It was a beautiful morning for a walk. I grabbed a water bottle, my phone, and a set of headphones and headed out to get some exercise.
On the previous night, I had downloaded my newest review item—an audiobook from Great Waters Press. I queued up the first chapter of Love, Honor, and Virtue: Gaining or Regaining a Biblical Attitude Toward Sexuality. The musical introduction of each chapter and the cadence of Hal’s voice kept my attention as I walked.
Love, Honor, and Virtue is a book designed for parents to discuss with their sons. Our boys are growing up in a different world than we did. They are tempted by means that previous generations never were. We need to equip them with the right weapons and strategies to combat these temptations.
“There’s a war going on for the souls of men, and for the souls of young men in particular.”
Hal wastes no time in diving into the Scripture. In the first chapter, “Sex Was God’s Idea,” he takes us to Genesis 1, where God creates people to be either male or female (Genesis 1:27). What a contrast to how our culture is addressing gender identity!
Moving on to Genesis 2, Hal points out God’s proclamation, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18). We even travel with Hal to Corinth. Temptations there were so great Paul urged the people there to get married. Then they could satisfy their passions with a wife or husband (1 Corinthians 7:9).
God designed men and women to complement each other. Sexual intimacy is a gift we should enjoy solely within the context of God-ordained marriage. We need to bring these principles to light with our sons. In so doing, we begin equipping them to defeat temptation.
The book’s second chapter, “It’s All Connected,” addresses marriage education. It discusses the biology of men and women. Hal describes changes in both boys and girls during puberty. Because he goes into detail about the act of intimacy, he encourages boys to read that section in a more public setting for accountability. This chapter also gives an overview of conception, prenatal development, birth, and becoming a parent.
“The Enemy Perverts God’s Design.” That’s the title of chapter three. It outlines several temptations young men face. Puberty starts earlier than ever before. In addition, young men are marrying later than ever before. Our sons are fighting the battle against sexual sin longer in this generation. We must give them the tools and weapons to combat the temptations flying at them. Hal clarifies what is wrong or sinful. Then he explains why and what to do about it.
The next chapter, “How Can a Young Man Keep His Way Pure?” offers practical strategies for fighting temptation. It introduces the Five Point Defense system, which applies to any temptation we face in life.
The book offers some great suggestions for accountability as well. To keep our sons safe online, we can use filtering or accountability software. Hal advises, however, that anyone who is determined to sin can find a way around such safeguards. He points out that ultimately, we all answer to God.
What if your son has already given in to sexual temptation? Chapter five, “Recovering From a Fall,” offers hope, forgiveness, healing, and tools for overcoming sin in this area of life. Hal explains why this type of sin is so addictive and destructive. With God’s help, young men can overcome these sins just like any other temptation or sin they may face.
I enjoyed the chapter, “Guys and Girls,” which discusses progressing from friendship to marriage. It emphasizes Biblical principles rather than offering a step by step how-to guide. Hal notes that good Christian marriage stories are as varied as personal testimonies of salvation. I smiled as I listened to Hal and Melanie’s story. The teen years are a perfect time for parents to share with their kids how they first met.
I really appreciated the straightforward biblical advice in the chapter. For example, a young man should only a date true believer. He should prepare to support a family before the relationship progresses beyond friendship. Much of this chapter resonated with what we are developing as our philosophy of dating and courtship.
We must address issues of sexuality with our sons. Yet I have reservations about handing the book over to my son. My husband read a digital copy of the book while I listened to the audio version. One night we discussed the book together.
“Is this book targeted for homeschooled kids?” he wondered.
It is not specifically geared towards homeschoolers but to young men in general. We are fairly certain our son has not faced many of the situations the book discusses. I would suspect a large number of homeschooled boys are similarly sheltered. Many are innocent about the myriad temptations the book addresses.
My husband shares my hesistancy about handing this book to our homeschooled son. We fear it may actually direct him into temptation because it so clearly addresses each type of sexual sin. For instance, pornography on the internet has never been an issue with our son. Might reading about it, even in a Christian book like this, plant the idea in our son’s mind and lead him into temptation?
The Bible warns us to be wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil. We strive to train our kids in the wisdom of the Bible; that is one of the reasons we homeschool. It seems odd to teach them specific types of evil associated with the world’s perversion of God’s gift of sex.
Since there are so many temptations, does our son need to be aware of every one of them? Or might that knowledge be a temptation in and of itself? Would it entice his mind to head in the very direction the book is warning him not to go?
“In an ideal world, kids stay at home, remain chaste, and avoid deep relationships until they’re married.” I agree with my husband’s assessment. We both wish the book had started with this ideal, then worked backwards to address what our son might encounter. My husband believes that the book normalizes abnormal behavior by assuming young men typically encounter it.
This approach may be appropriate for some audiences. Young Christian men who face locker room talk in a public school setting might need to read the book. My husband and I agree that it is not the best conversation starter for our son.
How are counterfeit experts trained to identify fake currency? They study real money. How should we arm our kids against the world’s corruption of sex? We should show them God’s true design for it.
What is our strategy for addressing these issues? We start by training our son in the Scriptures. As issues of sexual sins come up in passages like the Proverbs, we discuss them. When we encounter them in real life, we talk about them.
For example, last year a family member who became pregnant out of wedlock came to visit. Before her arrival, we addressed that issue with all of our children. The situation prompted us to talk about questions that were sure to arise. It gave us the opportunity to discuss God’s plan for marriage and intimacy.
It is important to keep all lines of communication open with our son. With open discussion, we can address specific sexual temptations in a timely fashion—not years before he may encounter them.
Society has changed since we were teenagers. As a mom, I have the responsibility to take an honest look at the temptations my kids are facing. I must ensure they have the tools to fight them. This book helped me to be alert to what my son may encounter. It gave me the answers I should offer when sensitive issues arise.
If your son is a teen or young adult, you should check out Love, Honor, and Virtue. It addresses issues that we, as parents, need to be aware of. Read through it first; don’t simply hand it off to your son. It may raise more questions and uncertainty for him than it would answer.
If you have not yet started the conversation with your son about God’s design for intimacy, pray seriously about the proper time to do so. Love, Honor, and Virtue: Gaining or Re-Gaining a Biblical Attitude Toward Sexuality may be an appropriate conversation starter.
Some Crew members reviewed Love, Honor, and Virtue: Gaining or Regaining a Biblical Attitude Toward Sexuality. Others reviewed No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope. Click here to read all of the Great Waters Press reviews.