“Hey, Mama! At school today, somebody said it was OK to be gay.”
It wasn’t exactly the conversation I was expecting to have as we waited for an after-school treat at Sonic.
When I pick up my children from school each afternoon, we immediately talk about their day – if it was good or bad, how their tests went – if they happened to have any, how many people were absent (just trying to keep tabs on COVID), whether or not they got to play on the playground, how much homework they have, and so on. You know, the usual rundown of the day.
But this day was different. It was obvious that something was bothering my son. He gave me some ho-hum responses to my usual questions and quickly moved to the details surrounding that person’s comment. The more he told me, the more my heart broke – for him and for those around him. This is not what they are supposed to be hearing or talking about in elementary school.
Since day one, we have taught our children and continue to teach them that
God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:27).
And, according to Scripture, we have grounded in our children that marriage is between one man and one woman for life.
So my son wasn’t questioning the truth of the other person’s statement. He knew it was false. What my son was really concerned about was what to say to that person.
As I’m grasping for answers, my heart is saying, “Ok, God, I knew this was coming one day. I’m not surprised by that. But how do I teach my son to defend the Word of God, especially when it comes to homosexuality? Am I even prepared to do that?”
These two verses immediately collided in my mind:
[B]ut in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect … (1 Peter 3:15).
[P]reach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching (2 Timothy 4:2).
My paraphrase: Be prepared to give a defense for what you believe at all times and do so with grace and truth!
So for the next few minutes while we waited for the carhop to bring us a couple of Sonic Blasts and some mozzarella sticks to share, we talked … about a lot.
We talked about the importance of standing firm on what the Word of God says and how it’s so important to know what it says and trust what it says. We talked about how hiding God’s Word in our hearts helps us combat the lies of the world with the truth of God. We talked about how easy it is to be deceived by the ways of the world and eventually give in to what the culture is telling us – especially if we don’t consciously surround ourselves with the truth. And finally, we talked about the importance of speaking the truth with grace and love and not being defensive and argumentative. We have to speak up and share the truth, but we don’t have to do it in a way that incites anger and hate.
Of course, having that kind of conversation with my son stirred my heart. I wanted to make sure I was understanding and explaining the verses correctly, so I dug a little deeper.
I used BibleRef.com to gain a better understanding of 1 Peter 3:15. Here I learned that Peter is instructing Christians and speaking specifically to them about being hopeful in difficult circumstances and being prepared to give an answer for the hope they have. After all, people will be curious about that hope, especially when there seems to be no reason for hope.
But here is what really stuck out to me from the commentary on that website: “We need to reject the cultural pressure to keep our beliefs to ourselves.” It would have been much easier for me to have told my son, “We know what the person said is wrong, but don’t worry about it. Just let it be. There is no need to say anything.”
Yet here is the second thing that really stood out to me in the commentary on 1 Peter 3:15. “Believers should openly share the good news of redemption through faith in Christ.” In other words, we have to make a defense, give an answer, answer back, and have a reason and justification for what we believe in order to point others to Christ. Otherwise, they will never know the truth of the gospel or receive the gift of salvation.
Here is where 2 Timothy 4:2 comes into play. We have to be ready to do the above at all times, “in season and out of season.” According to gotquestions.org, that means when it’s “timely and untimely or convenient and inconvenient,” in the good times and in the bad times. We are to “always be ‘standing by,’ always ‘on-duty,’ ‘ready to go.’”
In this verse, Paul is speaking to Timothy and telling him that in every circumstance, we as Christians, should be ready to proclaim God’s Word – wherever we are and whenever we are there.
The website puts it like this:
“Whether we are speaking to a crowd or changing a tire, we should ‘be ready in season and out of season’ to declare His praises and His truth to a watching world.”
That “watching world” includes the children in our own home, first and foremost, and then extends to the people in the hallways and classrooms at school, the pews at church, the checkout lines at the store, even to the ones reading our comments online … and beyond!
For an excellent resource that addresses God’s plan for gender and sexuality, visit inhisimage.movie and watch In His Image, the award-winning documentary produced by American Family Studios. I would encourage parents to watch it first and then decide if it’s suitable for your child.