Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Christian youngsters, be friendly and/or nice

I don’t if it’s just me or what. I notice a significant change of attitude of young people inside a church, interpersonal-wise. I attended a Youth Convention last year in a big church. Since I was in college, I attend that Big Church Convention. Why not? It is a growing Baptist church. Last year, I attended the Youth Convention after one year of missing it due to…well, you know.

As usual, I tried to make friends. Yes, I made friends with some working singles there. However, in the teens/college level, there’s this feeling of distance every time I tried to made friends with them. I said to myself at that time, “maybe I had a bad grooming. Maybe I have a body odor. Maybe I need to improve the approach.” Still, despite slight improvement, those late teens/college people are having this invisible barrier. Hmmm, maybe it’s my age gap between me and them. Then, I got a chance to talk with two of the working singles of that Big Church. Two nice ladies. I expressed my opinion regarding the situation in a blunt manner. Suddenly, they came to defend them. One of the nice ladies said that the reason is because the people there are quite malicious when it comes in those things. She meant that when opposite genders talk, even when they are in the crowd (which is my usual choice), people start whispering. I told both of them bluntly that it is still wrong. As far I can remember, I raised my voice a bit out of disgust. Yes, the raising of the voice is wrong, and I acknowledged that. However, this doesn’t happen also in that Big Church; it happens in the Old Church. The youngsters are not as friendly as before. Actually, I’m starting to feel this will happen when I was still a youth leader in the Old Church. Based on the gathered words-of-mouth, youngsters are not as friendly as before due to the following:

1) These youngsters avoid being a subject of worthless issues. Even if they want to be friendly, but because there are squealers of worthless issues, they opted not to do so.
2) Lady youngsters are quite traumatic with their experiences in this stuff.
3) The Biblical standard of interpersonal relationship was interpreted by these squealers in an extreme, dogmatic manner.

I don’t know the other reasons. Don’t get me wrong. Churches should have standards of conduct, especially youngsters. This will serve as a good testimony of the churches to the people outside those churches. A Christian should have that sense of spiritual discernment, especially if he or she is an elder youngster. However, he or she should not be a snub inside the Church, especially in Youth Conventions, just because “people are watching”. Snubbing is different from being “a Biblical standard following” lady/gentleman. Youngsters inside the church should be friendly, especially visitors/fellow visiting Christians from other churches. If you can’t be friendly, be nice enough. There are people who find it difficult to be friendly. I understand that, but if you can be friendly, be nice enough to accommodate friendly people. Ephesians 4:32 said that we should be “…kind one to another…”

Yes, being too close to opposite genders is dangerous because you’re giving room to Satan to make these youngsters commit fornication, but hey, let’s face it: fornication can happen even to the most snobbish people. In fact, I know a snobbish youngster (who rarely talks to visitors) who committed fornication. If youngsters inside a local church will continue to be a snob, there will come a time that youngsters, especially new comers, will feel inferior because these snobs, usually pioneers or children of pioneering members, well, snubbed them.

Well, maybe I’m alone on my view in this matter. In fact, maybe those who knows who I am will just say, “Well, it’s JUST HIM…DON’T MIND HIM”. It’s fine with me. I am firm to say that Christian youngsters should be either friendly or accommodating to friendly approaches or both. You might say that’s risky, man, but hey, when we got saved, Satan had been our enemy since Day 1. Any malicious issues (being accused of playboy, flirt, chick boy, etc) will not be solved by snubbing friendly guys. In fact, you’re just giving Satan another room to those guys by making friends with unbelieving gals, which will eventually, be their partner (and you know that it is un-Biblical). Whether we act like a snob or a friendly person, Satan will always find a hole. I know being friendly and being nice has its risk, but a Biblical believer is more a friendly than a snob. As long as you’re following the Bible’s guidelines toward friendship with opposite genders, you will not go wrong. What about those who committed fornication because of these “friendly things”? Well, first, being friendly and being “lusty” are two different things. Those who committed fornication committed it out of their lusts and/or carried away emotions (if you’re offended with that other term), not because they are friendly to each other.

Baptist youngsters, let’s be friendly and/or nice to fellow Baptist youngsters. Pull down that malicious thinking (as long as you’re following the Biblical standards of friendship with opposite genders). By the way, where is the simple advice that was given by the Bible when it comes in dealing with opposite gender? I Timothy 5:2 says, “The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.”

To all youngsters who claim that they’re believers in Christ, the youngsters in your own local Baptist church and in other local Baptist churches, we are brothers and sisters in Christ. Avoid malicious thinking. Malice is different from discernment. Discernment is followed by Biblical actions, malice is followed rumors.

The words maybe hard, maybe mean, but my heart’s desire is for Christian youngsters to make their respective local church a haven of friendship. After all, we are Christians.

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