Answers for Teens

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What is Incest?

Incest is intimate sexual contact between a child under the age of eighteen and a relative such as an uncle, aunt, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, mother, father, stepmother, stepfather, or grandparent. In other words, someone you are not legally allowed to marry. About 23 percent of all sexual abuse is incest.

Father-daughter incest is the most commonly reported and legally prosecuted form. In about one quarter of the reported cases, sexual contact is a one-time occurrence, but more typically it continues over a period of years, having an average time span of three and a half years.

When the daughter is young, between five and twelve, the relationship very rarely includes actual intercourse. Once the daughter is past twelve, intercourse is likely to be part of the sexual contact. Alcohol is a significant factor. (Between 20 and 50 percent of the fathers are alcoholics. Even when the man is not an alcoholic, the first experience may take place when he has been drinking.)

A number of studies have concluded that brother-sister incest is the most common form of incest. Research does not support the view that brother-sister incest is “normal.” It usually occurs in families where serious problems exist.

Healthy families exhibit a lot of holding and affection. However, affection is different from deliberate erotic stimulation (Redbook, 11/80, pp. 83-86).

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 185

What is Rape or Date Rape?

Rape occurs when sexual intercourse or oral sex is forced on you against your will. This could be by someone you know or by a complete stranger. Nearly 75 percent of all rape and sexual assault is done by a person known to the victim.

Date rape occurs when intercourse or oral sex is forced on you by the person you are dating. The force does not have to involve a weapon or even the threat of physical harm. It can be trying to overpower a victim physically. It can also involve intimidating threats like, “Hey, if you don’t want to put out, you can get out of the car right now and walk home.”

Rape or date rape is a violent crime and it’s against the law. Yet you’ve probably heard some people say, “They brought it on themselves by the way they acted or dressed.” That’s wrong! No one has the right to rape another person, no matter what she’s done! If someone forces sex on you, you’re the victim and they’re the lawbreaker. Remember, forced sex is not love; it’s a crime!

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 186

How Common is Sexual Abuse?

One out of every three girls and one in seven guys will be sexually assaulted before they reach the age of eighteen! But more than half of the victims will not tell anyone within a year of the assault. Most of them feel guilty and cover up the sexual abuse.

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Perhaps even more alarming is the attitudes many guys have about sexual abuse and assault. A national study of 1,700 sixth to ninth grade students revealed that:

  • 65 percent of today’s students say it is acceptable for a man to rape a girl (force her to have sex) if they’ve been dating for more than six months.
  • 25 percent said it was acceptable to rape a girl if a guy spends money on her.
  • 87 percent said it was acceptable for a husband to rape his wife.

Over a three-year period, 6,100 undergraduates were surveyed on 32 college campuses with these results:

  • 1 in 4 women surveyed were victims of rape or attempted rape.
  • 84 percent of those raped knew their attackers.
  • 57 percent of the rapes happened on dates.
  • 75 percent of the men and 55 percent of the women involved in date rapes had been drinking or taking drugs before the attack.
  • 42 percent of the rape victims told no one about the attack.
  • Only 5 percent reported their rapes to the police or sought help at a rape crisis center.
  • 42 percent of the women who had been raped and 55 percent of the men who committed a rape said they had sex again with their victims.
  • 84 percent of the men who committed rape said that what they did was definitely not rape.

And finally, a survey among 247 females at a Christian liberal arts college found that at least 19 percent of all the females on campus had been abused before the age of eighteen.

The chances are great that there are, even in your church youth group, other kids who have been sexually abused. Some may be in the midst of continuing abuse. Or you may be a victim.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 183

What Does it Mean to be ‘Sexually Abused’?

Sexual abuse can happen in many different ways. Someone could indecently expose themselves to you; you could receive an obscene phone call; you could be aware that you have been seen by a peeping tom; or if you are under age eighteen, an adult could fondle you sexually or force you to have sex. A violent form of sexual abuse is rape. Another form of abuse is incest, sexual relations of any kind with a family member to whom you’re not married.

Did you know that Josh was sexually abused when he was a child? And, no one would listen! His story of healing and transformation can be found here.

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About 41 percent of the abusers in the United States are friends or acquaintances, 27 percent are strangers, and 23 percent are relatives (incest). In fact, nearly 75 percent of all rape and sexual assaults are committed by people known to the victims (Youthworker Journal, Winter 1985).

Taken from Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 184

Why is the Bible Against Sex?

Of all those in church, 80 to 90 percent, young and old, think the Bible has a negative view of sex.

The Bible is not against sex. There’s not a single verse in the Bible that calls sex sin. There’s not one verse in the Bible against sex or that says sex is wrong or dirty.

Now, don’t misunderstand, there are many passages in the Bible that speak against the misuse of sex, of sexual expression outside of the loving commitment of marriage. It is not sex but rather the misuse of sex that the Bible calls fornication, adultery, etc.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 164

Is Sex Dirty?

Sex is definitely not dirty. When God created the world, He looked at it and declared that everything was good. That included sex! God created sex as a good and enjoyable aspect of our lives.

God isn’t down on sex. After all, He made it. God designed the gift of sex to be enjoyed within marriage. Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”

There’s nothing more beautiful than sex between two people committed to one another in marriage. To see the healthy view of the Bible on sex, read Proverbs 5:18-19.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 164

More Info:

The Bare Facts: The Truth About Sex, Love & Relationships

Just1ClickAway.org – find shocking statistics and helpful tips as you navigate your family and students through the intrusive immorality, such as pornography, that is so prevalent today

I Love My Girlfriend and Know She is the One For Me, but She Just Told Me She Isn’t a Virgin. What Should I do?

