An Open Conversation with Former Porn Star: Joshua Broome

Growing up, conversations about purity weren’t all that frequent within the church. Don’t get me wrong, the narrative was well established, but questions remained unanswered and minds remained unopened. The foundation for chastity before marriage was well laid, but the reasons why were very blurred. Even as young as Pre-School, I knew what sex was. I may not have understood the logistics or been drawn by its allure, but the concept had already been introduced to not only myself, but all of the kids around me as well.


By the time I was in elementary school, we not only knew what sex was, but were curious about its purpose, function, and general appeal. I remember groups of kids in my middle school huddled around the stairs, looking at porn someone had snuck from home (because I happen to be old enough to pre-date cellphones. Once upon a time, our fathers hid their dirty little secrets under mattresses and atop tall cabinets, not hidden behind password encrypted mobile phones). Sex was not some mystery to us. It was a part of every day schoolyard conversations. Kids with older brothers gained infamy through the information they spread to the masses of dirty little children every day after school. And yet, I was in my late teens the first time I heard a Christian leader address sexual behavior. And even then, it was only to wag his fingers in our faces and to tell us to keep our jeans zipped and our hands above the Bible-belt of holiness. Which largely became the mantra of the church in the 90s.


Right around that time, a little book by the name of I Kissed Dating Goodbye was just starting to gain major traction in the western church. In it, Joshua Harris gave a global platform to Christian “purity culture”, where he attempted to combat the oversexualizing of our young people by taking issue with the practice of social dating within the church. Though an unintentional consequence, this growing thought within the church became a weapon for older Christians to beat younger Christians over the head with. When we failed, we were not taught about our flesh or encouraged in our identity. We were reminded of our failures and shamed for not being better. Harris did later retract his thoughts on the matter and pull that publication from the shelves, and the fault for the Church’s behavior does not rest on his shoulders alone, but the damage was done.


Where many of us now view temptation as a deterrent we need to overcome, the church’s growing cry for purity began to make war with our sex-related questions and curiosities and, as a byproduct, accidentally left a pile of young Christian casualties in its wake. As young people, we no longer viewed ourselves as growing men and women of God who needed to overcome our temptation. Instead, whenever we had questions or curiosities—or God forbid, sexual urges—we were reminded of our failure to look like Jesus and of how our failure was contributing to a dying church in America.


Fast forward twenty years and we have raised an entire generation of Christians that refuse to accept the baton and fight to be the moral center of our culture. In our day, the church is as divided as the world when it comes to sexual identity, sexual purity and healthy sexual conduct. As a youth leader in the early 2010s, I can tell you that the church’s young people are not prepared to be a moral compass for the world. If you hold up a group of young unbelievers next to a group of young church-going teenagers, you would be hard pressed to identify which group is more enthralled in the sexual appetite that our culture has amassed.


This article isn’t meant to shame anyone. If you are a young person who is struggling to overcome sexual addictions, please don’t let my words add any more shame to your already buckling shoulders. I am not writing this to condemn you. I am writing this because God has something deeper for you. Pornography, masturbation, pre-marital sex, “technical virginity”, even abortion…these have begun to invade a once sacred place: the body of Jesus. And I am convinced that this has happened because we, the Church, have approached this very important issue from a very unhealthy direction. Which is why I have begun this series of articles. To highlight the stories of some of the casualties of the church’s “purity culture” and to shed light on the saving grace and mercy that exists for a generation that is hungry to taste genuine freedom.


In this first, of hopefully many, articles, I sat down with Joshua Broome—2011’s busiest male performer in the pornography industry. His story started so similar to many of ours, but where many of us find our guilt and shame pushing us toward more personal indiscretions, Joshua’s led him in a direction the majority of us can’t fathom. Which is why I think his story holds such incredible value. Ten years ago, Joshua was winning awards for the hundreds of sexually explicit movies he had performed in, and today he is preaching the gospel and leading young people into the glory of God’s mercy. While I am sure that the majority of you cannot relate to the journey he has walked down, I urge you to realize that while you have never been on the screen, if it is your hands holding it, and your eyes watching it, his journey is your journey too. The same God that brought him to the other side can do the same for you. Not only that—but he fully intends to.



