I’m pretty sure my jaw hit the floor. It would have been a picture perfect moment of someone in shock; eyes wide open, mouth wide open, speech a complete impossibility. I sat staring at the screen in front of me hoping that what I was looking at was a figment of my imagination.
I like the closeness we have with our friends. I like knowing not just the wives, but their husbands and their children as well. Having a relationship with the family gives great insight into whether or not our children should be playing together, if my kids are safe in their home, and if they feel the same towards us.
So… imagine my shock when I ‘friend’ a daughter of a friend and my eyes are assaulted with what I can only call junk! Now, to be honest, there was nothing blatantly wrong about what she was putting up. She was fully clothed, not drinking, not doing drugs, not hanging all over a guy (although some guys were commenting on her photos in a slightly suggestive manner); no, there was nothing outright “bad” about her pictures.
Her photos caught me off guard because they weren’t her “normal” self; the person I see on a weekly basis. The person in the pictures was egotistical, self-centered, shallow, and immature.
At first, this made me wonder if her parents even knew what she was posting. Perhaps they are completely ignorant of her habits. Then, another sobering thought crossed my mind. Maybe they do know and it doesn’t bother them.
As Christians, we often fall back on the old standby, “The Bible doesn’t say it’s wrong!”. However, just because something isn’t specifically laid our for us, doesn’t mean we can’t use common sense. Just because something is “lawful” doesn’t make it right or good.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a formula, some standard by which we could hold up all decisions and have a clear-cut answer for those ‘grey areas’ of life? I wish I could tell you there was and produce a printable version for your household. Unfortunately there isn’t.
Some are okay with drinking alcohol, while others find smoking to be acceptable. Rated R movies, using certain words, attending clubs, and more could all be considered ‘grey areas’ in a Christian’s life.
As a parent, it can be hard to lay out rules in these areas. “But mom, they’re Christians and they do it. Where in the Bible does it say —- is wrong?” (sigh) There are no easy answers.
If I could offer one piece of advice, it would be thus… just because it is lawful, doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Before you go thinking I am clever or, for those of you who already know where this is going, accuse me of plagiarism, this idea is not my own. Nope; not by a long shot. This idea is Biblical.
Within the context of grace, I am permitted to do all sorts of things. However, the Bible tells me I am to use wisdom and to avoid things which have the appearance of evil. I am also warned against doing things which do not build me up.
So, my argument as a parent (friend, councilor, or anything else) is just that. Sure, you could do it, but is it going to make you a better person? Is —- going to build you up or tear you down? If you choose to engage in this behavior, are you going to influence someone else in a negative manner?
Back to my friend’s daughter…. What she is doing is not, in fact, wrong. It just caught me off guard. She is completely within her rights to continue on her mission, but is it really in her best interest?
While we are on the subject, it might be time to take stock of my own life. Are there things I am engaged in which would best be avoided? As a wife, mom, educator, friend, and more, I want to make sure I am not the cause of someone else being stumbled. Just because I can, doesn’t mean I should.
What helps you determine what is not only lawful, but edifying?
“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” – I Corinthians 10:23