Beautiful Daughters and Impure Sons: Who Does the Modesty Debate Really Hurt?

In a few short months, spring will be here and then summer and arguments are going to take place across our homes. Daughters will want to wear things that father’s suggest aren’t appropriate. Youth Pastors will break out slogans like “Modest is Hottest” when going over the rules for trips involving fun in the sun. I wish the church were free from debate on the issue, but it is often the center of every summer youth trip. I can’t think of a single issue that caused more tension in the nearly 20 years I spent as a student pastor.

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I have both a daughter and a son who are perhaps too young to feel the sting of this debate but as they grow older, they will hear many things and so I write mostly for them. You see the debate often stings both our girls and our guys because it reinforces negative perceptions about what it is to be male and female. If I can, I want to wade in and address this issue not by proposing a modesty rule (please read all of the post), but by proposing that Jesus should guard the hearts of both our girls and our guys when it comes to what we wear and how we view others.

First let’s talk about why a simple clothing rule isn’t enough (notice I didn’t say necessary, please read the entire article). For starters lets just imagine that you can put the same bathing suit on two different people and it is completely possible that your heart will be tempted towards lust with one and repulsion with the other. There is a difference between a hairy overweight old man in speedo’s and cowboy boots and a male model wearing the same thing… the same is true for an attractive young girl vs an overweight grandmother wearing the same designer two piece. Neither the outfit, nor the skin it reveals, prompt lust… It is already in the heart of the one lusting! It simply doesn’t help our daughters to tell them to “cover up” because their flesh is like kryptonite to young boys.  May of them struggle with their body image as it is. For the most part, they already compare themselves to other girls, super models in magazines, and have a part of themselves that they think is ugly. I can’t think of a genuine benefit derived for our daughters by treating all girls/ body types the same.  Before you set out to stone me, read the rest of the article.

Let’s also imagine for a moment that lust isn’t a particularly male issue. I know that guys are stimulated visually, etc. but many of our girls experience lust issues that are very similar to how our boys are visually stimulated. If we are honest, it has never been a single gender issue! We do our girls a huge disservice when we imagine that only boys deal with lust and treat it like an exclusively male problem. Our girls can privately feel even more ashamed and never seek help with their temptation to lust. In this generation, more than ever, the conversation about lust is one that must take place with both our daughters and our sons.  That might be news to you, but I challenge you to research it. (I wish I had listened sooner to parents of daughters who said that this was just as much a valid issue for their daughter as their sons).

Now imagine the negative stereotype that we reinforce with both our girls and boys when we make such a big deal about how boys are so easily tempted into sinful lust. When you teach them the solution is not to flee, but for girls to wear more clothes, you treat them as if they have NO control over the situation at all. I choose to teach my son and daughter that they have NO control over what other people wear, but they CAN control where they look and they should start by seeing where there mother and I choose to look (we still go to the beach where other people don’t obey “the one-piece” rule).  I do this because I think the real issue is in their heart and it doubly damages their heart when we place the emphasis on a rule concerning what someone else wears. First they can deny any real responsibility for their own lust and second because now they get to feel superior to someone else who dresses like a “skank.”

Finally, I want to imagine that the best way to address lust in one individual is not to put more clothes on another. This simply doesn’t solve the problem, it masks it. That would be like looking at the mirror, realizing you are naked and need clothes and painting clothes on the mirror… You are still naked! All you have done is cover the law that exposes the real sin that is in your heart and in the process you put a false law on someone else.  I read a book one time by a woman who lived in the middle east and she commented about how a man stared her up and down lustily while she was wearing a burka! His lust, was his lust and it wasn’t her fault. It’s apparent that no matter what you wear some people will choose to lust (this is particularly true in a generation that has been exposed to pornography over and over again). Keep Reading.

So now lets address 3 things that are present in this debate from a biblical perspective because ultimately for the believer, God’s Word should guide our actions and reactions.

