Sexual Character: Core Beliefs

In addition to our basic needs and the values that direct us, human beings also are distinguished by our unique core beliefs. If needs are the destination and values our compass, then beliefs form the road map for how we will live our lives. We often absorb these beliefs as children from what we see modeled in the lives of our parents. Many of us never seriously question these beliefs; they become so second nature to us that they are as transparent as the air within which we move every day. For many, awareness of basic beliefs only comes at times of crisis, when we cry out because our way of understanding the world is not working, when everything is chaos and nothing is happening the way it should. Our crises can be an avenue through which God reveals our core beliefs and the ways in which they are failing us. At such times we may learn that we have accepted seriously distorted beliefs about life, such as:

  • I am acceptable to God only if I am good in every way.
  • Life should be easy, fair, peaceful, and happy, even through the worst crises; if it is not, then I am being punished for my weak faith.
  • God wants to meet my every need perfectly, so if life is tough it must be because of my sin and defective faith.
  • Good Christians do not feel angry, fearful, or down.
  • I should hide my imperfections so I do not disgrace God.

Many of the most important core beliefs God would have our children embrace are so fundamental that parents often take them for granted. Hence we ignore them. This entire book is, in part, about the proper beliefs about relationships and sexuality that we want to pass on to our children, so a few examples here will suffice. We want our children to believe:

  • They are loved. We teach our children that they are loved by speaking of and by acting on our love.
  • Their choices matter, they make a difference. We teach our children that they are responsible for their actions and for the consequences produced by their actions. We teach our them that their choices matter by the way we respect our children and discipline them. We respect our children when we let them make choices, honor their choices, and let them live with the consequences.
  • The goal of life is not necessarily to be happy, but to love God and to become “good” in the way God intended.
  • They are children of God, made in His image, and their sexuality is His gift to them meant to serve beautiful and wonderful purposes.
  • God’s Law is a trustworthy guide for living, in the area of sexuality and in every area of life.