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A Conversation on Purity

Give a Vision for God-Honoring Sex


Webster’s Dictionary defines “pure” as: “free from everything that might make dirty, change, or lower the quality; free from sin or guilt.
“Purity is much more than refraining fromsexorheedinga list of don’ts. It is a positive,passionate existence that frees us to experience all God made us to enjoy. Sadly, our culture bombards kids with opportunities to tarnish their lives, even making fun of those who try to remain clean.
Culture leads us to think that sex is something the world has created and that we must leave our faith to enjoy sex. Culture does everything possible to encourage and pressure our children experience the joys of sex outside of God’s design. But because God is the creator of sex, His design leads to the greatest joy and flourishing for sex.
How do we help our children live a life filled with the intense joys of sex that God has created forus and stand against the lies of the culture?


START WITH GRACE

Maybe when it comes to Purity, this is an area that you yourself have failed in. Maybe you knowthis in an area that your child has already failed in. Or maybe you haven’t addressed this topic ever and you think it is too late so why start now. There is grace and forgiveness. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” God’s grace and forgiveness is bigger than you or your child’s past sins.

This may bring shame and guilt and lead you to believe that you are not qualified to address this with your own child. That is a lie! God has chosen you as your child’s parent, which means you are qualified and the person to talk to your child about this topic.

If this is a present sin in your life, you need to start by asking yourself the questions:

  • What am I doing to get help in this area?
  • What next steps do I need to take?


Whether this is a past or present issue, God can and wants to use you to impact your child’s life. Lead knowing that there is forgiveness from your heavenly Father and that you can make a generational change in your family.


1. GIVE A POSITIVE VISION

Give a positive vision of the purpose and joy of sex in the context of marriage. God created sexand he created in to be enjoyed within the covenant of a lifelong marriage. And it’s a good thing to enjoy! Counter the lies of culture by teaching your child that when sex is experienced within the created bounds of marriage, it is most fulfilling, most enjoyable. Speak honestly with your child of the joys of intimacy within marriage and of the mistakes you have made. Both your good and bad experiences can be a teacher to your child and used to remind them of God’s design for sex.


2. CLARIFY THE STANDARD

Psalm 119:9 says, “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according toyour word.” While Jesus Christ was the only person to live a life of totalPurity, He invites us to follow His example by fulfilling the purpose for which we were made. When it comes to Purity,our children need to understand that their bodies belong to God. 1 Corinthians 6:18-21 says,“Flee from sexual immorality… your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit… you are not your own… Therefore honor God with your body.”


3. FOCUS ON PURITY, NOT JUST SEX

While it is important to remain a virgin before marriage, Purity is much more than saying no to premarital sex. There is a current trend in teen culture to define virginity as not “going all the way,” while anything else is considered fair game. God desires for us to have much more than “technical virginity” before marriage. He has a great plan for our hearts, minds, and actions. Teach your child that Purity involves every area of life.


4. DELAY TEMPTATION

Kids want to start dating younger than ever before. One study showed that a child who starts dating at twelve years old has only a 9% chance of remaining a virgin at eighteen years old. If they wait until sixteen, however, they are 80% likely to be a virgin at eighteen. God made us with desires that are very good. But those desires can be awakened too early. So, talk to your child about Purity before allowing them to date and continue dialogue after they start the process. The topic can be awkward, so try to make the experience a dialogue, not a one-way conversation. For one child that could mean scheduling a regular coffee date; for another it might mean chatting while hunting or attending a sports event. Be sure to find some context for keeping the lines of communication open.


