Raising three daughters has taught me a lot about love. As our girls get older, our youngest is now 15, I’ve realized how unbelievably important it is for our girls to hear about God’s unconditional love. We’ve experienced the puppy love stage in our home, the ‘he’s really hot’ stage, and the ‘I thought I was in love’ stage. All of these experiences have reminded my husband and I of our younger years, sometimes in a good way, and sometimes not so good. But these experiences have also allowed our daughters to grow up, learn some hard but great lessons, and most importantly learn to lean into God’s unconditional love.
Have you thought about how important it is for your teen to hear regularly that God loves them for who they are, not for what they do? If our teens are anything like us they grow up doubting, believing, and discouraged about our cultures definition of love. They often fight with those they love, compromise their actions to be accepted by those who say they love them, and justify their shortcomings going against God’s best for them – yet God still loves them for who they are.
Our teens are searching for freedom. And to truly experience freedom they have to believe that God loves them as they are, not as they should be and not based on our cultures definition of freedom. The concept of unconditional love is demonstrated beautifully through the scripture in John about the woman caught in the act of adultery. You’ve probably heard the story so I won’t repeat it but have you ever really thought about the response Jesus shares toward the end of the story? Jesus says “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” What a perfect picture of all of those individuals holding rocks in their hands, ready to stone this woman to death, realizing they desire to be loved unconditionally, just like this woman.
Unconditional love is not about saying unhealthy or poor choices are okay. And it also doesn’t necessarily eliminate the consequences for the poor choices. It’s about being loved completely in the midst of the poor choices. So many teens make a commitment to not engage in sexual activity and then they blow it and go too far. This more often than not leads to the teen feeling so defeated that they try to break their relationship with God. But God never quits loving them! God’s love never wavers.
The tricky part of this conversation is educating your teen to not engage in sexual activity, and sharing the truth with them that sexual activity outside of marriage is not part of God’s design for them and their future, and yet at the same time making sure they know that if they “mess up” God’s love for them is not compromised. Tough one, I’m assuming you would agree.
Because of how tough this one is, it’s also important for our teens to learn about God’s grace and forgiveness early in life. Forgiveness is a big deal to God. Sometimes we miss the importance or the opportunity to forgive but God never misses it. Forgiveness is His style and it’s forever. Confessed sin is forever removed from God’s remembrance. Not only does He forgive, He promises not to remind us of our sins. To me, this sounds like freedom.
So, should the concepts of unconditional love, grace and forgiveness be connected when we’re talking to our teens about their sexual health? Hmmm, interesting thought to ponder.
|Tuesday Talk: What would you say?||Tuesday Talk: Are our teens being proactive?|
|Tuesday Talk: What would you say?|
|Tuesday Talk: Are our teens being proactive?|