With that said, let me share our conversation with you. We can catch up at the end.


Thank you so much for taking the time to sit down and talk to me about your story.


Absolutely. It’s my pleasure.


So I don’t really have an agenda here. I believe your story matters and I want to be a part of giving it a voice. So why don’t you start by just telling us that story. Share a bit about your upbringing and how you ended up in the industry.


I grew up without a Father in my life. But the reality was, there was one grocery store in my

town. So I would see him. I would see his truck passing through town. So I knew who my dad was, I just didn’t have a relationship with him. And that was kind of tough to swallow, because it wasn’t like he was gone. It wasn’t like he hated me or anything. To this day it is a hard thing for me to articulate because I have very high empathy. I just feel for him as a sixteen year old boy—definitely not a man at that age. How would I be feeling? How would I react to that? I definitely wouldn’t be ready for that responsibility yet. But yeah, that’s what happened.


But my mom—she is amazing. She somehow made a way, even when we were living in government apartments. She worked at a restaurant my whole life, and she just made it work. I don’t know how, but I always had Jays on my feet, I always got to go to the basketball camps I wanted to go to, and I never went without. We didn’t have a lot, but there was never anything that people were doing that I didn’t get to be part of. She loved me very well.


We grew up in my grandparents’ house. It was a pretty big family. My grandparents, her [mom] sister, and two brothers. They were all still in high school at the time. And when I was seven, she got married to someone and he ended up being very abusive. Very much into drugs—heroin, cocaine, all that stuff. He was not abusive to myself or my brother, but very abusive to her and verbally abusive to everyone. That didn’t last very long. It was only a few years. That landed us back in government housing. And again—it was my mom, my brother and I—she just made it work.


I started modeling when I was thirteen or fourteen and, being where I was in South Carolina, I would have to travel to do a lot of stuff. I had a lot of success but I didn’t do anything crazy. I wasn’t getting booked to do international things or anything crazy like that. But I was working a decent amount for a long time. That was, for me, the first taste of the affirmation that I really desired. I went to college about two hours away. I played basketball for a really short amount of time in college. I joined a fraternity.


That fraternity was actually really great for me. That was where I had the most actual interaction with other men. I hadn’t really been around any older men, other than my uncles for a very short amount of time, as they were a junior and senior and were only at the house for a little bit. They graduated and went to college and went to work. So being around those twenty, twenty-one year olds—that was really my first experience being around older men. That was where I learned how to tie a tie. I had to wear clip-ons up until that point. I didn’t know how [to tie a tie] and I felt embarrassed to ask. Just the little things like that. They taught me things that a lot of people would probably take for granted but I just get so elated about—thinking of what I get to teach my kids. How to tie a tie. How to change a tire. Nothing crazy, but general things to know about a car. You know? How to set up a tent. The most arbitrary things that you would never think is a big deal, but I had absolutely no clue.


I got a DUI right as I turned 21. And for some reason, that was one of the things that made sense to me, like, “OK, I’m in trouble. Let me take a look at my life.” And for some reason, my self-reflection looked like me dropping out of college after I finished paying all of my fines and moving to California. I was having success modeling and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I felt like I had something to prove. I just thought, “Hey, I can go to California and I can be famous.” I had started taking acting classes. I was majoring in theatre, and then psychology, and then mass-communication, and then I wanted to do theatre again. I didn’t know what I wanted to do.


I knew I loved modeling and that’s what I wanted to do. I really loved acting but theatre was hard. It’s much harder than walking down a runway or getting my picture taken. But I really kind of fell in love with all of that and I thought, “I’m think going to give it a shot”.


Ed Hardy was a big deal 10-15 years ago and I booked an Ed Hardy campaign. That kind of solidified things for me. I thought I was going to move to California and just crush it. So I moved out there and for some reason—it made sense to me—I wanted to have as much capital as possible before moving out there. I just wanted to live it up and enjoy it, and I knew I would be making all of this money, so I would be fine. I sold my Jeep and I moved out there. I don’t know what I was thinking. Los Angeles is like the most necessary place to have a vehicle. I spent a little time in New York and for some reason I thought it was going to be like that. But boy was I wrong. So wrong.


