Notes for King’s Cross Church Special Men’s Forum
1. Faith vs. Fear: believe the promises of God found in Scripture. Jesus came to turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers (Mal. 4). He came to bear the curse of Adam that has infected all our families. Jesus became the curse on the cross, so that the sins of our fathers and mothers, our sins and our children’s sins might be taken away. Believe the promises of the gospel. This kind of faith creates a home where the dominant tone is relief. If God is for you and for your family, then what can stand against you? And a family where joy and light are the dominant themes is a greenhouse that drives secret sins away. But if there’s something growing in the back of your proverbial pantry, that’s a perfect recipe for missing something big. Fear comes from guilt and shame. Deal with your guilt and shame; believe the gospel. Walk in joyful light. Light exposes darkness.
2. Read the whole Bible together as a family and discuss everything: you can’t read through the whole Bible and not address a number of topics relating to sexuality – we used this language with our kids when they were young (lay with, a man’s seed, strange woman — the “bad lady” who uses her beauty to try to trick or trap men — rape, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, etc.). Genesis 1-3 also clearly lays out the goodness of the human body, the image of God, the goodness of marriage, the origin of shame in sin and disobedience, and the promises of the gospel. But if you read the whole Bible together as a family, regularly, you will cover pretty much every topic that needs to be covered. Allow the Bible’s language to inform your language and create categories for young children which can then make conversations more in-depth and natural as the children come into adolescence.
3. Celebrate feminine beauty, marriage, children – model that joyful fellowship in your marriage. You are commanded by the Bible to rejoice in the wife of your youth, and to rejoice in her beauty, her body. Your children should all know that you are into your wife. Without being inappropriate, you should hold and kiss your wife enough to occasionally make the kids feel slightly embarrassed. Tell your daughters they are beautiful and encourage them to practice feminine beauty; tell your sons that they must honor and respect feminine beauty. Practice this in how you require them to interact from early ages: no wrestling or fighting with girls, etc. Require your sons to be “gentlemen” and your daughters to be “ladylike.” Don’t tell your children that the magazine ladies are “ugly” or “gross.” Say that they are beautiful, but that their beauty should not be shared so cheaply with the world. Talk about marriage and children as the goal of dating/courtship from early years. The thought of pairing off, having crushes, “liking” so-and-so or dating before a marriageable age should seem foreign and silly. Don’t let this sort of thing go on at all.
4. Establish wise house rules – entertainment standards (be careful even with Rated G movies with foolish assumptions about pairing off, boyfriends, girlfriends, foolish parents), require space with siblings separate bedrooms, times/spaces for changing/bathing (especially between brothers and sisters), be very careful choosing friends, even extended family, giving and taking rides, parties, overnights (no slumber parties), minimize alone time and any time without multiple witnesses/accountability (both for temptations and false accusations or misunderstandings) – it’s not good for man to be alone, and folly is bound up in the heart of children. In our house, play time with friends was always out in the open, not back in bedrooms, etc. The general principle should be to practice protocols that would make secret sin almost impossible to happen, always having multiple people, publicity, and accountability in place (even with good friends/family). Don’t let your guard down simply because they are family, good friends, kirkers, homeschoolers, etc. Good house rules allow you to live without fear because they generally protect against being in situations where sin is likely to happen in secret.
5. Electronic protocols – accountability software, parental protections, keep all screens and devices out in public. You need to give lots of hovering oversight when kids are young, slowly giving freedom and allowing room for wise use in teenage years. You want to be letting go of rules before kids leave the house, so they can practice complete freedom before they leave. They will be facing the real world when they leave, and if you only shield them, they will not be truly prepared. Focus on positive uses of electronics: reading the Bible, smart podcasts/sermons, connecting with extended family, etc. and guard against mind numbing, time-sucks and self-serving.
6. Confession, Forgiveness, and Accountability: Believe the gospel when things have not gone right, whether small sins or big sins. Never panic. Don’t freak out if your child or teenager expresses doubts about biblical sexuality or curiosity about sex or worldliness. The younger they are, you can simply inform them of the truth cheerfully and require it. If your little boy says he likes wearing dresses, tell him that he doesn’t and he’s a man who God has called to protect ladies. If your young daughter says she likes wrestling and wants to be a boy, tell her that she doesn’t, and God has made her a woman to be beautiful and make a glorious house for a man and be a mom. Cheerfully insist on this, and celebrate the steps they take to obey. Inform them in the same way that you require them to believe that the sky is blue, Jesus is God, and words have meaning.
The older they are, the more you must respectfully engage. Ask lots of questions. Where are they getting this desire from? Are they following unhelpful people on social media? Are their friends influencing them? Are they lonely, insecure, hurt, bitter? Pour on the love and the respect, and gently lead them to the truth. Clamping down, panicking, getting angry are all recipes for disaster and driving your children further away. Finally, remember the difference between forgiveness and trust. Jesus requires immediate and complete forgiveness of all sins (big and small) which restores true fellowship, but forgiveness does not mean that you leave them to flounder in their temptations and sins. You should ask them how you can help them repent and move forward in obedience; love leans into and (depending on the severity) requires accountability.