In our culture, it appears that children are increasingly given the free choice to develop as men or women. There’s an assumption that personal manhood or womanhood will necessarily emerge in the child and in their personal choices. Pastor John, in a young girl developing towards biblical womanhood or a young boy developing towards biblical manhood, how much of this development should be influenced by godly parents?
A parent needs to involve themselves in all their children’s gender development. “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord” (Colossians 3:20). Flip that around and ask, “Now what does that imply for parents?” If the Bible says to our children, “Obey our parents in everything,” parents, what does that imply for you? That implies you better know your Bible. You better know culture enough that you can give counsel and guidance in everything to these children. This way they can fulfill, without sinning, the biblical mandate to obey you in everything.
Raising Them in the Word
Deuteronomy 6:7 says, “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 6:9 continues, “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” That is a description of pervasive, word-saturated guidance, inspiration, and encouragement for our children. No thought of laissez faire, let them grow up and discover what is right and wrong for themselves, attitude. They will be influenced by somebody, and God calls parents to love their children enough to shape them.
“God calls parents to love their children enough to shape them.”
I don’t know how many parents think of the latter half of the great commission with regard to their children. Jesus says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” And then he adds, “Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19–20). He doesn’t say teaching them to know all things. That is implied. It says, observe. That is do.
Teaching Them to Observe
If that is true for the nations, what does it imply for raising our children? Every unbeliever we lead to Christ among the nations, we are supposed to help them by teaching them to do all Jesus commanded. Mom and dad, are you doing that? All that Jesus commanded, are you building that into your sons and daughters?
Jesus said things like this. When the Pharisees came and asked him, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He said, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:4–6).
“The biggest challenge for a mom and dad is to enact the magnificent drama of Christ and the church.”
How are you doing, dad? How are you doing, mom? Are you explaining to your kids male and female as Jesus meant it? Are you explaining one flesh in husband and wife? Are you explaining leaving and cleaving? Are you explaining “let them not separate”? Are you putting all these things into their hearts?
My answer, Tony, is absolutely yes. Parents are to be involved in shaping the sexuality of their children. Maybe the last thing I should say is that we all know this is best done by modeling. What those children see in a mom and dad is, let’s just say, 90 percent of them becoming healthy male and healthy female, learning how to be a man in relation to a woman or being a woman in relation to a man.
They are watching. They don’t listen to all your devotions and all your teachings, but they are watching all the time. The biggest challenge for a mom and dad is to enact the magnificent drama of Christ and the church in Ephesians 5:24–25. Wives, be subject, taking your cues from the church. Husbands, love taking your cues from Christ so that the children are watching how Christ loved the church and the church loved Christ in seeing that beautiful drama. That is what will make healthy, sexually healthy, kids.