I went to auditions and spent all my time doing that, and I didn’t use that money to pay a down payment on an apartment. I kept going to auditions and I kept meeting with agents and getting head shots. The next thing I knew, I had like four dollars and I hadn’t found an apartment yet. I ended up homeless for about a week. I had this dude and he let me crash on his couch thankfully and he helped me get a job in West Hollywood. It was kind of like a steak house and quickly became a bar. It had mechanical bulls and everything. It was a really crazy place. It’s where all of the underage and early twenties people would go.


I was working there and a group of girls came up to me and were like, “Hey, would you ever consider being an actor?”


I was like, “Well, actually, I am an actor.”


And they said, “No, we’re talking about adult acting.”


I was like, “What are you talking about.”


They were like, “Porn.”


I was like, “Oh. I’ve watching it, but you guys do that?”


They were like, “Yeah, do you want to meet our agent?”


I was like, “Sure. Why not?”


I had it in my head that I was going to go to this Motel 6 and sit down with these guys and it was going to be weird. I had this sleazy drama in my head, like how it was going to go. But I get to where we are [the meeting place], and it’s pretty close to like a universal studios. It’s in this gigantic building. And I go into this private garage with Bentleys and Jaguars and Porsches, and I go up this private elevator and into this office with this like war-room. There’s this English guy who was bald with a Versace suit on with a Rolex on and I was like, “What is happening?”


He told me everything that I wanted to hear. He said there wasn’t a lot of good looking guys in the industry and if I did this, I could be famous. He said if I do this, I could have all this money. I could have all this recognition, because I have an acting background. I’d be able to do all of the big movies. I’d be starting out making more money than other guys. It was so weird. I couldn’t even really fathom what was happening because it was so different than what I perceived it was going to be.


They sent a town car to pick me up the next day to get a full panel—an STD, aids test—which was supposed to come back within twenty-four hours. I was supposed to do a shoot the following day. The shoot was scheduled for ten a.m., but my test results didn’t come back. Which was one of many times where God was like, “Hey, don’t do that. Here’s an opportunity to not do something dumb.”


I ignored it.


I waited until later that day when my tests came back. They really wanted me to do the shoot so they just moved it to the next day. So I did it. And immediately—immediately—it had a negative impact on my life. I was dating a girl at the time who was also working at the restaurant I was telling you about. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I didn’t warn her [that he would be performing in a pornography scene]. So I told her [afterwards] and she broke up with me and all her friends hated me. I didn’t have to quit, but I did. So I quit that job, she broke up with me, and I pretty much lost all of my close friends, other than the people I was living with. And it just made sense for me to continue doing it. And to be completely transparent, after that happened, I felt ashamed and guilty and all of a sudden it had been five years and I’d traveled all over the world. I’d won many awards, won performer of the year and all of this stuff. I’d done the Cinemax and ShowTime movie and filmed from Romania to London to Paris to Costa Rica, all over the place. I somehow became—if not the top—one of the top three guys in the industry. And it slowly just ate away at my soul.


I was already someone who was very insecure. I wouldn’t be completely honest if I said that the situation with my dad didn’t play a part in my identity as a person and my want for affirmation. But also, it was my lack of knowing who I was, and my lack of knowing whose I was. I felt shame. I felt guilt. And that was a common thing for me. The more films I did, the more I isolated myself from the people who truly loved me. Not because they stopped reaching out. Because I felt used, so I felt useless. I felt ashamed, so I thought they must be ashamed of me. I felt guilty, so I stopped answering phone calls and texts from my family and my friends and finally my mom. I was really living this double life. Where I was this perfect person while I was on set. I could turn it on and turn it off—as far as my personality. I played this happy person who was happy to be there and play the scenes. But I would quickly go home. I didn’t really go out, other than to the gym. I ordered take out pretty much every day. And I didn’t interact with people. I became more of a recluse as time went on and I isolated myself from everyone.