I love my girlfriend and know she is the one for me, but she just told me she isn’t a virgin. What should I do?

If I had the opportunity to get married and had to choose between two women—both believers, one a physical virgin but not really sensitive to God, the other not a physical virgin but one who has confessed and repented of her sin and is sensitive to God—I wouldn’t even have to think about it. I would marry the lady who’s not a virgin but is sensitive to God. You don’t love a person for her past, you love someone for who she is right now.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 181

“Is Purity Possible?”


More info: www.Josh.org/BareFacts

Why do We Have Such Strong Sexual Feelings if Pre-Marital Sex is Wrong?

God has placed inside every person a strong desire for sex. He wants you to have it. Which may make you wonder why He made your desires so powerful if you can’t enjoy them right now. Is God playing a cosmic joke on you?

Not at all. Be thankful you have that strong desire. You also need to realize that because people today mature physically during their early teens and often don’t marry until their early to late twenties, there are years and years of struggle to keep your desires under control.

It hasn’t always been that way. Until the last 100 years or so, people generally married within a year or two after they reached physical maturity. Today, you have a tough course to run. Our sex-saturated society doesn’t help much either.

But remember, God has given you all the power you need to keep your sexual desires under control. Following His advice in 2 Timothy 2:22 will help: “Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

Need more answers?



New Release on this topic!
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Is Pornography Wrong?

You’re hanging around the locker room and you see a rapid gathering of guys and a lot of laughs. You walk over, and they tell you to take a look at this. Then they jam a 12×12 full-color photo of a naked woman in your face.  What happens, guys? Your body goes berserk!

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Many students, guys and girls, are into pornography, whether it’s the sexy picture hanging on the wall or the magazines stacked under the mattress (not a very good hiding place). In fact, in one survey 99 percent of the young men and 91 percent of the young women had read or looked at pornographic magazines.

Pornography treats men and women as sex objects. It cheapens sex. Even more, it can get a hold on your mind and dominate your thoughts, so you are drawn to pornography any time you become lonely or sexually stimulated.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book pg. 171

“Why is God and the Bible so negative about sex?”  Watch video below

Video taken from newly released DVD library,
“The Bare Facts: The Truth About Sex, Love & Relationships”

I Have Such Strong Feelings for My Boyfriend

Does that mean that I’m in love?

Real love produces strong feelings. But strong feelings don’t necessarily mean you are in love. Feelings come and go quickly, depending on what kind of mood you’re in. To know if your love is real or not, avoid focusing on your feelings. Look instead at the depth of commitment you have for each other.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 151

What’s the Difference Between Love and Infatuation?

Infatuation has been defined as “the emotional impulse of love, untested by time or circumstance.” Since infatuation can lead to real love, sometimes it is difficult to see the difference. The characteristics in the chart below show the differences between infatuation and real love.

The Fairy Tale—Infatuation

  • Fall into it suddenly
  • Deepens little with time
  • Wants sex now
  • Up and down emotionally
  • In love with love
  • Fickle
  • Can’t eat or sleep
  • Hostile break-up at the slightest irritations
  • Emphasizes beauty
  • Gets
  • Based on my feelings
  • Self-centered
  • Shows emotion
  • Physical
  • Expects to find happiness
  • Asks “How am I doing?”
  • Focuses on the performance of the other person
  • May feel this way toward more than one person
  • Possessive
  • May be based on few contacts (only person you’ve dated)
  • Has an idealized Image of the other person
  • Avoids problems

The Real Thing—Love

  • Grows with time
  • Always deepening
  • Willing to wait for sex
  • Consistent
  • In love with a person
  • Faithful
  • Has proper perspective
  • Does not panic when problems arise
  • Emphasizes character
  • Gives
  • Based on other’s needs
  • Self-controlled
  • Shows devotion
  • Spiritual
  • Expects to work at happiness
  • Asks “How are you doing?”
  • Provides unconditional acceptance of the other person
  • Feels this way toward one and only one
  • Allows the other person to relate to others
  • Based on many contacts (dated many others)
  • Has a realistic view of the other person’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Works through problems

 

Adapted from Love: Making It Last, pp. 18,19

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 52

Does God Have Just One Person Picked Out for Me to Marry, or Does He Have Several Possibilities for Me to Choose From?

This question has as many different answers as there are people you ask.

Among the answers:

  • Things will just click.
  • You can’t stand being apart.
  • You are compatible.
  • You will feel it deep in your heart.

It doesn’t take a genius to decide which type of person you would enjoy spending the rest of your life with so, first, eliminate all non-contenders.

Then ask yourself the question: “Does God want me to marry the right person or a right person?” Some say God wants you to marry “the” right person, meaning He has one, and only one, person picked out for you to marry. Others feel that there are many people out there whom God would consider a suitable mate for you; therefore, God wants you to marry “a” right person.

To avoid the controversy and the confusion, consider this perspective: Of the rest, pick the best. Of all the contenders, pick the best one for you, then you have the best of both options. If God has only one picked out, you can be sure you got him or her. On the other hand, if there are several right ones out there, then you can be sure to get the best one possible (adapted from Love: Making It Last, pp. 123, 126).

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 156

I’ve Experienced a Lot of Painful Rejection. It’s Affecting My Current Relationship. Is it Just Me?

