My little three part blog series on what not to say in a sex talk got a lot of positive response, which I’m grateful for. One Twitter response in particular inspired me to write sort of a follow up post today.
Whenever you talk to students about anything, including sex, always assume brokenness.
It’s easy to forget sometimes that there are students in our group that hurt with or without us knowing. And our careless words and actions can hurt them even more.
Imagine you’re talking about sex and you’re stressing the importance of staying a virgin until marriage. How will the girl feel who’s been raped or molested?
Or you’re talking about Internet porn and how ‘bad’ this is. But there’s a student in your group whose neighbor forces him to watch that stuff with him – or worse.
Maybe you’re discussing the fifth commandment, to honor your father and mother. But what you don’t know, is that that popular girl is constantly being abused by her dad, emotionally and physically. How will she perceive your words?
There’s so much brokenness in this world and we’re reminded of it daily in the news. At the same time, it’s easy to forget that that same pain exists in our church, in our youth group as well. But it is a factor, every time there are students (and leaders by the way!) present.
Let me give you one last example, this time something that happened in my youth group. We had a guest speaker speaking at a youth service about forgiveness. He read the story Jesus shares about the man whose debt was forgiven, but who in turn jailed someone who owed him much less.
Theologically, the speaker was right in stressing our need to forgive ‘those who trespass against us’. But in his talk, he forgot about the brokenness that was in the room. Near the end of his talk, one of our girls raised her hands. “How do you forgive someone who has literally ruined you, damaged you forever?”
I knew her story and my heart broke for her. Yes, theologically the speaker was right that forgiveness is what God asks from us. But it would have made such a difference if he had acknowledged the pain and brokenness in the room and how impossible it may seem to forgive others who have done us such wrong. He didn’t have an answer for her, not one that helped her anyways.
Afterwards I talked to him about it and he was defensive, stating he couldn’t have known. My answer was not what he wanted to hear. Yes, you could have known and you should have known.
Always, always, always assume brokenness.