I’m a bit fired up today; I just met with a group of Christian teens in a Christian school. Call it passion, call it concern, call it a warning about our youth.
Bind up this testimony of warning and seal up God’s instruction among my disciples.
I wish I could just take the road of sunshine and roses and pretend that all Christian families are exempt from reckless teenage dating. I am frequently criticized for even mentioning the idea that there might actually be Christian teenagers and young adults that have gone down the wrong road. I do not apologize for pointing it out and trying to warn parents. I am in a business where the evidence of chaos in teen dating and the lack of warning are equal across the board of education.
How can we stand by and watch the next generation indulge themselves in unhealthy behaviors that may cost them dearly? Driving blindly through the reality of what our culture is exploiting will not make it go away. Do we not have a responsibility to God to adequately warn our teens and guide them into adulthood safely?
This is what the Lord says to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people.
If a teenage boy without a driver’s license came by to pick up your daughter for a date in his new car, would you let her go? No! We expect that each teenager is well educated in safe, responsible driving with tons of experience and hours logged with an adult. We assume they passed the test and have reached an appropriate age of maturity to be able to handle a two-ton vehicle. The question is, why do we think that teens will just “figure out” how to “date” on their own with no instruction, no supervision, and no safe, responsible experience?
But if you do warn the righteous person not to sin and they do not sin, they will surely live because they took warning, and you will have saved yourself.”
Debating the semantics of courting vs. dating is not the answer.
The answer lies in acknowledging the problem and educating our teens about the tough subjects that have infiltrated our Christian homes. So I will leave you with some questions about your school, your home, and your teen’s environment and you can decide if you feel you have sufficiently warned your student:
- What is the required educational program to teach safe, responsible dating?
- Who is the third-party instructor and what are his/her qualifications?
- What is the requirement expected in maturity?
- Do you see any evidence of teens “dating under the influence” of drugs or alcohol in your community?
- Are the boundary lines in permanent paint or sidewalk chalk?
- What is being taught about brain development that will help tour teen understand about desire and risk?
- Who is ultimately responsible for the choices your teen makes?
We need to change the message; the culture has.
It makes me both sad and angry when teens tell me how they tune out the old message of purity. That most of their friends have dabbled in underage drinking – even during Christian youth events. That many of their friends are depressed because of a “failed relationship.” That God is more important than anything…except their Smartphones.
I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.
Get in the car!
Parents, we cannot prevent all accidents. What we can do is to continue warning our children about the hazards of teen dating and minimize the risk just like we do with teen driving. Don’t think for a minute that the culture is not educating them about relationships and fueling their desire. Be proactive; help your teen navigate these difficult years through education. You matter. So do they. And Jesus most of all.
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