This is a guest post by Jessica Thompson.
“Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” Genesis 2:25 (NIV)
Do you remember the first time your parents talked to you about sex? (Was there actually a first time conversation with them?) Was it awkward? Was it even a conversation or just some information thrown at you, with follow-up questions quickly squashed never to be talked about again? Or were your parents helpful, interested in hearing your questions, and reassuring that you could talk about anything?
I remember the first time my mom talked to me about sex. Although the details of the talk are really fuzzy, I do remember walking away with a good understanding that the man put his special part into the woman’s special part. I also remember being very sure that the woman’s special part was around her clavicle or shoulder blade somewhere.
What about the first time your friends talked to you about sex? Was it exciting or scary, or embarrassing, or all those things? Did you feel pressured to know more than you did? Did you feel ashamed because you already knew too much due to circumstances out of your control?
I don’t know if I specifically remember the first time I ever heard my friends talking about sex, but I do remember that I heard the most about sex from the kids in my youth group. The first explicitly sexual conversation I remember was during a youth group outing. To make it even more ironic we were on our way to a True Love Waits conference. I learned more in that 30-minute car ride than I had my previous 14 years.
I wouldn’t describe the emotions that I experienced from the conversation with my mom or with my friends as positive. And yet, in Genesis 2:25 we have a description of a very positive experience. Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed. Can you imagine a scenario where you could be completely naked, emotionally and physically, and be unashamed? Nothing to hide. Nothing to cover. No good parts to emphasize. No bad parts to deemphasize. This is the beauty of the sexual experience as God intends it. This complete unity, that the Bible describes in the first relationship, is what happens when the fullness of the gospel is present in our lives.
In direct opposition to God’s intended purpose and experience of sex is the reality of the way we experience sex today. Each one of us is broken. Each one of us knows sexual impurity in a different way. Some of us have been used for sex, and some of us have used others sexually. Some of us have been sexually abused, and some of us have sexually mistreated others. Some of us feel sexually superior to others because we didn’t engage in sexually activity before marriage, and some of us feel sexually inferior and confused and don’t ever think we could hold out a good standard to anyone concerning sex… especially our kids. We all bring our own story into our view of sex.
The church in general, and parents in the church specifically, have chosen in the past to try and control the sexual behavior of our kids by either scaring them into saving sex until marriage or misleading them into thinking that if they stay a virgin, the sex inside the marriage covenant will automatically be amazing. We have promised rewards if they succeed and promised severe consequences if they fail. And while there are earthly consequences to sexual sin, the gospel reminds us that all eternal consequences were taken by our sweet Savior. The more we enflame their passion for Christ and what he has done for them, the quicker they will run back to him when they fail, or they may even, by the grace of God, be able to stave off sexual temptations.
We know that our kids won’t get the biblical view of sex from culture. The culture swings between sex being too important and not important at all. It is the end all of every great experience and it is so unimportant you can engage in it with anyone.
We need to give our kids a different view. We need to give our kids a grace-centered, biblical view of sex. The question is how do we talk about sex to our children in a way that validates the goodness of sex, the way God intended, without shaming or scaring them into thinking sex is a bad thing. How do we stand next to our child and give them more than a list of dos and don’ts?
Sisters, we must make it about more than rule following. We must show our children that a relationship with Jesus is better than any other experience. And we must make sure they know that no sin, sexual or otherwise, is beyond the grace of God. We can only do that as we are enraptured by the love of Christ. We can only give a complete biblical view of sex when we affirm that Christ loves the prostitute as much as he loves the woman who was a virgin when she got married. Grace levels all of us. It takes all of our actions good or bad and says, “I am only going to look at the perfect record of Christ. The only truly sexually pure person to ever breath.” Grace takes the sexual promiscuous and the sexually pious and says, “Rest in his past not your own.”
The good news of how the gospel affects our sexuality is not only good news for our kids, it is good news for each one of us too. The hard work of the Christian life is to believe that the gospel takes every single area of our life and redeems it for God’s glory and for our good. Today, may we press into this truth and trust him with the deepest hurts and the things in our life that seem too painful or intimate to open up, and may we share the freedom and hope that follows with our Children. He is faithful. He loves you and your kids, just as you are. He is kind. He will redeem. This glorious news is worth the embarrassment that you may feel in any conversation with your kids. So smile, and share.
Jess has a Bachelor's Degree in Theology and with her mother, Elyse Fitzpatrick, she co-authored the books Give Them Grace and Answering Your Kids' Toughest Questions. She has also written Exploring Grace Together and Everyday Grace: Infusing All Your Relationships With the Love of Jesus. Jess believes the truth that salvation is "naked confidence in the mercy of God." She has been married to her high school sweetheart since 1995. Together they have three teenage children.