As we have been thinking through how to talk with our children about sexual purity, we have noted:
1.) We need to talk about sexual purity.
2.) We need to talk about more than sexual purity.
3.) We need to be serious about sexual purity ourselves.
4.) We need to be giving our children an eternal perspective.
Which means we are coming to number 5, though really, I probably should have said this one earlier.
But obviously we need to be explaining to our children the reason Paul has to give these warnings and commands.
I mean, having talked about this great change that has taken place in our life and as we are trying to show our children an example of being serious about sexual holiness, we need to be careful that we don’t give them the wrong idea, which would be that, Christians don’t struggle in serious ways with sexual temptation.
If we give our children the impression that Christians never struggle with temptation, we’re totally missing the point.
Because if temptation wasn’t tempting to Christians, Paul wouldn’t have to do all the pleading and warning he’s doing in these verses, there wouldn’t even need to be these verses in Ephesians 5.
And I am stressing this, because I just don’t want my children to be surprised about the depth of corruption in their hearts, even if they’ve become believers. As parents it’s vital we sit down with our children and explain that it’s very likely they at some point are going to struggle with perverted thoughts. They shouldn’t think somehow that just because they are Christians their sinful desires are going to be less sinful and gross than that of unbelievers.
It’s easy for children who’ve grown up in Christian homes to be somewhat naïve and as a result really surprised as they grow up and discover how broken they really are. It’s actually probably easy for us as parents to be a little naïve about our children as well.
We don’t like to think of them as struggling with sin, especially some of these kinds of sins.
But the reality is, it would be shocking if they didn’t. It would be shocking because as Jonathan Edwards once said, “There is the same corruption in the heart of a godly man as there is in the heart of an ungodly man and all the same corruption.” It’s not like you have this one group of people over here who somehow are less broken than these other people over here by nature, and they are the Christians.
What’s in the heart of an unconverted is also in the heart of converted.
“The difference is that in the heart of the saints there is also a contrary principle that is a bitter enemy to this corruption and resists and struggles against it and makes warfare in their hearts and makes them hate it and loathe it and choose against it and reject it and renounce it and lament it and long to be rid of it and strive against it.”
Do you see what I am saying?
I want my children to know that even some of the most godly people that have ever lived were discouraged by the stuff they saw going on in their hearts. I mean, even Paul cried out, “O most wretched man that I am.”
Sometimes people think, if a person grew up in a Christian home and became a Christian at an early age, they are not going to struggle and when they do struggle, they get so discouraged and I am like that’s part of being a Christian, the struggle, this is a fight, and it’s a fight, not just with nice, sweet stuff, but with real, actual, gross temptation and sin.
As a parent you want to create an atmosphere in your home that takes sin really seriously, while at the same time, and this is what is difficult, is also very realistic about how challenging it can be to say no to sin, an atmosphere where your children can share, the actual struggles they are having.
Now, that’s difficult, because, in the world they only do two things with sexual sin basically.
They either treat sexual sins like they are no big deal or they crucify a person for struggling with it. They either laugh at it, and treat it like it’s no big deal or, they attack, “Oh, we found out you what you did. You deserve to be scorned and despised and mistreated.” Those are basically the two options in the world.
But not in our families, as Christians.
Because we’ve been saved by grace and because we know what Jesus Christ has done and because we know about hell, we take sexual sin very seriously. Yeah, we hate this. This is something that destroys and we don’t want to have anything to do with it but at the same time, because we’ve been saved by grace and because we know what Jesus Christ has done, we’re very loving and gracious and kind to those who struggle with sexual sin.
There’s no one who believes in the importance of change more than Christians, there’s no one who understands the difficulty of change more than Christians, and there’s no one who realizes how dependent we are on God’s grace for change than Christians, and all that should impact the way we think and talk about sexual sins in our families.