In the year ahead we will be bombarded with more of the same persistent arguments to change our marriage laws. Burying ones head in the sand and hoping this will go away is no longer an option for parents. If you are not talking to your children about this they will be doing so in their school playground or getting their answers from the media. It is better it comes from you than from the culture.
Marriage was founded by God as being for one man and one woman, Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve as the old joke goes. It is not something men have authority to change. The move to undermine marriage is another step in the attempt to normalize homosexual sex acts. God makes it clear that homosexual sex acts are abhorrent and damaging for people. His reaction to widespread homosexual behavior when it was rampant in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah should be enough to convince Christians that going down this path will have devastating consequences for our nation.
Christians are to show love to all people, including those trapped in sexual immorality such as homosexual situations. We are, like God does with His people when He saves them, to love the sinner but hate the sin. We show zero love to someone by encouraging them in their damaging behavior. This requires us to speak up and act to defend marriage and family this year but to try to make it clear that it is the homosexual sex acts we are against, not the people.
Normalizing unnatural and unhealthy homosexual sex acts in our society, with the mental, emotional and potentially physical damage this normalization process is doing to our nation's children, is a very clear form of child abuse. Children need protection from dangerous behavior not encouragement. Defending marriage and family therefore becomes one of defending and protecting children. So don't be intimidated, silenced or afraid to join in the defense of marriage and family in 2016, as it is a just and noble cause.
It has historically been a role of government to restrain such damaging behavior, but if our governments fail in their duty to protect children, family and our nation's moral foundations, then it is incumbent on the citizens of Australia to act.
So, speak to children about this, and engage all the politicians you can engage with, and do whatever else you can do in the coming year or so until the plebiscite puts an end to this distressing part of Australia's young and so far free history.
The following has been collated to be of some assistance in speaking to children:
Talking to children, teens and young adults about same-sex marriage.
From John Stonestreet
Younger Children: We don’t always get to choose what topics we talk about. Sometimes events force our hands - just like 9/11 forced discussions on things like terrorism and war. And now, (with this debate on same-sex "marriage") we find ourselves in the ongoing war of ideas. Which means that our kids are seeing and hearing things about same sex marriage and homosexuality. If not from us first, then they are in their schools, and certainly on TV. In other words, the culture is having the conversation with them. We need to as well, and we need to do it first. Silence is no longer an option.
One thing my wife I focused on with our younger kids is God’s design for marriage from the beginning. This is such an important topic. We need to help our children understand why God created families and marriage in the first place. And we need to be prepared when they start to notice the difference between boys and girls and start asking questions like “Where do babies come from?”
So when we talked with our kids Sunday night, we started with Matthew 19—when the Pharisees came to Jesus, and asked Him whether it were lawful for a man to divorce his wife. Jesus responded by pointing them back not to the Law, but to the creation—long before the Law was given. “Have you not read” He asked, “that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female” and “that for this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?”
So Jesus takes the Pharisees back to the book of Genesis. And that’s where we picked up the story from there, reminding our girls that God said it was not good for Adam to be alone, and that Adam needed a helper.
Animals were not a suitable helper, the text says. And actually, another man wouldn’t have been a suitable helper either, because what Adam needed help with had to do with having a family. And a family comes when moms and dads get married and get together, and so on.
So we discussed the brilliance of God’s plan for man and woman, the brilliance of His design for the family.
We talked about how in this fallen world, governments sometimes make bad decisions. We talked about the disastrous consequences of no-fault divorce laws.
Now, I didn’t want to downplay the fact that there are obviously significant differences of opinion on this. But I did want to reinforce what Nancy Pearcey calls our kids’ “bologna detectors.”
Our children naturally understand the importance of family. Of moms and dads. It’s built into them. The only way they stop believing in the family is if they have had a traumatic experience, or if they are talked out of it—which is exactly what our culture is doing.
Teens and Young Adults: It’s more difficult because young adults today are much more likely than us older folks to support same-sex marriage, or to be confused by it. But "more difficult" is not the same as impossible—that’s because, no matter what the media is telling you, intelligent thoughtful young people are still much less likely to support same-sex marriage when they are offered all the facts.
I think a great starting point for young adults is exactly what Jesus did with the Pharisees who questioned Him about marriage and divorce, we should refer our young adults back to the Garden of Eden, to God’s created intent. Marriage is not something that human beings invented—so it is not an institution that we are free to re-invent. As Christians, we believe marriage was given to us by God for the benefit of man (that is, Adam) and woman (Eve). That plan is written into the moral fabric of the universe, which is why marriage between man and woman is known in every human society throughout history. That is certainly what Jesus Himself thought. And as followers of Christ, we have to care about what He said about marriage, not what the culture says.
Now, don’t be surprised if your teen or young adult then asks, “Well, how is it right for heterosexuals to be married, but not for those who are same-sex attracted? What about their rights?”
