by Chuck Colson
Fifteen-year-old Joshua Harris was in love with a classmate-a beautiful blonde named Kelly. The two spent all their time together, and when they had to be apart, they spent hours on the phone. They even talked about getting married someday. Joshua promised to love Kelly forever.
As it turned out, "forever" lasted just two years. After a traumatic breakup, Joshua cried out to God for help. The result was that Joshua came to a radical-by today's standards-but biblical view of dating.
He chose to give up dating altogether, and he explains why in a best-selling book he wrote as a young adult called I kissed Dating Goodbye.
Digging into the Scriptures, Joshua learned to view love, purity, and singleness from God's perspective-an attitude he calls "smart love." Up until then, he says, "I lived dumb-choosing what felt good for me instead of what was good for others and what pleased God."
While he says he doesn't consider dating a sin, Joshua thinks that dating relationships are fraught with danger-especially among couples far too young to marry. For example, there's the temptation to become physically intimate. And there's the danger of becoming emotionally intimate-which leads to broken hearts.
Joshua writes, "I've come to realize that I have no business asking for a girl's heart and affections if I'm not ready to back up my request with a lifelong commitment. Until I can do that," he says, "I'd only be using that woman to meet my short-term needs, not seeking to bless her for the long term."
By avoiding romance until he's old enough to court a woman with marriage in mind, Joshua discovered that he could better serve his sisters in Christ as a friend-and keep his focus on God. The result, he says, is that "We position ourselves to receive God's best in our (own) lives as well."
"I kissed dating goodbye," Joshua explains, "because I found out God has something better in store."
Well, Joshua is onto a good thing. Dating, as we know it is a relatively recent phenomenon and, while often harmless, it has led to some tragic consequences in our time. As kids began pairing off at younger and younger ages, teen pregnancy and abortion rates skyrocketed. And then there's the huge increase among kids of sexually transmitted diseases.
And yet, dating has become so accepted that the risks of early dating probably don't occur to most parents these days-not even to Christian parents.
It may sound radical to say, but a good case can be made for getting back to a more Christian view of dating and romance, Joshua Harris's book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, is a great place to start.
Tune in for the rest of this series about dating and you'll learn why your kids ought to consider saying goodbye for the moment to the world's idea of dating-and saying hello to a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.