Many times a person seeking love and affection who finds only rejection may come to feel that he or she is unworthy or unacceptable as a person. The deeper these feelings grow, the more they focus on the past. Past experiences of frustration and disappointment can tend to make them feel insecure and fearful in every area of life, certain that the future holds only more hurt and pain. This, in turn, can erode self-esteem and hope.

Don’t project your past experiences of rejection into the present. Dating or marital problems can develop when you think you’ve been rejected but you actually haven’t been. You are reacting to past emotional experiences which have sensitized you in a way that makes you think you are again being rejected. It’s important to be well enough in touch with your feelings so that you can be absolutely certain what causes these feelings of rejection. Being in touch with your feelings gives you a solid basis for determining whether you are actually experiencing rejection or simply replaying messages from the past.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 156

I Have Been Going Out With One Guy and Told Him I Wanted to Be Just Friends.

But he got mad when I went out with another guy. What did I do wrong?

Some people enter dating with an attitude of “ownership.” They think that you belong to them and refuse to allow you to live your own life. They act as if you are their private property and want you to fulfill their every desire.

Then there are those who approach dating with an attitude of “relationship.” They put all the emphasis on being “in love.” They major on the romantic and become very insecure and jealous when you go out with another person.

Philippians 2:3, 4 expresses the right attitude you should have about dating. It says, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” The right attitude is that of “friendship.” The purpose of dating is not to meet your needs, but the needs of the other person. It is not to grow “in love,” but to grow in friendship. Some people, no matter how much you communicate this attitude, just will not understand. When that happens, be patient with them. Make every effort to remind them of the fact that they are still your friend. Hopefully, after a while, they will see your point of view.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 131

Is Dating in the Bible?

You can’t find dating mentioned in the Bible for the same reason you can’t find Sunday school in the Bible. Dating, like Sunday school, was not a part of society during biblical times. Back then, most marriages were arranged by the parents. Check out Genesis 24.

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Wouldn’t that be a great way to go today? Just think of it! No worries about becoming an old maid. No problem about finding a date for the prom. No more pressure from your friends to go out with some loser. No more dateless Friday nights. Your biggest worry would be deciding who to double with.

Drawbacks do exist, however. That marriage partner your parents pick out for you may be the cutest kid on the block when he’s a baby. But you never know if he will still suck his thumb when he reaches high school. Or they might set you up with a girl who at 6’6″ is still growing and you maxed out at 5’4″.

Given the alternative, you probably are glad for the present-day system of dating. After all, if your parents can’t pick out the kind of clothes you like, how in the world could they pick out the kind of marriage partner you would like?

Although you can’t find dating in the Bible you can find, on just about every page, scripture verses that apply to your dating relationships. As we answer the questions below, we will draw attention to many of these.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book

I’m Dating a Person Who is Frequently Jealous of Me. What Can We do About it?

Sometimes jealousy is intentionally provoked and the cause is obvious. Jealousy, however, can also occur in situations where there seems to be little basis for it. Where there is a frequent and strong manifestation of the emotion of jealousy, the real cause is usually the inadequacy and insecurity of the person with those feelings.

Some jealous people have excellent qualities — gentleness, sensitivity, graciousness, for example — and yet they are very insecure because of the problems from their background. If you yourself are secure and are willing to make a commitment to help such a person, through patience and open communication you can possibly help rebuild that person’s sense of security and thereby reduce his or her jealousy.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 154

How do I Ask a Girl Out?

Once you’ve found a girl you would like to date, and you know her well enough, then try calling her on the phone.

After you talk for a while, you’re ready to ask the question. In asking, never have the attitude: “You wouldn’t want to go out with me, would you?” If you ask like that she will think you have a disease.

Nor should you have the attitude: “Of course you would like the privilege of going out with me since I am God’s gift to women. When would you like to pick me up?” Or, don’t cop out by asking, “Are you doing anything Friday night?”

One of the best ways to pop the question is to ask it like this: “You know, Hermanatica, I’ve enjoyed talking with you. Would you like to get together Tuesday of next week at 3 P.M. to look for lost golf balls at Frank’s Miniature Golf? That way we could get to know each other better.”

When you ask her, always include when and what you plan to do specifically. Never just ask if she would like to go out. If she thinks you are a turkey, you have left her only two options: (1) She can go out and be miserable, or (2) she can turn you down and hurt your feelings.

Telling her the time of the date gives her a polite way of excusing herself if she doesn’t want to go. If she says she is committed, it’s okay to say, “Maybe we could go out another time,” and see what she says. But don’t fish for another date. If she wants to go out with you, she will apologize and let you know she would like for you to ask her out again. She might even offer nights when she is available. If this happens, don’t waste any time in getting the date. Nail it down on the spot.

Planning the date ahead of time shows the girl you have thought this date through. This makes her feel special. Consider setting up a group date for the first date. It relaxes the pressure and often girls are more willing to go out in that situation (adapted from Dating: Picking (and Being) a Winner, pp. 69-70).

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 139

How Can I Let a Guy Know I’m Interested in him Without Making a Complete Fool of Myself?

First Peter 3:3, 4 says, “And let not your adornment be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.”

These verses give three principles. First, look your best. You want to emphasize your inward beauty, but don’t neglect your outward beauty. If certain makeup or styles of clothing can enhance your beauty, take advantage of them without overdoing it. And be careful in your dressing to draw attention to your face, not your assets.

Second, reflect inner beauty. You can do this by acting out qualities such as being courteous, kind, thoughtful, appreciative, etc. Guys can respect someone they don’t love, but they will never love anyone they don’t respect.

