by George Hutto
That's the title of a recent article in the teen section of the local paper, (Times Daily, Florence, AL, June 1, 2005, p. 6e). "Innocent fun or danger zone?" is the subtitle. The simple asking of the question is disturbing.
In this article the author, Helena Ollviero from Cox News Service quotes a mother of a 16-year-old daughter extensively. Her daughter is a "good kid," "a top student,... and even does her own laundry." She tells her mother, "You can trust me."
Well, that's good. One thing we strive for is trust between parents and children. Children are to honor their parents, and parents are to be considerate of their children, even as they parent. (Ephesians 6:1-4). There's just something unrealistic about asking teenagers to be morally pure when staying overnight with members of the opposite sex.
"And her mother did just that. After Kaitlin's prom, the 39-year-old stay-at-home mom opened her door to four teenage boys and five teenage girls." The art depicts a young man playing a computer game on the same bed with a couple of girls who are looking at a book and talking, all in their nighties. Another scene depicts a pillow fight with the boys and the girls scattering feathers everywhere.
The thing that such politically correct notions leave out in such liberated appeals as the above is that there are obvious powers at work in human beings that must be managed by convention and not just a matter of good intentions. There are some people who live in the house with poisonous snakes, lions, or skunks, and every so often we read in the news about how the dwellers let down their guard and were choked, bitten, mauled, or made to stink. Most people, abiding by conventional wisdom, would never allow a wild animal into their homes, and so never have to worry about being attacked.
There are those who do not worry about the sin of fornication when their children are concerned. They simply are their children with contraceptives and send them on their way. Such parents would never try to fool anyone about what might go on among teens when left to themselves.
There are stories of parents who invite kids' boyfriends and girlfriends over for stayovers, with permission to sleep together. They would never have a wild animal in their house, but they accept that their children might behave like wild animals. These folks are concerned about "safe sex," safe drinking, and safe who-knows-what-else. "They're gonna do it, so make it safe" is their motto. They are more realistic than our coed-slumber party mom but are blind to the sin of fornication.
God's Word directs youngsters in the path of sexual chastity, but not by mounting unrealistic trust in kids, rather, by directing them to avoid those powerful temptations which might come their way.
"Flee fornication" (I Corinthians 6:18). That is quite different from tossing the boys and girls into a slumber party together and expecting nothing to happen.
The wise man in Proverbs tells about "a young man devoid of understanding" who is seduced by a woman "in the attire of a harlot." "Her house is the way to hell," the Scripture says. The instruction is "Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways. Do not stray into her paths..." (Proverbs 7:6-27). God says that boys and girls, men and women might stray into temptation. Is it possible that human nature has changed to the point that they can be thrown into its path without consequences?
Our generation, at least, on the one hand, seems to deny the power of the opposite sex. The apostle says, "The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife" (I Corinthians 7:4). The power of sexual attraction is tremendous! As brother Raymond Harville is fond of pointing out, "Some things are bigger than you." The smart thing concerning fornication (and many other vices) is to avoid it and even flee from it.
Now for those boys who might stay over at a girl's party and not be tempted, what can be said? God has made boys and girls with this attraction for one another, setting up conventions for managing it. There are marriage (Matthew 19:3-9), (modest) apparel and behavior appropriate for the genders (I Corinthians 6:9), roles for women and roles for men (I Timothy 5; Titus 2:1-6), and others. When that attraction for the opposite sex is missing, something is wrong.
So, kids (and adults) can "get in over their heads" even without inviting temptation with such absurdities as coed slumber parties. God knows that those pitfalls are out there, so He promises to not allow us to be tempted above what we're able to bear (I Corinthians 10:13). Trust between parents and children involves something similar.
"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil" (I Thessalonians 5:21-22).