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Parent Conversation Starter: Brokenness and Sin

When talking to kids about sexual stewardship, pastors and parents too often focus on warning the teens in their care against committing sexual sin, or pastors and parents wait to talk about these things at all until kids are the age when they are likely to begin to start sinning sexually. But our kids will face the challenges of brokenness long before they begin to sin sexually. With our younger kids, when we teach about sexual stewardship we need to put our first focus on the general brokenness of the world and the brokenness that will show up in their own lives.

Sin and brokenness

When I say “sin,” I mean a willful disobeying of God’s law. We can look at the Ten Commandments for some concrete examples of sin: knowingly lying, stealing, adultery, etc.

But when I say “brokenness” I mean what happened when sin entered the world through Adam and Eve. The Jesus Storybook Bible says, “God’s creation start[ed]t to unravel, and come undone, and go wrong.” God first perfectly designed and ordered the world. When humans sinned (and then kept sinning), that sin caused a chain reaction that bent every perfect design and order. Nothing was left unaffected by the bent-ness (Romans 8:18-22). The world continues to be a broken place and we continue to experience the effects of that brokenness because humanity continues to sin.

For example, in our broken world some kids develop cancer. They didn’t do anything wrong, they didn’t choose to get cancer, they’re not disobeying God by having cancer. The world is broken, and because of that brokenness, some kids develop cancer. God never intended for any child to develop cancer, but those who have cancer aren’t sinning by having cancer.

Even so, there is still good in the world because the world has a good and perfect Creator, and the world still reflects the goodness of God’s design and order in many ways. But nothing is perfect, as He first created it.

Broken sexuality

So where does brokenness show up in our sexuality?

Well, no one has “unbroken” sexuality. Because brokenness extends to every part of our bodies, minds, and souls, none of us know what it’s like to experience sexuality like God intended at Creation. The way we experience intimacy, family, singleness, marriage, and sexuality are marred and dim versions of how God intended them to be. We see sexual brokenness in infertility, widowing, exposure to pornography, sexual abuse, sexual jokes and slurs, gender incongruence, same-sex attraction, culture’s obsession with romance, and more.

God is not surprised that your child experiences broken sexuality, and God is not disappointed in your child when they discover brokenness.

Teach your child about brokenness

Parents, try out this question on your littles: “What is real love?”

You’ll likely get a wide variety of answers, some funny, some sobering. Among other definitions, we know that God is love, and we know that His love is self-giving. We know that we were created in God’s image and that our love should reflect His.

You can say something like, “God is love! And part of the way He showed us love is that He gave us a way to know Him through Jesus, His Son. God’s perfect love is generous and always giving. We were created in God’s image, which means that He created us to be like Him. And part of being like Him is loving the way He loves.

“But do you remember the story about Eve in the Garden, and how the snake tricked her into eating the fruit God told her not to eat? When sin came into the world through Adam and Eve’s disobedience, everything broke; brokenness is the reason we have destructive weather, disease, suffering, death. We experience brokenness, too. A brokenness isn’t us choosing to disobey God. Women who can’t have babies, people who are sick, people who are blind or deaf–none of those are chosen by the person who experiences them.

“Our friendships and our relationships with our family are broken, too, because of sin. That brokenness sometimes causes us to be selfish. And sometimes we want to love other people, but we want to love them in ways that are outside of God’s design. We can love others, but our love isn’t perfect like God’s love. But God is good, and He is always working to help us love others like He loves us. When you experience brokenness in your life, I want you to know that it’s not your fault, and I hope you’ll tell me about it.”

Encourage your child to share

Because you know your child will one day experience sexual brokenness in some way, and because you yourself know what it’s like to experience sexual brokenness, encourage your child to share with you when they discover where broken sexuality is a part of their story.

When you child discovers that her heart yearns for a romantic relationship because she’s believing the lies of culture…

When your child discovers that his attractions are primarily toward the same sex rather than the opposite sex…

When your child discovers that having biological children is impossible for her…

When your child is exposed to pornography on a friend’s phone…

When your child’s internal sense of gender doesn’t align with his biological sex…

Remind them that you’ll listen, you’ll comfort, and you’ll fight for them, and you’ll do whatever you can to help them thrive in God’s good plan for their life: “These kinds of things are hard and scary to tell, but I hope you will tell me the hard and scary things as they happen in your life. I will listen to you and comfort you. You cannot get in trouble for telling me hard things, and I will be so happy that you’ve told me so I can help. We will figure it out together, and I will do whatever it takes to help you thrive in God’s good plan for your life.”

We need God’s wisdom

So because we’re broken and because we do sin, none of us is able to “do” intimacy, family, singleness, or marriage perfectly (or even well without the Holy Spirit’s help). 

Jealousy, selfishness, pride, bitterness, laziness, conceit, lust, and a host of other sins mess up the way God intended relationships and family to work. Plus, we’re all broken people trying to be in relationship with other broken people. We won’t do this perfectly, and we need the Holy Spirit’s help.

And because we’re broken people (and because we’re not God), we really can’t trust our own wisdom when it comes to how to best steward our sexuality. We’re going to make mistakes, we’re going to sin and be sinned against, but when we choose to submit to God’s designs for sex and relationships we’ll find the most goodness, the most beauty, the most joy in our relationships.

Check out Equip’s on-demand Parent Course for more practical guides and over 50 conversation scripts parents can use to have age-appropriate conversations with young kids about sex, sexuality, and gender.

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