thatbethaboo asked: People defend young “Christian” men who are partying it up and hooking up. They say things like: “He knows God, and his spiritual foundation is there, he just doesn’t know what he wants, so let him sow his wild oats. It’s just a phase. If he doesn’t go through it now, he’ll wonder what he missed out on.” It breaks my heart that this destructive lifestyle is being excused and justified. Is it really inevitable? How should a sister in Christ respond to this behavior? Stay away or hang in there?
Unka Glen answered: Well… we could throw a net over someone who is looking to go out and sin, and then keep them in the basement until they decide to live for Jesus. But otherwise, I’m not sure what the alternative is.
We could use fear, and tell him that if he uses drugs tonight there is a real risk that he could get arrested, that his entire academic future could be effected, and that he could end up being the Prom Queen of Cellblock 27. It’s a dire warning, and a much greater possibility than he thinks, but I can tell you, from working with inmates for the past quarter century, people who have set out to break the law, have already decided that that they’ll be able to walk between the raindrops without getting wet.
We could use guilt, and tell him that he’s breaking God’s heart, or something like that. But all that emotional manipulation gets old, and eventually people tire of it. That’s probably why this guy is going out to sow his wild oats, he’s trying to get away from all that negative emotionality.
We could use shame and tell him how ashamed we are of him, and how shameful his acts are. But I think that might have the effect of pushing him out there even harder, and making him feel like he couldn’t come back after he was done messing up.
None of these manipulators will work. When talking to someone in the midst of a backslide, the key is to say something that they will come back to, when they come to their senses. If it were me, I think the conversation might go something like this:
Me: So you’re going out partying huh?
Dude: I’m just hanging with some new friends, ya know.
Me: Yeah, and I know you feel like you’ve been missing out on stuff, and you feel the need to go out and sow some wild oats, but in the end, remember that God is your foundation.
Me: Oh, and here’s another thing, give yourself permission to declare that this is stupid as soon as you notice that it is.
Dude: What to you mean? You don’t know what it’s like!
Me: True enough, but now I’m going to make a series of wild guesses… At some point in your near future you’re going to discover that your “wild time” will involve staring at a red plastic cup filled with cheap booze while listening to music too loud to actually have a conversation with anyone around you. You’ll realize the most “exciting” thing in the whole night might involve behavior you would have thought funny when you were about 12 years old, and that all of this will be so boring, so pointless, and so sad, that someone will regularly yell “PARTY… WOO”, so you can all still feel like maybe it is a party, and not a sad collection of social misfits who couldn’t figure out anything actually fun to do, so you’re just drinking instead. And as a finale, you’ll feel like barfing on your shoes all night.
Me: In that moment, it’s not about “I told you so”, It’s just you making a smart decision for you, and recognizing that you weren’t missing anything, and that the friendships you have at church are likely to be the best friendships you’ll ever have. Not to mention that when you’re having that fellowship, you have more fun by accident than any partier has on purpose. Those people at that party are seeking after what you already have.
…The objective is to plant a seed that will bear fruit at the right time in the future.
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- jspark3000 said: SPIRITUAL MIND GRENADE
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