Lastly, try writing a note with something like: “I’m glad our relationship is developing and I hope it continues.” The best way to win his attention is by becoming his friend.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 140

What’s Wrong With Dating Non-Christians?

The Bible says, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers” (2 Cor. 6:14).

This can be tough to accept, especially when the oldest Christian guy in town is only nine years old! It gets lonely not going out.  The longer you wait, the more attractive non-Christians become.

The tendency is to start to make excuses like:

  • He understands me.
  • She accepts me for who I am.
  • I haven’t gone out in a long time, and I’m lonely.
  • There aren’t any Christians I want to date.
  • Non-Christians have more fun that Christians.
  • She’s nicer than the Christian girls I know.
  • He’s really changing. He’s not at all like he was.
  • I’m not going to marry her.
  • I’ll go out with him only once or twice.
  • My friends want me to go and I’ll disappoint them if I don’t.
  • Everyone will think I’m stuck-up.
  • I don’t know how to say “no” when a non-Christian asks me out.
  • I might lead him (or her) to Christ.

But, again; the Bible says, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers” (2 Cor. 6:14).

The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 137

My Friends Complain that I’m too Shy. They Think I Should Go Out Drinking With Them. What Should I do?

If you want a personality makeover, drinking will do that for you. Some shy people become the life of the party once they get drunk. Others try to kill themselves.

If you are really in search of a personality makeover, read Ephesians 5:18,“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.” When you come under the influence of either alcohol or the Holy Spirit, you will act differently. You may not know how alcohol will make you act, but you do know how the Holy Spirit will make you act—just like Jesus. Instead of giving in to your friends’ pressure to drink, give in to the Spirit’s promptings in your life. Let Him control you, lead you and empower you. Your friends will be shocked to see the new you.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 78

If My Friends and I Have a Disagreement, What’s the Right Way to Handle It?

When you have a disagreement, you have a choice. You can either resolve the conflict or dissolve the relationship. Here are some guidelines for resolving the conflict and keeping the fight fair:

Desire openness. In a fair fight, the attitude of “I’m always right” is against the rules.

Choose the right timing. Arguments can break out at awkward times. To fight by the rules, wait until both of you can give the time and attention necessary to talk things out.

Select the right words. Think before you speak. To know the right words to say, you’ll first have to listen to your friend when she speaks. Determine if your words will help or hinder in working out the problem.

Guard your tone of voice. You can say the right words the wrong way. If you project sarcasm or criticism in your voice, your friend will pick it up.

Look at the other person’s point of view. While your friend talks, listen carefully to understand where they are coming from. In viewing the conflict, put yourself in their place. When you do this, think of how they feel instead of how you feel or why you think they were wrong.

Identify the problem. Discover the main issue that started the fight. It may be more than meets the eye. For example, they may have become upset because you said the wrong thing when actually they were already upset because the night before you spent time with another friend.

Determine the solution. Once you identify the problem, decide on a solution. Make the solution practical and realistic. Don’t give up until you have worked things out satisfactorily. Talk about how to keep this conflict from happening again (adapted from Friends: Making the Best of Them, pp. 45-48).

 

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 119

How Can I Convince Someone of the Opposite Sex that I Really do Want to Be Just Good Friends?

Every week at school there is at least one JGF (just good friends) game going on. They remind you of soap operas:

Monday — guy meets gal and checks her out while girl meets guy and checks him out.
Tuesday — the guy’s chemistry (or the gal’s, depending on which channel you’re watching) says, “Great potential for a date!” The gal’s chemistry says, “Great potential for the zoo. Somebody better lock the animal up in a hurry.”
Wednesday — guy stalks girl down hallway. Gal hides in bathroom for three hours in fear that he’s waiting outside.
Thursday — guy is convinced she loves him. Gal is convinced he’s mentally deranged.
Friday — guy finally gets the message she’s not interested. Gal breathes sigh of relief, looks forward to making a new friendship. Guy feels humiliated and doesn’t show his face around gal for the rest of the school year. And the soap continues the next week but with different characters. Another potential friendship down the tubes because someone of the opposite sex wanted to be more than “just good friends.”

To play the JGF game you must know the rules of the game.

Rule number one: Avoid being a flirt. Sometimes it is easier to go through your day without blinking. But flirting makes the opposite sex act stranger and weirder than they already are.

Rule number two: Realize that even when you don’t flirt, some guy or gal is going to go ape over you.

Rule number three: When someone does go wild over you, be patient and understanding with them. Don’t lead them on, but don’t run from them either. Keep in mind that in a few days they will realize that you are serious about being JGF. When they finally get that in their head they can relax and enjoy the friendship.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 117

Why do My Best Friends and I Fight Over Little Things?

Friendships go through stages. The first stage is the I’m-getting-to-know-you stage. During this stage you learn about each other. Then you move to the I’m-getting-to-know-you-better stage. This stage holds the potential for the most fun. The third stage is I’m-getting-to-know-you-all-too-well stage.

During this stage you’ve come to know each other so well you say the same things at the same time. But you have also gotten to know each other’s negative traits, and they bug the daylights out of you.

If you haven’t experienced any conflict with your best friend yet, either (a) your best friend is an imaginary friend, or (b) you really don’t know each other well enough yet. Because when you get to know someone really well, conflict is inevitable. No two people are exactly the same. They have different backgrounds, different perspectives and different desires. Sooner or later you will have a disagreement. But as you learn how to handle your conflicts your friendships can grow.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 118

How do I Know if a Friend is Good For Me or Not?

