Saturday, February 11, 2006


A young woman was talking to me recently about a problem she was having with a young man. This young lady, of extraordinarily high ideals, has made for herself a goal to not date a young man until she is older, wiser, more knowledgeable of her own heart and mind, and more in command over them. This means not ‘going out’ alone with a young man; for to do so, she believes, can lead a young man into believing that she esteems him more than she really does, and also can lead him to allow his heart to go where she does not wish it to. And why does she not wish a young man to do so? Because she is saving herself for the young man of God who will become her lord husband, and because she would not scar the heart of any young man whose heart is meant ultimately for another.

The young man in question is not a believer, but he is a very charming, intelligent skeptic who is probably interested in this girl—we will call her M.E.—because she is so different from all the other girls he has known. She is undeniably a romantic, but she is such a one who has devoted herself to her “delusion” of there being a young man somewhere in the world that God is leading her towards, and she is intent on waiting for God to bring this young man to her and her to him. M.E. has re-arranged her life and actions to suit this belief, and she knows how odd it looks. She also feels very alone in this conviction. None of her friends who once held to it seem to hold as fast to it as they once did. Perhaps she is too delusional, she asks?

M.E. had an opportunity, in a certain course of events, to address this young man in private, which she did. She had a cup of coffee with him in a local shop. She paid for her own; he paid for his. While they sipped, she explained to him why she does as she does. She did not approach the idea of this young man’s apparent interest in her. She merely described her reasons for doing what she does, in the hope that he would somehow see that there is no future in the relationship. After their coffee, they parted on good terms.

Now she feels a little guilty. Did she do wrong by having a cup of coffee alone with this boy in a coffee shop in the middle of the day? My advice to her was that perhaps she might have done only one thing: consult her parents, especially her father, who is almost always accessible by cell phone. M.E. could have done this right there in front of the young man, which would have spoken volumes to him of her sweet dependence on her parents’ counsel, and done great things to show him what fathers are for. (The young man’s parents are divorced; he lives with neither of them, but with his grandmother.)

I also advised her to listen to her conscience, which is informed by Scripture. While what she did was not, I thought, sinful in itself, and probably needful, she might have avoided it if she thought it might do damage to her conscience. In this case, the thing to do is not to agonise about how one has failed. The thing to do is to run to Christ, and expose the hearts that we ourselves do not understand (“Search my heart, O Lord, and see if there be any wicked way in me”) and to ask Him for the wisdom that He promises, and to apply for and receive forgiveness—and leave it there. We are, I reminded her, in Christ, which means that He has covered us with His righteousness, not our own.

I also advised M.E. not to take too much of the condition of another person’s heart upon herself. If this young man is inordinately attracted to her, though she is modest in manner and dress, it is not a call to become unattractive. (I do allow for a certain wise pastor’s permission for young ladies to exercise what he called “holy rudeness” towards the truly obnoxious male.) M.E. is what she is, and in what she is, she desires to be a lovely woman of God. It is not her responsibility to wear a burqa and act like someone with no personality if young men cannot control themselves. And the young men in question need to understand that they too, must confess their own sin, and not, like Adam, blame the sin on the woman.

This is a lead in for another entry on Feminism (oh, that dirty word!) that I would like to address within the next couple of days.


Blogger The Clinging Vine said...

M.E. sounds like a treasure. Perhaps the LORD will use that cup of coffee to draw the young man to Himself. Wouldn't that be cool?

12:30 PM  

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