Marriage and Family
Here is an excellent article explaining why we encourage a prom alternative...http://thecolleyhouse.org/tag/prom. There are several other good articles as well. May want to bookmark this one!
Every year at this time, I’m reminded when I go to the hairdresser’s that it’s almost time for prom. Then when I go to my favorite consignment shop, I’m reminded by the mother-daughter browsing clientele that it’s almost time for prom. When I look at Facebook, I’m reminded by the prom-posals that have been captured on video that it’s almost time for prom. Truly a lot of time and effort go into the planning and execution of what America has come to view as a sort of rite of passage for teens to enter the world of “adulting”…at least on some social level. Teens know that they are expected to attend, so much so that, if they are not planning to be there (and I mean planning in a comprehensive sense of the term), some explanation is expected.
Today, I hope readers will take the time to listen to a couple of perspectives on the prom. Be sure you listen through to the perspective of a band director in one of our local high schools. May God bless all of our teens who are approaching all of the decisions that go with prom night. One of those decisions is both difficult and consequential.
(This is a rather long article, but I would ask that you read it, all of it, before you assume you know what I am going to say. I have no desire to “spy out another person’s liberty,” but at the same time, I do desire to warn brethren of pitfalls that can harm them. I hope you will find it balanced and truthful, and worthy to share with your Christian friends. — Steve Higginbotham).
I believe the headlines say it all: “How To Have The Most Romantic Night Ever,” “Tonight Will Last Forever,” “Dresses So Hot They Sizzle,” “Your Hottest Prom Body,” and “Sex – It’s Your Call.” These are the messages being marketed to teens regarding the High School rite of passage called, “The Prom.” These were the headlines of such magazines as “Seventeen,” “Young & Modern,” “Prom Magazine,” “Your Prom,” and “Modern Bride,” which all published special issues promoting the Prom. I believe that these popular teen magazines are sending our young people some rather disturbing messages about priorities in life as well as sexual purity.
Before picking out a dress or a tux, or helping your children to do so, I would like for you to weigh the following thoughts before deciding to attend the Prom.
First of all, there is the issue of dancing to consider. Is dancing wrong? No, not necessarily. There is no sin in moving one’s feet to the rhythm of music. Not all dancing involves indecent dress, unchaste contact, or illicit movement. In fact, the Bible records instances when righteous men danced as an expression of their joy (1 Chronicles 15:25-29).
However, dancing that calls for close bodily contact between unmarried males and females; that involves indecent and suggestive bodily movements; and involves impure handling of a dance partner is wrong. The kind of dancing that God’s word condemns is the kind of dancing that stirs one to have impure thoughts, and act in impure ways. Frankly, that is precisely the problem with most of the dancing that takes place today. Its appeal is sex. Now, there is nothing wrong with sexual attraction either. In fact, sexual attraction is a perfectly healthy matter that God created. However, that attraction must be kept within proper bounds. It should never be tantalized or it will very likely get out of control. Unmarried people who have no legitimate means to fulfill their sexual desires need to be extremely careful to avoid any situation that could feed or flame such desires.
While it is true that the Bible does not say, “Thou shalt not dance,” it does say that those who practice “reveling,” “licentiousness,” and “such like sins” shall not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21). There was a time when there was hardly any Christian who would openly defend dancing. The preachers of times past taught against it, and the congregation concurred. So, what has happened? Were the preachers of yesterday wrong about dancing? Has dancing cleaned up its act? Have God’s moral standards changed?
Without any question, none would argue that dancing has not become moral over the years. If anything, the modern dance is more sensuous today than it ever has been. Furthermore, preachers of the past were correct in preaching and warning against fleshly lusts which war against the soul (Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Peter 2:11). And of course, God’s moral law has not changed (Matthew 24:35). What has changed is the level of discipleship to which some are willing to commit themselves. Some apparently seem to be more willing to justify what they desire to do than they are willing to justify God’s high moral calling.
