I was fascinated this week to hear of the results of a survey conducted by ChristiaNet.com in which visitors to the site were asked if kissing is acceptable for couples who are dating.

It is a legitimate question that any young Christian should ask himself/herself when involved in a relationship. But the question triggered within me the renewed realization of how dissimilar the Christian worldview often is from the secular view. As a parent, this contrast is particularly observable because our values often deviate from the ideals of popular culture.

Consider with me the typical “dating” shows on television. In these broadcasts, the subjects frequently allude to their sexual experiences and are often seen engaging in heavy kissing (and more) on their instigated first “dates.”

I often wonder how many little kids watch these shows and subsequently, and tragically, believe that this is what is supposed to happen on a date.

We live in a time when the beautiful innocence of our children’s minds is infiltrated, uninvited, by our sin-sick culture.

But all is not hopeless.

Upon reading the aforementioned poll, I immediately thought of 1 Peter 1:17: “And if you call upon Him as [your] Father Who judges each one according to what he does, [then] you should conduct yourselves with true reverence throughout the time of your temporary residence on earth, whether long or short” (Amplified Bible).

That is not only the key to Christian dating protocol; it is the key to life in Jesus Christ. It is a key we must cling to and constantly impress upon our children.

So let’s return to the question: Should Christians kiss while dating?

Out of 271 poll respondents, 134 said kissing is acceptable while dating, while 71 said it was not acceptable and 66 were unsure.

Many of those who said kissing is acceptable added that it should be disciplined and the couple should discuss guidelines early on in the relationship and make a commitment to not cross those boundaries.

Those are wise words.

But I would add young Christian couples should understand that their commitments of purity are virtually insignificant if they are made absent of total dependence on Jesus Christ to be the authority of that commitment.

The ChristiaNet.com poll noted, “Many people in our culture today have become desensitized to what is right and wrong.”

Sadly, this is true. And that desensitization sometimes even invades the minds of young people in our churches.

It’s why the church must provide sensible alternatives to the movies and TV shows that glamorize teen sexuality. The MTV Generation faces a continuous barrage or sexual images and messages that rarely mention the consequences of such activity. There is even a movement occurring that would bring sex-education courses into our nation’s kindergarten classes.

It’s sheer madness.

And yet, Christian young people must exist in this world of relentless sexual temptation and glorification of sexual experimentation.

While the world laughs as we continue to abide by biblical standards, Christian parents must be prepared to stand in the gap for their children, even in terms of dating. Sometimes we will need to make unpopular decisions, but I believe they will pay off in the long run.

Finally, Christian parents need to be available to their children. We must discuss issues such as dating and what behavior is acceptable for Christian young people. As parents, we must have our proverbial doors open at all times so our children are comfortable coming to us with questions about life and love.

Teens should not have to answer these questions alone. Allowing them to decide for themselves, or worse, making their decisions based on what they see on television is setting them up for failure.

As parents, we must constantly recall Ephesians 6:4: “Father, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger, but rear them tenderly in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord.”

If we live out this verse, our children will have the values of Christ instilled within them and we can prayerfully trust that they will one day be ready to thrive as Christians amid the challenges of life.

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