God’s Design, Purity, Biblical Gender Roles, Complementarity
This series is a review of God’s Design, a children’s book which teaches children about complementarity. For an introduction of the book, click here. All of the underlined subtitles below are chapters from the book.
Today, children, we will talk about purity and honoring. It had to be covered at some point, why not now?
The Blessing of Purity
The chapter opens up with discussion about how dynamite can be useful or dangerous. Then it leads to:
Men and women were designed by God to love, enjoy, and be attracted to each other. This attraction can give them the desire to hug, kiss, look at, touch, and be close to each other. These desires can be a powerful force – like dynamite – especially as boys and girls grow into adults.
I understand how the authors are using this to focus on sex (even though they never flat out mention s.e.x., which is a great way to keep kids in the dark), however, I think they miss the simple point that people need to feel loved. Touching, hugging and kissing are not only reflected in sexual relationships, they can be lovingly reflected in familial relationships or friendships. My Italian side of the family was big time into hugging, touching and kissing. These were ways of expressing love to someone. Why make these simple gestures of expressing love seem so dangerous? Because the authors only consider the purity viewpoint in intimacy?
*Please know that I am not dismissing touching, kissing and hugging kids when they do not want it. If a child does not want any of these, then they should be respected. The same goes for adults too! My point is that these acts of intimacy can be non-sexual.
While these God-given desires are good, they are also dangerous and must be handled with great care! God has said that only a married man and woman – only a husband and wife – should look at and touch each other’s bodies in a close and personal way.
If a parent has not talked to their child about sex yet the child may be confused about this point. What are they to make of mom and dad looking at and touching each other’s bodies? If their point is to let children know that sex is between married adults, then for goodness sake say it! Better yet, here’s an idea, authors….why not use this opportunity to tell children that if any adult looks at their bodies or touches them in ways that they are not comfortable that they should tell someone? Why not tell children that it is not right for anyone to touch them or take pictures of them in ways that they do not like?
The authors continue discussing how impure desires or imaginations about someone can lead to further sin. Yes, if your desires cause you to bring harm upon someone else, then that is wrong. However, I hold to the thought that God created us to find some people attractive, and that’s okay. There is absolutely nothing wrong with saying that you find a person attractive. And, just because you find someone attractive doesn’t mean you want to have sex with them. Those who focus solely on purity seem to make the big leap from thinking, “Hey, that guy is cute!” to “I must sleep with him!” Why can’t I just say, “Denzel Washington is gorgeous” and leave it stay there?
This chapter would not be complete without discussing how to dress properly. The authors mention that both boys and girls need to be modest in their dress and not draw attention to themselves. Girls receive the extra bonus of 1 Timothy 2:9, “should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control.”
And, the final judgmental activity for this chapter:
Discuss with your parents how to appropriately dress and interact with members of the opposite gender. Sometime this week, go to a public place with your parents and notice the behavior between boys and girls. Talk about what is appropriate and what is not.
Parents, if you’re going to continue to take your children out and view people as objects instead of human beings, I have a problem with that. Stop it!
Honoring Each Other
This chapter is all about respecting and honoring one another. I am all for this especially since there are more “one another” verses in the Bible than there are verses for specific gender roles. But of course we’re still talking about roles. Boys are told to respect how God made girls to be and girls are told to respect how God made boys to be. Let’s look at some examples:
One boy greets a girl who he knows by slapping her on the back like he does to his buddies. When she cries out, he says, “Aw, don’t be such a sissy.” He then races to get the only seat left in the room. The second boy sees what happened and greets the girl. He gets up from his chair and asks if she would like to sit there. Which boy was respectful of the girl?
Are we living in Mayberry? I’ve spent lots of time around kids of all ages in church and out of church. I’ve seen kids hit each other and make fun of each other, but have honestly never seen a scene like this happen. So, which boy was most respectful? Why the second one, of course, because he was polite, protective and was willing to sacrifice for the girl. I’m sure they go riding off into the sunset with each other, get married, and eventually do something that only adult married people do.
One girl sees a boy she knows jumping off the monkey bars. She yells, “Stop that! You are going to get hurt!” When he falls and scrapes his knee, she says, “I told you that would happen. Now go wash the blood off your knee. Then play on the swings with me.” The second girl sees the same thing, and when the boy falls she offers him a tissue to wipe his knee. She say, “I am sorry you got hurt. But that was a good trick. You were brave to try it.” Then she asks if he wants to play a game with her. When he pulls her out of the way of another jumping boy, she thanks him. Which girl treated the boy with honor?
This must be Jan and Cindy Brady we’re talking about. Most girls that I’ve been around would have been at the top of the monkey bars with the boys and would have scraped knees too. Of course, girl #2 is the better of the two because she did not try to boss or control the boy, she was polite to him, and she was thankful for his protection.
Parents, if you’re going to teach your children to honor people, teach them to do so because they are human beings created in God’s image. Not because they are a girl created to giggle and talk a lot or because they are a boy created to wrestle and be loud. Teach them to treat each other with kindness and respect because Jesus told us the greatest commandments are: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all of your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:30-31, NIV)
If you would like to read prior reviews on God’s Design, here are links in the order of the book chapters: