To Young People Who Date

“You don’t trust me, do you?” Have you said this to your parents when they talked to you about dating? Why do you think they want to know where you are going and what you will be doing?  Why do you think they set curfews? Your parents have been there. They know what you feel because they have felt it themselves. They know how hard it is to control these feelings.

If you have gained your parents’ trust in other things, you may take their warnings personally. Remember this: your parents trust your intentions, but they do not trust passions. They trust your sincerity, but not your feelings. You shouldn’t either. Nothing is more deceptive than our emotions.

People have good intentions about many things. But if they haven’t experienced a situation, they don’t know how much pressure is put on their will. Even good men in the Bible had the best of intentions but gave in to the feelings of the situation. Peter said that he would never deny the Lord. But later that same night he said he didn’t even know Jesus. His claim was good, but he didn’t realize how strong the temptation would be. He thought he was stronger than he really was. Solomon was wiser than any of us will ever be. He warned young men not to let their desire for the opposite sex ruin their lives. Yet when Solomon was old he married women who turned his heart away from the Lord. David was a man after God’s heart. But David gave in to his passions, committed adultery, and paid for his sin the rest of his life.

Suppose a sixteen-year-old decides to go rock climbing. He has no experience, but he wants to go. He says there is a thousand-foot-tall cliff he wants to climb—with his hands and feet, no rope. He has no idea if he can hang by one hand on a piece of rock like climbers he has seen on television. But he thinks he can climb it. He asks his parents and they say no. Can you imagine him saying to his parents, “What’s the matter, don’t you trust me?” They see his ambition, but they don’t trust his ability. He has no idea what he is getting into because he has never done this.

Dating is a lot more dangerous than rock climbing. It is fun, but it is also serious. Don’t play with fire. Don’t play with sexual temptation. If you have never experienced how strong these feelings are once they are stirred, you have no idea how hard it is to control them. You might as well try to control a kayak in Class Five river rapids as to turn those feelings around once they are let loose. You might as well try to drive a race car at 150 mph as to think you are in control of sexual passions.

Your parents are not naïve. They know from experience and they know from Scripture that young people need to be warned and supervised. This is their responsibility. You may get mad at them, but you really need their guidance and you will understand and appreciate it in a few years. If you have children, you will give them the same supervision. And remember that this warning applies to older people who are single. They face the same pressures and temptations if they begin to date.

The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matt. 26:41). Be honest about your feelings and admit your weaknesses. The temptations you will face are the same temptations that people have experienced from the beginning (I Cor. 10:13). Dealing with this temptation is not so much a matter of your parents trusting you as it is you trusting your parents and especially trusting God.

Kerry Duke

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