We were out on our usual evening walk but this walk ended up being anything but the usual. Out of nowhere my child asked me about sex. It took me completely off guard. I hadn’t planned for this, I hadn’t set out to discuss this, I certainly didn’t think I was ready to have this sort of “sex” talk the right way. Everything felt so awkward. I was pressed to answer great questions that went so far beyond, “Where do babies come from?” My child wanted to know about the Bible’s view of pregnancy before marriage, homosexuality as well as many other topics. It felt raw. It felt out of my control.
This wasn’t your average birds and bee’s kind of talk. This wasn’t the first time I had been asked these sorts of questions either. I didn’t want to mess this up, but I also wanted to tell my child about the Bible’s positive perspective on sex. It felt like a fine line to balance and I am more of bull-in-a-china-shop-kind of guy.
God invented sex and it is good
Does that strike you as an odd thing to say? God is concerned for our enjoyment of each other. God knew that, when he created us, sex would be a big part of our lives. Our hormones drive us to it, our nervous system feels it, our bodies enjoy it and our spirits are united through it.
Sex is God’s good gift to humanity. When God created Adam and Eve he placed them together in the garden gave them the task of being fruitful and multiplying (Gen. 1:28, 31). We need to tell our kids about the good gift of sex, and we need to tell them honestly that sex is good. The typical response that I have is to downplay the goodness of sex so that my kids don’t end up wanting it before the right time. The truth is this is a huge disservice to them and lying won’t hamper their desires.
Sin broke our sexuality
When Adam and Eve sinned all of humanity suffered the consequences. Sin infected even the goodness of our sex lives. In that moment the good gift that was given to us by God became something that can be used to cause pain, manipulate or just doesn’t live up to our expectations. Here is the bad news, we have all sinned (Romans 3:23). Only one sinless person ever existed and he is definitely not reading this blog.
But God did not leave us in our sin to live perfectly. We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23), but the beautiful thing is that God loves to save sexually broken people (Mark 2:17) because it is all he has to work with.
The gospel and sex
The gospel heals what sin has broken, even our sex lives and our sexual past. Jesus was known for loving drunks and prostitutes so much that he saved and changed them (Luke 7:34, 36-50). This is the good news that we need to hold out to our kids and especially our teens. Let’s paint a full picture of the beauty of sex the way that God designed it. Our discussions can be about so much more than a bunch of rules. We get the opportunity to spend time with our kids talk with them about the God who loves, the God who transforms, the God who is a friend of sinners.
Joel Fitzpatrick is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church with a focus on youth and family. He’s also the coauthor of Mom, Dad…What’s Sex? Joel lives in southern California with his wife and their two children.