1. The bible has a lot to say about authority.  (We won’t cover everything but we will hit a few highlights. ) We are reminded by Paul in Romans 13 that all authority ultimately flows from God. This begins in the home where we are to honor our father and mother (Exodus 20:12, Deuteronomy 5:16, Ephesians 5:2). So if our dad or mom asks us to wear something “less revealing,” while we live under their roof, the moral, right thing to do is to change our clothes. Doesn’t matter if you think they are wrong, or they don’t understand that it’s the style, or what other reason you might have. The real question is, will you obey the authority placed over you?

It is not different if your church has a rule about bathing suits or mixed bathing or whatever it is. If you disagree with the leadership on how they exercise that rule, have a conversation about it. Appeal through the appropriate channels by going to leadership over you, but most importantly abide by the rules and respect the authority over you. In this context you may find that there is very good reason for the rule. When I was a youth pastor, it was simple, I didn’t want the job at looking at all of our daughters and determining if their swim suit is too revealing or not. A simple clothing rule allows female leaders (who may have differing opinions) a consistent standard to coach girls through as a matter of respecting authority on youth trips. (Of course you should also have standards for guys as well, that the male leaders should oversee.) Does this prevent lust? I imagine that it doesn’t. It simply gives us a standard we can appeal to. Just like principles of public schools who don’t want the job of examining everyone’s leggings or saggy pants, sometimes it is better for the organization as a whole to have a dress code for both girls and guys. If you are going to participate in a function of that organization, you should submit yourself to their dress code.  I am very appreciative of parents, girls, and guys who acknowledge the struggle of leading a group this age.

2. Let’s talk about modesty from a biblical perspective. Most often we refer to 1 Timothy 2:9-10 when we talk about modesty in the church: “likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works” (1 Timothy 2:9-10). I think a few things are apparent in these verses. First, modesty here has nothing to do with swimsuits. Second, it’s in a list that gives us a clue to what the word modest might mean. It is included with words like self-control, gold, pearls, costly attire. Paul is addressing the “over dressing” of women in church. Modesty in this context is “don’t flaunt your wealth at church so people will look up to you.” The take away would actually be to wear less jewelry, less expensive clothes, do less with your hair, etc. so that your focus is on worshipping God, not seeking the attention of others.

While this passage doesn’t directly relate to modesty in a lust context, it does give us a good guideline to examine what we wear in light of our own hearts. When you pick out clothes or even apply make-up to say, “Hey look at me!” you place too much emphasis on your appearance. It’s good to put in a little time into your hygiene and some thought into your clothes. There are even good reasons for dressing up But when your heart’s desire is overly focused on garnering the attention of others rather than exalting God, you are looking for your esteem in the wrong direction. You will never be truly satisfied with what others think of you. Only when you are satisfied in Christ will you begin to overflow into these works that Paul talks about.

Biblical modesty is found just as much in what you do as what you wear.

Biblical modesty is found just as much in what you do as what you wear. we should want our girls and guys to be modest in this sense. Pay less attention to “dressing to impress” and more attention to “serving God by serving others”

On a very practical side note (because my daughter & son may read this one day).  Physical beauty is fleeting (James 1:11). That is why there are make-up artists for movie stars and many have had plastic surgery. We all age! The character of a life submitted to Christ will always attract the right kind of folks and will maintain a level of beauty that surpasses anything that make-up and clothes can do. It doesn’t matter what’s in your DNA or your body type, good works will always look good on you (1 Peter 3:4).

3. Finally, let’s address lust. This seems to be where this whole debate started. Let’s understand that lust is a problem for girls and guys. If we are honest, it has been this way for a long time. We know of at least one Egyptian woman from antiquity that had the hot’s for a certain guy named Joseph (Genesis 39). Then there was also the woman from Proverbs 7.  So it’s not like the Bible doesn’t mention female lust at all. It is in there and even more grossly represented in passages that I didn’t feel comfortable listing here. Lust is not a male only sin.

