The age-old question that so many teens ask their parents, youth leaders and counselors: How far is too far?
“You can go as far with your boyfriends as you are comfortable doing in front of your father.” (Lisa Bevere)
How’s that for an answer? Most children hold respect for their fathers and so this answer is a good guideline. If you are thinking about doing anything other than what you’ll do in front of dad (or mom, if you come from a single-parent household) than you are awakening something not yet ready for you.
The reason it is so important to wait for all the “other” stuff is because those are reserved for your husband or wife alone. Joshua Harris has a book out called, I Kissed Dating Goodbye that I would recommend to anyone that is not yet married. In one of the chapters he argues that dating:
- leads to intimacy but not necessarily to commitment
- tends to skip the “friendship” stage of a relationship
- often mistakes a physical relationship for love
- often isolates a couple from other vital relationships
- in many cases, distracts young adults from their primary responsibility of preparing for the future
- can cause discontentment with God’s gift of singleness
- creates an artificial environment for evaluating another person’s character
He also asks two piercing questions:
-Does love motivate the guy who sleeps with his girlfriend when it will scar her emotionally and damage her relationship with God?-Does sincerity motivate the girl w;ho leads a guy along then breaks up with him when she finds someone better?
Going “too far” doesn’t just affect you if you get pregnant, contract an STD or die from A.I.D.S. The moment you have sex outside of marriage you open yourself up to the many different facets of sex that can cause pain, pressure, fear, anxiety, resentment, regret, distrust, doubt and lust; all of which have never been a part of God’s plan for intimacy.
I would liken premarital sex to driving a leased vehicle. I’ve never leased one, but I believe what you do is basically make payments, just as if you were buying it, but there’s no commitment. At the end of the terms you return the vehicle and the payments due stop. How frightening that would be to someone like me who doesn’t even like to test-drive a vehicle if it’s not mine. With a lease, there is no commitment. That vehicle is no more yours than a child is that you babysit.
Commitment, as in a marraige covenant, brings peace of mind, respsonsibility, diligence, integrity and a sense of comfort. Back to the leased vehicle, you don’t know what you will be driving at the end of the lease. You are most likely not going to take as good of care with the lease as you would one you were buying. Finally, there is no comfort in driving around someone else’s vehicle. Likewise, the person who is having sex outside of marriage does not have the assurance that they will be with that person after a couple of years, or months even. There is no commitment to stay with them so there is no comfort in knowing that you won’t be alone in the future.
Another aspect of leasing a vehicle is that if you do have damage on the vehicle at the end of the lease, or if you have driven it too many miles (please don’t go there with premarital sex) then there is a fine, or penalty that you must pay. Now, you can pay the total cost and just own the vehicle in the end (although that may have not been your choice in the beginning) or you may just fork over the extra cash.
I see an analogy to a girl getting pregnant before marriage here. The guy (or girl) may not have made up their mind if this was someone they wanted to raise children with. That option is out the door now. (Unless the guy leaves, an abortion is performed, or adopted is opted) All of those cost money (the penalty we talked about). Otherwise, now a commitment is required, but they weren’t necessarily your “dream car.” Get me?
I’m going to finish this blog with some excerpts from a summary of I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Tim Grissom:
“I do not believe that dating is sinful,” writes Joshua Harris. “I view dating in a similar light as I view fast-food restaurants–it’s not wrong to eat there, but something far better is available.”
Most kids grow up thinking that dating is an essential part of being a teenager. To them, life is a series of one-girlfriend (or boyfriend)-after-another, which really amounts to one-heartache-after-another. A two-year relationship seems like a long-term commitment. Even those who make it through the junior-high and senior-high years with their sexual purity intact will often emerge with damaged emotions, bitterness, and cynicism. To be sure, much of the damage may have been inflicted by the individuals involved, but likewise the system itself is faulty. There must be a better way to interact with members of the opposite sex, a less hurtful means to find a suitable life partner.
So how do we avoid defective dating? How can couples meet, romance one another, and nurture a relationship that might someday bloom into marriage? It’s one thing to spot the flaws, but what are the Solutions?To begin with, we must stop abusing the word love. Our meaning is far below God’s, yet it is His blessing we want and his best we pursue. Understanding what God calls love is our first step.“Like a fruit picked green or a flower plucked before it blossoms, our attempts to rush God’s timing can spoil the beauty of His plan for our lives.”
Man’s view of love contains several notions that are contrary to God’s, and should therefore be contrary to the way we pursue love, especially love in the deepest and most intimate of human relationships. We must reject the philosophy of love that holds comfort of self as its chief end, reduces love to a mere feeling, and believes that love is beyond control. According to God’s Word: love seeks first the good of others, must not be measured by feelings, and is capable of being controlled responsibly.
Simply put, the style of dating so prevalent in Western culture is little more than a series of short-term relationships, a training ground for divorce. Where’s the responsibility? Where’s the sincerity? Where’s the love?
For the rest of the summary, or to buy this book, goto http://www.joshharris.com/ikdg/summary.htm
Blessings and Shalom