After having a difficult conversation with my two sons about racism, I had to have another discussion this weekend with them about gay marriage and the Supreme Court decision.
While this conversation was less emotional for me, it was still important for me to open a dialogue with them about how much of what happens in culture conflicts with our beliefs.
For many of us, we dread having to talk to our kids about our values about sex and traditional marriage, much less same-sex marriage. So how can you have a different “talk” with your children?
Here are five important aspects as you think about talking with your kids about the recent Supreme Court decision and the culture they are facing.
1. Make it age appropriate.
Understand your child and the situations in which they may find themselves. I spoke with my 10 and 13-year-old sons. I didn’t feel the need to break down the ruling with my 2-year-old daughter (or our daughter still inside the womb).
Often times, well-meaning parents feel as if they need to have political conversations with their child as soon as they can talk. By all means, talk to your kids about gender, marriage at an early age, but be wise.
Some ages and children may not need to hear about it right now. Nothing will be any different for them. Others will hear about it at school and see it increasingly on TV and movies.
You need to talk to them as soon as possible. If nothing else, just to let them know that you are open to talk about it.
2. Go to the Scriptures.
Point your children to Genesis 1 and creation. Show them how God made man and woman unique and equal. Tell them how God brought them together to become one and form a family.
Point them to Matthew 19 where Jesus reaffirms the design for marriage His Father instituted. Show them how Jesus challenged the wrong ideas of marriage in His day.
Point them to the whole of Scripture where marriage between one man and one woman is affirmed and valued (even when other relationships are described).
3. Go to the Scriptures again.
Yes, affirm marriage as God intended it, but do not allow your children to go out with only half of the message. Tell them how God has called us to show grace and love to everyone.
Point them to Jesus telling us what the second greatest commandment is—love your neighbor as yourself. Then show them the parable of the Good Samaritan, so they know who their neighbor is.
Tell them to judge everything else, even the words you tell them, by the words of Scripture. Teach them to value it more than your opinion or their own.
4. Prepare them the future.
If you paid attention at all on Friday or this weekend, you noticed the swarm of companies scrambling to voice their support for same-sex unions. They recognize the cultural tide.
One of the things I told my sons was they would start to see more same-sex relationships on television and movies.
You will not be able to completely shelter them from this new reality forever. Prepare them—again, in an age appropriate way—for what they will inevitably encounter.
5. Ground it all in the gospel.
As with everything else, your thinking and conversations with your child on this topic must be rooted deeply in the gospel.
Show them 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, where Paul lists numerous sins, including homosexuality, that are evidence someone will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But then includes one of the most important phrases in all of the Bible—”and such were some of you” (KJV).
Tell them there is no sin too great for the gospel. Let them know if Jesus cannot redeem a gay person, He can redeem no one.
Remind your children as they interact with others that “our mission is not making heterosexuals—it’s making Christians.”
Maybe your child has a friend who is or will struggle with same-sex attraction. Maybe even your own child will wrestle through those things themselves.
They need to know the love, grace, mercy and power that comes from the gospel—now more than ever.
Did you talk with your children about the Supreme Court ruling? How did you discuss your beliefs compared to the ruling?
Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, wrote a similar piece today. Be sure to read his as well.
Marriage isn’t ultimately about living arrangements or political structures, but about the gospel. When your children ask about the Supreme Court, be loving and winsome and honest and convictional and kind.