By John A. Smith
What Can Be Done?
Parents need to teach their children how to say “no.” We need to help our children recognize the cycle of temptation and sin (Jas. 1:14-15).
stimulus + thought + meditation + determination + opportunity =Action
Once they understand how they face temptation, they will be better prepared to break the cycle. We need to help them understand how to break the cycle by rejecting the meditation or determination (Phil. 4:8) or by denying the opportunity (Eph. 4:27).
Young people need to set dating standards before they begin dating. They should never be afraid to tell a date what those standards are. If the date won’t respect those standards, then he don’t deserve you. Some questions to consider when arriving at dating standards:
1. What is a good age at which to begin dating?
2. What are some guidelines to follow about whom to date?
3. What are some guidelines to follow about where to go on a date?
4. What is the purpose of dating?
Young women and men need to dress in keeping with their conviction to remain morally pure (I Tim. 2:9). Immodest clothing (and if you’ll be honest with yourself it’s not very difficult to determine what is immodest) fosters a state of mind which sets the stage for sexual activity. Regarding dress one teen put it this way: “Keep all of your clothes all of the way on all of the time. Don’t let any part of anyone else’s body come anywhere between you and your clothes. Avoid arousal!” The cycle of sin can be impeded by dressing in a modest manner and keeping dressed.
There are a number of ways that a young person can express love without acting it out in a sexual way. Think about it for a moment. You love your parents and perhaps even your little brother, but I doubt that you are tempted to act out that love in a sexual way! How can you show a boyfriend or girlfriend that you love them?
- tell them
- do something nice
- write them a note
- hug and a kiss
- hold hands
- buy flowers, candy, etc.
- be kind to them
- spend time with them
With a little creativity, I am sure that you can come up with more expressions of love. The point is simple: if you love a young man or woman, you do not have to act it out in a sexual way. There are safer, healthier and more moral ways to tell and show someone that you love him. If a date insists that you act it out sexually, you can be sure of one thing: they do not love you! If they did, they would not pressure you.
A few other common sense precautions will go a long way. Young people need to choose friends and dates carefully. There is no reason to get in a hurry. Make definite plans for dates and avoid situations in which you know you will face temptation. If you do find yourself in a tempting or compromising situation, look for a way of escape (1 Cor. 10:13).
Mom and Dad, stay married. You can teach by example what joy and pleasure can be found in a mutually faithful marriage. Strive to maintain a happy home where you talk with young people – really talk and more importantly listen! Take your responsibility as a parent seriously – provide the leadership needed. Daddies – love your daughters; mommas – love your sons! Many sexually active young people are looking for the affection that they did not get at home.
Young people are intelligent, morally responsible creatures capable of making right choices. They are more than “primates in tennis shoes” driven by ungovernable desires to mate. The unique dignity that is in man, but absent in the rest of creation, allows man the freedom to make choices. We need to equip our young people with the knowledge and morals to make informed, healthy and morally responsible choices.
Remember, if you mess up, life isn’t over. God still loves you and longs to forgive you!
Guardian of Truth XXXV: 10, p. 299
May 16, 1991