Recently, I had the privilege of being a guest speaker at the Kern County Youth For Christ Ministry Fair. As a follow-up, I spent yesterday morning with Youth For Christ leadership in a question and answer session.
Questions ranged from: What are the contributing factors to the brokenness of same-sex attraction? How do I approach someone I believe is struggling with their sexuality? Is it true HIV/AIDS continues to greatly impact the gay community? How do I share the Gospel with my gay-identified friend? As a Christian, should I attend a same-sex marriage ceremony? How do I address someone born one gender but identifies as the opposite gender? Is change possible for the gay and transgender person?
Today, confusion about sexual orientation is all too common during adolescence. As a result, it is risky to label teenagers “gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender” before they have the wisdom of adulthood and the opportunity to make a fully informed choice. Ultimately, when a teenager is prematurely “labeled,” there is a serious risk of “mislabeling” a portion of sexually confused youth.
Many factors can possibly lead a struggling or questioning youth into homosexual behavior or sexual identity confusion. Such as: curiosity, a feeling of not fitting in, the horrific tragedy of being molested, and the desire for attention and a sense of belonging.
Today, I remain extremely concerned that youth, including Christian youth, are not getting all the facts with regard to the many facets of human sexuality in order to make a truly informed and godly decision about sexual identity.
When our path crosses with a struggling youth, we must be open to partnering with the Lord Jesus to help turn the tide in his or her life. During adolescence most people determine the morals and personal identity they will embrace for the remainder of their life. As a result, much confusion and challenges will take place before any semblance of clarity comes. This is all the more true for youth deciding their sexual identity.
The teenage years are a crucial period for the Church of Jesus Christ to speak to youth tempted by the various and numerous forms of sexual and relational brokenness.
I humbly submit that society, and sometimes the Church, is unwittingly promoting social experiments and various behaviors with no justification in reality and, with all probability enabling inevitable serious moral problems with potentially tragic consequences.
In trying to ascertain the rightness or wrongness of any behavior or misguided identity, it seems to me the determining factor should be consequence, not cause. Or, have we become completely ambivalent to what is morally right? Today, the many and various subcultures into which youth are being thrust, have high rates of depression, substance abuse, alcoholism, anonymous sex, and unsafe sex practices. Few teens posses the judgment and self-control to make wise decisions in such environments.
While I have met and continue to meet with youth who are determined to resolve the issues of their sexuality, most feel too inadequate, lack motivation and do not have an individual structured in their life to help them through the process of healing and wholeness. Reaching youth struggling with their sexual identity is something we all can do and must do to help searching youth understand Gods abundant plans for their lives and to counteract misguided agendas that seek to ruin all hope for the youth. You and I may be the only person that will have the courage to share the Good News with a youth impacted by sexual and relational brokenness.
- Keep the consequence of sin in context. We have all fallen short of the glory of God.
- Accepting and loving a teenager without conditions has noting to do with condoning their behavior/lifestyle.
- Offer to serve as an accountability and prayer partner.
- Clearly distinguish the difference between temptation and sin.
- Don’t overreact – be prepared for the ‘born that way’ argument.
- You are not expected to have all the answers.
- Never, ever water down the Word of God.
- Be patient and trust God completely.
- Emphasize the key to overcoming sexual brokenness and sexual identity confusion is in Christ Jesus.
On the Cross, Jesus secured salvation for any and all who commit their lives to Him. At Calvary, Jesus’ blood put into effect the new covenant. He said, “It is finished.” With that proclamation anyone can now walk in the fullness of life that He intended and provides. All things are possible, as Jesus intercedes for us. Assuming our sin, shame and death, He declared, “It is finished,” which is a statement about an end. However, each end makes room for a wonderful and glorious new beginning.
While it is easy enough to become cynical about the times in which we live, remember when God is put in the equation of life, a hope that does not disappoint rises with us. It is true that the number of teens struggling with their sexuality has become alarming, but we should and must trust God and reach out to youth with the message of salvation and sexual redemption available through the Lord Jesus Christ.
If you know Jesus, you are a candidate to be a champion for change in the life of a youth and the world.
Pastor Phillip Lee
His Way Out Ministries
Member of Restored Hope Network
“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at the moment attacking, the I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is tested.” Martin Luther