So I think first, we should recognize lust as something that we may be tempted too. With that in mind we are told by Paul that believers will always have a way of escape from their temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). We need not use the excuse that, this is just what guys do. Or that we can’t help ourselves. If you are a believer you have control over your body and your thoughts. We can choose to flee this temptation (1 Corinthians 10:14). In fact this is exactly what Joseph did when Potiphar’s wife approached him (Genesis 39:12). Paul says to flee sexual immorality (I Corinthians 6:18). He reminds Timothy to “flee youthful passions and desires” (2 Timothy 2:22). Paul addresses lust in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 and he says that you have control over your body and that to deny this reality is to ignore God! In the Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus addresses lust he says that we are to fight it to the extent that we would cut out our eye or cut off our hand (notice that he doesn’t say that we should put the burden on someone else). We must flee temptation! We must control our own bodies through the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us! We must commit to radical means to root this form of idolatry out of our lives! This is the counsel of scripture on dealing with individuals who are prone to lust.

I grew up in a Christian home. We talked a lot about God. My mother gave me the “Birds and the bees” talk when I was very young, perhaps too young to understand what she was eluding too (I am thankful for her attempt at what must have been a very awkward conversation). However, later when my heart was awakened to be attracted to girls I didn’t have any guidance from my father on how to guard my heart from lust, or that it was even possible. I struggled for a very long time in a cycle of lust and guilt. It was easy to judge girls as being “skanks” for what they wore and who knows, maybe they had their own heart issues, but it didn’t do my heart any good to remove the sin label from my heart and place it judgmentally on theirs. I wouldn’t find freedom until I dealt with the lust in my heart on Jesus’ terms. That is what I long for most for our sons and daughters, that they would deal honestly with their sin and temptation before our Savior.

So if I were to wade into this debate for the sake of my son and daughter, I would say, “Submit to whatever authority is over you. Examine what you wear and why you wear it so that you might reflect a godly character more than you seek personal attention. Flee temptation to lust. It may seem like you are powerless, but if you are a believer you have the Holy Spirit of God in you and He is more than enough!

Your comments and thoughts are welcome. Please keep them civil and to the point. Please also read the entire article before you comment. I didn’t cover anything exhaustively so I’m aware that the issue is bigger than a 2500 word essay.

You may also be interested in this blog post:

How do you Respond when your child tells you they have viewed pornography?

How To Make Good Friends: A True Friend Will Bring Out The Best In You

Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel. (Proverbs 27:9 ESV)

There is something pleasant about what I like to call, “smell good.” There is cologne, perfume, and body spray all designed to get you smelling good. Then there are air fresheners, scentsy pots, candles, etc. all designed to get a room or a space to smell good. My favorite is coffee. I have an automatic coffee pot that goes off in the morning and part of waking up is noise of the grinder and the smell of Starbucks brewing in the kitchen. Those aromas are welcoming scents. You smile because the room is pleasant to be in, the person next to you smells like flowers or a forest, and you know you are about to get a cup of coffee.

A good friend is like that. You smile when you see them, because you know that you are about to get good advice from them. They know you. They know what your goals in life are. They know what you need. When you are confused and don’t know what to do… they remind you of who you are.  When you are scared because you don’t think you will do well or are good enough, they remind you about what you have already overcome.

advice on friendship

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17 ESV)

You probably don’t know much about ancient metallurgy so I’ll help you out here. You used to use something iron to sharpen iron. By scraping two swords together for example it made both sharper… it didn’t make them duller. That’s how a good friendship works. You bring out the best in each other. You share what you’ve read in your quiet time and it challenges the other one to get serious about their quiet time. They share about an encounter they had at school where they got to share the gospel and you start looking for ways to share at your school.

The coolest thing I ever got to see was there was a youth group who went to about 12 different schools who decided that their first group of friends was going to be each other. This was difficult since they didn’t see each other every day at school.  So one would have a birthday party and they would invite the whole youth group! It was hard to tell what was a birthday party and what was a youth group activity. This group challenged one another to read their bibles and study the word. They raked widow’s yards, they hung out at each other’s houses after church. They went to camp together and mission trips together and then they went their separate ways. Some went to college, some went to work, all but one not only go to church, but are leaders in their church in some way. One is a music minister, a couple are youth ministers, one is a Christian counselor, Several are teachers and coaches, some are on the mission field, some are nurses that do medical mission trips every year…

They’ve all moved on in their life and friendships have changed as is the course of things, but when they run into each other and when they do get together there is so much joy and laughter. There isn’t a bunch of regret.

