We were watching an episode of House Hunters on HGTV. My first grader looked at me with inquisitive eyes.
“Why does that family have two daddies?” she wondered.
The question hit me out of left field. I didn’t expect this topic to come up while watching a home improvement show. Agenda-driven television isn’t reserved for prime time or subscription channels anymore.
Most networks are moving toward more LGBTQ representation. Hallmark steered clear of overt gay and lesbian relationships until this year, but they recently featured a same sex wedding.
Oddly, they were beaten to the punch by two children’s shows: PBS’s Clifford the Big Red Dog, which featured two mommies at a dinner party earlier this year, and Disney debuted its first bi-sexual animated lead character in the supernatural series, The Owl House.
Whether you are watching kid’s programming or a home improvement show, or perhaps you befriend an alternative family at school or meet a transgendered person at the park, LGBTQ issues are a reality in our culture. As Christians, we need to know how to discuss this topic with our kids from a biblical point of view.
Here are 7 key points to cover when talking about LGBTQ issues with your kids:
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1. Talk to your kids about TRUTH.
We live in a culture that denies truth. The world says that what is true for you isn’t necessarily true for me. The world’s truth is subjective. That’s fine as long as we’re talking about the best burger joint or who was the greatest hitter in baseball history. But when we veer into the topic of morality, which encompasses issues of our sexuality and gender, truth ceases to be subjective.
We must teach our children that truth is universal.
How do we break down complex concepts like “subjective” and “universal” for our kids?
If your kids are young, start with the burger joint. You like Wendy’s and I like What-a-Burger. That is a preference. We can disagree on the best burger or the best baseball player.
But God’s truth isn’t a preference. It is universal, that means it applies to everyone.
Explain that God’s truth is as sure as the scientific law of gravity. I may choose not to believe that law, but if I step off the 50th floor of a skyscraper, I will find out that it is true. Just as God created laws that govern our physical world, He created laws that govern our spiritual world. He created a moral law, and that law gives us truth that applies to everyone.
Where do we find this truth?
In God’s word. We can choose to create our own truth, but if our truth is different than God’s truth, we’re in for a big fall.
2. Talk to your kids about SIN.
The world says that God is a big, mean judge sitting on a throne in heaven shaking his finger at us. He has a short list of do’s and a long list of don’ts, and on the don’t list is all the fun stuff, which He calls sin.
But in reality, God is peering at us like a proud Papa who winces in pain when we sin because He knows the heartache it will cause us. Sin is God saying, “Don’t hurt yourself! I love you too much to let you go down that path without warning you of the pain that it will cause.”
God’s standard in Scripture is an expression of His love. When God calls something sin, He is creating a boundary to protect us. Just like you create rules to protect your kids—don’t touch the hot stove or play with the knife or run into the street to get the ball—God created rules to protect us.
Let your kids know that we all sin. We all fall short of the goal, and God doesn’t say that one sin is worse than another. If your child is older, you can explain that homosexual sin is no worse than heterosexual sin. To be clear, different types of sin will carry different consequences. For example, murder will have a harsher punishment than stealing, but Jesus paid the same price for every sin and every sinner.
According to Scripture, there are really only two types of sin—there is sin that we repent of, and sin that we don’t. This is why we must not embrace sin. We must not make it our identity. We must continue to struggle with the temptation to sin, and we must allow God to create a new nature in us, and a new heart (Psalm 51:10).
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3. Talk to your kids about MORALITY.
How do we know what is sin, what is morally right and wrong?
God has shown us in His Word. He defines what is good and what is evil in the Bible. But from the very beginning, man and woman wanted to determine what is right and wrong for themselves. They wanted to be like God.
We haven’t stopped doing this. We still want to be our own deity. We still want to tell God what is right and wrong instead of Him telling us.
We see this very clearly when it comes to the issues of gender, sex, and marriage. The world says that we should determine what a family and a marriage look like. The world says that our feelings should determine whether we are a boy or a girl, not God or even biology. The world says that our hearts should determine who we should love.
But Scripture says that our ideas, our feelings, and our hearts will lead us astray (Proverbs 14:12). We can choose the popular path, but the popular path isn’t God’s path. God’s path is narrow (Matthew 7:13-14).
4. Talk to your kids about DESIGN.
Psalm 139 says that God knitted us to together in our mother’s womb. Your gender is not an accident. It is God’s purpose for your life.
