According to recent numbers released from the CDC, about 1 in 4 of today’s high school students identify as LGBTQ. This means it’s never been more important for Christian parents, teachers, pastors, and mentors to love, support, and guide teens who are wrestling through these issues. They need to know what biblical truth is about sex, identity, and relationships, and why it is loving, reasonable, and best.
I am so grateful for a brand-new resource from my friend Greg Stier, whose writing and work at Dare 2 Share ministries has made him a leader in working with students. In a recent blog post, Greg outlined four key principles to help lead teenagers to a biblical understanding of these difficult issues in a way that is loving, articulate, and bold.
The first biblical principle is to “choose love not hate, as [our] posture.” Even though Christians reject the false views of love promoted in so many ways today, we are not off the hook from practicing the real thing. Greg explains:
“God is love.” That’s who He is . . . . Because of His love, God doesn’t wait until we clean up our act to save us . . . . Romans 5:8 shockingly asserts: ‘But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners Christ died for us.’
. . . . Encourage your teenagers to love everyone, no matter what, all the time, because God has relentlessly loved us. Teach your teens to continually drench their theological convictions with biblical compassion and agape love—and may we do the same.
Second, we must “choose the Bible, not culture, as [our] authority.”
The Bible originated from the mind of God . . . . Because it’s inspired from God Himself, it’s as perfect as God Himself.
. . . . As Christians, we’re commanded to listen to, respect, and obey God’s Word—whether we like what it says or not, whether culture disagrees with it or not, whether people mock us for it or not. Even when we don’t like the rules, we can take comfort in the fact that they aren’t arbitrary—they’re based on God’s perfect character and are given for our good (see Deuteronomy 10:12-14).
. . . . (but) it’s important to help (students) understand that God’s house rules don’t apply only to Christians . . . . God made the universe, so everything in it belongs to Him. As Psalm 24:1-2 explains:
‘The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for He founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.’
The Bible is His primary way of explaining to His creation—to all humanity—who He is, who we are, and how the world works. Since the whole universe can be considered God’s “house,” His rules—as outlined in the Bible—apply to everyone.
In other words, the Bible is humanity’s instruction manual. And it’s clear on issues of identity and sexuality.
Greg goes to outline just how clear the Bible is on identity, gender, and sexual orientation.
Third, we need to “choose the Gospel, not sin management, for solutions.”
. . . . It’s vital to believe, and help our teenagers to believe, in this transforming power of the Gospel. Romans 1:16 makes it clear that “it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” The Greek word for “salvation” means “deliverance from peril or danger.” We must believe that the Gospel can deliver any teenager from any sin, including any kind of sexual brokenness.
We’re all born as slaves to our flesh—which encompasses our genetics, hormones, natural instincts, and sinful desires—and into a sinful, fallen environment—which includes abuse, unbiblical ideologies, and more. But the amazing news of the Gospel is that when we trust Christ, His Spirit frees us from that slavery and enables us to live in God’s ways—no matter what caused our sin to begin with.
And finally, fourth “choose engagement, not detachment.” For years, Greg and Dare 2 Share ministries have been training and equipping students to share their faith. Increasingly, this means having to engage difficult questions and issues such as these. What if it’s possible not only for Christian teens to not be confused and deceived, but to also be ambassadors for Christ to their confused and deceived peers. Greg thinks it is.
Imagine if the Church began to intentionally reach out—with a Jesus-style blend of love and conviction—to people who identify as LGBTQ and started seeing more and more lives transformed by the power of the Gospel. How much different would the future look, both for the Church and for the lives that were changed?
Greg is offering a free four-lesson curriculum for students called Hard Questions: Examining Gender, Sexuality, and Identity Through a Gospel Lens on his website. You can find it at gregstier.org.
This Breakpoint was co-authored by Kasey Leander. For more resources to live like a Christian in this cultural moment, go to breakpoint.org.