Recently I ran across a guy I knew several years ago and he couldn’t look me in the eye. He had done something terrible in the past to hurt someone I love. He didn’t know if I knew or not (I knew). As soon as he saw me you could see the shame cover his face. He still lives with the regret today. I bet if he could take back that moment, he would. He made a very clear choice in the 6th grade about what type of friends he would have and as a result he ended up in something worse than a “kitten killing” type situation that really has caused a lot of damage in his own life and in the lives of others.

The question is, what will you do? What type of friends will you put on that first level?

 

How To Make Good Friends: Not Everyone Who Claims to Be Your Friend, Is Actually A Friend

Some people will say they are your friends, when they are not. No one is really immune to this. Even Jesus had a friend like this, “His name was Judas.” If you don’t know about Judas, Judas was one of the twelve disciples and he betrayed Jesus with a kiss (just so you know kissing on the cheek was/ is an eastern greeting much like a handshake is today in the west)

advice on friendship

Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. (Proverbs 27:5-6 ESV

Sometimes your friends are the ones who tell you what you don’t want to hear. Sometimes the people who tell you what you want to hear are your enemies.

There was a little bird that was flying south for the winter. He had a late start and the snow had already started to fall. The snow quickly became ice on his wings and grounded the poor little bird in a barnyard. He was sitting there muttering to himself, “Stupid snow” wondering what he was going to do to get out of this mess.

Just then he saw a big old heifer walk his way. He thought, “Cow’s are nice, this cow will help me.” She lazily walked over to where he was, and then walked just passed him. His wings were frozen to the ground now and he couldn’t move. He craned his head back to see if she had left him behind but as he looked straight up he saw her tail go up and then all of the sudden the sky grew dark and the poor little bird found itself covered in manure (cow poop)… The bird was extremely mad at the cow!

Full of negative self talk the bird thought, “now everything is worse! Life really stinks. Not only am I stuck in a barnyard, but this cow just unloaded on me… what a mean and selfish old cow.But despite the stink, the manure had another effect. The hot steamy pile of poo also served to melt the ice off of the bird’s wings! The bird soon realized this and began to tweet. “I’m free!, Tweet, tweet, I’m free! Tweet, tweet.” Just then a cat was passing by and heard this pile of poo tweeting. The cat dug in as fast as he could. The bird now realizing that someone was there helping him out of the poo tweeted even louder… then soon as the bird was free…. the cat ate it!

There are a few lessons from this story that are clear in this passage as well.

  1. Not everyone who dumps poo on you does it for your bad. Sometimes what you need feels like someone just dumped poo on an already bad situation. A friend will rebuke you to your face.
  2. Not everyone who is eager to help get you out of poo is there for your good. There are people that will say things and it will feel good to hear them, but they are serving themselves by saying them… not you.
  3. Finally, when you are in the middle of what you feel like is poo… don’t tweet about it! The people who respond and tell you what you want to hear… are not your friends. Another Proverb says it like this:

A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet. (Proverbs 29:5 ESV)

True friends are honest. They don’t always take your side. They are willing to tell you when you are wrongBut that’s not what we like to hear, is it? We love putting people around us that tell us what we want to hear. We want to be right in our own convictions and opinions. Solomon also says to take the high road. It is better to speak the truth now and offend someone short term than help them go down a destructive path.

Whoever rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with his tongue. (Proverbs 28:23 ESV)

One of the things I do as a pastor is that I marry people. Part of that is pre-marriage counseling. I always tell the couple up front, “If I don’t think you will make it, I won’t do your wedding.” I’d rather risk offending them and let them work on whatever issue it is that caused the red flag then flatter them for the moment and see them get hurt later! There have been times where someone else did the wedding, then the couple hit thr roadblock I warned them about and they have come back for marriage counseling and advice because I told them the truth to begin with.

