1 Timothy 6:10 reads: "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."
The idea is coveting. Webster's definition of coveting is: "to desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others:" This evil is prominent in society today, but it is not the exact topic I wish to write upon.
Dealing with young people has taught me so much, and I have found that this principle of coveting is their great root of evil as well...but in a slightly different light. Theirs is not one consumed with money, but rather in lust and relationships.
Everybody knows what happens to a young person at around age 13. Life begins to change. Those of the opposite sex who a month ago had "cooties" or "was a GIRL/BOY" YUCK! In the words of Spanky and Alfalfa, "We are he-man woman haters/ We feed girls to alligators." But we all know what happened to Alfalfa next...he met Darla!
Thus begins a new chapter in young people's lives...dating!
As I write this article, I feel somewhat overwhelmed as to what all needs to be printed. I shall do my best to be brief and successful in covering what is important.
When this "light turns on" in our young people's lives, how do we handle it? I like writing in scenarios...so.....
Timmy is 15, he has found that girls are not so bad, even somewhat enjoyable to be around. It makes him happy and he feels all these 'tinglies' in side of him, especially when he is around Charity! Charity is also 15, and sits behind him in Algebra class there at his school, Cornerstone Baptist Academy. They also go to church together and have actually sat in the same pew recently. There are whispers, she may like Timmy. Tim (not Timmy anymore, he is becoming a man) finally gets up the nerve to say "Hey" to Charity after church Sunday. She smiled and said "Hey, Tim." Thus it begins. Soon they are sitting by each other in classes, at lunch, and now at church. In the teen class, everyone knows that Tim and Charity are 'going out' with each other (actually they are not 'going' anywhere, just means they are a couple). Soon it is homecoming at the Baptist Academy and they have a banquet that is conducive of having a 'date.' With a nervous voice and alot of those 'tinglies,' Tim asks Charity to go with him to the banquet. SHE SAID YES! Tim's parents are excited. His dad is secretly proud of him for entering manhood and seeks to 'live through his son' those exciting dating years again. Mom tells him how to treat his date properly. A corsage is purchased by the dad for his son (Tim has no job or money), and they go and pick Charity up. They go to the banquet and pictures are taken from the time Tim puts his tie on until he walks her to the door. Everyone is excited-mom even tells her friends at the ladies fellowship how cute they were together. Soon there is a Prim (Baptist version of a Prom), a valentine's banquet, a week at camp to really draw closer, activities (where they sit together on a bus and occassionally bump into each other while the bus bounces over pot holes...alot bumpier in the back of the bus too, they learn). Now, it's their one year anniversary-of when they started 'going out' (not really going anywhere, just a couple). Tim is 16, almost 17 now, going to be a junior in high school and is going out on an official date-(not church related). Dad will drive them around, but stay away from them at every destination. Finally, it is time to drop her off at the door. Tim does while dad stays in the car. Dad can't stand it anymore... "So Tim, did you kiss her goodbye?" WHAT!!! Tim can't believe his dad ask. Honestly, Tim didn't, but next time...oh, next time....he does. Soon they are holding hands in the back seat with dad or mom driving. They allow it, because it is innocent and they are there, so what harm is it? They are not allowed to at church, but at home in the presence of a parent, chaperoned, it's ok.
Now it is their two year anniversary, Tim is a senior in high school, and Charity is a beautiful young lady. They are 'The Couple' of the youth group. They are voted King and Queen of the Baptist Academy Homecoming. They are so cute together and whispers of even marriage in a few years are being shared. Dad looks at Tim on Prim night (that's the Baptist version of a Prom...if you don't know, it usually is a nice banquet where everyone gets dressed in formal attire and then change clothes and go to a lock in at a gym or go carts or something until early in the morning)...anyways...Dad looks at Tim and says, "Son, you and Charity have behaved and done all that we have asked you to do, I'm gonna step out and let you pick her up on your own. Remember Jesus is watching, don't do nothing stupid, pick her up and go straight to church. Call me when you get there." Tim's heart begins to instantly thump rapidly. Maybe not the first time he picks her up, but soon the hand holding turns to leg touching, to her head leaning on his shoulder...to a broken hearted dad and mom wondering how their kids could be so stupid...to a broken hearted pastor and he deals with the pieces shattered on the ground. What happened?
Now, in reality, Tim probably goes through Charity, Hope, Faith, and Joy before he makes this tragic mistake. Our homes, our youth groups, our Baptist Colleges -the ones with high standards-all conducive to this dating scenario. There are success stories-especially in the college world of NO TOUCHING AT ALL-but I think we all know, that there are way too many tragedies along with those. Why? What have we done wrong?
That's a question I began to ask myself about 5 years ago. I had a young lady approach me that was in my youth group. She was (and is) a tremendous young lady who loves the Lord. She was in college at the time at one of the big four IFB colleges, and there was this guy she liked. She came to me, her pastor, and asked, "Pastor, how do I know if he is the one or not?" I looked at her and replied, "The same way we all found our spouse, you have to date him and get to know him better. Just honor the Lord and keep your hands to yourself and follow the guildelines you have been taught." She did, and about a year and a half later, she sat in my office in tears after a bad break up. She did exactly what I told her, she followed every guideline, and her heart was broken and there was fighting and divisions between families and friends. She looked at me and said, "Pastor, I did what you said, is this right?"
Is this really what God wants? Is this really the way God wants us to find our spouse? I began to pray and instead of accepting what I did to find my wife and the way I was taught and shown, I did something weird...I looked in the Bible. This Book is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path...this Book has the answers to every problem, instructions for every life. Does it teach anything concerning how to find a spouse other than "it is good for a man not to touch a woman?"
With an open heart and a searching eyes and a constant prayer, I sought God.
Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works. Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Psalm 119
And He did, and it changed my life, and the future for my children, our church, our youth group, and possibly you too.
Stand by for Part 2