Today’s question comes from Yvette. She writes: “I yet have another question– or let me say something that was said to me that has been bothering me for 24 hours by someone I consider friends–not a good friend, but more than acquaintances. Discussing our teenagers, dating, etc. now mind you I have two kids older then these parents’ kids, so I always keep quiet when I hear the “not my kid”– because face it, for the most part, kids are kids– they are yearning for independence — no matter how they are brought up– then, smack– out of the blue– one friend says, ” well I want him to date a Christian, because let’s face it, anyone else has no reason to do something wrong”. And then my other friend agreed. I had to disengage, because excuse my feelings, but if that is the only reason for keeping a person to be a good human being– then I am a little scared— this really upset me, like I’ve said I’ve thought of it for 24 hours– I do kind of consider myself a Christian–I don’t know what I am– but is this how a lot Christians feel? I mean you have traveled and preached to many– and I understand that here are extremes in all organized religion– I just have to ask in my heart, how can these people think anything they said is Christ like?”
Let’s see if I can start a conversation on the matter.
I will begin by saying I do agree with the notion that Christians somehow get a free pass for doing things wrong. While many Christians talk about the power of being forgiven for their sins/shortcomings, I don’t think the sense of forgiveness we claim means we have a license to act out.
In fact, I think it works just the opposite. When we enter into a relationship with God, that relationship ought to be transformational. I know that for myself, my faith actually raises – rather than lowers – the bar in terms of what I expect from myself.
When I bring up the matter of “the bar”, let me also say this. (And in order to make this point, I want to use language most common in the Twelve Step movement.)
When it comes to matters of messing up, my faith tells me it is my job to take MY moral inventory, and not somebody else’s moral inventory. I never know the fullness of the path other individuals have traveled, so it’s troublesome to try to draw absolute conclusions about who is – and who is NOT – good enough to be around myself and those I love. Instead, I try to focus most of my energy on myself and the choices I make.
So with that said, I would have had a different take on things than those in the conversation. I don’t think encouraging one’s child to date only other Christians because such kids would have a free pass is the healthiest measure to use. Nor do I think it’s best to judge what kids are – or are not – the best match for one’s children by simply looking at the words they use to label themselves. Instead, I think it’s most helpful to look at each individual’s heart. As long as the person is a healthy individual who truly respects your child’s values and faith, then it is possible to enter into a healthy relationship.
So how about you? What do you think?