About that time, I had isolated myself to a point where it been over a year since I had heard my real name. Most of the time, I didn’t go to the bank. I would use the automated teller outside. But I had multiple checks and the weather was weird, so I went to the bank and deposited these checks. The transaction was over, and I had my receipt. I was maybe two steps away and the teller said, “Joshua, can I help you? Is there anything I can do for you?”


It was weird, because if she had said that at the beginning of our conversation, it would have made complete sense. But it was almost like she wanted to help me in some other way. It really confused me. I lived across the street from the bank so I just walked out. It gave me a knot in my throat, and I had chills on my body. I remember walking across the street—one of the busiest streets in the area—and a cab almost hit me. I was in a complete daze. I walked into my townhome and I closed the door and I got choked up a little bit. I was changing clothes and I looked at myself in the mirror and I just lost it. I cried and I cried and I cried. For the first time in a long time, I felt convicted. I felt guilty and I felt ashamed in a way where I knew I was better than that. And immediately what absolutely crushed me was, I thought about everything my mom had done for me. Everything she had sacrificed for me. And knowing that—not that I hadn’t lived up to her expectations, but that she had things going on in her personal life that I was not there for her in. Things that my brother was going through personally that I wasn’t there for. And that just crushed me. I was like, “God, I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to live. I don’t know what to do.”


I just felt this urge that I couldn’t describe to go home. I called my agent and all the companies I had contracts with and told them, “I’m not coming back. Ever. I’m leaving.”


I called everyone I knew who had enough money to pay the rest of my lease on my apartment and told them if they would just pay the lease, they could have everything in the apartment. I got someone who worked as one of the agents at the agency to take the place over. I flew home to Charlotte. My mom picked me up at the airport and we had a long, long, long cry and held each other for a long time. She never, to this day, said that I let her down or that she was ashamed of what I did or anything like that.


I wish I could say that, in that moment, I reunited with my mom and felt the presence of God. But that’s not what happened. I spent about two years feeling guilty and hiding and lying to every person I met. I started personal training, and I lied about why I was in town. I said I was modeling and did a bit of acting, but told them to not bother looking me up. I deleted all my social media. I tried my best to just cover my tracks and lie and lie and lie and lie. And every single time I would try to start dating someone, they would find out and the relationship would end. I almost got fired from the gym I was working at. Obviously, I was in a position of leadership and there should have been some integrity there, and I didn’t share that with them. It was grace that they didn’t fire me. They let me continue working there under certain pretenses, but I continued to work there but still continued to lie to a certain degree.


I just felt so much shame and just didn’t want to deal with it. I tried to shove everything under the rug. And then, after several attempts of trying to be in a relationship, I met this girl, and she was just incredible. I thought she was too perfect for me to hurt, so I knew I had to tell her. I figured that way, if I just told her, she wouldn’t want anything to do with me and we would both save ourselves the heartache of her finding out later. We were supposed to go for a run. It was actually the day before Easter and I was like, “Hey, before we start, there is something I need to tell you and you are probably not going to want anything to do with me.”


I told her everything. I told her stuff she probably didn’t even want to know. I unloaded. To be honest, it was almost like me coming clean for the first time. Just completely being vulnerable and telling her how terrible I was and how she wouldn’t want to be with me. But instead of rejecting me, she asked me if I knew God. I told her that I believed in God but she asked if I was actually in a relationship with him.


I didn’t know what she meant.


We went for a walk and talked and she invited me to her church the next week. We went to church and I heard the gospel and it destroyed everything that I thought about myself. I heard that the wages of sin is death but that there was a savior. A savior that was readily available to remove the weight and the guilt and the shame and the pain and the perception of who I thought I was.


I want to revisit one of your earlier statements. You mentioned that when you came clean about your first shoot, everyone kind of walked out of your life. Would it have made a difference if, instead of walking away, the people in your life had asked the question your future wife posed when you came clean to her?


