So, we wrapped up our series, “Love Connection” this last Sunday night. And in one way, I’m kinda sad to see it go. Even though it has taken a bit of work, it has been fun entering an on-going dialogue here through student’s text questions.
I have been very impressed by the intelligent and honest questions that have been texted in each night. And more than a little humbled to be given opportunity to respond to some of your deepest questions about such an important issue.
We have FIVE final questions from this last Sunday, and I will be responding to THREE of them in today’s post followed by the last TWO tomorrow.
But, even as we bring this conversation to a close, I pray that we would not leave this discussion to drift off into the wind. My prayer is that this new generation would take to heart a more revolutionary way to do relationships. I pray that the relationships and friendships and marriages of these high school students would be more whole and complete and fulfilling than those same relationships of their parents.
And so, may we care more about others than ourselves. May we look only to God for ultimate fulfillment and never another human being. May we live with compassion, honesty, integrity and purity in our relationships with each other. And in that, may we find true love and healing.
Here are the questions from this weekend’s PASSAGE message.
At the beginning of your message all I got out of it was that it is okay to rebel against almost everything. Is that what you were trying to say?
Wow . . . clearly I need to get my point across better. LOL. I was NOT trying to say that you should rebel against EVERYTHING. What I was saying was that Christians tend to cave-in and go with the major cultural assumptions of the day as much as anyone.
So, when it comes to relationships, we (more often than not) believe the common cultural myths about “soul-mates” or that love is a feeling you fall into, or that sex is just a meaningless physical act like playing chess. And on and on . . .
We don’t approach relationships and romantic love any different than the rest of the people in this culture because we don’t THINK anything different about it than they do. We believe the same myths of love that everyone else does!
My point at the beginning of the message is that it we should pick up the “rebellious spirit” of the 1960’s “flower children” and as people who follow Christ be willing to be counter-cultural. Instead of mindlessly buying into what our cultural tells us love is about, we should approach relationships with the radical “choice” and “sacrifice” oriented love of Jesus.
Interesting thing about this rebellion, though, is it isn’t about force but love. We rebel against the world’s definition of love by loving people better; by putting them first. We become the most rebellious by becoming the most loving.
Anyway, I encourage you to think through your past, present and future romantic relationships. Do you find connection only skin deep? Do you put the needs and dreams of your date above yourself? Do you participate in healthy aspects of affection and abstain from damaging aspects in order to protect the other person? Are you looking for happiness and fulfillment in another person or in God?”
How you answer these questions will reveal whether you are stuck in “The Matrix” of our culture’s assumptions of love, or whether you are choosing to participate in the revolution and restoration of relationships that Jesus came to empower. I pray that you would choose the revolution.
Are you telling us to be gay?
Honestly, I have no idea what this question is referencing. I’m almost positive that I never said the word, “gay” or “homosexual” or anything referring to that orientation and/or behavior.
However, you texted it in and so I’m staying faithful to post your questions. I wish I knew the context of what you are asking, and if you’d like to comment and clarify I would be happy to answer more appropriately.
But, just to answer the question as is, let me respond by saying . . . “No.”
If a lot of your friends are beginning to lose their virginity and you are almost the only left still a virgin, is it bad if you are feeling like you should do it too just so you can be on the same emotional level and know how they are feeling?
This is a really good question and probably more of an important one than most people are willing to admit. I think that if we are being honest that a lot of our relationship decisions get made based on the coercive pull of “the norm” around us rather than what we believe is best for the relationship.
So, what do we do? Well, let me at least respond with several thoughts.
First, it is not bad that you feel like you want to do it too in order to fit in. When it comes right down to it, I doubt if hardly any of us like being the person “left out” or “not included.” It is the feeling of loneliness; of missing out. And it isn’t a fun feeling to have.
And, it isn’t wrong to feel that way. It isn’t bad to feel like you want to be “included” in a community. You were created by God to be included in a group of people. You were, as we have said, made for authentic relationship. And the feelings of being left out are real, they do hurt, and it is ok to feel that way.
However, even though you are entitled to those feelings, I don’t think it benefits you to go along with whatever it takes to make them go away.
Secondly, even though you feel like it, you aren’t the “only one” left out there that is still a virgin. In fact, over the last few years, lots of studies have shown that the statistics of high school students waiting until later to have sex is going up. One recent study showed that 40% of all high school students will graduate without even having had an intimate date!
So, you are not as much of a minority as you might think. However, I know it feels like you are. The reason is that very few people go around parading the fact that they are virgins (its usually more embarrassing due to cultural pressures), and so you don’t hear about the people that are waiting. What you hear are the more vocal group that isn’t waiting and then you assume that everyone MUST be a part of this group.
In fact, though I don’t know your friends, I wouldn’t even be surprised to learn that some of them are maybe embellishing the truth a bit about their sex lives. I know, crazy huh? High school students lying about getting laid more than they really are!! How could that be true? ☺
But lastly, I think we find ourselves back at the question of “The Matrix”. Do you go along blindly with what everyone else has been culturally conditioned to believe just so that you can fit in, even at the expense of your own personal happiness and the happiness of the person you end up having sex with?
That seems like a very steep price to pay for having another topic of conversation with your friends.
Perhaps, rather than “jumping off a cliff because your friends do it so you can have something to talk about on the way down,” you could find ways to love your friends better and in more sacrificial ways. Maybe the way Jesus wants to redeem broken relationships in your friends’ lives is through you. Maybe their greatest shot at having real romance and love is through your example in how you deal with the romances in your life with integrity and your loving compassion of them.
You see, I know you can’t relate to their sexual experience yet. But they can’t relate now to yours (speaking of a lack of experience) either. At any time, you can become like them. But they can never become like you again.
And so, maybe your perspective helps them see relationships differently. Maybe you can be like Morpheus in “The Matrix” and help them see what they couldn’t about love because all they knew was what they were culturally programmed to see.
And regardless of what your friends choose to do, you have a lifetime of love with someone you will be much closer to for much longer to protect. Feeling out-of-place is difficult. I totally sympathize with you. But trust me. In this case, it is totally worth it.
That pain won’t last forever. You’ll get married and know what they are talking about eventually. Or they’ll accept you as you are. Or you’ll get new friends. But either way, think long-term. Short term happiness is a bad trade for long-term trouble.