How to start discussing sexual immorality to Christian youth already committed premarital sex?


(Marvin) #1

I really think this topic is sensitive and that most churches today do not teach much on this. I teach youth group in our church and I strongly convinced that I should be teaching the whole truth to younger generation including abstaining from sex before getting married. However, some people in the group are already in it (their girlfriend got pregnant, others are in practicing casual sex). I am not judging them but it seems that sex is no longer a sacred thing that should be preserved for married couple these days. I learned that if the church is silent on this topic then our generation will produce generation that is way far from the truth. If no one will teach them, then who? We just can’t afford to blend in our world and still be a Christian. Christians should stand out and be different. Be the light in the dark.

So how can I get through this challenge without offending them personally?


(Warner Joseph Miller) #2

Hey there, Marvin! I appreciate and love your question, man. As someone who serves in youth ministry, as well, I can empathize with the challenge and dilemma it can be to discuss “heavy”, personally challenging topics effectively to youth (or adults, for that matter). With that said, I have a few thoughts with regard to your question.

First and foremost, truth is paramount. Never forsake telling the truth for, what RZIM/OCCA tutor, Tom Price calls “yum yum” – telling what tickling ears may want to hear and what would satisfy tastebuds while damaging everything else. What you win them with, you’ll have to keep them with. If you win them with “yum yum” then you’ll have to keep them with “yum yum”. But if you lovingly and tactfully win them with relevant truth, then you have a much better chance keeping them with truth.

With that said – and even in recalling my own feelings and thoughts, pre-Christ/salvation – I can clearly remember knowing what Christians (and other religions) stances were on premarital sex. I knew that they preached abstinence and waiting til you’re married, etc. I knew it…I just didn’t care. Preaching morality to me, although true, didn’t budge me off of doing what felt better AND was culturally acceptable. However (and this is especially where the tact in truth-telling applies) once practical, personal reasons were explained to me (and understood) – outside of “the Bible or God says so” – then the notion of abstaining actually began to make more personal sense and therefore became less of a dogmatic adherence and more a better, practical way to live. For example, here’s what resonated most with me as a young man:

  • Explaining to me - a young man - that my sexuality is a special and precious thing. Not speaking necessarily of virility or sexual prowess but of sacred, special value. More often, young women are quicker or more likely than boys and young men to value their bodies and sexuality. But patiently explaining MY value – the value of their sexuality (and re-explaining it) – is of great value. I guarantee it’s something that many of those boys/young men haven’t heard…particularly with regard to them as young men.

  • Explaining to me that these women (or young women, at the time) that I’d been engaging in sexual relations with we’re, in fact, my SISTERS in Christ. And because they are my sisters, the fact that I’m doing something that diminishes and devalues them contradicts that relationship truth. Are they my sister’s or not? (I’m speaking mainly to a Christian context) Additionally, if they are my sisters and we have the same Father…then I am, in effect, blatantly and unlovingly disrespecting His daughters in His face, as it were, by engaging them, sexually! That rocked me. I wouldn’t dare disrespect a woman in front of their natural father who could possibly hurt me. I wouldn’t even flirt with a young lady in full view of her father. Even more so would I not dishonor a daughter in front of our Heavenly Father Who could…uhhhh…do even more damage!:hushed: (Matt.18:6 & 10:28)

  • Explaining to me how unlawful sex can cover, complicate and exasperate a multitude of sins. What I mean is that sex outside of the structure of a marriage relationship can potentially dull and blind your senses from situations and people that you would otherwise stay clear of. In a similar way to how too much alcohol diminishes your inhibitions and increases the potential for regret, unlawful sex does the same. I would encourage using (if you have and are comfortable with divulging) your own pertinent life experiences to magnify this point.

Those truths used as practical, real-life, complimentary arguments to The Truth of the scriptures can add depth, nuance and personal responsibility to the notion of sexual abstinence and celibacy. It also adds an additional “why” to sexual celibacy. It isn’t just dogmatic adherence or religious rule keeping (although true) that are the reasons why unmarried Jesus followers abstain from sexual intimacy. Many times – especially within the last few generations – exclusively dogmatic adherence doesn’t hold in the same way it may have in the past held. Explaining and unpacking the relational, personal and even social motivations - working with biblical, foundational truth - speaks volumes.

I hope this is somewhat helpful. Again, truth is never to be sacrificed on the altar of “relevancy” or popularity. However, truth when tactfully and smartly given – particularly through, inspired by and leading with love – can be a game changer. We need only look to our Savior Jesus (particularly, His interactions with religious leaders as they questioned Him) to see smart, tactful wisdom in action.