Right now you are a sweet, kind, obedient, thoughtful, responsible, even angelic person. But suppose you start hanging around someone who influences you to become a smart-mouth at home or apathetic at school. When things like that happen, watch out. “Friends” like this aren’t good for you regardless of how much fun you have together. They have a negative influence on you and you do not need to be that close to them.

Now it doesn’t mean you can’t be friends with a rowdy person or with someone who tends to get in trouble all the time. As long as you are a positive influence on such people, you can be friends with the wicked witch herself. But when someone influences you negatively, the Bible says you must back off.

Second Timothy 3:2-5 says: “For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these.”

Take an honest evaluation of your friendships. If you decide that a friend is influencing you negatively you need to back off and become casual friends.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 105.

How Can I Back Off From a Friendship that’s Not Good for Me?

Backing off from a friendship is never easy—even if the friend has been a negative influence on you.

If you back off a friendship with someone, you will want to explain why. Here’s what you might want to say, “You know, Delilah, I’ve renewed my commitment to Jesus Christ and I don’t want to disappoint Him any more by doing the things I’ve been doing lately. If you want to do those things without me, that’s up to you, but I don’t want to join you anymore. If you would like to get closer to the Lord with me that would be great! What do you think?”

This is just a suggestion. Put it in your own words. Just keep in mind these pointers:

  • Identify yourself with Christ.
  • Display humility, not a holier-than-thou attitude.
  • Be gentle in your conversation, yet firm in your decision.
  • Invite your friend to join you in getting closer to Christ. If he or she does not, they left you, not you them.

Remember, it will be tough to back off, especially right afterward because of the pain of your new loneliness. But continuing the friendship would be tougher, especially in the long run, because of the friend’s negative influence (adapted from Friendships: Making the Best of Them, p. 29).

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg 106.

My Boyfriend Keeps Telling Me to Trust Him.

Guys have had a proverb that goes back to the beginning of time. “Tell a girl what she wants to hear and you have what you want to have.” Guys know that saying the right words like, “I love you,” “You are the only one I have ever really cared for,” or “You’re the most beautiful girl in the whole world,” can get a girl’s emotions going crazy. You hear those words and get attacked by a severe case of the “fuzzy-wuzzies.” Then while you’re vulnerable, he makes his moves.

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If your boyfriend is constantly having to convince you that he is trustworthy, chances are he isn’t. Be careful of dropping your guard even for a moment, regardless of what someone says. What’s most important is how he acts, not what he says. When it comes to trust, actions speak much louder than words.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 74

My Girlfriend Wants to Make Sure We are Sexually Compatible Before We Get Married. Is that Legitimate?

You don’t buy a brand new pair of shoes without first trying them on, do you? Of course not! So then it makes sense to make sure you are sexually compatible before you are married, right? Wrong!

Do you have questions about sex, love and relationships?
Check out The Bare Facts.

In the first place, neither one of you is a pair of shoes. You are not taking something home to try on or use. If you want to compare your wedding night to something, a better analogy would be giving a box of Kleenex to somebody. No matter how pretty the color, how much would they appreciate it if they discovered the Kleenex had been used?

God has designed your wedding night to be like the explosion of dynamite. If you don’t wait, it can be reduced to nothing more than the pop of a little firecracker.

Rarely will you find two people who aren’t sexually compatible. So tell your girlfriend you are waiting for the fireworks.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 74

I Have a Lot of Problems. My Friends Say I Should Try some Stuff. What do You Think?

Drugs don’t make your problems go away. While on a high, you may escape them for a while, but when you come back down, your problems are always there waiting for you.

Do you need help battling addictions or temptations related to drugs and alcohol?

If anything, drugs only make your problems worse. Now you have all the trouble that drugs bring along with them like the need for extra cash, the need to keep what you do secret, the problems with parents, teachers and the authorities, the tendency to either do drugs more often, in heavier dosages, or move on up the ladder to a stronger drug.

When you get into drugs you also lose your ability to make intelligent, rational decisions and act upon them. You become a slave to a cruel taskmaster. You lose your freedom to decide where you want your life to head. Drugs begin dictating every aspect of your life.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 85

My Friends Keep Teasing Me That I Don’t Drink.

My friends keep teasing me because I don’t drink. They ask me what I am afraid of. What can I tell them to make them back off?

Tell them it’s not because of fear that you don’t drink. Tell them it’s because you are smart. Proverbs 22:3, 5 says, “The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, But the naive go on, and are punished for it. Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; He who guards himself will be far from them.”

Just because all your friends are doing something doesn’t mean it’s a wise thing for you to do. Alcoholism is America’s third largest health problem, following heart disease and cancer.  It affects ten million people, costs sixty billion dollars, and is implicated in two hundred thousand deaths annually. Alcohol is involved in 50 percent of deaths by motor vehicle and fire, 67 percent of murders, and 33 percent of suicides. It contributes to morbidity in certain malignancies and to many diseases of the endocrine, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and nervous systems. The suicide rate of alcoholics has been found to be six to twenty times higher than that of the general population.

With this damaging evidence, if alcohol were to be presented for legalization as a drug today, it surely would not be accepted (adapted from Hot Topics by Bill Myers, pp. 81-82).