Absolutely. I mean—I don’t know. I would like to think so. And I mean, that’s what I try to advocate for. We live in a society that is so quick to point fingers. That’s what we see on the news. It’s what we see on social media. If you look at a picture, what do you think? The first thing you see will be a flaw. You’re not going to see the beauty. You’re not going to see the artistry. You’re not going to see the creativity. God is a God of the details. He took the time to knit you together in your mother’s womb and he numbered the hairs on your head, he knows everything about you. If I had known that was the God that existed—If I knew that was the God that cared about me, I believe I would have responded differently.


Which brings up a good question. When it comes to the way that we as Christians deal with the conversations that revolve around purity and sexual identity, or even our sexual behavior, do you think that the conversation needs to change? Particularly in the way that we address purity?


Absolutely. For me, I communicate through two lenses: First and foremost scripture, and then a quote that I think is universally applicable. Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (ESV). If I am going to extend grace first and then my words are going to be seasoned with salt, how do I know how much salt I need to add? How do I know what you need to hear? How do I know your views? How do I know your pain? How do I know what is important to you?


The quote I referenced is from John Maxwell. He said, “No one cares what you know until they know that you care.” [Also attributed to President Theodore Roosevelt]. So I think if we can take the time to take off this mask of being perfect and say, “Hey, I am not perfect either. We are all broken and in need of a savior and that savior is Jesus, and he didn’t come to make bad people good. He came to make dead people alive.” If we communicate it that way and extend love first and extend grace first, then we can articulate what we really want to say. That, “I love you and because I love you, I want you to know Jesus.” Not, “You’re wrong, I need you to know I’m right so you should do this.”


Listening to your story, it sounds like one of the greater motivators for heading down the path you did was shame. It makes me wonder how often we can prevent people from heading down a dangerous direction just by refusing to respond to their choices by throwing shame at them. Which brings me to another important question. Knowing what you know, how are you going to talk about sex & purity with your own children? Will you do address it differently than the way our parent’s generation addressed it with us?


I think it is so important to be vulnerable and honest—but not brutally honest, of course. I think we dance around the subject of sex and around subjects that make us uncomfortable. But that’s not the gospel. We can’t pick and choose what is in the Word of God. I believe the Word is inerrant—meaning it is without error—and I believe the Word is trustworthy, so I believe it is going to lead us to where we need to go. Every single word is important. So we should communicate every single word like it matters. We shouldn’t be ashamed of that. I think communicating that with love—that is how I plan on telling my kids about my past. It’s how I plan on telling my kids about sex. I think it is so important that we don’t make things a bigger deal than they need to be. I think that is how people become too sensitive to things. We put too high of a value on things that are honestly trivial. If God isn’t stressing about it, why should I? He said to love people and to love him above all things. If my life is aligned with loving him and putting nothing in front of him, and I am respecting his second command, which is to love the people around me, then who am I to do anything but that?


What would you say to young people who are obviously heading down that same path and are feeling shame, or feeling rejected, or feeling distant from God?


I have conversations like that so often that it’s honestly overwhelming—the amount of messages I get. I have been writing a book for a few years and as things continue to happen in my life, I continue to revise it. Something I am really passionate about is understanding the impact of sexual purity and understanding how sexuality abused can mentally and emotionally hurt you badly. It goes back to the garden. Adam and Eve were naked and felt no shame. Then they sinned and all of a sudden they were ashamed. What do we do when we are ashamed? We hide from God. We hide from people. We try to isolate ourselves. And in isolation, that behavior takes root and we repeat it over and over again in a vicious cycle. If we can shed light on it and trust people, that is how we find our way out of it.


When people ask me these questions, I ask them about their relationship with God and their relationship with the Bible. If we can start there, I can communicate through the lens of scripture.


First, we need to acknowledge that this is not good for us [sexual addiction]. God loves me so

much that he sets boundaries for me. Not because he is this mean, authoritative God. But because he loves me enough to not want me to harm myself. When I step outside of the boundaries that he set for me, I get hurt. So I need to know that what I’m doing is both a.) against what God wants for me. And b.) hurtful for me and the people in my life.


If I can acknowledge that and be truthful about that, hopefully I can look at it another way. I need to set boundaries because I understand that boundaries are good. When it comes to my smart devices, I need to set boundaries because they are good for me. I need to not have access to adult sites. Maybe I need to put keywords that I cannot access and I need to give someone else that password.


