has already sinned sexually.
- Making family movie or music selections based primarily on whether something is “clean,” rather than also considering the quality of cinematography, directing, acting, soundtrack, or story.
- Elevating the importance of kids’ following the rules over the importance of your relationship with your kids.
For those seeking to break free from habitual sexual sin, this can look like:
- Focusing on the number of days, weeks, or months since your last sexual fall.
- Equating a sexual fall with having to “start over” from square one.
- Focusing accountability meetings around confession of sin, with little attention given to victories or progress made.
- Emphasizing the importance of avoiding temptation (setting up internet filters, not being alone, not leaving down time when you might be tempted, etc.) over the importance of deepening the health of your relationship with God, yourself, and others.
While you’ll find grains of value in many of these, ultimately these are like driving a car to some destination while looking at where you started or where you don’t want to go. That’s a recipe for disaster, and doubly so if where you don’t want to go holds any appeal to you! I think this is some of what Jesus was getting after when he told his followers that putting their hand to the plow and looking backwards makes them unfit for the Kingdom (see Luke 9:62).
So whether you’re a parent wanting to shepherd your kids or a man or woman wanting to grow in sexual integrity, here’s a better approach:
You and your kids need a vision of what you want to be for and who you are becoming. In other words, you need a bigger, more compelling vision of what it means that God created you as a sexual being and what sex is all about.
Begin with this: You are created to be loved with a self-giving, self-sacrificing love, and you are made to love God and others like that. If you’ve got kids, have conversations about what that means and how that might shape a right view of sex. If this is a journey you’re on (and, in this context, aren’t we all?), then spend time prayerfully considering the same.
Loving like Jesus loves is a bigger, better vision for men and women—sexual beings—God’s made in His image.
To learn more about this, listen to today’s podcast and pick up a copy of my brand new book Treading Boldly through a Pornographic World: A Field Guide for Parents.
Question: How did or didn’t your parents tie self-giving, self-sacrificing love into their conversations with you about sex? How might you better instill that into your life (and if you have kids, their lives) today?
Want to hear more this week? Check out the latest Becoming Whole podcast; Tread Boldly.