I'm sure most people had those talks in school about sex and sexually transmitted diseases and how important it is not to smoke, drink or do drugs, but the reality is that a lot of people purposely seek out those vices without thought as to how to protect themselves.
I had long decided that I was going to save myself for whomever I married, because I believed that to give my husband my untouched body was the greatest wedding present I could possibly give him. And it was. It was also the best gift he gave me.
When I was in eighth grade, a friend of mine started dating a young man whom she said was a gang member from California. One day, she called me up asking about what our science teacher told us about using condoms. I warned her not to sleep with this guy, but she was insistent, so I told her to make sure she used a condom. Well, she did . . . a couple of times, but not every time. She got an STD.
I've always been very sensitive to cigarette smoke, to the point that if it's in the air around me, I start coughing, choking, and my eyes water and sting, and the only think I can do is get out where the air is fresher. So when some of my friends started smoking, I couldn't hang out with them anymore because the smell of the smoke on their clothes would trigger my reaction.
In high school, I wasn't popular because I didn't smoke, drink or do drugs. Only those who did were popular, and those like me who didn't were disrespected. I wasn't invited to any party that wasn't a birthday party thrown by the parents of one of my friends, but I didn't care because I didn't want to be one of those people. I cared more about myself than that.
Do I regret not experimenting with those worldly vices? No. And you know why? Because I know that God wants us to treat our bodies with respect. They aren't ours; they belong to Him. We're only "renting" them for the duration of our lives on this Earth.
In church last Sunday, our Epistle came from Corinthians 6:12-20 (from the ESV):
"All things are lawful for me," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be enslaved by anything. "Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food" – and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.
Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, "The two will become one flesh." But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him.
Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
I am continually surprised at how corrupt the youth of our country have become. When I was a freshman in high school, I remember a girl on my bus talking about how she slept with a boy and knew before she did that he wouldn't call her afterwards, but she didn't care. And I know that kids younger than high school-age are sleeping around, smoking, doing drugs, drinking . . . What else are they doing, and why?
Here is my opinion, taken from my own observations: It is becoming more common for both parents to work all day long, or for children to live with only one parent because of a divorce, and that parent has to work all the time. Parents don't spend enough time with their children to know what they're doing, and they don't have the guts to take a stand against their bad behavior.
Is it because those parents were not disciplined when they were young, and therefore don't know how to discipline their own kids? I suppose that's entirely possible. Being a parent means that you have a young life to guide and shape and mold into a responsible, self-sufficient adult. But there are a lot of adults out there having kids who aren't responsible or self-sufficient, themselves! What are they doing having kids? Oh, yeah. I forgot. Promiscuity is an acceptable thing nowadays, and birth control is taken with a grain of salt, with no regard for the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease or getting pregnant.
You know what, though? This is totally unacceptable! Especially for Christians. We as Christians need to take a stand against this kind of behavior. We need to find a way to keep our children so busy they don't have time to get into trouble. We need to make sure they have positive role models who will steer them away from the evil vices such as sex, drugs, smoking and drinking, and will teach them to respect themselves. Of course, parents should be the ones to do this, but if they're working all the time and don't have the time to get to know their own kids (isn't that a sad situation!), they need to find someone who does and will.
There's something to be said for stay-at-home moms (and dads, as the case may be). When kids know that they have a parent who's always there for them and who isn't afraid to set boundaries to guide, mold and shape them, they're less likely to act out. The possibility drops more when those same kids are involved in after-school activities. Try martial arts, scouting, dance, sports, anything that allows them to interact with other youth their age and expend energy. The more active they are in positive environments, the better their attitudes will be and the less likely they will be to get involved with people who turn to those evil vices mentioned before.
It's just like getting a puppy who isn't totally housebroken. You have to be there to make sure you can train that puppy to do his business outside, make sure he doesn't chew up your brand new shoes or paper or trash, and you have to make sure he's fed. You wouldn't get a non-housebroken puppy and leave him alone in your house all day everyday unsupervised, would you? Well, if you don't plan to be around to take care of your children to make sure they're guided and molded in the right way, why would you assume they'll turn out just fine? Aren't you afraid they'll end up messing up their minds and bodies because you weren't there to show them how to respect themselves and others? It's the same thing.
And we wonder why our country's youth are acting so stupid and disrespectful and get into trouble all the time. Do we really have to wonder?
Now, I'm not saying I'm perfect. I'm not by a long shot. But I plan to be there for our kids when we have them. I may even decide to homeschool them if I get the courage to do so. That way I can keep a better eye on their growth and development without worrying that they're going to be doing things behind my back that I know will harm them in the long run. Kids will be kids, but a watchful parent is better than a nonobservant one.