Why do we make bad choices? Is it because of lack of information? Is it a failure to consider the outcome, to weigh the consequences of a particular action? A lack of support to do what is right? A weak will?
Is it because we want to “find and live out our own humanity,” as Taylor says? We’ve seen one clear example of this in our discussions of gender identity: boys feeling they are really girls in the wrong body, or girls convinced they are really boys, and deciding to live as the opposite sex.
Or do we make bad choices because of encouragement by others to take a certain path? By our peers, for example, or by the media? Or, in the case of children and teenagers, encouragement by influential adults like teachers or even their own parents? As Dr. Miriam Grossman has said of one Canadian sex education curriculum, the goal is “to produce students who respect and affirm nearly any type of sexual lifestyle.” Some parents, believing educators to be “the experts,” are silent, not questioning what their children are being taught.
Or are bad choices, at least in adolescents, simply a result of immaturity? Science tells us that the part of the brain responsible for suppressing impulses, weighing consequences, and organizing thoughts is not fully formed until 25 years of age.
Or, in the case of premature sexual intimacy, are teens simply looking for love? The love they aren’t getting from their parents?
Without a doubt, some or all of these reasons play a role at various times in our lives, whether we are 15 or 29 or 78. But the Bible gives us an even more basic reason why we make bad choices: we are lured and enticed by our own desire (James 1:14). Do these words ring true for you as you reflect on some bad choices you have made? Reflect on this question for your own life, and then ask yourself, “How can I help my teens to think about why they make the choices they do, especially with regard to sex?”
To be continued …