Home Youth Leaders Love and Truth: Helping Teens Navigate LGBTQ Issues

Love and Truth: Helping Teens Navigate LGBTQ Issues


On any short list of today’s hot-button cultural issues, sexual orientation and gender identity are certainly right at the top. Even within the Church, these topics often lead to concern, confusion, and conflict—especially when younger generations are part of the conversation.

Fortunately, God’s Word provides clarity where the culture fosters confusion.

As we help our teenagers navigate questions about LGBTQ (stands for: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning) topics, we can take comfort in the fact that the Bible actually offers a lot of clear guidance. It provides insight that can help students sort through their own identity and sexuality questions, as well as those of their peers, in a way that wisely balances conviction and compassion. Scripture can also equip our teenagers to share the Good News of Jesus with others—no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation—in a good-news way.

Here are four powerful, Scripture-based principles to help your teenagers think through gender and sexuality issues:

1. Choose Love, Not Hate, as Your Posture.

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:8)

These are strong words from God. If we hate anyone, we’ve alienated the One defined by love—God Himself. When Christians mock, demean, shun, or ignore, we’re nothing like God. When Jesus said, “For God so loved the world” (John 3:16), He didn’t quantify or qualify. He loves the world and everyone in it.

“God is love.” That’s who He is. It’s what describes and defines the person of God. Yes, He’s holy, just, righteous, and so much more. But this passage highlights the primary attribute that encompasses all the others: love.

Because of His love, God doesn’t wait until we clean up our act to save us. He saves us and then begins the process of cleaning up our act. Romans 5:8 shockingly asserts:

But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners Christ died for us.

This is true for everyone, no matter our sexual attractions or gender identification.

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.

2. Choose the Bible, Not Culture, as Your Authority.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His Kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. (2 Timothy 3:16-4:2)

The Bible originated from the mind of God and landed on paper (or papyrus) through the pens of the men who wrote it. Because it’s inspired (“breathed out”) from God Himself, it’s as perfect as God Himself.

Why did God give us the Bible? At its core, it’s a love story. It chronicles God’s love for humanity and His desire for all of us to be part of His family. And in any loving family, one aspect of that love is having rules and boundaries. Those rules are in place to protect the members of the family and help them thrive.

The Bible provides us with God’s “house rules.” As my own kids grew up, they didn’t always understand or agree with our house rules, but as I used to remind them: “Those who own the house make the rules.”

What’s true in my household is even more true in God’s. 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).