Second, there is an issue of modesty. Many of the dresses that are worn at the Prom are “short at both ends.” I have been in the presence of young girls (Christian girls) who were bragging about how low-cut their dresses were, and how much cleavage they showed. In stark contrast to the mindset of these girls, the apostle Paul instructed women to dress in a manner that professed godliness (1 Timothy 2:9-10). Clothing that exposes or emphasizes those parts of the body that create lust is certainly inappropriate. What is the message of the clothing worn to the Prom? Does it profess one’s sexuality? Does it tease, and entice? Or does it profess godliness and purity?
Third, there is an issue of priority. Is being at the “in” place, and having the approval of one’s peers more important than one’s commitment to Jesus? Is one’s desire for peer acceptance stronger than one’s desire for God’s acceptance?
I have heard some parents speak and act as though their children will be scarred for life if they do not attend the Prom. Quite the contrary, my concerns are that a young person might be scarred for life if they do attend the Prom. Several years ago, the local Proms in the town in which I preached, resulted in…
- Guys and girls renting cabins at a local state park where some spent the night drinking and engaging in sexual immorality.
- Public intoxication resulting in arrests by the local police force.
- “Dirty dancing” (and that’s the way I will describe it. To be more specific would be offensive) performed on the “chaperoned” dance floor which is then broadcast over our local cable system.
- Immodest, revealing, clothing worn which leaves little to the imagination, and must elicit impure thoughts from those of the opposite sex.
- Young people lying to their parents about their whereabouts while staying out all evening and returning home in the morning.
- Parents who forced their children to attend the Prom against the child’s own wishes.
- Parents who attempted to convince other people’s children to attend the Prom because they would be missing out on one of the most important nights of their life.
And here’s the clincher…every one of the actions mentioned above were done, not by the non-Christians living in our community, but by young people who are members of the Lord’s church — Christians! If this is the way that disciples of Jesus conduct themselves at this event, then how do you suppose the world acts? It is no wonder that our school systems would annually mail out a letter to area churches asking for their help in keeping what they described as “one of the most dangerous nights of the year for our young people” as safe as possible?
I fear for those who go to a dance, spend all night with their date, come home the next morning (which happens to be the Lord’s day), and find themselves too exhausted, because of their carousing, to go to worship or to truly worship in spirit the one who shed his blood for their redemption. Do we really think that such actions will be pardoned or excused because, after all, “it’s the Prom?”
Young people, keep your commitment that you made to the Lord. Guard your heart and mind from the fleshly lusts which war against your soul (1 Peter 2:11), and guard your influence as well (1 Timothy 4:12).
Parents, help your son or daughter make decisions when those decisions have the potential to harm their relationship to Jesus. If your child isn’t strong enough, or mature enough to make a responsible decision, then exercise your parental obligation and make that decision for him. Periodically, because of the tremendous peer pressure they are under, young people need your help to say “no” and be strong for them. Help them make Christ-focused decisions that will bring honor to God.
Friends, whether Christian teens can attend the Prom and abstain from immorality and guard their heart as well as their influence is a decision that ultimately they will have to make, but allow me to remind you that the Prom is only one night of out an entire lifetime of events. That single night won’t “make” your life, but it certainly has the potential to adversely affect it. I, and thousands more just like me, can assure you that there is life without a Prom.
I recently ran across this story called, "A Judge's Haunting Words" by an anonymous writer. "I went to Bible classes when I was small and learned all about God. After I was married I decided to go again and take my children. I couldn't persuade my husband to go, but the children and I went regularly for a year. Then I skipped a Sunday. And soon I skipped two or three. Then we went only on special days. Soon I joined a bowling team that competed on Sunday. I could go to worship and Bible classes, but I would have to give up bowling. Bowling won the battle.
Not long ago in a courtroom, I heard the judge say, "Twenty years!" He was pronouncing a sentence on my 21-year-old son for a robbery that ended in the death of a man. The sentence might have been less, but my son took a sneering, defiant attitude all through the trial; ridiculing every officer and official in the courtroom.
