Saturday, October 19, 2019

I'm back to continue our highlight conversation! After typing out my thoughts I realized this is going to turn into a three part series. It'd be cool to sit with some of you and chat about life and topics like this one. But since we aren't face-to-face, I'll do my best to make sure I've shared as much as I can to spark our mental light bulbs in this digital space. (Perhaps we can chat at a Lighthouse Gathering! 😏)

I also thought it'd be best to break this into three parts because y'all.. if you are anything like me, when I have to read something that's super long, it needs to be really engaging to keep my attention. And as much as I try to be lighthearted I totally get that conversations about homosexuality or sexuality in general can feel weighty. With that said, I also don't want to rush through this.

So let's begin...

The two questions we're highlighting are listed below. Be sure to check out part 1 if you missed it!
  • How do you address topics regarding sexuality with youth in a biblical way?
  • How do you approach others who are living a homosexual lifestyle or have feelings for the same sex? 
We'll focus our time today on the first question.

How do you address topics regarding sexuality with youth in a biblical way?

Well, the question I'm first led to ask myself is, how would I present the word of God to anyone (believer or unbeliever)? And my response to that question is with prayer, love, truth, and a willingness to stretch beyond my discomfort. Likewise, that's how I would respond to a young person.

I believe if we're honest with youth about sexuality, they'll have a better understanding of why their bodies are temples (I Corinthians 3:16-17). If we show them the value of having intimacy with God (Psalm 63:1-8), that could directly lead them to desire intimacy within marriage (John 15:12).

Just as we value authenticity as adults, children do also. Can you relate to their experiences? Can you share in their vulnerabilities?

Honestly, some of us would probably prefer not to speak on experiences like navigating through puberty 🥴. But y'all! Your journey could totally help someone else. In this case, a child/teenager. And let me add, you can be authentic without telling every single detail of your life.

I think the problem is that many believers tend to do one of the following when it comes to the topic of sexuality:

  • Avoid the topic all together
  • Talk as if they were reading straight out of a sex education pamphlet 
  • Expect someone else to have the conversation 🤦🏾‍♀️
  • Write off our youth as lost causes who are bound to give into fleshly desires
  • Speak on sexuality while choosing to be silent about the beauty of intimacy
Do you fall into any of those categories?  Did you catch that last bullet point about "the beauty of intimacy"?

I believe we can tell young people sex is enjoyable without encouraging them to seek after it. Help them understand what intimacy really is and why it's worth waiting for. That doesn't mean they won't make mistakes but at least they will be better equipped as they make informed decisions.

What was your experience with learning about sex and your sexuality as a child? ...while you're thinking, I'll give you a snippet of mine.

One of my first conversations about sex was when I was 11 years old in middle school. I had friends at that time who were already sexually active. Personally, I believe conversations need to happen when a child is in elementary school. Shoot, I remember I had my first boyfriend at the age of 4 in pre-K. Things unfortunately didn't work out between us so we broke up. 🤷🏾‍♀️😬

So what's my point?

If you're waiting to have "the talk" until they're in middle school, chances are, they're already talking with kids at school but haven't told you. And if not at school, well there's our know-it-all friend Google.

In light of this post,  I had a conversation with my mama recently. While we do have occasional talks about relationships, intimacy and sex, I'm not sure that she knew until a few weeks ago, 18 years later, that my first "talk" was with some kids in middle school.

So...at what specific age should we begin these conversations with our young people?

Honestly, I have no magic number for you and no two children are the same. But as believers, we should be led by the Holy Spirit (John 16:13-14). I believe He'll give us the grace for what to say, when to say it, and how to say it.

Also if you're a parent, while I believe it's important for you to have conversations with your child, counsel from others can also be beneficial. There are some things as a teen I wouldn't share with my parents but I would choose to share with my sisters or close friends. The common thread is they were/are all believers (Psalm 37:30-31).

Those talks helped to keep me grounded and rooted in God (Ephesians 3:16-21)

Who do you know who needs that heart-to-heart talk? Maybe it's not even a young person.  As a single adult, I still have conversations with family and close friends because I believe in accountability (Proverbs 11:14).

As believers, we need to have these conversations-especially with our youth.

If you read part 1, then you know this question was derived from an Instagram live video with my friend Stephanie. While someone else asked us to speak on this topic, I'm so glad we were willing to do it and respond with a yes!

Y'all, the world is not sugar coating things and neither should we.

If you've read up to this point and are left with the question, "Soo how does this relate to homosexuality?" Well, I'm glad you asked! 🙂

It's actually been folded into this whole conversation. See, the problem is we have often only equated sexuality to encompass heterosexuality without regard for homosexuality, but they both exist.

Do I think most people in the church have made same sex relationships a part of their "talks"? Of course not.

But that's why I'm still typing! 😎

Homosexuality is not the topic you bring up just because you think a child has "certain tendencies". No, you bring it up because these kids are warring with real life issues (1 John 4:4). Sometimes they're warring against feelings within themselves; sometimes they're unsure how to respond when others express their same sex attractions; and sometimes they're trying to understand emotions or feelings expressed through videos and music.  There is so much entering their eyes and their ear gates. And frankly..

Friends, it's 2019.

We have got to wake up and smell the coffee or whatever else gets our attention so we can get theirs!

Conversations about homosexuality need to be brought to the table. Our youth need to know our position as believers. What do we believe about it? And how do we respond?

I know speaking to folks about their sexual attractions and feelings can be uncomfortable. I know that not just because I'm writing about this today but because I've had the conversations with very dear friends. Regardless of discomfort or those invisible crickets in the air this is the time to be honest. Speak the truth but never forsake love.

The truth is homosexuality is sin (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Unfortunately though, believers don't always know how to respond to people who are living a homosexual lifestyle or how to begin that conversation. At the same time, those who have struggled have also felt unloved or unseen by the church or they've felt just straight up hated.

And that's where part 3 comes into view! We're going to walk through ways to approach homosexuality biblically and honestly while also affirming the love of our incredible God.


Officially,
Lena 💛

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A few things before you go:

  • Be sure to check out the #ReflectionsWithJesus tab to catch what I’ve been sharing with my Instagram and Facebook family. Also, I will return with part 3 of this series in November. Subscribe to receive it in your inbox!
  • Stephanie and I are planning another live video in the near future! The topic is all about purpose! In the meantime, you can check out her video content on YouTube here.





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