God created us to be male or female, and He created marriage to be between a man and a woman. This means that our gender and traditional marriage are a part of His design. God’s design is sacred, and changing that design is telling God that He is wrong. It is saying, “I know you created me, but I don’t believe you know what is best for me.”
Here’s a helpful analogy about design for a young mind:
In 1908, the Ford Motor Company introduced the first motorized vehicle, the Model T, also known as Tin Lizzie. Henry Ford wrote an extensive operating manual explaining how to properly maintain the car.
How silly would it be if Tin Lizzy read the manual then looked at Henry and declared, “It says here that my maximum speed is 45 mph, but I want to go much faster. I want to drive 90. And it says I’m supposed to fuel myself with gasoline, but I prefer Dr. Pepper.”
Henry would tell Tin Lizzie, “You may want to do those things, but that is not how I made you. You won’t be able to go where I made you to go and do what I created you to do if you ignore the manual and operate outside of my design.”
The Bible is our owner’s manual. In this Book, God tells us how we are made and why we are made. We cannot go where God created us to go and do what He created us to do if we ignore the manual and operate outside of His design.
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5. Talk to your kids about LOVE.
God loves sinners. He loves sinners so much that He died for them.
Explain to your kids that we are called to love everyone as Christ does. But we must understand that love does not mean agreement or endorsement. God does not agree with man’s standard; He does not endorse sin—but He still love us.
Just like we love our kids when we disagree with them, just like our rules establish compassionate boundaries around their little lives, God loves us even when He disagrees with us, and He establishes loving boundaries around our lives.
As Christians, we must love people in the LGBTQ community. We must befriend them and respect them and care for them. We must reach out to them and serve them. But this does not mean that we must agree with them.
6. Talk to your kids about TOLERANCE.
Perhaps the greatest “virtue” of our day is tolerance. But God isn’t tolerant of sin.
The crucifixion, the centerpiece of Scripture and all human history, shows us the magnitude of God’s love for us. And it shows us how intolerant of sin God is. After all, if God were tolerant of our sin, He wouldn’t have had to die for it. That’s how intolerant of sin God is—He was nailed to a cross to overcome the consequences of our sin.
Explain to your kids that sin is like a cancer in our spirits. It erodes God’s design for our lives. It destroys our divine purpose.
How can God tolerate what produces death in His children?
Would you want a doctor that tolerated cancer in your body?
Imagine a doctor saying:
“Well, Catherine, there is some cancer in your liver and some cancer in your lungs. Oh, and here’s a little cancer in your brain. But other than that, you look great! So, we’ll just concentrate on all the organs that are working well and forget about those pesky cancer cells in the few organs that aren’t.”
A doctor who ignored cancer in your body would be a bad doctor. Why would you want a God who ignores cancer in your soul?
And yet so many people do. Why is that?
Because, while we hate physical cancer, we love sin. And we don’t want to give up what we enjoy, even if it kills us. So we create a different standard and a different truth, one that lets us live the way we want with a clear conscience, all the while a cancer rots away inside our soul and we forfeit our God-given purpose for existing.
A loving God cannot tolerate what destroys His children, and we shouldn’t want Him to.
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7. Talk to your kids about COURAGE.
Finally, being counter-cultural takes courage, and courage requires us to ask tough questions.
Do we believe that God’s Word is Truth? Or do we believe it is a good book with some good suggestions written by a bunch of guys a long time ago that we can slice and dice and take or leave depending on how popular it is?
As a believer, you must answer this question. As a parent, you must help your children answer this question too.
As parents, we can go the way of the world on LGBTQ issues, but we will end up with a gospel of our own making. A gospel that is convenient and comforting and complacent. A gospel that doesn’t ruffle feathers or makes waves. A gospel that works well at the water cooler (Galatians 1:8-9).
But that gospel is devoid of power, transformation, redemption, salvation, and Truth.
That gospel isn’t real.
“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” Jesus promised.
Teach your kids that Truth is worth being unpopular for. Truth is worth being cancelled. Truth is worth standing for, living for, and dying for. God’s Truth will require all the courage they can muster, but it is worth whatever price they have to pay—because it is real.
Photo Credit: © Unsplash/Tim Marshall
Originally published Thursday, 10 June 2021.