Physically alcohol can damage your liver, put undue stress on your heart and impair your memory. Emotionally it can cause you embarrassment from stupid behavior and create anxiety, cause family hassles, guilt from improper actions and a poor self-image. What happens is, that alcohol limits your freedom. It limits your ability to make right decisions and to act upon them.

Don’t give in to your friends’ pressure. Hold firm. They will probably continue to tease you. But know that deep down they respect you for your convictions.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 76

How Should I Respond When Someone Compliments me?

Often we go to two extremes, both as a result of pride. One extreme is false humility. We deny any positive quality or accomplishment by saying things like, “No, no, no. I’m just a worm.” That makes people sick. Everyone knows you are really saying, “Keep trying to convince me. I’m loving it.”  The other extreme is to agree with them to the point of bragging. You know the type. You compliment such people on one thing and they remind you of twenty other things they did well. Yuck.

When you receive a compliment, first see if it is deserved. If it isn’t, pass the credit on to someone else. If it is deserved, then simply say, “Thank you.” There is nothing at all wrong with accepting a compliment.

Once you receive it, however, pass the praise on to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Source of your gifts, abilities, looks, talents and personality. If you hold on to the compliments instead of giving praise to Jesus, you may forget that Christ is Your source and may believe that you are the source. Pride soon develops and can cause terrible consequences.

Check out 2 Chronicles 26:3-5, 8, 15-16, and 20-21 for details on what happened to one man who became proud by refusing to pass on praise to the Lord.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 162

What do You Mean by Self Image?

Your self-image is the mental picture you have of yourself. It started to be formed the moment you were born. By the age of five or six your self-concept, the person you think you are in relationship to others, is so firmly established that you will resist efforts to change it.

This does not mean you can’t change it. Many people have moved from a negative to a positive self-image and from a positive to a negative self-image. It’s just that once you get an idea of who you think you are, you don’t change very easily. And since your self-image affects every responsibility and relationship that you have, it is very important to acquire a healthy self-image as early in life as you possibly can.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 35



Watch more videos on Building Your Self Image

How in the World Can I Be Like Jesus?

I can’t even swim, much less walk on water.

God wants you to be like His Son in your character, that is, what you are like on the inside. There is no outward ideal when it comes to looks or abilities. But there is an inward ideal. It’s found in Galatians 5:22, 23“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

God wants you to allow His Spirit to control you so you will be like His Son.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 141

Why Am I Always Comparing Myself to Everybody Else?

You compare yourself because you want to know how well you measure up. If you are doing well you can feel good about yourself. If you aren’t as pretty, smart, rich or gifted as the other person, then you can’t feel good about yourself.

The trouble with comparison comes from comparing yourself to the wrong measure—other people. Because every person is different, you will always find someone you think is better or worse than you are. This will leave you filled with frustration or pride.

God doesn’t want you to compare yourself based on an outward measure, but on an inward measure. Instead of asking, “Am I as good as so-and-so?” ask, “Do I have the character of Christ that God wants me to have?” That will keep your focus where it needs to be.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 141

Watch Josh as he talks about a healthy self image:

Why Does God Love Me so Much?

Great question! We often wonder about that after we’ve really blown it. Like coming home after a rotten day at school, slamming the door, screaming at your parents, smashing your little brother’s face into his ice cream bowl and then yelling after stumping your big toe. Then you remember that Jesus has been with you the whole time and you wonder, Lord, why do You love me so much?

He loves you because He created you. Have you ever watched a mother and father ooh and ahh over their newborn baby? Newborn babies can be just about the ugliest creatures on earth. But not to the parents. They think their baby is the greatest. Why? Because they created the little critter. God loves you because He created you. He thinks you are the greatest.

But more than that, He loves you not because you are lovable, but because He is a God of love. It is His character to love. And there is nothing you can do to make Him stop loving you.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, p. 48

I Often Struggle With Doubts About My Salvation. Is That Normal?

Occasional thoughts about whether or not you are a Christian are common. But to struggle constantly about your salvation is definitely not normal. There are several reasons why you may be struggling.

First, you may not be a Christian. Many people have joined a church thinking they were coming to Christ only to discover later that they never really invited Christ into their hearts. Another reason for struggling with your salvation may be that you have allowed unconfessed sin to accumulate in your life. But a common reason for doubting your salvation may be a poor self-image.

Here’s how it works. You grow up thinking your parents don’t love you. (Most often, this is not the case. They really do love you, they just have a difficult time communicating that love.) You conclude, “if my own parents can’t even love me, I must not be lovable.” This conclusion is reinforced by your friends at school who reject you from time to time. Then you come to Jesus to save you from your sins and make you right with God. But you bring the mentality that you aren’t lovable. Someone who feels this way is often not confident about his relationship with God.

The truth is God does love you. He loves you unconditionally. When you realize this you will overcome many of your struggles about your salvation and will rest in the assurance that you really are a Christian.

Isn’t a Healthy Self-Image the Same as Pride?

It can be. Keep in mind, however, there are two types of self-images. When you see yourself as God sees you, you have a healthy self-image. A healthy self-image is very positive. Yet it is very humble because it recognizes its source—the Lord Jesus Christ.

The second type of self-image is an unhealthy self-image. People who have an unhealthy self-image can be divided into two groups: negative and positive. Those with a negative self-image think poorly about themselves. Those with a positive self-image think good of themselves. But their self-worth is based on the world’s system: looks, abilities, intelligence and the like. When people think well about themselves based on the world’s system, they may very well struggle with pride.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, p. 59

Is There Such a Thing As ‘Love at First Sight’ ?