And here is where we have to help them understand the source of human rights. As atheist Friedrich Nietzsche and the postmodern philosopher Richard Rorty admitted, we owe the concept of human rights to Christianity. It was Christianity that taught the world that every human being is made in the image of God and that, therefore, humans have innate dignity and certain rights just because they are human. Therefore, governments do not create or grant human rights. God does. Government can at most recognize those rights, and of course, should defend them. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote about this brilliantly in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”
So we can make this point: It’s inconsistent to say, well, we want to give same-sex couples the “right to marriage,” but we don’t care about what the God who made those rights says about marriage.
Another problem you may encounter with teens or young adults is that they are very good at repeating the slogans and hashtags they see every day. When they tell you that holding to traditional marriage is discrimination, take a lesson from Jesus. Respond with a question. You might ask, “What do you mean by discrimination?” Help them go deeper. If they’re convinced that “love is love” and that “love won” thanks to the Supreme Court, ask them what they mean by love. Is it possible that some kinds of “love” should be excluded from marriage? Should a brother and sister or a group of people be able to marry? In other words, do we just green light incest and polyamory?
Yes, these kinds of discussions are really uncomfortable, but our kids are already having them. It’s time we joined in.
3 Ways Parents Can Respond
From Megan Briggs
Things are getting confusing. Here are 3 ways parents can respond and help their children navigate this confusing time.
1. Talk to your kids about homosexuality. If you haven’t explained homosexuality (and the health dangers of it) to your children and they are at an age where they are starting to key into all the hype in the media (and possibly among their peer groups), now is the time. (We warn children about the dangers of smoking, likewise we should warn them about the dangers of homosexual sex acts) This is your opportunity to communicate what God’s word says about homosexuality. Our kids need to hear the truth from God’s word about this lifestyle. Some key verses to start with include Leviticus 18:22, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Romans 1:26-28. Another point you might consider making with your children is that governments and rulers don’t always make the right choices. Finally, tell your children the truth about the differences between men and women and why God designed a family to be a man, a woman, and children. It helps children to know this truth from a young age given all the press in our media trying to convince them of the virtues of alternative lifestyles.
2. Show your children how to show the love of Christ to gay people (by praying for them and reinforcing that it is the behavior God hates not necessarily the people.) We should take a lot of comfort in the fact that it’s not our job to judge people. We need to approach friendships carefully (whether they be with homosexuals or heterosexuals) and who we allow to spend time (especially time alone) with our kids. But please don’t let fear steal a chance to show a homosexual Christ’s love. The truth is, homosexuals are hurting people who need the truth of the Gospel. They are living a lifestyle of sexual immorality – the consequences of which are devastating. At the same time, I know many heterosexual Christians who are living in a similar state of sexual immorality. And as the church we embrace them.
3. Don’t be intimidated. Like I mentioned earlier, there is a lot of emotional hype in the media right now concerning this. Don’t let it take you for a ride. Keep calm and parent on. The truth is, God is on His throne and He still calls the shots. A couple months ago I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Michael Brown speak in Singapore. He had a great insight about the LGBT agenda in the U.S. As a way of paraphrase, he said we shouldn’t fear the separation that will come between the people who interpret the scripture (about homosexuality) through the lens of culture and those who will follow God’s word in spirit and in truth. There is some separation happening in the church right now. Which side do you want your family to end up on? Help your children to know the truth of God’s word and what He has to say about homosexuality. Let them know the truth and let the truth set them free from all the confusion encapsulating this issue.
To quote Rick Warren, “truth, is still truth, no matter how many people doubt it. I may deny the law of gravity, but it doesn’t change gravity. And just because we break God’s laws, does not invalidate them.” Don’t be afraid to share the truth with your kids. Kingdoms will fall and rulings will be forgotten, but the word of God will stand.
One final thought: be prayerful as you address this issue with your children. Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and answers. Ask Him how your family should respond to this.
Below are some articles and books which may be helpful in discussing the issue of homosexuality in light of our current culture. I hope you find them helpful and some further resources and a brief video series on marriage, gender, sexuality and the Bible which tackles a lot of the questions young people come up with—and I think it will help you discuss these matters with your children.
Resources Gender, Marriage, and the Bible: Understanding God's Plan
John Stonestreet | Axis | July 2015
Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God’s Design for Marriage by Sean McDowell and John Stonestreet
God’s Design for Sex Series by Stan and Brenna Jones (Book 3 – What’s the Big Deal – has a chapter specifically about homosexuality)
Focus on the Family’s How to Talk to Your Kids about Homosexuality
Interview with John Stonestreet webinar by Generations of Virtue
Short video with Dr. Michael Brown explaining the context of the Levitical scriptures
– Megan Briggs
The above has been extracted from two sources as follows: