How to Silence Immature Young Men in Our Churches

How to Silence Immature Young Men in Our Churches - Visionary Womanhood

This week’s post about What Some Christian Single Guys Said About What Kind of Girls They are NOT Looking For stoked some emotions deep inside of us.  We hope our daughters will be happily married one day. We hope our sons will find the right girl for them. We love these young people with deep intensity, and it pains us to see the ways their futures may not be coming together.

We scramble to find answers before it is too late. We pray. We hope. We wait. We wonder what we could have done differently. We vent and fling blame.

I don’t have the answers. I’m a floundering Wemmick like you. Hoping for the best for my children. Knowing I will fail. Praying for God’s mercy on all of us.

One thing I can do is listen. I can listen to what real, flesh and blood human beings are saying. I don’t have to agree. I can even present a different viewpoint. I can point out error, where I find it. But I can make sure they know I’m listening and empathizing with what they are saying. I want them to know I heard them. I understood.

I don’t always do this well, but I try, because I know what it is like to not be heard. To be ignored. To be dismissed. To be interrupted and avoided. To be belittled for various reasons – often because I am a woman. So I empathize with women, in particular, and with anyone who is a “little” person. An underdog. A nobody of little consequence. Like young men and women who are green behind the ears.

I’ve seen abuses of power more times than I want to believe could be possible in the past 35 years. I’ve seen “godly” Christians drip their “godliness” to the point of drowning young believers in their wake. I’ve seen cover ups to protect Spiritual Giants. I’ve seen Job’s Helpers break bruised reeds and snuff smoldering wicks.

I’ve seen. And I’ve kept my mouth shut to avoid the stoning, as one woman put it on Facebook.

Last year God somehow, some way, gave me the courage to break at least one silence and speak up about Something. The stoning came. And I survived. In fact, I was set free. I was set free from fear. Fear of what others would think. Some did think the worst, and while it hurt like hell, I discovered that my place near the heart of God was kept for me. If God is for us, who can be against us?

I was given a gift of perspective from the hearts of a few young men who are in their mid-20s and actively looking for wives. They have jobs. They have zeal. They have hearts of gold. They have a desire to marry. They were caught in a vulnerable moment. Sharing knee jerk thoughts from their hearts. They thought they were safe. They spoke unpretentiously. They weren’t putting on an act to impress any parents. They were being real.

Who gets the chance to hear these kinds of things very often? It was a gift to me, and I passed it on to you. Many of you took that gift carefully and opened it thoughtfully. You heard their hearts and tucked it away in your own. By doing so you added a morsel of precious treasure – wisdom – to your growing stash.

These young men are not seasoned believers. They may be less sanctified to full maturity than a man of 50. They lack life experience. In their youth, they make sweeping generalizations about things and people based on that limited life experience. Of course we remember those days in our own lives, and we’re grateful to anyone who was gracious in the face of our rash words. I think some of us feel the same about our present lives as well.

I wonder if the gift of their perspective was dismissed with a hand wave yesterday? After all, they are just a bunch of rude, immature, impolite, self-pitying, game-playing, sluff-offs, playing footsie with the world and looking for excuses not to get married. Right?

Who will build up and defend the young man who is trying? Confused? Condemned before he is even out of the gate? I’ll tell you this. It isn’t anyone who won’t listen.

The college and career Sunday School teacher told us he had an interesting opportunity to represent a young man during an arranged marriage many years ago in India. In that culture the father of the bride AND the father of the groom passionately defend and stand up for the good of their child. It isn’t like our recently enlightened “Christian” culture that requires the young man to face the girl’s father and all his expectations, presuppositions, biases, and self-interest. ALONE.

I grew up in a family of girls. Also, I AM a girl. I admit it. I’m biased toward girls. And I’ve seen lots of emotionally abusive marriages, so I can get PRETTY feisty about defending women against the jerks of which this world is chock full. I also personally know dozens of beautiful, Christian girls (including one precious niece in her late 20s) who are waiting, trusting, and hoping in God. I remember being in that position and literally aching to be married – and fearful of being single until I died. I understand that side of the coin backwards, forwards, sideways, and upside down. 

But now I’m a mom of boys which has given me a view I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I’m grateful for it. Yesterday some of you heard that new view, spoken from the unpretentious hearts of a few good boys.

Today you get my view, and it’s this. We can make a choice to hear, or we can make a choice to silence the voices around us. One way leads to solving problems.

The other way leads to a deeper hole in the ground.

Natalie Klejwa is a Wemmick, loved by the Woodcarver, wife of 22 years to Joe, and mother to 9 Wemmicks ages 2-20. She is a business owner (Apple Valley Natural Soap), founder and administrator of the Visionary Womanhood blog, publisher and contributing author of Three Decades of Fertility, You Can Do it Too! 25 Families Share Their Stories, and The Heart of Simplicity: Foundations for Christian Homemaking.

You can hear her being interviewed on Kevin Swanson's Generations with Vision radio program.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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11 thoughts on “How to Silence Immature Young Men in Our Churches

  1. Thank you Natalie for addressing this topic with such love and honesty. I am grateful for your standing up and genuinely speaking into the hearts of young people.

  2. Yes, Natalie, let’s keep on listening to our young people.

    Bless you for opening up this whole can of worms!

    I think that the young men are right. If the girls want to obey a set of man-made rules as well as the Bible, there will be trouble in store. And if we parents are willing to push man-made rules on our girls, we’re ultimately to blame.

    Wisdom is a hard road, and I think we homeschoolers (moms especially) have sometimes taken the easy way out by listening to ‘experts’ rather than to the Bible.

    • Yes. And to be fair to these girls (many of whom I know personally) – I don’t believe most of them fall into the negative categories these guys put them in. But the input from these young men brings a subject to the table that obviously needs addressing.