Love is not based on sight, looks or even romance. Real love is based upon commitment and a deep understanding of the other person. It is based on much more than just looks.

There is such a thing as attraction at first sight which can grow into real love. But love, a real, committed, true love cannot be determined at first sight.

The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 152

I’ve Tried Saying “No” to My Friends, but I Keep Getting into Trouble. What Should I Do?

Swimming against the current requires a lot of strength. It is always easier to just go with the flow. For this reason, it is important that your closest friends flow the right direction. You must surround yourself with the right kind of friends—friends who challenge you to daily live your life for Christ (adapted from Peer Pressure, p. 57).

As much as you will hate it, you should pull out of the group. You cannot claim to follow Christ and continue to compromise.

First Peter 2:12 says, “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may on account of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.”

If you keep your behavior excellent, your friends may one day glorify God. If you compromise, your friends will never see any difference between your life and theirs. If they don’t, what motivation will they have to become followers of Christ themselves?

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 193

Can God Stop Loving Me?

Is there anything that could cause God to change His mind and stop loving me?

We’ll let God speak for Himself on that one. Romans 5:8 tells you how much God loved you when you weren’t even a Christian: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 8:38,39 tells you what might try to separate you from God’s love but can’t: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Jeremiah 31:3 tells you how long God’s love will last: “The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”

Get it in your head and don’t forget it — God loves you. You are special to Him.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 49

Do you want a personal relationship with God?

My Parents Have Always Told Me that I Would Never Amount to Anything. Why Has This Affected Me So Much?

Your self-image is composed of conclusions you have reached about yourself. These conclusions follow this sequence:

Stages Example
You hear it.
You think about it.
An experience reinforces it.
You feel it. You believe it.
“You’re stupid.” Am I stupid?
You make a big mistake and your friends laugh at you.
I feel so stupid.
I am told I’m stupid, I act that way, I feel that way. It must be true. I am stupid.

 

That’s why it’s so important to know what God says about you. As you read the Bible you learn what God thinks of you. And what God thinks of you is what is true about you.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 40

Watch short videos on Building Your Self Image. Or get Josh’s book, See Yourself as God Sees You.

Why Must My Parents Embarass Me in Front of My Friends?

It doesn’t take much for a parent to ruin things, does it? Like hanging around pretending they are tidying up when your friends are over, but it’s obvious they are trying to listen in on the conversation. Or trying to be “cool” by talking about the latest music groups and the only group they mention is Lawrence Welk. Or how about when they kiss you in public?

Definitely try to communicate your feelings to them. But be sensitive. Rumor has it there are some things you do that embarrasses them. Perhaps you could work out an arrangement that would be mutually beneficial, causing nobody ever to be embarrassed again.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 15

Do I Have to Obey My Parents If They Aren’t Christians?

Whether or not your parents are believers has nothing to do with whether you should obey them. (Great try, though!) They deserve obedience because God placed them over you.

Romans 13:1 says, “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” Obedience to your parents is an expression of your obedience to God.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 7

Is It Wrong to Argue with Your Parents When You Know You Are Right?

If your attitude is wrong, it is wrong to argue anytime, even if you’re right. Ephesians 6:2 says, “Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise).” If you have committed your life to the Lordship of Christ, you have no other option. You must show honor at all times.

When you find yourself in those situations, you might go away and let things cool down a bit. No, let them cool down a lot. If you feel that it would be beneficial for your parents to know the answer (not just know you were right), you might carefully bring it up again. If you don’t think it would benefit them or if they begin to get upset, then drop it immediately.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book

It’s So Hard to Talk to My Parents. When I Do, They Don’t Listen.

Communication is hard work. It’s often easier to say nothing than to talk things out. But watch out for making excuses not to communicate: “They never listen anyway”; “We will only end up fighting”; or “They will just make fun of me.”

Also avoid communication-killers. When your parents don’t seem to understand, it doesn’t take long to form habits that kill communication.

Some of these are:

  • The Silent Treatment. You don’t speak at all to your parents (usually to “get even” for something).
  • The Last Word. This can be done with anger or with controlled politeness. You have to have the last word.
  • I’ll Just Put Up with It. You say what you think your parents want to hear, then go out secretly and do what you want anyway.
  • Bigger, Better, NicerYou tell your parents how much better your friends’ parents are.
  • Running AwayYou get so frustrated that you leave the room or the house to avoid further confrontation.
  • Dogging Them with Dogmatism. Your conversation is full of phrases such as “You never” or “You always.”
  • Bugging ‘Em to Death. Here you believe that if you pester them long enough you can get your way (Parents: Raising Them Properly, pp. 19, 20).

Finally, don’t get frustrated and give up. Keep the lines of communication open. Even though it may feel like you are not making progress, if you try, you really are moving ahead in your relationships.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, p. 4

Is It Right that I’m Forced to Go to Church Each Week?

Doesn’t the constitution guarantee me freedom of religion?

Look at it this way. If you do go to church, it’s not going to hurt you. It might even help you. But if you don’t go to church, your parents will probably kill you. Considering the consequences, going to church seems a whole lot better choice.  As long as you live under their roof, and they are responsible for taking care of you, you need to do what they ask.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 9

My Parents Never Believe Me. Any Suggestions?

To get your parents to believe you, you must first ask why they don’t trust you. Generally, it is because they have discovered that you have lied about something in the past.  Lying has terrible consequences. If someone has lied to you, how do you know when they’re lying or telling the truth?

