Saturday, September 1, 2007

A Chat With My Friend About What Makes Sense

Published in Arizona Family News--September, 2007

Brenda: Andrew, I’m so furious. I just found out my boyfriend cheated on me.
Andrew: So, you’re angry that your boyfriend had sex with another girl?
Brenda: Yes.
Andrew: Why?
Brenda: What do you mean, “Why?” What a stupid question!
Andrew: Why are you angry at him?
Brenda: Because it’s wrong to cheat, of course.
Andrew: I agree. But why is it wrong to cheat?
Brenda: Because he made a promise?
Andrew: Really? I thought you weren’t married.
Brenda: Well. I mean he promised me he loved me.
Andrew: Were there any witnesses?
Brenda: Witnesses? No. He just told me. He told me lots of times.
Andrew: But no one else was there? So it’s just your word against his?
Brenda: I guess. What’s that got to do with it? A promise is a promise.
Andrew: Do you think he might have made similar promises to this other girl?
Brenda: Probably. He’s a jerk.
Andrew: Do you think maybe he could only get away with that because he only made them privately?
Brenda: I guess.
Andrew: Did he make a list of specific things he was promising?
Brenda: No. He just told me he’d love me forever.
Andrew: But he didn’t spell out exactly what it meant to him to love you forever?
Brenda: It was implied.
Andrew: So he didn’t really promise, right?
Brenda: I guess not.
Andrew: And no one can really confirm it, right?
Brenda: I don’t like you very much.
Andrew: I’m sorry. But let’s say that he had promised, just for argument’s sake. Why would it be wrong to cheat if he had?
Brenda: Because it’s wrong to break promises. Are you stupid or something?
Andrew: Bear with me, I’m a little slow sometimes. Why is it wrong to break promises?
Brenda: Because it’s a lie.
Andrew: And lying is wrong?
Brenda: Are you from Mars? Of course lying is wrong!
Andrew: Why?
Brenda: Because you’re not supposed to.
Andrew: Who says?
Brenda: Well, God, right? He says you shouldn’t do stuff to other people that you wouldn’t want them to do to you. And that’s why you shouldn’t lie and cheat. Because no one wants it done to them. And God says not to do that.
Andrew: So we should do what God says?
Brenda: Yeah. That’s what it means to be a Christian, right?
Andrew: You’re a Christian?
Brenda: Of course. I go to church every week.
Andrew: Okay. So you think we should do what God says?
Brenda: Yes.
Andrew: But doesn’t God say to wait until you’re married to have sex?
Brenda: That’s different.
Andrew: Why?
Brenda: Because nobody follows that rule.
Andrew: So, if everyone started lying and cheating, that would be okay because we should only follow God’s rules when everyone else does, too?
Brenda: Well, no. Those things are wrong because they hurt people. Having sex doesn’t hurt anyone.
Andrew: So it’s not really about obeying God. It’s about obeying God when you think it makes sense?
Brenda: Yeah. That makes sense. He gave us free will, right?
Andrew: So when your boyfriend cheated on you, was he using that same free will to do what made sense to him?
Brenda: That’s different.
Andrew: How.
Brenda: He hurt me.
Andrew: So?
Brenda: You shouldn’t hurt people.
Andrew: Why?
Brenda: Because God says not to hurt people. Aren’t you listening?
Andrew: Well, one of us isn’t.
Brenda: What does that mean?
Andrew: So, your boyfriend hurt you because he did something you really wanted him to not do, right?
Brenda: Right.
Andrew: And you’re mad at him?
Brenda: Very.
Andrew: Do you think God should be mad at you?
Brenda: What? Why?
Andrew: Well, you did something He really didn’t want you to do, right?
Brenda: I guess so.
Andrew: And doing things other people don’t want us to do hurts their feelings, right?
Brenda: Yeah.
Andrew: So I guess your feelings are more important than God’s.
Brenda: That’s an awful thing to say.
Andrew: But isn’t that what you told God when you had sex with your boyfriend?
Brenda: I guess I wasn’t thinking about it that way.
Andrew: What way were you thinking about it?
Brenda: Well, I really wanted to do it.
Andrew: So it’s okay to hurt God’s feelings as long as we really want to do something?
Brenda: Well, no.
Andrew: Do you think he makes rules for our benefit.
Brenda: Yes. He loves us, right?
Andrew: So which of His rules do you think we should follow.
Brenda: I guess all of them.
Andrew: So does it make much sense to be mad at your boyfriend for breaking your rule when you don’t want God to be mad at you for breaking His rules?
Brenda: I guess not.
Andrew: So what did you learn?
Brenda: That I haven’t been acting very smart.
Andrew: But you know what?
Brenda: What?
Andrew: God still loves you, and He’ll forgive you if you ask Him to.
Brenda: I know.
Andrew: And do you still love Him?
Brenda: Of course.
Andrew: Then maybe you can start obeying Him better.
Brenda: That makes sense.
Andrew: And I’m truly very sorry it took you being hurt so bad to see this.
Brenda: Me, too.