Few things are as confusing as trying to pick out a cold medicine. Most grocery stores, drug stores, and gas stations offer us way more options than we desire or need.
There is extra strength, double strength, fast acting, long lasting, and active release. Every brand claims to be the best, and every bottle has been voted “#1.”
I believe that trying to find clarity today when it comes to how we should view gender is a lot like trying to find a cold medicine in an overstocked isle. This is especially true for middle school and high school students.
As followers of Christ we should want to get it “right” when it comes to thinking and speaking about gender. Here are three important things to remember.
1. Don’t just focus on saying “the right thing” the loudest way.
As important as it is for us to be heard in a noisy world, when it comes to sexuality and gender, it is more important for us to be clear. Sometimes we believe that the louder we say something the more compelling it will be to those who are listening. That is not always the case, especially with students today. We need to be intentional with working students through what God’s Word says about sexuality and gender and why it matters. Strive for clarity. In all the confusion they experience today that will be what is most compelling.
2. Don’t apologize for saying something different than the school hallways. I have noticed that many parents, pastors, and students feel like they need to apologize for what they believe about gender and sexuality. We don’t. We need to be gracious and loving, but we need to speak truth as people with conviction. Student’s finding clarity and their identity in Christ is that important. The more we apologize for what we believe the less compelling it will be. Following Christ will often lead you and I to go against the grain of culture. That is okay. The message is worth it.
3. Speak clearly with love. I have already hinted at this, but I believe that speaking truth with love is one of the most important components in talking with students today. If you watched Coldplay’s halftime show during the Super Bowl you without a doubt saw the big moment in the performance where everyone in the stands spelled out the phrase “Believe in love.”
Sadly, when most people hear that phrase they do not think of the gospel of Christ or the Christian world view. When most people hear that phrase they think of sexual freedom and liberation from “the ways of the past.” In many ways people see hate as being connected with the Christian worldview on gender and sexuality. Let’s be sure to show love in everything we say, and understand that in the midst of the confusion surrounding our students today that love is an important element that they are looking for.
The stakes are too high, and students are too important for us to not take this seriously. What we say, how we speak, and the clarity of what we believe is critical to helping students understand these areas. Let’s continue to be a people who speak an everlasting truth in an ever-changing culture, and speak it clearly.