But the crowning, shocking climax came when the judge sternly asked, "Young man, don't you believe in God?"
My son laughed and said, "God? Who's that?" Every person in the courtroom turned to look at me. If only I had those years to live over! I would attend Bible classes and worship services faithfully and make sure my children attended as well.
I wonder how many times parents have made this same statement? If only they could turn back the clock and put God first in their marriages and in their children's lives. In far too many cases the damages are already done. Make no mistake about it!
We are rearing a new generation of children who literally have no clue concerning God because the generation before them didn't teach them! Children will not of their own volition learn about the Lord. God places children in our care to bring them up "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." (Eph. 6:4).
Parents must wake up before some judge places a jail sentence upon their children. We will all give an account to God one day for our young ones. If our children lose their souls for all eternity, we would feel terrible, and yet, we can start by training them in the ways of God. We must begin with ourselves first! See you in church this Lord's Day?
(Daily Devotional By J. Raymond Pecoraro Wooddale Church of Christ )
In ancient China, the people desired security from the barbaric hordes to the north, so they built the great Chinese wall. It was so high they knew no one could climb over it and so thick that nothing could break it down. They settled back to enjoy their security. During the first 100 years of the wall's existence, China was invaded three times. Not once did the barbaric hordes break down the wall or climb over the top. Each time they bribed a gatekeeper and then marched right through the gates. The Chinese were so busy relying upon the walls of stone that they forgot to teach integrity to their children.
Even today we can have the best home security systems, the finest health care money can buy, the safest car, or live in the securest neighborhoods and still lose our children to drugs, alcohol, immorality, or other harmful influences. The key is what are we teaching our children? Are we teaching them right from wrong? Are we actively involved in their lives? Do we know their friends? Do we know what is going on at school? Are we being a family to our children? And most important are we teaching our children to put the Lord God first in their lives?
Isaiah 54:13, states, “And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.”
The success of our children and our families depends on many things but the main thing the Bible teaches us is to center our lives on the Lord.
One of the saddest passages of the Bible is Hosea 4:6 which reads, “my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. "Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.”
Notice this verse’s warning; if we do not teach, model, and set godly examples for our children, they will fall away from God. Hosea 4:6 goes on to teach that God will even ignore our children because we chose not to follow Him.
Why would God ignore our children? Because we have not taught our children to know and follow the Lord. They cannot know and follow the Lord if we have not made God a priority in our life.
The wisdom of the Wall of China still rings true today. Don’t be so busy relying on physical things to bring us security, but spend time with your children teaching them things of God that will give them security for eternity.
By Mark T. Tonkery
There once was a young boy who was playing by the seashore. While playing he came across some seashells. He started playing with the shells when to his surprise a white, smooth, round, stone fell out of one of the shells. He began playing with it when he decided to see how far he could throw this white stone. As the white stone was in midflight, the little boy realized the true identity of the stone; it was a precious pearl. At that instant, he yelled for his family to come and help him find this pearl that had landed in the water. As the family searched the water, they could not find the pearl. It was gone forever (Author unknown).
This story reminds me of how many people today treat the marriage covenant between a husband and wife. Many enter marriage not realizing the value of this precious institution and end up throwing it away.
Hebrews 13:4 states, “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”
This verse tells us that marriage is an honorable thing before God and should be honored by human beings as well. The Bible tells us that marriage is honorable for at least six reasons. First, marriage provides companionship for man and woman, Genesis 2:18. Second, marriage helps a man and woman to be self-controlled, Hebrews 13:4. Third, marriage completes a man and woman, Genesis 2:23. Fourth, marriage between a husband and his wife is the best environment for raising children, Genesis 1:28, 9:1, and Malachi 2:15. Fifth, marriage provides protection for the family, Ephesians 5:25, Titus 2:4-5, and Malachi 2:15. Sixth, marriage is a visual object lesson of the relationship between Christ and his church, Ephesians 5:31-33 and Revelation 21:2.
Are you honoring your marriage?
Written by Mark T. Tonkery