Category Archives: Relationships
Every one of us has no doubt said something we wish we hadn’t spoken. What came out of our mouth was embarrassing, maybe even hurtful to someone else. Perhaps we said a curse word or repeated gossip someone told us. Whatever the case, we wonder, “Where did that come from?”
For me, this truth was driven home when I said something off-color in front of a couple of ladies in a coffee shop line. There I was, the leader of a Christian organization and an elder in my church, and I said something inappropriate in front of some women I knew. I was embarrassed the moment the words came out, but I didn’t give it a second thought. I rationalized it wasn’t that bad.
A few weeks later, there I was at the same coffee shop and the exact same comment slipped out in front of another woman! This time the words grieved me. I walked away repenting and hearing the Lord tell me there was something wrong with my heart.
As you spend time fasting from words of judgment, criticism, sarcasm, negativity, complaining, and gossip, it is important that you reflect each day on transgressions made with your words. Notice if certain patterns develop. Is there a particular person you feel free to gossip with? Are you being critical of your boss or your spouse daily?
The same way a person’s language reveals what part of the country he’s from or his national origin, as followers of Christ our words quickly reveal what kingdom we’re living in. Does the kingdom of this world or the kingdom of our God rule in your heart? If sarcasm, criticism, and complaining flow forth from our heart to our lips, then our country of origin is exposed as worldly.
Submit your words to the Holy Spirit’s control so that His kingdom will rule in your heart and the words that flow from your lips will be pure and pleasing to Him.
Ask yourself, “Have the words I’ve spoken recently reflected the kingdom of this world or God’s kingdom?” If any words come out of your mouth today that you need to repent of, do so. Ask the Holy Spirit to touch your heart and keep those words out of your mouth tomorrow.
“So you have a girlfriend?” I ask.
“Yeah, we’ve been going out for three weeks now.”
“Oh really? Where exactly are you going?” I can’t help but respond.
As a Middle School minister, this is a common conversation I find myself having with students. What I really want to say to the young man is, “Let me get this straight: You don’t have a job, can’t drive and just learned how to wake yourself up in the morning…and you’re in a monogamous, exclusive romantic relationship?”
Don’t Awaken Love
In preparation for our upcoming sermon series on manhood and womanhood, A Beautiful Design, I’ve spent some time reading through and meditating on the Song of Solomon. A passage at the end of the book has been haunting me as I think about and hear our middle schoolers chatter away about “love” and relationships.
I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
that you not stir up or awaken love
until it pleases.
Here’s another translation:
Oh, let me warn you, sisters in Jerusalem:
Don’t excite love, don’t stir it up,
until the time is right.
After explicitly (have you read this book?!) describing the passion and emotion associated with love, marriage, romance and sex, the Shulamite woman (Solomon’s wife) gathers her younger sisters and gives this stern warning. Why? What’s the harm? I’m sure daughters of Jerusalem asked this, and so will your middle schooler. If we continue reading, we find the answer in verses 6 and 7.
…for love is strong as death,
jealousy is fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
the very flame of the LORD.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
It’s as if the Shulamite woman is saying this:
“Girls, I can’t tell you how powerful and overwhelming these affections that I now have for Solomon, my husband, are. Things have been awakened and stirred in me that I never could have imagined. And they are good. They are meant to be. God created them for this purpose: that my husband and I my share an intimacy and closeness that strengthens our covenantal bond until death parts us. So with that, understand that these feelings are dangerous in the wrong context. Don’t excite them or awaken them before the time is right. Don’t arouse love until it pleases.”
Caught in the Web
Middle schoolers aren’t allowed to drive, they can’t vote, and they still have a few years until they’re old enough to watch R-rated movies. So should we allow them to entangle themselves in the web of romantic love by permitting them to pair off and “date”? Personally, I don’t think they are ready. I don’t think they have the emotional maturity to properly evaluate or handle the feelings associated with eros (passionate, romantic, sexual) love. Time and time again, I have witnessed middle schoolers who begin to “date” awaken this eros, only to then become so enveloped by it that it consumes nearly every waking moment and thought. And many of us have seen the devastation a middle school breakup can cause, especially for young girls.
Parents, it may seem cute and innocent that your 12 or 13 year old has a boyfriend/girlfriend, but heed the words of the Shulamite woman. Don’t encourage and enable them to start awakening love before the time is right.
Hanging Out Without Pairing Up
Please don’t mishear me. I’m not saying the next time you throw a pool party that the boys and girls need to have separate swim time. Obviously that is a little extreme, but I don’t think discouraging boyfriends, girlfriends, dates and dating for your middle schooler is.
Young men and young women need to learn how to interact with one another in healthy, nonsexual, unromantic ways. This is where their energy and efforts should be focused in young adolescence. As Paul commands Timothy to treat young women as sisters in all purity (mind and body), our young teens need to learn to do the same (1 Tim. 4:2). Allow and encourage middle schoolers to hang out in mixed gender groups and crowds, but consider postponing the dating world for your child lest you find a very short star-crossed lover roaming the halls of your house.
It is much harder to teach a middle schooler to value friendships with the opposite sex more than dating the opposite sex, but friendship is the better thing. Rather than awakening something they are not yet ready to handle, relating to each other as friends helps them remember something they already know but are prone to forget in adolescence: that we are first and foremost brothers and sisters.
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I recently cut ties with a close friend of mine this past May and even now I still feel the effects of losing him as a friend and confidant. The situation itself was just weird from my perspective and it didn’t make much sense at all.
For the believer friendships are very important because it allows us to have people around us that understand our sinful struggles and be able to relate, confide, and give our raw honest opinions and emotions to. For the believer these friendships mean so much to us that we invest our time, emotion and energy into it… I mean we personify LOVE as mention in the Bible.
Let’s bring this all together!
What losing a friend has taught me, that there are no sure relationships. (Wait a second and let me get to the point) What I MEAN is we should take no relationship for granted like it’s going to be there all our lives. Our rest is in the Lord and he is our true confidant.
What losing a friend has taught me is that some folks are in your life for a season. Seasons can last for weeks, months, years or decades. These people whether good or bad are in your life for a reason and there to teach you specific lessons in life depending on the role you allow them to play in the relationship. Whether the season is good or bad isn’t important as to being able to learn from the experiences.
Losing a friend has taught me to have tougher skin. Right now, I’m starting a business, working 2 jobs, getting ready to move to Texas and this situation I’m in has to have all my focus and energy. Heck! I have my own salvation to workout before the Lord and if I choose to dive in my own depression about losing someone, I could possibly lose the race.
What Losing a friend has taught me. Is to adjust the way I CONDEMN and PERSECUTE other believers for their walk. I’ve changed a lot since a year ago, The Lord has been gracious enough to put some Godly men in my lives to help motivate me to do better. They have both taught me to be more balanced with the way I DEAL with people and judge others. True enough when I first came back to the Lord I was exposing the occult and deleting people off FB for no reason. But now, I’m able to be patient with others and let them see the light in my life. I starting to see the lost as souls for the Lord to nurture NOT for me to judge unrighteously (And I still believe we need to judge harshly sometimes within the church though)
Losing a friend is tough for the majority of us, but I encourage you guys to seek the Lord in everything. Talk to your mentors, Pastors and Leaders at your local church. We have to be real sometimes and just bare our soul to people in order to heal.
Thanks for reading!