Your daughter’s friend was born female, but identifies as a boy, including a name change. Your kind-hearted girl comes alongside her friend, but you feel nervous about who is influencing whom.
You’re downtown in the big city, and your son is too old to use the women’s restroom with Mom. Just after he heads into the men’s room, you see a cross-dressed person follow him in.
What’s a parent to do?
If you’re a Christian parent with a traditional view of sex, marriage and gender, you might feel like an anomaly.
More importantly, you may be wondering how to teach your children what God has to say about sexuality, since you live in a culture that shouts contrary messages.
The traditional biblical view is that God created mankind in his image as male and female (Genesis 1:26-31), and sex is to be reserved for the covenant of marriage between one man and one woman (1 Corinthians 7:2).
As part of his good plan for us, God created each of us as either male or female. (Two genders–that’s it.)
The path of holy, healthy sexuality has two options: marriage as defined above, or celibate singleness.
These simple truths have become anything but simple in the world in which your children are growing up.
- Our culture insists gender is a matter of choice based on feelings, and that identity means sexual identity. (The Bible teaches that our identity is “image-bearer of God”—not whatever our sexual appetites dictate.)
- Culture idolizes sex and romance. We’re convinced we’re not “complete” without a sexual partner. Saving sex for marriage is seen as weird, or even bad. (God sees each person as complete, with or without a partner. Extra-marital sex is not needed to be “okay.” In fact, it will hurt you – see 1 Corinthians 6:18).
- Culture says if you disagree with the politically-correct stance on these issues, you’re a “hater.” (God calls Christians to speak the truth in love. Jesus didn’t condemn the woman caught in adultery, but he did challenge her to repent – John 8:11)
How should you respond to these messages your children hear every day?
First, LGBT+ people have often been bullied, marginalized and wounded by shame—even by the church.
Christians should see all people as precious image-bearers of God. We are called to show acceptance and compassion to everyone.
This means avoiding an “us vs. them” mentality. It means getting to know real people with real names and real struggles.
Find out their stories. Pray for them. Be there for them. This is the right attitude to teach our children.
Having said that, here’s what love doesn’t do: love doesn’t accommodate and enable sin.
We are not wiser than God. We are not more compassionate than he is. When God gives us commands, we obey.
Regarding gender issues, here’s the thing: love and agreement are not the same thing.
Here’s how I put it in my tween’s devotional, Releasing Your Brave Love:
“You don’t have to agree with someone in order to love them. Agreeing with people when they go against God’s commands is a way to be nice, but not kind. Sharing God’s truth is the best starting point for real love between friends.
If you know someone who is confused about being a boy or girl, you can tell them God didn’t make a mistake. You can explain his rules to them, and show them God’s love.
Here’s how: stick up for them when others put them down. Reach out to them when they’re lonely. Ask good questions to find out their needs and wants. What makes them sad, mad, or happy? What makes them laugh?
Real love isn’t a feeling. It’s an action that sticks with God’s truth.”
Teach your child to love others—and also to speak and live the truth.