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

Love and Truth: Helping Teens Navigate LGBTQ Issues

In Scripture, sex between two people of the same gender is never depicted as a positive thing. And from Genesis to Revelation, marriage is always described as being solely between a male and a female.

In short, Scripture states very directly that homosexual sex and lust are sins. And as difficult as it may be, we need to help our teenagers understand that the Bible is unequivocal on this issue.

How To Handle the Truth

Because of culture’s broad acceptance—and even celebration—of homosexuality, the truth that it is sinful may come as a shock to many of your teenagers (and some of their parents). Don’t overreact. Speak the truth with gentleness and confidence, pointing them back to God’s Word.

When doing so, it’s helpful to remind them of four things:

1. Temptation (of any kind) is not sin. Jesus Himself experienced a variety of temptations, and yet did not sin (Hebrews 4:15). Being tempted by homosexuality is not in and of itself sinful. But feeding that temptation by dwelling on lustful thoughts is sinful, as is giving into your temptation.

2. All sexual immorality is sin, as we saw in the 1 Corinthians passage. This includes heterosexual sex outside of marriage and heterosexual lust (or lust of any kind). All sin causes us to fall short of God’s perfect standard and plan.

3. All sin, including every kind of sexual sin, is forgiven when we trust in Christ and His sacrifice as payment for our sin. There is “now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). That forgiveness, however, is not a license to sin but rather an inspiration and invitation to live according to God’s ways.

4. Truth is love. As I stated before, love should saturate all our interactions around LGBTQ topics. But it’s important to teach students not to adopt our culture’s definition of love, which says: “If you don’t applaud what I believe and do—and my perception of myself—you don’t love me.” The reality for most of our students is that anything less than a full embrace and celebration of LGBTQ identities and ideologies is considered hateful and “-phobic.”

As leaders, we have the challenging task of helping students adopt and stand firm in a different definition of love—one based in reality and in the truth of God’s Word.

Using analogies can help. For example, most students would agree that supporting an anorexic person’s belief that they’re overweight would be harmful, not helpful. Or that encouraging a drug addict to embrace their identity as an addict and take more drugs wouldn’t be loving.

So if we truly believe that homosexuality and rejection of one’s gender violate God’s good design, it’s not loving to affirm these beliefs or behaviors—or to accept that they’re unchangeable identities to be embraced. As Christians, we’re called to find the balance of showing unconditional love and kindness, without condoning sin.

Which brings us to the next principle…