At least once a week (usually more) I hear from parents or students that sexual sin has made its way into their lives, homes or relationships. Whether its pornography, sexual impurity in a relationship or something else, a parent or a student will come broken-hearted over this issue. For a man who struggled greatly with pornography in high school and college, this always leaves me hurt and disturbed. Statistics show that 85% of young males frequently observe pornography and over 50% of young women do. This is crazy. Think about it; on a typical Wednesday night we have 100 high school students join us for worship. If these statistics are correct then only 5 or 6 men and 20 or so women DO NOT REGULARLY view pornography. As parents and leaders, we should be shocked by this and see this for what it is, an epidemic! This sort of lifestyle; one filled with sexual impurity will destroy a relationship with God, end Godly marriages before they begin, give a false sense of sexual identity, and ruin worship. The shame of all this sexual sin will keep this generation of teens from hearing and heeding the call of ministry and missions. Make no mistake: SATAN is using sexual immorality, sexual curiosity, lust and sensual desire (that teenagers are not ready to act upon) to prevent having a healthy relationship with God. We MUST discuss it… and it starts at home. It WILL be disused in our church. So what can we do??
1- REMEMBER teens are sinful (As are you and me. We all are. Don’t forget that as you read the following.) They need grace, mercy, forgiveness, tenderness and a place to “work out their salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12) As a parent or leader in a teen’s life we need to provide that atmosphere. You can freak out on your own, alone, in your closet… but remind them that they are just sinful and that is why Jesus died on the cross – for sin is a big deal. Also, you as parents didn’t fail them, nor the church, their youth minister, friends, etc… they are just sinful. Just as God forgave us, we must also do the same (Romans 5:8 & 2 Corinthians 5:21) This does not mean we use “they are sinful” as an excuse, it is just a truth.
2- KNOW we live in a culture where pornography is more accessible than a cup of coffee. Coffee is easy to get and popular. Pornography is more popular and accessible. In less than 30 seconds with a few swipes of certain apps, you can find porn. That is quicker than it takes for Keurig coffee makers to make a cup of java. That’s how accessible porn is. The simple truth is any teenager with a smartphone is bound to stumble across pornography. I am not sure why but for some reason this does not shake us as parents as it did a generation ago. Know too we live in a culture where sex outside of marriage is celebrated and lust is seen as a normal, almost as if it were a human emotion.
3- EMBRACE difficult and awkward conversations. One of the most difficult things is to have a conversation with a teenager who has engaged in sexual immorality. It is awkward, unexpected, and as a parent we just can’t imagine our “baby” doing that. It’s heartbreaking. But we must embrace the awkward and difficult to help our teen. Don’t expect the conversation to EVER BE PLEASANT. Instead dive in and start talking. If you embrace the awkward and difficult they likely will as well. From my experience a good healthy Christ-centered relationship will always involve conversation of personal sin and struggle.
4- REFRAIN from being a hypocrite. If you are a parent or leader who struggles with sexual immorality or impurity – GET HELP! The only thing worse than finding out your teen is struggling, is being caught by your teen (and don’t think you won’t get caught.) The teen will feel mislead and lied to. If a teenage girl catches her parents, her idea of sexuality, her self-identity, and her view of her authority will be tainted forever. For a teen male, discovering a parents’ struggle is equivalent as granting permission to that teen.
5- ADDRESS it. This subject must be talked about at home. We need to pray for purity in our children, talk about purity, discuss the evil of impurity and how to protect yourself/your home. This subject cannot be TOO taboo to discuss. This sin will lead teens on a road of destruction. A home where sexual immorality is not addressed is a home where it may run rampant. Listen, your teens have hormones and they need help in dealing with those. And they will get their answers from someone. Who do you want them turning to?
6- CREATE an atmosphere that encourages PURITY in your home. What are you doing to foster a home that keeps everyone under your roof pointed towards godly purity? Are there safeguards on the TV? DVD’s? Computer? Is there scripture available that speaks to what is good, healthy and important in the home? Do Dad and Mom watch things that might lead their teen to struggle if they are around? Or worse do Mom and Dad watch things that if the teen knew would cause them to question their parents? How does your home create an atmosphere of purity?
7- SMARTPHONE. Knowledge is key. Smartphones are nothing more than sex & porn devices for so so so many. They get a smartphone solely to have access to that which they want to hide. If your teen has a smartphone, how are they protected on it? Do you check it? Do you understand and know where to look? For the record, it’s not an invasion of privacy if they are paying for it, just saying… A teenager given a smartphone with NO accountability is the same as handing them a stick of dynamite. They are not equipped, educated or mature enough to handle it yet. Smartphones can be awesome and helpful or destructive. For most teenagers that decision MUST be made by parents.
Want more information? Give me a call and plan to attend the next r12 Parent Worship on February 8. You can also keep in touch on our r12 Student Ministry page
“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” – Ephesians 5:3