I remember when I was 7 years old, in 1997, when Ellen DeGeneres publicly “came out” on television. At that time in my childhood, I had only understood the term “gay” to mean something derogatory… like something stupid, cheesy, corny, etc. When I heard her say she was gay on T.V. I remember laughing and saying “She just said she’s stupid!”— while my step mom sat there awkwardly not really knowing what to say. Later my dad came home and explained to me what “being gay” meant, how it wasn’t right, how it was a sin, etc.
Although I had been unaware of the meaning of the term, I did already know that I was drawn toward other boys instead of girls. I knew that I was gay. And now I knew that it was wrong, it was a sin, I was a sinner……and I shouldn’t ever tell anyone.
But oh, how I wish I also would’ve understood who Jesus was!
What my dad had to explain to me at the age of seven, you all (Christian parents) are having to explain to your kids at even younger ages. The “in your face-ness” of homosexual behavior has amplified exponentially since 1997. It’s on nearly every TV show and movie (even in the previews of the LEGO movie!). In more and more states “gay marriage” is being legalized and gay couples are becoming more and more comfortable not concealing their relationships while out in public anymore; with the expressing of PDA, etc. The list goes on.
You will have to explain homosexuality to your kids….your young kids that you don’t think are — and probably really aren’t — ready to hear about it. You will have to tell them that the things they are seeing are sinful and not in God’s design of how romantic relationships are to function.
But, please, please…. Don’t stop there. Don’t stop merely at the pronouncement of homosexuality as sin. Continue on into the good news that is available for all types of sinners.
Explain to your kids the fall of our first parents. They will go to school and hear that homosexual feelings aren’t a choice. You need to make sure that they know that because of the sin of our first parent’s in the Garden of Eden, we all experience feelings — feelings that we don’t choose to feel — toward things that are evil and opposed to God’s design for how we are to live out our lives. Your kids need to understand that just because something feels right, that doesn’t mean that it is right. They need to understand what it means to be the children — the fallen, sinful, broken and God-opposed children — of Adam and Eve.
And then explain to your kids that while our sin does run deeper than we could ever imagine, the love of God toward us runs even deeper. Although we’ve all chosen to follow the way of sin and live our life’s independently of Him, He has mercifully loved us and sent His Son to die for us. Jesus was God in the flesh and He offered Himself up as a sacrifice for our sins. Through believing in and following Jesus Christ we can all, no matter what our specific sinful struggles are, be saved from the penalty due our sins, the power of our sins, and ultimately, in the age to come, the very presence of sin.
And then explain to your kids the joy that comes in believing in Jesus. Tell them that the Christian life is not a life of abstaining from all the wicked things you love and doing all the righteous things you hate. The Christian life is not begrudging and miserable obedience to God. Tell them about how when you trust in Jesus, He transforms you. He gives you a new heart that loves Him and hates sin. He gives you of His own Spirit. There is definitely still a struggle in the Christian life with the sinful flesh; while we do have a new heart, we also still have the old nature from Adam. But even in that struggle between the two natures — the two sets of desires which wage war against each other — God is faithful. He helps us continually to choose to turn from sin and follow our new desires to follow the way of Jesus. And when we fail to do that perfectly, as every Christian does, He reminds us that Jesus died to cover all of our failures… and He helps us to get up and keep going in our pursuit after Jesus until one day, when the age of this sin-plagued reality passes away, the people of God will have new bodies and minds that will be totally free from the presence of sin. This is the great hope of the Christian.
I wish that I would’ve heard more than the damnation of my sin as a kid. We went to church as a family a good bit, but I don’t know that my parents knew the gospel well enough to explain these things to me. I pray that it would be different for you and your family. I pray that your kids will be able to understand the world from a biblical perspective and be witnesses to others about the truths of sin, the fall of man, and the hope that is in Jesus.
And I hope that if your kid is already struggling with homosexuality, like I was, that they will not just hear that what they feel is wrong…. But that Jesus loves them, and He came to set things right for them.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.