So I need truth, I need boundaries and I need accountability. I need someone in my life where if I feel like I’m about to screw up, or to be perfectly honest, when I screw up, I can go to them. I need someone to be there to say, “How are you doing this week?”

God created us to be in community. I know this is a tougher time to do that than ever, but I am seeing God move in huge ways, leveraging technology.


That is generally my answer. It’s hurtful because when you objectify a person, you objectify their worth. You’re saying the person on the screen is not a person, but an object. I love the quote, “Love people, use things.” [Joshua Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus]. People are not meant to be used. They are meant to be loved. Things are meant to be used.


Beautiful. As the church, where is our responsibility in defining healthy sexual identity and behavior for the world?


I mean, if we are gonna say that Jesus is the truth, the way and the life, then we have to trust that he is who he said he was. If he said not one iota would pass away, then all scripture is important. Not just adultery, but if you lust after someone, you have sinned. God is not this terrible person. He is the God who made you and he loves you. We have to trust that sex is not something to be abused. It’s not a hobby, it’s not a thing that God wants to keep from you. He created it so that we could procreate. It is something that is beautiful and is meant to be between a man and a woman in marriage and when it’s abused, then you suffer the consequences. You get hurt. And that’s just the truth. I try my best to not get into the non-essential beliefs. Repentance means that I am a sinner and not believing that I can get it right, because I can’t. I can never get it right. I can’t earn my way to heaven.


Is there anything you’d like to leave our readers with?




What is incredibly important for me to convey is that many people live their life and it is directed by failure, hurt, disappointment, deaths of family members, mistakes, not getting the job, plans not working out—and you allow those things to direct what you do next. You are not your failure. You are not your addiction. Even if it’s happening right now, that’s not who you are. You are so much more than that. Your life matters so much.


I am very passionate about people taking off the masks that they think they need to be accepted by society and be happy. That’s one of the things that led me to where I was. I was successful, to some degree as a model. But I wasn’t as successful as some other people. I could have been patient and who knows what would have happened. But I allowed other people’s success and other people’s relationships with their dad’s and other people’s cars and the lives other people were living to define what I was calling success.


My success does not have to be your success. My life does not have to be your life. My plan does not have to be your plan. And the purpose for my life does not have to be yours. When you are your most authentic person—that is when you are at your happiest.


You are not only out of the industry. You are passionately speaking against it now. So I wanted to make room for that. Is there anything you would like to say about the dangers of pornography?


There have been 1,187 people who have taken their lives since 1980 that were in the adult film industry. 30 of those people were people who were in the industry when I was in the industry. There’s one person who comes to mind specifically. She was an incredibly gifted person. Gorgeous, very well spoken, very creative, and she was in the industry for a long time. She turned 32-33 and started to get these roles playing the mom and that hurt her confidence. She started medicating that rejection with pills. Her work continued to slow down so she started stripping, but stripping didn’t pay as well so she started prostituting. And prostituting was much different than being on set, but she didn’t believe there was anything else she could do. She believed her life decisions had defined her, and she didn’t see herself as worthy of living. She saw herself as used up and useless, so she decided to take a full bottle of pills and kill herself. And that’s the same story as so many people. Different ways, different people, but they are no longer alive because of the depression and mental fatigue that overcame them.


All of the films they did are still online and still being consumed at a dramatic rate. So there are people watching films that literally killed that person. Yes, they knew what they were doing. Yes, they freely chose to do those things, but they were hurting. And they are people and they should matter.


Thank you so much for taking the opportunity to share your story with us!


Thank you for inviting me!


Let’s Dive In


These are my own thoughts and do not, in any way, reflect the theology, opinions or teaching of my interview guest.


There are so many things to talk about when it comes to sexual identity, freedom and “purity culture”, and I would love to tackle them all! However, today I want to focus on the area that affected Joshua. And no, I am not talking about pornography. I am talking about shame. He mentioned something early in our conversation that I would like to take a moment to highlight, so that we can learn from it.


He mentioned that the choices he made had an immediate consequence: shame.


