In light of the nine-year-old boy, Jamel Myles who recently committed suicide after confessing to his mother that he was gay, the question that parents need to ask themselves is: “When is it appropriate to have a conversation about suicide, about your child’s sexuality, about their gender identity, and about marriage according to the Bible?” Too often many parents take for granted that their child will automatically make the right decision about these particular issues without explaining it to them, and when they go the opposite direction, they are left scratching their head for answers. In an era where homosexuality, transgenderism, and gender fluidity are being pushed down the throat of American society like never seen before in history, it’s no wonder why kids Jamel’s age are committing suicide! They are confused about who they are, they are confused about what they are, they are confused on what to believe, and there is a major lack of biblical training in the home that’s causing the confusion.
With the LGBT agenda forcing its way on TV, forcing its way in the public schools, and even forcing its way on cartoons, it’s definitely time to re-evaluate when to have this kind of conversation with your own children. Why? Because if the parents don’t initiate this conversation, Satan and the world would be honored to fill in the gap. 1 Peter 5:8 says, "The enemy prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour," and just like Satan devoured Jamel, believe it or not, he's after your child, along with all those who are weak-minded and limping in their faith. "The thief comes only but to seek, kill, and destroy," and the sooner people realize how real Satan is, the sooner people will prepare themselves and their children for spiritual warfare! What happened to Jamel Myles is not only tragic, but his suicide should cause grave concern to all parents. His death is the reason why it's imperative to train your children up in the ways of the Lord because if not, your child will become vulnerable and susceptible to the attacks of the devil. Teaching your children the ways of the Lord gives them a solid foundation to stand on whenever they confront the influences of the world. However, when the Bible says in Proverbs 22:6, "to train a child up in the way he should go," it’s important to know exactly what that means. Does training a child up include teaching them about the sin of suicide, their sexuality, their God-given biology, and biblical marriage? You better believe it! If the Bible speaks about it, you should teach your child about it! Moses said in Deuteronomy 6:6-9, “These words I am commanding you today must be kept in your mind, and you must teach them to your children and speak of them as you sit in your house, as you walk along the road, as you lie down, and as you get up. You should tie them as a reminder on your forearm and fasten them as symbols on your forehead. Inscribe them on the doorframes of your houses and gates."
There needs to be a major emphasis on the Word of God taught in the home in order for your children to be able to distinguish what’s right and what’s wrong whenever they encounter certain situations and whenever they come across certain teachings. According to Jason DeRouchie at desiringgod.org, "the overall context of Proverbs suggests the act of dedicating in Proverbs 22:6 is focused more on an intentional, sustained, God-dependent shepherding of our children’s hearts as they grow into adulthood — one in which the children themselves are aware of the parents’ trajectory-setting intentions. This is not a passive calling for dads and moms." In other words, training your child up in the ways of the Lord is not supposed to be some passive, unintentional, complacent, or cliche kind of upbringing. NO! Training your child up in the ways of the Lord has to be imperative, intentional, direct, and assertive! It needs to incorporate a teaching on the whole Word of God! Jesus said in John 17:17, "sanctify them with the truth, for your Word is truth."
When it comes to teaching your children the ways of the Lord, this must include a multitude of teachings outlined in the Bible that should be taught to them throughout their entire childhood, which should be done out of love and out of awareness to the trends of contemporary society. This should include the moral law of God such as the Ten Commandments. It should include the greatest two commandments given by Jesus himself in Matthew 22; "to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself." It should include the Biblical definition of marriage given at the beginning of Genesis 1:27, and repeated by Jesus in Matthew 19:5. It should include the fact that God created them male and female, not what the world is teaching today that a child has the option to choose their own gender. It should include that every person was made in the image of God and knitted in their mother’s womb. It should include that life begins at the moment of conception when the Lord said in Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in your mother’s womb I chose you. Before you were born I set you apart.” Lastly, it's imperative for parents to teach their children that their bodies is not only a gift from God, but the body is also the temple of the Holy Spirit, and “whoever destroys the temple, God will destroy," according to 1 Corinthians 3:17. These are just some of the teachings that need to be addressed in the household when it comes to suicide, sexuality, and marriage at an age-appropriate level.
As for me and my household, the best way to train a child up in the ways of the Lord is to model the Christian lifestyle in the presence of your children. In other words, parents need to be intentional in demonstrating a life of holiness and biblical righteousness so that your children can know and understand what it means to live a Godly and righteous life; especially in an age where the world has an overwhelming influence on your child. If there has ever been a time to be intentional with your child, the time is most certainly now! When it comes to teaching your child about suicide, sexuality, and biblical marriage, first, your child has to understand that God’s Word is the foundation and final authority on morality and all truth! Psalm 19:7-11 says, “The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward."
Once a child understands that God’s Word is the final authority, then you can begin to underline certain teachings in the Bible such as suicide, sexuality, gender identity, marriage, etc. Moreover, when your child witnesses something immoral on TV, on the internet, on a video game, or something their friends did, then you as the parent can point back to the Word of God and ask them, “What does the Bible say about this matter?” Training your children up in the ways of the Lord at an early age allows your children to always go back to the foundational truth of God’s Word whenever they witness something in the world or desire something that's contrary to what the Bible teaches. For instance, if your child witnesses two boys or two girls kissing each other on the lips, or hears another kid wanting to kill themselves they can automatically spot unrighteousness when they see it. Then parents can ask their children, what does God have to say about this in his Word? If the Bible is being taught appropriately and effectively in the home, then they should be able to answer the question biblically without hesitation, and if they can't, what a wonderful opportunity to present the truth of God's Word to them.
Furthermore, it’s also important to make known to your children that when they see something they know is wrong, to not treat that child as an outcast or bully them, but to demonstrate the love of Christ to them despite their wrongdoing. The Golden Rule is always binding no matter the human encounter; "to treat others as you want to be treated." Children are not to criticize other children or talk down to them, but to demonstrate God’s love to them even when they are in the wrong. Doing this may provide an opportunity to lead them on the narrow road that leads to righteousness and to save them from whatever they are doing wrong. It's imperative to teach your children the ways of the Lord because if you don't, Satan will be thrilled to take your spot! Please keep the family of Jamel in your prayers, along with all the other children who are being led astray, and please provide a greater emphasis and teaching on the Word of God in your homes for the sake of your own children.
Below is an article that gives some tips on how to approach sexuality with your own kids.