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

Love and Truth: Helping Teens Navigate LGBTQ Issues

3. Choose the Gospel, Not Sin Management, for Solutions.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:1-5)

All of us were dead in our sins. All of us followed the way of this world. All of us had allegiance to Satan, whether knowingly or unknowingly. All of us were consumed by our passions, cravings, and lusts. All of us needed a Savior.

Jesus is that Savior. Those who trust in Him to save them—regardless of how they identify sexually or in terms of gender—are immediately brought to life and given a new identity, that of a child of God!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

At the moment we become a new creation, God’s Holy Spirit comes to live inside us (Ephesians 1:13-14) and gives us the power to begin living according to God’s ways, instead of fleshly desires. That doesn’t mean we no longer struggle with sin or temptation—we’ll continue to do so in some capacity our whole lives—but as we listen to and yield to the Spirit, He has the power to change us.

It’s vital to believe, and help our teenagers to believe, in this transforming power of the Gospel. Romans 1:16 makes it clear that “it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” The Greek word for “salvation” means “deliverance from peril or danger.” We must believe that the Gospel can deliver any teenager from any sin, including any kind of sexual brokenness.

We’re all born as slaves to our flesh—which encompasses our genetics, hormones, natural instincts, and sinful desires—and into a sinful, fallen environment—which includes abuse, unbiblical ideologies, and more. But the amazing news of the Gospel is that when we trust Christ, His Spirit frees us from that slavery and enables us to live in God’s ways—no matter what caused our sin to begin with. As Paul explains:

For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. (Romans 6:6-7)

As Henry David Thoreau once said: “There are a thousand hacking at the leaves of evil to one who is striking at the root.” It’s not reparative therapy, moral education, or a change of environment that transforms—it’s the Gospel.

Our job is to help our teenagers be well-versed in the core message of the Gospel. At Dare 2 Share, we use a simple, six-sentence acrostic to communicate it—and each point of the acrostic sheds light on the topics of identity and sexuality (click here for a deeper dive into this).

4. Choose Engagement, Not Detachment, as Your Strategy.

It’s easy as youth leaders to detach from the conversation. We don’t want to be labeled as being part of a hate group.” And, although that could happen, it’s less likely to occur if we engage these topics with kindness and respect.

It’s important to first teach our Christian teenagers to think clearly and biblically about these issues and then equip them to engage their friends of every orientation with the transformative power of the Gospel of Jesus.