There's a correct response parents should have upon hearing about their teenager's sexual sin, says Russell Moore, and it doesn't include excusing it as "just a part of growing up" or lashing out at the child.
Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention said during his Signposts podcast on Friday that even though parents should acknowledge the seriousness of sexual sin, it's not helpful to express shock and outrage when they discover their teenager has sinned sexually.
"Don't communicate to your child, 'I can't believe what you did,' or even worse, 'I can't believe you did this to us,'" Moore said.
"Too many parents take their children's sin personally, because they don't understand the weight of sin and temptation and they expect their child to always make the right moral decision in challenging moments," he added.
When it comes to sex, the dominant view in American society is an unbiblical belief that sexual expression is "intrinsic" to what it means to be human, he asserted.
"Our culture still sees that there are issues of right and wrong," Moore acknowledged, "but it usually restricts those categories to the issue of consent [to sex]."
But such categories fall short of the biblical standard.
"[I]f we're looking at the world from God's perspective, sexual immorality is a serious issue," Moore said. "Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6 that sexual immorality, unlike other sins that are outside the body, is committed against our own bodies."
"God has designed sex to preach, and to sing, and that what sex teaches is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5 teaches that the one flesh union of husband and wife, with covenant and fidelity and permanence, reflects the Gospel."
Because of its profound implications when sex is misused people often feel the weight of it.
Even some evangelical parents mistakenly "assume sexual sin is just part of growing up, particularly when it comes to boys," Moore said. And while some sins are indeed extreme, "your teen is not inventing a new sin here, so don't be shocked by this," he reiterated.
The bottom line, he said, is "we need to know God does not hold our sin against us but has nailed it to the Cross of Christ, and we are free to walk in resurrection life."
"We can come boldly before the Father because we are hidden in Christ. This doesn't give us license to continue in sin. It gives us a sense of what a loving Father we must have, who intervened in our own personal self-destruction, to give me the life of his own Son and fill me with the presence of the Spirit to ensure that my body is a temple of His presence."
"We all need to hear that, and your child needs to hear that right now."