People who care about you will confront you, people who care about what you think of THEM will only tell you what you want to hear. Life is too short to entertain deep level friendships where people only tell you what you want to hear. Look for people who will tell you the truth, even when it hurts to hear it. (By the way,

How To Make Good Friends: To Make A Friend, Be A Friend

Sometimes when we think about finding friends we can put the focus on “others” instead of focusing on us. But that’s not healthy. The kind of friends you are looking for aren’t looking for friends who can just mooch off of them. (If they are, something is wrong). You have to be friend material. You won’t find the right kind of friends, until you can be the right kind of friend.

advice on friendshipDrive out a scoffer, and strife will go out, and quarreling and abuse will cease. He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend. (Proverbs 22:10-11 ESV)

Did you catch that? No one likes a scoffer. No one likes hanging out with the dude that says, “this sucks” all the time. No one likes hanging out with a drama queen. People might endure it, but they aren’t really looking forward to it. It’s the girl who knows how to give a sincere compliment and who isn’t threatened by someone else’s success that everyone wants to have as a friend. You want to be popular?  Try going to school with a positive attitude and talk about everything you like. No meanness about stuff you don’t like. No harsh judging. Just compliment the good. You’ll start attracting the right kind of crowd

Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends. (Proverbs 17:9 ESV)

Then also guard your mouth. No one likes to be around a gossip. Some of you know first-hand what it is like to have your relationship destroyed by someone who shared your secrets. A friend covers over your weakness out of love for you. It’s when you betray secrets that you lose the title of friend.

A friend is the one who will let you know when something is wrong. I remember sitting at a fancy place to eat. We looked up from our table and watched a woman walk by. She looked nervous like she was about to meet someone. She must have just come from the bathroom because she had on these high-heal shoes that had toilet paper wrapped around the heal. Everywhere she walked she was pulling about 4 or 5 squares of quilted northern…. I didn’t know what to do. A friend would have known what to do, a friend would have looked her in the eye and told her. “You’ve got TP on your shoe. Go back to the ladies room and clean it up.”

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (Proverbs 17:17 ESV

When the sky falls for someone, be there. You can’t be there for everyone.  And that is what makes a friend a friend, you choose to be there for them. Who will you choose to be there for?

You want to make a good friend? Then be a good friend. Start focusing on serving others and one day you will look up in your moment of need and realize that you are surrounded by incredible friends.

How To Make Good Friends: Who You Pick to Be your Friend Matters

  1. Who You Pick To Be Your Friend Matters

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. (Proverbs 13:20 ESV)

I wish someone would have hammered this in to my life when I was your age. It would have helped me walk away from some stupid friendships. I still would have cared for those people, but they wouldn’t have been on my most influential level of friends. So when they said, “Hey, lets go get drunk,” I would have said, “that is stupid” and maybe I would have had enough guts to say, “you are going to ruin your life.” I cringe now to think about what could have happened and I wish I had known to say something then.advice on friendship

I made a different group of friends later and I still had pressure from my new group of friends, but it wasn’t pressure to do bad things. My new friends said stuff like, “Man I was reading my bible the other day and…” or “Hey let’s go look for a new book at the Christian book store.” And “Let’s go to taco bell and then play mini-golf.”

Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare. (Proverbs 22:24-25 ESV)

You need to look around at your first level of friends. If they are losers, then you’re going to be a loser. If they sass their momma, guess what, you’re going to want to sass your momma. You will be like your friends.

We take on the characteristics of those we hang around. If you hang out with a crew that cusses up a storm… you will be cussing up a storm. You hang out with a guy who gets mad and throws stuff, you’re going to throw stuff. The writer of Proverbs says that friendship with angry people is like a snare. Now I realize that we don’t live in a trapping society so I’m going to help explain that you:

To snare an animal you set out a food source (preferably on a path that the animal takes). Then you lay out a stick or two to hold open the hoop and the animal steps in. Once it is caught if fights and fights against the snare, all the while it’s own effort is what causes it to stay trapped. So the writer is saying, don’t trap yourself with bad friends.