  3. I think I hear what you are saying, Natalie. I certainly agree we need to listen and come alongside young Christian men at all different places in their walk with Christ and lovingly guide them. I didn’t mean to communicate that they should be written off or not taken seriously. I also did not mean to attack anyone personally. I was just going off of a few basic statements and addressing what I saw there. I do not know, nor have I ever seen these men, so I am sure I do not fully understand where they are coming from nor their hearts or intentions. You do have a much different and better perspective knowing these individuals on somewhat of a personal level as opposed to just going off of a few statements – in writing no less. I am glad that you can look past the initial possible tones/attitudes to the heart and address that because it does need to be addressed. And I can see the need to be gracious in the process and not be overly critical. Thanks for pointing that out. I appreciate that about you.

  4. Oftentimes both parties (young guys and girls) say rash things- sadly, to each other! But if older, wiser people are listening, maybe then the young guys and ladies can help see one another in a balanced, accurate perspective, and be more willing to consider one another for marriage. Also, if young people see obnoxious, overbearing parents, they’ll flee from their respective sons/daughters because the “apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

    It’s so important to listen! I’m really encouraged by your post to never stop striving for that.

  5. I think we all struggle with judging people by looking on the outside. WE all struggle with our own insecurities. I think we need to help these young people by sharing our own stories and struggles. Yes, listening is important. Specially listening to God. I think a lot of us try to do things, including marriage, on our own.

    When I first became a Christian I was taught to ask God for direction and EXPECT an answer. I know Christians who think it’s weird that God will speak to us. But HE does if we are believing and willing to listen.

    I was dating a man for 3 years when I became a Christian. He did not. When I asked God if I was supposed to marry him, God made it clear that he was not the man he chose for me. He even showed me before hand that he would betray me. I was physically attracted to him (our only common interest really). My parents didn’t think he was the right guy for me. BUT I wasn’t listening. I went ahead and married him. Two years later he had a baby with another woman and left me.

    Fast forward a few years, I meet a guy from another country. This time I was listening – God told he was the one. I wasn’t physically attracted to him (that came later). He was more like a best friend I didn’t know I had. My parents gave us their blessing although they only met him for 48 hours. Everything fell in place for us to come to the US and get married. God opened all the doors. If I had followed my emotions or logic, it would not have happened.

    I am having a hard time to convey what I am trying to say.

    We need to be looking to the Bible and other fellow Christian believers for examples of marriage and love stories. The world’s messed up!

    I remember after my first marriage failed I went seeking God’s wisdom and how to know God’s will for my life. I read books, I read stories of how people got married or met. I read the Bible and all the marriage arrangements in there. I finally realized the beauty of Jesus as the bridegroom and the Church as his bride. I met strange couples that looking from the outside made no sense, they didn’t even look good together but God had a plan for them. And they were a match made in Heaven. :) All those carnal assumptions began falling by the way side.

    So I guess what I am trying to say is that we need to help those young people to look at each other with spiritual eyes, like how God sees us. He doesn’t see us in our sin, or our imperfections but the potential that we could be in Him. Or the child of God we are.

    I am rambling… sorry about that. :(

    • Thank you for sharing your story! Have you ever read Quest for Love by Elisabeth Elliot? Some are very interesting in that they’re so completely counter-cultural. I think you would enjoy it! She also includes old-time stories of missionaries from past centuries. Very, very insightful reading on relationships- the good and the bad!

    • Thank you so much Teresa for posting your story on here. It’s encouraging to see how other people’s stories have played out and how God still brought the right people together.

  6. I am going to show my ignorance about this topic so I apologize before hand. I am going to risk sounding kind of stupid…

    In all honesty, I am very confused about this. Maybe I am not as academic (smart) but I do not see much to be alarmed at or worried about, Natalie.I do not see a can of worms that has opened. I sit with my own kids and here a LOT of things pertaining to many situations. I hear their thoughts about how they would (or would not) handle things in their future concerning homeschooling their own kids, adoption,having large families,marriage,family,dating,and the like. Some are totally the opposite of anything Jeff and I would have done ourselves back then or now. In fact my eldest daughter (19) got her nose pierced last summer. It was not as a sign of rebellion but of sprouting her adult wings. She loves the Lord and has blossomed over the years into a wonderful young lady who has put her heart in God’s hands.

    I know the exact path God chose for Jeff and myself will not be repeated x 15. It was our path. Are we shocked? Are we disappointed? Not really, because it is not about us and our pride and our egos as parents. It is where God lead Jeff and myself. God asked us to follow him this way and we did just as our children will follow God down the path he has for them. The individual walks with the Lord our children have will look different than ours. God is in control. Our job as parents is to do the best we can do and not to worry about what our neighbor’s child is thinking about the things we do or do not do with our kids. It should not change how we are doing things unless God is showing us what we are doing is in pride and getting in the way of raising our children to see God completely for themselves.

    In God’s perfect timing those young men will meet the woman God has chosen for them. The same goes for the young ladies. It could very well be that the young men who voiced their thoughts might think differently later in life or might not.

    Jeff and I were going to live forever in St. Louis Park and we ONLY thought of moving because we thought God was leading us to live closer to Jeff’s parents in Illinios as they got older. Well, here we are ten years later in Waseca. Not at all what we planned but it took us walking in one direction for God to get us moving into the direction he planned. That could very well be the case with these young men. God could be preparing them to look outside of where they think they are expected to look to see that God is bigger than their lives right now. I remember following Jane W. around when she was expecting her first daughter. Saying “Jane, I think marriage is just a trap…” Did I really think it at the time. Actually,no. I was young. Should the young men be heard? Yes they should but not to the extent that it makes us doubt hearing God’s voice in how we choose to raise our own daughters or sons.