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.