Now the reverse of this is also true, if you hang out with a crew that rakes widow’s yards… you will be raking widows yards.

There once was this lady at one of our old churches named Miss M. Everyone thought she was mean. She talked bad about everyone, including the pastor, the youth pastor (that was me), the music minister, she would have talked about you if she had met you. She was a mean and bitter gossip… The only problem is that I didn’t know she was a mean and bitter gossip and I saw her back yard was full of leaves. Some of our youth were looking for something to do and begging for an activity and so I said, “Ok, grab a rake, gloves, and leaf blower if you’ve got one, we’re going to rake leaves in Miss M’s yard.” So we did.

She came home about half way through and it was like a light switch changed in that woman. We saw her smile. She went in and made lemonade for the students and me. The next week at church instead of running her mouth about the pastor or gossiping about folks she was bragging on our students.

That was a decade ago, I was recently back in town and I saw her in a restaurant and she came across the floor and hugged my neck (still all smiles). Those kids have grown and gone different ways but instead of having memories of where they hurt one another, tore others down with their speech, or did stupid stuff, they have a ton of memories about how they encouraged each other and did great things to help others.

Who You Pick to Be Your Friend Matters.

How to Make Good Friends: (Part 1- My Story)

 

Have you ever been in a situation where you are the new kid at school and everyone knows everyone else, but you don’t know anyone? I’ve been there lots of times, I’ve made some mistakes, and I’ve seen some pretty cool stuff happen, so I took some time to write out my thoughts for my kids who are facing a “new school” situation, their friends/ parents who are facing new school situations, and to lots of my young adult friends who are headed to far away places and will be in a place where they need to make new friends. As a father, friend, and pastor I want the best and them and you.  You see the decisions you make now about friendships really matter.

There are different levels of friendships. First level friends are the individuals and groups of friends that we are the closest to and whose opinion matters the most. Second level friends have the ability to become first level friends. They are cool, but they aren’t our first choice of people to hang out with. You will still go to their house or have them over at your house, but not all the time. Third level friends are more like good acquaintances. They tend to be our friends in certain situations such as “math class and lunch” but we really don’t seek them out much besides that. These are the folks we know, get along with, and even respect, but there isn’t a strong bond there. You would wave, say hey to them in the hall at school but you probably don’t have a clue about their real life.advice on friendship.png

 

Making a true friend can be difficult. When you were just a child, your parents opinion was the only opinion that really mattered. Now that you are emerging into your pre-teen and teenage years, you really care about what other people your age think. Nobody wants to be rejected. You can feel intense pressure to fit in.

When I was in middle school it was cool to have jeans with holes in the knees. You could actually buy jeans with holes already in the knees! Some manufacturers obviously did not get the memo because they also sold jeans with reinforced knees that were more difficult to rip. It was like they were against fashion! Guess which kind of jeans my mom bought me?…  I had to work extra hard to put holes in the knees because I wanted to fit in and be accepted.

So tearing up a pair of jeans and making your mom mad is one thing, but what if something larger is at stake. What if in the process of looking for the acceptance by others, you lose a part of yourself? What if you give up more than you gain? What if next year you don’t know those people anymore but you still carry scars from the stuff you’ve done?

You see I’ve lived through that. I’ve been the new guy at school desperate to make new friends. I’ve felt isolated like everyone was staring at me and been in social situations where I was just praying for someone to rescue me from my isolation.  Just someone to talk to so I didn’t look so weird… then you hear the girl in the corner laugh and you think they are laughing at you and your isolation, your insecurities are just feeding on one another until finally someone walks over and asks you a few questions. Part of you is relieved that you are at least talking, another part of you wonders if this too isn’t part of some cruel joke. Then they say something you know you should disagree with like “let’s all go murder a bunch of helpless kittens.” And the one thing you swore you would always be against you find yourself invited into and you have a choice to make. Do you violate your conscience and join them in murdering kittens or do you risk another hour of social awkwardness?

