I broke Adam’s heart. He was my fifth grade boyfriend—we both checked “yes” on the Do You Like Me? note passed back and forth. He was cute, funny, and interested in a curly haired girl who needed braces. We were happy, the two of us. And then it happened.
Adam disrespected his teacher and was summoned to the chalkboard. As Mrs. Parks drew a circle and told Adam to put his nose inside, I knew our relationship was over. How could I, a self-respecting ‘tween, be involved with a troublemaker? It was just too much!
So I took the gift he’d bought me—a beautiful, heart-shaped necklace—and threw it at him in a huff. It was over. (That’s what girls are supposed to do, right? Clearly, a certain ten year-old had a flair for the dramatic.)
Years later, I’m happy to report that Adam survived humiliation and became successful. I got braces, tamed the curls, and learned to think before tossing any jewelry. It seems, though, that my childhood dilemma—“Should I dump the guy?”—is still around today. Young women struggle, especially when boyfriends go wrong (not harmless offenses like Adam’s chalkboard incident. Obvious bad behavior here). Can a good girl change a bad boy? Should she try?
If you know the Bible, then you know some truths to chew on:
1) Nobody—you or I included—is any good without Jesus. We all need Him to mold us into followers who love God and others (So, we’re no better than the boys, and they’re no better than we are. No better, just clean and new, thanks to the cross.)
2) Jesus followers need their closest companions—boyfriends included—to love Him, too. That way, you’ll be encouraged, challenged, and respected. You’ll be on the same page morally and spiritually. It’s a big deal, not only as a girlfriend but also as a daughter of God.
3) Forgiveness is big in scripture. And it’s necessary, even healthy. But forgiving doesn’t mean being repeatedly walked on. Proverbs says a lot about friends (insert “boyfriends” here) who are trustworthy and loyal. It’s okay to forgive, wish someone the best, then move on.
What if you’re dating a “boy gone wild,” but you also love Jesus? For starters, review points 1-3 above. For sure, pray about it. Ask wise adults for advice. And listen closely, even if the truth pains your heart. Then pray some more, and act if necessary—you know, make the break. Even. If. It. Hurts. (Cause. There’s. Something. Better.)
I hope you realize that several “bad boy” actions should not be tolerated, even once. Please don’t delay in leaving a guy who does the following:
- Hits you, shoves you, or slaps you. Physical force is not passionate love; it’s controlling dominance. It’s ugly, and God made you to feel special, safe, and valued.
- Yells at you, says mean things about you, or makes demands. This is not love or simply a short fuse; it’s insecure immaturity. And God made you for more than this.
- Pressures you into things that make you keep secrets or feel guilty. God is light, and you were meant to be open, with a clear conscience, in the light.
- Takes you away from your faith and not toward it. Nothing is more important than your relationship with God. Nothing.
Based on experience (after fifth grade, unfortunately), the ideal scenario is this: Don’t even flirt with a guy who’s wild. He’s bad news for your faith. He’s trouble for your future. He’s risky for your blessings. So if you’re in the slightly interested stage, get out now.
And if you’re already involved with a bad boy, I’m begging you: Embrace a more beautiful plan. God offers a from-the-heart gift, a priceless promise of peace, laughter, confidence, and potential. He wants you to treasure it everywhere, always, in every area of your being–love life included.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
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