The topic is one that makes some (nearly all?) parents “gulp” and feel a little nervous.
- Do we really have to talk about it?
- How do we talk about it?
- What should we/shouldn’t we say?
- What if we say too much?
- What if we don’t say enough?
- What if we say the wrong thing?
- Are we going to mess them up for life?
And then as Christians, there’s another question that sometimes plagues parents: Is it even BIBLICAL to teach our kids about sex?
There are many reasons for this, but let me tell you my simple answer: YES.
My husband and I believe:
- it is right,
- it is wise,
- it is loving,
- it is our job
- AND– it is biblical
to teach our children about sex.
It is about that last point– that it is biblical— that I want to elaborate today.
REASON #1- GOD TALKED EXPLICITLY TO HIS “KIDS” ABOUT IT.
God didn’t just leave His children to flounder. When He gave them the Law in the Old Testament, He laid out very clear, specific guidelines about what was good and what was wicked, in regard to sexuality.
- pagan practices of the culture around them
- incest, with very specific situational applications (i.e., not your aunt, not your father’s adopted daughter, etc.)
- sex during menstrual cycles
- sexual religious rituals (condemning these)
And in the New Testament, Paul offered very specific instructions as well, regarding (among other things):
God could have just said, “sex is for marriage,” and left it at that. Right?
But He didn’t.
He gave very specific instructions about things they might encounter in their lives so that they would not be caught unaware or uncertain about what to do in a given situation. God wanted His children to be very distinctive and discerning in the area of sexual things, and so He gave them specific instructions.
Discernment does not come in fogginess or confusion. The way for our children to learn to be discerning is for them to hear about God’s perspective on sexuality from us.
REASON #2- GOD COMMANDED HIS CHILDREN TO “TEACH” THESE THINGS TO THEIR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN…
- “Now, Israel, listen to the statutes and ordinances I am teaching you to follow… teach them to your children and grandchildren.” (Deuteronomy 4)
- “These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deuteronomy 6)
REASON #3- … AND WE ARE GIVEN SPECIFIC EXAMPLES OF THEM DOING SO…
We are given examples of EVERYONE hearing these things read.
- “Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, ‘Israel, listen to the statutes and ordinances I am proclaiming as you hear them today. Learn and follow them carefully.‘” (Deuteronomy 5:1) Remember all the things in the list above and consider that all ages of Israelites would hear about these sexual practices, discussed from God’s perspective.
- Jesus taught the masses about lust, adultery, and sexual immorality.
- Paul’s New Testament letters were read aloud to the churches as they were received.
There is no indication that people 18 and under were separated out and left in the dark about these instructions, nor that certain parts were left unread until children were occupied elsewhere.
No, in fact, I believe the opposite is true. The examples we see are of “all of Israel” and “all the church” gathering to hear these things taught. The examples of Jesus’ teaching in the Gospels show children mixed right in with the adults as people were taught.
REASON #4- …NOT JUST IN GROUPS, BUT ONE-ON-ONE.
We also have the example of Solomon teaching sexual wisdom and discernment to his son. In Proverbs 5-7, in the midst of a heap of wisdom, he specifically warns his son:
- about the forbidden woman (5:3, 5:20)
- about her words (5:3)
- what is the result of being with her (5:4)
- where her path leads (5:5-6)
- not to go near her door (5:8, 7:25)
- that though her fees are low (6:26), a prostitute will drain his resources, steal his vitality, consume his body (5:9-11, 6:26)
- that at the end of his life he will lament going near her (5:11)
- that he will be entrapped, entangled, die, and be lost because of his own sin, lack of discipline, and stupidity (5:22-23)
- that if he listens to “his fathers’ commands” and his “mothers’ teaching” (6:20– notice: both parents are instructing him in these things), he will be protected from the evil woman (6:24)
- that he must choose not to lust or be captivated by her (6:25)
- that he must never sleep with another man’s wife, or he will be punished (6:29)
- that committing adultery will destroy him (6:32)
- with a specific example– sharing that he has personally observed a young man who lacks sense who went close to the prostitute’s house (7:6-9)
- the times, specifics, and details of this liaison… he tells his son about her clothes, her location, her volume, her persistence, her kisses, her forwardness, her words, her promises, her bed coverings, her enticements, her flattery... not in order to pique his curiosity, but in order that his son may wisely avoid the situations, times, places, and lies that would lead to his encountering and foolishly believing a prostitute (7:8-27)
- the commonness and ease with which the prostitute takes victims (7:26)
He also specifically instructs his son:
- to “drink water from his own cistern” (5:15- meaning, to be satisfied by his own wife)
- that sexual things are not for public, not for strangers (5:16, 5:20)
- that he is to take pleasure in the wife of his youth (5:18)
- that her breasts are to always satisfy him (5:19)
- that he is to be lost (the only time in the Bible it is commendable to be “drunk”) in her love forever (5:19)
- that the pursuit of wisdom will keep him from sexual seduction (7:5)
Now, just let your eyes glance down those lists, and take note:
- How long is the list of negative warnings?
- How specific is it?
- If you take that list and overlay it with common modern-day sexual sin, how explicit do you think we should be about addressing God’s perspective on the sins of our era?
SO, WHAT DO WE (PERSONALLY) DO?
For our part, Doug & I have (for years) tried to live intentionally in this area, where we talk (at age-appropriate levels) with our children about the things they know about (perhaps from reading through stories in the Old Testament, or from situations in real life) or will soon encounter in their lives. (In a future article, I will share specifics about what these conversations have looked/sounded like, and what resources we’ve found beneficial as we talk through these things with our children.)
We do so because:
- We want them to understand God’s perspective on sex.
- We want to proactively frame their understanding and help shape their choices, rather than reactively addressing misunderstandings and entanglements with sin.
- We believe that it is loving of us to warn our children about challenges that we know are almost certainly ahead of them. (If we knew that they would soon be traveling along a jagged and dangerous cliff we’ve already traversed, where injury and death are possible or even likely, we would certainly give them specific details and warnings about the dangers they will face.)
- We believe that God was open with His children about these things, and we should be, too.
- We believe it is biblical to talk to our kids about God’s perspective on everything (sex included) so that they will grow in the fear and admonition of the Lord.
- Do you believe it is wise to talk with our children about sex, and (as they grow) about the lure of sexual sin?
- Do you currently (at an age-appropriate level) give God’s perspective to your children about sex & the sexual sins of our culture?
This is going to be a revisited topic for the next few weeks (months?) as I share specifics of how we’ve handled this so far, and what wisdom we’ve gathered from God’s Word and from other believers in this area. So-
- Please comment with any specific questions/thoughts you’d like to see addressed in future installments.
- The On-Going Talk (Talking With Your Kids About Sex from Birth to Age 2)
- The On-Going Talk (Talking With Your Kids About Sex from Ages 2 to 5)
- The Truth About Sex & How It Affects Our Parenting