The likelihood that the people reading this are in the porn industry, seeking a way out, is rather slim. But the chances that this article is being read by people who are living with decisions, lifestyles and addictions that are having real life consequences and cultivating shame in their lives… those odds are significantly higher.


Not that long ago, my wife and I sat down with a couple who had recently been married. As you would expect, our dinner-table conversation revolved mostly around the joys of marriage. At one point, I asked this young couple whether they were enjoying marriage so far. In typical fashion, the young man smirked and said, “Oh yeah,”. But his wife responded a little differently. She grimaced a little and said, “I love being married, but to be honest, I still feel a little guilty whenever we have sex.”



This couple was married. Sex is supposed to be one of the amazing parts of any new marriage, right?! We call it the honeymoon phase for a reason. Yet, she found herself struggling to get past the deeply rooted shame that her Christian friends and family had taught her to associate with sex. Even though she knew that she was biblically allowed to have sex with her husband—even though she knew that she should have sex with her husband—a small part of her struggled to enjoy that beautiful part of her life because of the way the church had talked about sex her entire life.


Now, am I suggesting that we should let our young people go live the full frat experience? No. We should teach our children holiness and purity. We should encourage them to wait for the marriage bed. We should set boundaries and expectations and help them to make the best decisions for their futures. However, how we do that matters.


This couple had spent several years making good decisions and serving Jesus faithfully. They understood the importance of preserving their purity. But the way that conversation was shaped in their lives created a culture of shame, rather than preparing them to view sex through the lens of God’s design, where it is infinitely beautiful.


When it comes to steering our children, it is important that we choose the path of steering them toward their identity, rather than away from their failures. Let’s return to Joshua’s story. Notice that when Christians responded to his sin by condemning him, it sent him spiraling further into his sinfulness. The shame he felt at their condemnation actually caused him to lose himself in the very behavior they had condemned him for. Shame breeds hopelessness, and hopelessness causes us to flee from the community where our freedom rests. But later, when his future wife looked at his sin and pointed his eyes at Jesus, it birthed a future.


Now, I am not commenting on his girlfriend’s decision to end their relationship. Our choices have consequences. I get that. I am referencing the way everyone pulled out of his life and left him to face his mistakes alone. How often is that how we respond to people’s sin? How often do we strip people of their value because they have failed in some way we’ve deemed inexcusable? Especially when it comes to sexual temptation, confusion and/or sin.


We have to let go of the taboo. We have to stop shrouding sex in such secrecy, shame and condemnation that our young people are forced to face their questions and temptations alone. We have to stop chasing them into bondage by beating them over the head with expectations that they don’t understand or know how to live out. If we want to see an actual culture of purity, we need to point our young people toward the person of Jesus, the freedom they have in Christ, and the beauty of God’s design for sex.





There is no room for shame in the Christian message. Keep that in mind when you are addressing your children’s sexual identity, their sexual needs and, unfortunately, sometimes their sexual failures.


Call to Action


I hope that we've given you plenty to chew on. But please don't let this be the end of the conversation. The western church is struggling to satisfy its mandate to look like Jesus because we have raised a generation that is so turned off by the judgement, condemnation and shame that has permeated our preaching that they largely want nothing to do with the Christianity we have presented them with.


We don't have to do the same thing to our children. We can change the narrative without sacrificing righteousness. We can shift the way we raise Christians without abandoning Christlikeness. And we can kiss purity culture goodbye without actually rejecting the need for purity. But it means coming back to a table most of us walked away from a long time ago. It means putting on our big boy pants and having some vulnerable, and honest, conversations about sex, sexuality, sexual identity, and heathy sexual behavior. It means not running from our kids questions and not pretending that sex is some ugly, disgusting chore that they are silly for wondering about. It means cultivating an environment where we not only answer their questions, but delight in opportunities to do so. It means being open about the beauty and glory of sex and not shying away from the reality that God made it because he longs for us to experience each other in that way.


We have to do things differently. So, why not start right here? Tell me how your church/parents talked to you about sex, and share what you think the conversation needs to look like going forward.

God bless!

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© 2019 by Michael LaBorn