5. PRAY FOR THEM AND CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION

Commit yourself as a parent to cover your child in prayer. Pray specifically for his or her purity in relationships, a clean thought life, integrity in school and other activities. Pray for a heart that is connected to Christ and a mind immersed in God’s Word.This is not a one and done conversation. Although it may be an awkward or challenging conversation, this is not something that you do once and hope it sticks. Create avenues for ongoing conversation with your child. Allow your kids to share their point of view and their reasons for what they think; this doesn’t have to change your decision as their parent, but kids who feel like they’ve played a role in the decision-making process are more likely to follow and obey the decision that is made. Discussions and dialogues in which parents are genuinely curious about what their child thinks or feels will help keep communication lines open. Open communication helps create safeplace for them to come to, especially if they fail in this area. If you bring shame and judgement when they come to you instead of grace and forgiveness, they just won’t come to you the next time they sin.


PRACTICAL IDEAS


WRITE LETTERS TO YOUR CHILD

Share your heart and scripture and vision instead of mere rules. Give them a vision of God’s plan for their lives. Plan a time to talk about the letter after they have read it such as a special breakfast or coffee date. Take time to listen to what they say and try to steer clear of teaching or lecturing.


HAVE YOUR CHILD WRITE OUT WHAT THEY WANT IN A FUTURE SPOUSE

As they get closer to dating, have them pull that list out and talk through the potential individuals that they are interested in dating to see if they fulfill that list. Ask the following questions: What would your future spouse want from you in purity? What do you want from your future spouse?


INTEGRITY CONVERSATION GUIDE

A guide to help your child set boundaries and accountability to remain pure.

Use the following statements to frame discussions with your teen about when they might be ready to consider dating. Ask them what they think dating is, allow dialogue, and coach your child on what dating is and is not.


WHAT IS DATING

  • Spending time with the opposite sex to discover a future spouse
  • Building a friendship without the physical bonds reserved for marriage
  • A process intended for those approaching the age forengagement and/or marriage


WHAT DATING IS NOT

  • A time to kiss, touch, orother forms of intimacy before marriage
  • A status symbol among peers impressed by those with a boyfriend or girlfriend
  • A way to boost your own confidence through attention from aromantic partner


MODESTY

  • Have a dialogue with your teen about what modesty means and what he or shethinks is modest or not.
  • Coach your child that no matter what someone wears or how they act, they areresponsible for their actions and how they treat that person (Romans 14:12).
  • Remind them that though they are not responsible for the sins of others, they areresponsible to others (Romans 14:13).
  • Through dialogue with your child, create a plan on how they will be modest in howthey dress and how they will respond when others may be immodest.


ACCOUNTABILITY

In addition to you as their parent, encourage your teen to identify a close friend or an adult mentor who shares the same values to help hold each other accountable to protect their sexual integrity.


DRAWING THE LINE

Coach your teen to decide now what he/she will and will not do in a dating or romantic relationship. Discuss the following summary of the natural progression of physical intimacy. Decide together where to draw the line to protect their sexual integrity.

  • Flirting
  • Side hugs
  • Frontal hugs
  • Holding hands
  • Arms around each other
  • Cuddling
  • Kissing
  • French kissing
  • Touching/caressing with clothes on
  • Petting/groping under or without clothes
  • Oral sex
  • Sexual intercourse


DANGER ZONES

Create a list with your student of strategies that will help them avoid potentially compromising situations. Below is a list of ideas to get the conversation started.

  • Never be in a house with the opposite sex without parentalsupervision.
  • Stay in family areas of the house. No going in bedrooms.
  • Doors of the room you are in remain open.
  • Come straight home after a date. No “parking.”
  • Limit alone time to a set amount to give the relationshipbreaks.
  • Date only a growing Christian.
  • Only group date as friends until a designated age such as 16 or17 years old.


EXIT PLAN

Create an easy way for your teen to flee a tempting or risky situation. Discuss possible “code language” they might use when calling or texting for a ride home such as “I’m having a great time, but I don’t feel well.” This will alert you that they need to leave without embarrassing them in front of others. If they do use you as an exit plan, be sure to not jump to judgement immediately. You want to be a safe place that they can come to in the future and if you criticize, judge, or demean because they had to contact you, they likely won’t come to you if that situation happens again.

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