The above link will take you to an article that should NOT send any shock waves through us - that teen pregnancy is on the rise! Let’s see…when we live in a culture where one can hardly turn on the television, radio, or computer and not see or hear something with some sexual content, is it really shocking that the pregnancy rate is on the rise? From what we know by experience and science, there is only one way to get pregnant (with the exception of Mary) therefore, when sexual activity is on the rise it only makes sense that pregnancy is on the rise. Now, the response that many critics of any abstinence teaching will have is that this shows we need to throw away any program that discusses abstinence because they do not work. I have a couple of issues with this logic:
First and foremost, we are certainly NOT in a culture that promotes abstinence! If there were as many movies, tv shows, and public service announcements about sexual abstinence as there were about drunk driving, would we see a change? Could you imagine a campaign that told teenagers that if they were going to drink and drive please wear a safety belt! There would be outrage - as there should be, but I want you to look at this chart: http://www.alcoholstats.com/mm/docs/7364.pdf. If you notice, there were many years of sharp rises in alcohol related deaths…but as the message of the dangers were given almost universally and consistently, the numbers went down. So, don’t tell me that a consistent message of abstinence, across every outlet would not drive teen sexuality down as well!
But just as the message of the dangers doesn’t completely extinguish the act of drinking and driving, sexual abstinence programs will not stop teen sexual behavior completely. As parents, we must teach from a Biblical approach, the “why” of abstinence. This is next to impossible to teach effectively when so many families in the church encourage their teens, preteens and even children to have boyfriends/girlfriends. We have parents in our churches who act as ridiculous as a wild-eyed, puppy love filled teenager when their son our daughter gets “serious” with a boy/girl… and they proceed to tell them stories about how they know someone in their family who met their husband in high school and are married to this day! We are setting them up for and even encouraging these serious relationships! As a rule, you have a young lady or young man who has had several “serious” relationships between 13-17 years old - and even if they have remained a virgin - by the time they get married they have given their heart away and had it broken 3 or 4 times! Emotionally they are used up and broken - and while they have not had intercourse, the fact is they have “given their heart” over to someone else when the largest influence in their life should be the Word of God and the counsel of their parents. So many parents encourage serious, long term relationships because they think that this is better than the alternative of their teen dating everyone in the school – but who has stopped to realize that the longer they are together in a relationship, the more serious and more physical it becomes….the more that person becomes their primary concern and influence. We have succumb to the world’s philosophy of “they are going to do it so let’s just encourage them to do it with safeguards” when we believe that they are going to date – either everyone or just one person – so a serious relationship with one person is better/safer than being “loose” (or a “player” – as they define it) with everyone….why do we not encourage wisdom and a different way of thinking in them? Why does it have to be one or the other? What happened to hanging out with friends? When the new trend in teen dating is actually not dating at all – but just “hooking up” (sexually speaking), why are we as parents so fearful with talking with our teens about a different way of life and a true desire for holiness? As parents we have become more interested in their self-esteem being fulfilled in a dating relationship than with them being Godly! We never even contemplate that they would be willing to be “different” from the standards of the world or that, with a little support from their parents, making a choice to hold on to their heart would be a “cost” worth counting in their walk with Christ! Parents, just a little hint…when you have two teenagers of the opposite sex celebrating their “7 month anniversary” let me just share with you, that they are not playing scrabble, going to Sonic and just hanging out during all that “alone time” together. I know of parents who are so “proud” for their children to be dating that certain boy/girl, that the families have started doing everything together and no one seems to even question how much time they spend together alone….the kids feel obligated to be “serious” because the parents are emotionally bought in to the relationship!
It isn’t enough to tell our children “no sex until marriage” - we must spend time explaining what marriage is! And while we are at it, it would be greatly beneficial for them to look at your marriage and be able to see commitment and love to one another and Christ. After years of dealing with Youth Pastors I have found most either encouraged students to date or stuck their head in the sand and didn’t think his teens would ever be holding hands! When two people of the opposite sex stay around one another privately for long amounts of time, it is giving place to the enemy---then throw in the fact that hormones are raging and the rule of our culture is immodesty in dress by both sexes! I can tell you as a basic general rule, if your teen has had a “long term relationship” they have gone too far – either emotionally or physically, or both!
Parents, put the book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” by Joshua Harris in your home, in your hand and in your teens hand – and then read it with them. I thank God for a Youth Pastor who gets this! Bro. Brad has this book on the book table in our Church because he cares. Certainly abstinence only is not the only thing we should focus on - we should also focus on modesty, holiness, the reason for marriage, the importance of marriage, what true beauty is, and what our Lord/Ruler/Owner/Boss/King says we should to with our bodies! Even then, there will still be some who fall into sexual sin - we are fallen sinners. But at least we will know that it will be in spite of our stewardship, not because of the lack thereof.