NUMBER SIX: Dating Well
Many of you date. Dating can be a good thing when it’s done well. It’s important to get to know people of the opposite gender and learn about how you behave and respond in those kinds of relationships. I even know a few couples today who have thriving marriages that started in high school dating relationships. But let’s be honest, the statistics aren’t good for acheiving that kind of result typically. You already know that most dating relationships in high school don’t last very long, or at least most don’t last beyond high school. So it’s important to keep that in mind. The odds of your dating relationship ending up in a lifelong marriage are not in your favor.
I know, that view point is so pessimistic. “What a horrible outlook on dating, Lee!” I understand why you might want to say that to me. I was once in love with a girl in high school, and then I was again with another girl, and then again with another, oh…and then again before I graduated high school. Wait! Before you quit reading, hang in there with me here. I only started this letter to you with those thoughts to help you have a realistic perspective when you’re looking at your dating relationship.
Here’s what I mean. You have to remember that you might be the only real connection to Jesus the person you are dating might have. Seriously, you could be best representation of God and how his people are to live. And, if they already had a connection to Jesus when you started your dating relationship, if the relationship goes in a negative and damaging way emotionally, that might cause them to become jaded and leave Jesus, and I know you don’t want that result.
So, when you’re dating someone you have to be very responsible with how you behave and act in that relationship. Are you loving and kind? Are you exhibiting the characteristics of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, self-control, faithfulness? Are you showing this person what it means to live and walk in the Spirit of God? My friends, understand that your testimony is so important right now! You are teaching your dating partner about God just by living out your walk with him.
Listen, I messed up a lot at your age when I was dating people. I asked for forgiveness a lot, from God and the girls I dated. I know it’s not easy. You’re even still trying to figure out what you believe and how all of this impacts your own life. I get that.
Maybe think about it like this: Keep God as your default. When it comes to a decision, think about what God wants you to do in that moment. Sounds like “WWJD”–What Would Jesus Do?–doesn’t it? Just don’t rip yourself apart when you mess up, because you will mess up and God knows that you will. (About messing up and God’s help, read the first chapter of 1 John when you get a few minutes.) Just keep getting back up and showing that person what it means to be a child of God. Confess your failures to God and your dating partner, ask them for their forgiveness and offer forgiveness to them when it’s needed. Show them what real love is.
Hey, I love you guys. Be strong in your relationships. Invite Jesus into your dating relationship and allow him to transform you both so he is glorified. And pray, pray, pray! Keep turning your relationship and your dating partner over to the Lord and he will continue to help you.
I’ll share more thoughts soon.