To get your parents to believe you, ask them to forgive you for any and every time you have lied to them in the past. And don’t stop with just asking forgiveness for the lies you’ve said with your mouth. Also ask forgiveness for the lies you’ve said with your actions—like having a bunch of friends over at the house when it was forbidden.

Second, learn to admit when you blow it. Nobody believes you always live a perfect life. So when they hear you volunteer the fact that you blew it, but now you are sorry for what you did, they will believe you much more quickly than if you never admit your shortcomings and failures.

The Teenage Q&A Book, page 13.

 

Why Do My Parents Make Such a Big Deal about My Hair and Clothes?

I’m not hurting anyone!

Possibly. Depends on how much hair spray you used. After two or three cans of it, your spike can become a lethal weapon. If you bent over and rammed someone it might go right through them.

Parents make a big deal about the way you look for the same reason you make a big deal about the way they look. Think about it.

When your friends are over, why do you panic any time your parents ask permission to come out of their room? You’re afraid your friends will think you have weird parents, right? You don’t really care if people like your parents, as long as your friends think they are normal human beings.

The same is true for your parents. They want their friends to think you are a “normal” teenager because they don’t want them to think you are weird. To a par­ent, a normal teenager is a cross between Wally Cleaver (on “Leave it to Beaver,” if you watch reruns) and Mary Ann (from “Gilligan’s Island”). You have to remember that’s the TV diet on which they grew up. The truth of the matter is a “normal” teenager is more like an alien than anything else your parents or their friends are used to.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 2

Why Do Mom and Dad Talk about Getting a Divorce?

divorceThere are times when mom and dad may have problems getting along. One thing or another may cause this. The major stress points in a marriage are not kids as much as financial problems, lack of communication and lack of trust.

When parents, or anyone for that matter, get under pressure, their sensitivity level goes up. As a result they get easily offended by their spouse and begin to fight.

One of the deadliest weapons in their arsenal is divorce. They know that by merely bringing the subject up that they can inflict great pain.

During times when they talk like that, you too must fight but not the same fight that your parents are having. Your fight is in the spiritual realm. When you discover that they are or have been talking about divorce, go into your room and assume the role of a prayer warrior.

Ephesians 6:10-12, 18 says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. . . . With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.”

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 22

Why don’t my parents like any of my friends?

There are probably different reasons for different friends. Usually the main reason is fear that a particular friend has been or will be a negative influence on you. They know (possibly from experience) how easy it is to pick up bad habits, and they don’t want you to get into trouble. Or perhaps your parents think your friend is disrespectful. For example, take a typical phone conver-sation: your friend calls up and asks, with the sensitivity of a water buffalo, “Is Wild Man Willie there?” They would much rather hear a polite, “May I speak to William please? This is Mark calling.”

Another reason is they might be thinking your friend isn’t good enough for you. This is true especially if your friend is of the opposite sex and you want to date him or her. Perhaps the underlying reason for all of these is that your parents want the best for you and very few of your friends can measure up to their standards. This issue, like many others in your relationship with your parents, can be a reason to initiate World War III or communicate (peacefully) some strong feelings. Choose the latter and be glad your parents care for you.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, pg. 3

Why Do My Parents Think I’m Weird?

Why do my parents sometimes look at me like I just arrived from outer space?

In a word, because you have changed. Consider your appetite. Where you once ate three meals a day (excluding vegetables, of course), you now have the appetite of a giant termite consuming a week’s worth of groceries in a matter of minutes without any help from your friends.  Speaking of which, you parents don’t routinely interact with a person dressed in black leather with orange hair and a three-carat diamond in his pierced nose.

If those two developments alone aren’t enough to amaze them, what about your growth? They may be somewhat fearful that if you keep growing at the same rate you have, you body might soon be as big as your mouth (from their perspective, of course). Your intelligence has also grown.  You now know everything about everything.

Where you once were polite and well mannered, you now burp in public and respond to all questions with a terse, “Leave me alone.” You no longer require any sleep.  You go to bed at 4 am and get up at 7.

If you are a guy, you never leave your room.  if you are a girl, you never come out of the bathroom.

In a matter of months they have witnessed a radical transformation take place in their “little boy” or “little girl.” Little wonder they sometimes look at you as if you are sort of strange.  Don’t worry, the same thing happened to them.  It’s a great time of life that everyone goes through.  Parents speak of it with great memories in regard to themselves, but with fear and trembling when it comes to their own children.  it’s called the teenage years.

The Teenage Q&A Book

Well, When I Was Your Age

My Mom and Dad are constantly lecturing me and they always begin with “Well, when I was your age…” Why can’t my parents understand what it’s like to be a teenager today?

Do you want the good news first or the bad news? Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. Check out Luke 2:41-51. It’s the story of Jesus just about the time He became a teenager. He somehow didn’t make connections with His folks and got separated from them. When His parents found Him, the conversation went like this:

“And He said to them, ‘Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house? And they did not understand the statement which He had made to them. And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth; and He continued in subjection to them; and His mother treasured all these things in her heart” (Luke 2:49-51).

Sound familiar? Here is the bad news. If the parents of Jesus didn’t understand Him, don’t be surprised if yours don’t understand you sometimes. Remember, your parents grew up in a different era. your parents were probably born just about the time TV was invented! It is not easy for them to relate to them. Every generation struggles to understand the next generation.

But the good news is, you can respond the same way that Jesus did. As a Christian you have the power to do that. Philippians 4:13 says: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

The Teenage Q&A Book, page 3.