Framing Love, Sex, and Marriage. . .
Later today, I’ll be doing something in a more organized and formal manner for the first time. Up to this points, my discussions on this particular issue have come in personal conversations or in response to on-the-spot questions during seminars. Today, I’ll be prepared thoughts to a group of youth workers on the topic of youth ministry and same-sex attraction. I’ve been asked specifically to do this because they know that for the last three years I’ve been concentrating the bulk of my reading and study on the topic. . . trying to learn as much as I can about cultural beliefs, clinical realities, and Scriptural guidelines. I’ve read across the spectrum of viewpoints in an effort to be open and fair. And naturally, all these endeavors have extended far beyond the parameters of the issue of same-sex attraction to the larger issues of love, sex, and marriage. The journey of listening and learning is not over for me by any stretch of the imagination. It continues. (Got some funny looks on the airplane yesterday as I was reading Jonathan Grant’s book, Divine Sex!)
For me, my conscious first memories of engaging in the simplest of ways with the topic of love began in Kindergarten. Every year when I was in elementary school, I would spend the evening of February 13 punching out two-dozen Valentine’s Day cards from perforated sheets, signing them with my name, and stuffing them in envelopes. . . each one addressed to a different member of my class. Back then, we used those little dime-store cards to send the same message to everyone. . . male and female as I remember it. . . “Will you be my Valentine?”
Now that I’m grown-up, I often think back to those days and wonder if our willingness to throw our meager and meaningless little expressions of “love” around might have contributed in some way to the widespread confusion about the nature of romance that seems to have gone viral throughout our culture. When I look around at our cultural expressions (movies, TV, music, etc.) and personal practices (premarital sex, cohabitation, sexual identity issues, etc.) I wonder if anyone even knows where to go to gain a clear understanding on matters of love, sex, and marriage.
Sadly, we’ve forgotten that love, sex, and marriage all have their origins in God’s good creation. The Creator of humanity has given us love, sex, and marriage as a gift. In Genesis 2:24 we read, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” When understood in this light, we see that our current cultural beliefs and behaviors might not be what they’re supposed to be.
During the coming month where we celebrate Valentine’s Day, why not take the time to teach the kids you and know and love God’s good truth about His order and design for marriage? Theologian John Stott reminds us that we need to see that Genesis 2:24 tells us that marriage is a relationship with 5 facets. Share each of these with your kids:
-Marriage is meant to be heterosexual. It is between a man and a woman. . . nothing more or nothing less.
-Marriage is meant to be monogamous. It is a relationship reserved for one man and one woman.
-Marriage is meant to be a commitment. A man is to leave his father and hold fast to his wife. What’s missing in a relationship where a couple simply chooses to live together is a commitment.
-Marriage is meant to be public. The leaving from parents is a social occasion where a couple commits themselves to each other in front of family and friend.
-Marriage is meant to be physical. A couple becomes one flesh by consummating their commitment to each other through the act of sexual intercourse, something God’s given them to indulge with each other exclusively!
The culture is educating our kids 24/7 on the nature of love, sex, and marriage. Are you telling them the truth?