God bless you, brother!


(SeanO) #3

@bunyagm9048 That is a great question and I think @WarnerMiller nailed it. Here are some things I would try to communicate if kids are already engaging in sexual immorality:

  • you are not ruined - there is forgiveness - God wants to restore and heal you - none of us are worthy of God’s love - God is in the business of loving the broken (Luke 7:36-50 about the woman washing Jesus’ feet is great here or the woman at the well)
  • sex is temporary - there is no sex in Heaven (Matthew 22:30) but the love of God is forever - could use Francis Chan’s rope analogy
  • if you are going to truly follow Jesus and have the Holy Spirit in your life, you must honor Him with your body (I Cor 6:12-20) because you are God’s temple
  • God’s love for you goes beyond what any human can offer. Someone who demands you have sex with them does not love you - they are using you. They are taking your life to benefit themselves. On the other hand, Jesus offers His live for us.
  • Everything you seek to try to fill the hunger in your heart will ultimately fail unless it is God Himself

Every other man had come into her life and said, “Your life for mine” but Jesus had come into her life and said “My life for you”.


(Richard A Olson) #4

I think we should do our best to focus on “Belief” and not “Behavior”, Since it is our beliefs that determine our “eternal destination” and NOT our behavior. Once someone is convinced of the unconditional love of God and the absolute forgiveness that that includes. Then, behavior comes into the equation. I changed my behavior because of God’s love for me and my corresponding desire to please Him. NOT because someone told me what I was doing was sin or wrong. I am not saying that we should ever embrace Sin but, the PERSON. I am simply suggesting that it is better to be Loved into changing than to be condemned into in changing. If we say to someone: “God says thou shalt not” and they reply with “so what?” They clearly do not yet know God or what He has done and is willing to do for them. I am just proposing that we continuously tell people that they a LOVED over and over and over and over. They will know and decide if they want to change or not.


(SeanO) #5

@1rickolson Tim Keller points out that when people are considering coming to Jesus there are three kinds of needs that have to be addressed:

1 - social
2 - emotional
3 - rational

I agree with what you are saying with the caveat that we need to make sure to address all three of these areas - we need to explain why God’s laws are good and to teach what God says about them. We also need to express God’s unconditional love through caring and compassionate community. We need to be the divine dance of truth and love that Christ so perfectly demonstrated in His own life.

Also, I think it is important that we warn people of the consequences of sin. Jesus Himself not only loved but also communicated the consequences of sin.

John 5:14 - Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”

How do you think we can maintain that balance of truth and love, warning and grace in a healthy way?


(Richard A Olson) #6

Hi Sean,
I heard a Pastor on TV recently and she was preparing for a meeting with a young gal who had come to the Lord just the previous week. She was making notes for the meeting of the various topics she was going to bring up during the meeting. One of the points was to tell her that now that she was a Christian, she would need to move out of the home that she was sharing with her boy friend. At the moment she wrote this in her notes she felt the Holy Spirit arrest her and say: “No, you are not going to mention that. I will handle that when the timing is appropriate. The next 6 months I want to shower her with Love so she can get to know Me”. This was the point that I was attempting to make Sean. God’s timing is EVERYTHING when it comes to correcting or teaching regarding behavior. I think of ALL the people who will not even consider exploring a relationship with Jesus because all they think about and hear about is: "Becoming one of “those” means that I will have to learn and obey all the “thou shalt nots”. There is a time and place for ALL topics to be discussed and shared. Putting together a “lesson plan” for a group of youths with a “one size fits all” mentality might be unwise. I am not sure if this was the original intent of the person who started this post or not. I don’t doubt that they truly want to be a blessing and a help to the youth. Whenever I am in doubt about what to say or how far to go with someone the reliable, default position for me is always the Love of God. I don’t think that you and I are in disagreement. Be Blessed!


(SeanO) #7

@1rickolson Those are great points. We must minister to people within their cultural context and if that includes legalistic Churches, they may need an extra dose of love! Also, I think you made a very Scriptural point that when people first come to Jesus they need to grow on the Gospel and move towards spiritual maturity - from infants feeding on God’s forgiveness and mercy to mature believers who can discern good from evil and walk in the Spirit. Not that we stop being nourished by the Gospel, but we move from forgiveness to righteous living through the power of the Holy Spirit and cease to walk in our former sins.

I Peter 2:2-3 - Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

I Cor 3:1-3 - Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly.

Hebrews 5:11-14 - We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.