So to be honest, people probably aren’t tempting you to murder cats. It’s more like gossip. Maybe its drug related or pressure to do sexual things to fit in. I could be looking at dirty pictures or watching movies that you know you’re not supposed to watch. Hanging out in places your parents told you not to go.

Some of you “feel” this need to be accepted so deeply that you would do stuff that you know is wrong just for a total stranger’s approval. Something that you were normally against you would now go and watch, observe, participate in just so you would not feel alone.

The irony is that even though you feel it so intensely in the moment, social isolation will pass and may even be forgotten, but you will carry the scars.

That’s how it happened for me. It wasn’t murdering kittens, it was underage drinking. I knew my grandfather was an alcoholic. But when a “friend” said let’s go get drunk. I caved under the pressure. One night they put a fifth of vodka in my hand and said drink this and I drank enough vodka in just a few minutes to kill me. If I had been a smaller person I probably would have died. As it was I displayed all the symptoms of alcohol poisoning (except for death) but wasn’t taken to a hospital. I was thrown in the back of a pickup without my shirt (it had vomit all over it) in the middle of winter. When I passed out and they couldn’t wake me up, they propped me up against a dirty nasty toilet in some guys bathroom with a space heater.

I don’t have those “friends” anymore, but I do carry the scars around from what did while I was with them. That day I realized I needed to make a change in my life, I needed better “friends.”

Have you ever felt pressure to make friends? Maybe you are a new kid a school, or maybe for whatever reason you’ve had a falling out with your old friends, or you realize that maybe your friends aren’t a good influence but you wonder how to make good friends.  Over the next few days I will blog about how to make good friends.

The Bible says a lot about friendship. We are going to focus on the book of Proverbs. Proverbs is about the only book in the bible that you can just pick a verse at random, read, and walk away with a healthy sense of what the author meant. Most of the other books of the bible you need to read like a real book (from start to finish) in order to get context. Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings (mostly written by Solomon). Over the next four days we will look at four truths.

  1. It Matters Who You Pick To Be Your Friend.
  2. To Make A Friend, You Have to Be A Friend
  3. Not Everyone Who Claims to be Your Friend, Is Your Friend
  4. A True Friend Will Bring Out The Best In You

I’m looking forward to discussing this together.

 

Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family (A REVIEW)

parenting

I’ve read a few parenting books now. Not because my parents were awful at parenting but because I’m not sure I’m that good. It always helps to get biblical insight into our everyday routines and practices and that is what I love most about this new offering by Paul David Tripp. This book is real, it’s practical and most importantly the author consults the scripture for application specifically relevant for parenting in this generation.

I’ll be honest it starts a little slow. If you are used to reading fiction or don’t read much the first few chapters, while beneficial, will be difficult to wade through. However, by chapter three the reading pace picks up and more ‘drama‘ is introduced to each of the chapters. Dr. Tripp provides modern stories of parents and children of varying ages and how different situations play out. You find yourself reading deeper and wondering if he has secretly been watching your family. Thankfully he admits his own faults as a parent along the way and comes off as a humble guide rather than condescending.

I really appreciate the tone throughout the book, while laying out gospel principles in parenting where you may feel like a failure he is ever extending grace (a gospel component no doubt). And in those moments when you feel like you could have written the chapter because these are things you were already aware of, He reminds you that this too is by grace. I especially appreciate that he doesn’t leave off the subject of parenting teenagers and young adults but includes theses stages of life and development.

So if you are a parent or would like to be a parent one day, I highly recommend this book to you! It’s great! No matter how discouraging your past, it will leave you encouraged with hope for the future. And even if you came from a great Christian home with wonderful gospel centered parents, this book will provide fresh reminders for a whole new context of parenting.

I  highly recommend Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles to any parent or future parent.  I can see it being especially helpful and encouraging for parents and ministers to children. The retail price is $22.99 (hardcover), and is available around the web in places like Amazon.com for $16.30.  I gave it five stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”