The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

I desperately need your help. I am a Christian and have been since I was born. My parent's lifelong friends have a daughter my age. We've been best friends and have gone through everything together. One day we were studying in my room, and we confessed our love for each other, started kissing and, well, one thing led to another and we had sex. It the first time for both of us. Now she's twelve weeks pregnant. We don't want and abortion, since she's a Christian, too. What do we do? Please help, we're only fourteen.


Answer

It is notes like yours that make me wish we were sitting down together in my office or across a kitchen table because there are so many issues and subtle points which need to be addressed.

Let's start with a side issue: one can't be a Christian from birth. Oh, I know many denominations teach it and baptize babies to emphasize it, but what you find in the Bible is that people choose to become Christians after careful consideration.

"For which of you, desiring to build a tower, doesn't first sit down and count the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it? Or perhaps, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, everyone who sees begins to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build, and wasn't able to finish.' Or what king, as he goes to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends an envoy, and asks for conditions of peace. So therefore whoever of you who doesn't renounce all that he has, he can't be my disciple" (Luke 14:28-33).

Being a Christian is a choice you make after weighing both your ability and commitment to see it to the end and the cost of not doing it. This isn't something a newborn child can do.

Second, there is so much that went wrong which eventually led to your committing fornication. There are hundreds of small questions to ask to figure out why you did not take responsibility for your body and why you did not respect the body of your life-long friend. What I can guarantee is that what happened wasn't an accident. I'm guessing, but since you are now upset finding out she is pregnant, it is likely that you were pleased for a while that it went that far. It is only the fact that you were found out and realize you are responsible that has gotten you to this point. It appears that it was a one time event, but actually there is nothing in your note ruling out that you didn't fool around at other times.

When I deal with boys in your situation, I try to get them to see what actually happened, why it happened, why it shouldn't have happened, and what they should have done. I know you are only fourteen, but it is past time you starting growing up. Your body is way ahead of your mind and there is a lot you need to start considering.

In regards to your child, neither you nor your friend are ready to be parents. To put it bluntly you are not capable of raising a child. I'm not degrading you, I'm just pointing out that you're only fourteen and you have a lot of growing up to do before you will be able to handle the responsibilities of raising a child. The child is not going to wait until the two of you are able to shoulder the responsibilities. I hope neither you nor her would want the child to be disadvantaged just because you two were foolish teenagers. So what I am going to strongly urge is that you give the child up for adoption. There are plenty of married couples who can't have children who would love the privilege of raising your child. I would recommend a private agency over a government agency if possible.

You also need to keep in mind that there is a high probability that the child will not be born alive. The problem is that at 14 your friend's body may not be developed enough to support a child to full-term. The risks of pregnancy is very high for a girl under the age of 16 -- both for the child and the mother.

Now, another question for you. I assume both your parents know about this situation. What are their thoughts? Have they put restrictions on the two of you? It would be reasonable to state that you two can no longer be in each other's bedrooms or in a room with the door close. The rule should also be that you cannot be in each other's house unless there is an adult there. All of these should be geared to remove the temptation of sinning, giving yourselves no opportunities to sin. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (I Peter 5:8).

Finally, what you and I really need to talk about is your responsibilities as a male. So, I want you to start going through the lessons in Growing Up in the Lord: A Study for Teenage Boys. Make yourself read all the passages cited. Answer the questions at the end of each chapter. And write to me concerning any questions or thoughts you have as you go through the study.

Thank you so very much for your reply. My friend and I regret our choice to have sex before we were married. We are both Roman Catholics and were baptized at birth. I would love to talk to you throughout my friend's pregnancy. We haven't told our parents yet and we're scared because she needs prenatal care. If you have any questions just ask. We don't know how our parents will react, do you have any advice for telling them? We think we should give the baby up for adoption to a loving family, but we don't know if we can give away our own child. Marriage is out of the question until we are at least out of high school, almost four years from now and I can't ask her to bear the burden of a child without my support until then. I don't know if I'd even want to marry her, I couldn't imagine being married to her, I mean we're best friends. Please write back.

There are many issues we need to address, but there are two which are critical at the moment.

First, you are going to have to tell your parents what happened. Yes, there is likely to be an explosion felt all the way to Nebraska and the thoughts of facing the wrath and disappointment of your parents is daunting, but it has to be done. One, she can't hide it much longer. Some girls manage to hide their pregnancies by claiming their gaining weight, but the fact remains she will soon begin to show. An observant mother isn't going to miss the clues. Two, you are both minors and as such you cannot sign any legal documents. There are documents which need to be signed with doctors got get prenatal care and there are going to documents to signed regarding the adoption. Since you can't sign, you need your parents to sign for you. Three, if you ever tried reading a legal document, you realize they aren't easy to understand. You will need your parent's help in making decisions and deciding which options you are given is best.

My advice is for each of you to tell your mothers today. Keep the point simple and direct. Details can come later after the shock of the news wears off. Something on the order of "Mom, I need your help. I made a huge mistake. X and I had sex and she's pregnant." I don't want either of you to be there when the other tells his or her parent because a natural reaction to bad news is to direct all hostile feelings toward the outsider. Your parents will naturally gravitate to the position that it is her fault for seducing you. Her parents will naturally gravitate to the position that you seduced her. By not being there, you'll not get the brunt of the anger, but it is likely to still be there. It might take days or even weeks for things to calm down enough so that you can have a reasonable discussion of what needs to be done. Given that it is likely to happen, you are best off letting the steam out early in this situation.

Realize too that this will put a huge strain in your parents' friendship. That is because a fundamental trust that existed between the two families was broken. Since I don't know them, I can't predict whether they will overcome it or whether they will be shattered by it.

Second, "Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward" (Psalm 127:3). I know you and she provided the DNA to cause this baby to begin to form, but the proper way to look at any child is the child is a gift from God. Even when a married couple has a child, I tell the parents that they must look at it that God has loaned them a soul to raise for a few years -- He has entrusted them with a huge responsibility. You and your friend need to see it in the same way. This isn't your child, this is God's child and you have the responsibility to find the best way to have that child grow up into a fine adult. You realize that neither of you are capable at the moment and if you try, you're likely to fail. So you are going to find a couple who can provide what you cannot so that this gift from God can grow up into a responsible adult.

You are very correct that your not ready for marriage. Just your explanation as to why you don't want to marry her proves the point because you have it backwards. A man's wife is his best friend. "Because the LORD has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, ... yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant" (Malachi 2:14). That you don't see this tells me you aren't ready.

Not to lay a bigger guilt trip on you, but it's time we start straightening out some of your thought processes. Isn't it strange that a boy can call a girl his best friend, but not want to marry her, and yet is willing to stick his penis into this same girl? You see, you used your best friend as a way to satisfy your body's desire but you don't care enough about her to want to live with her the rest of your life. But you told her you loved her just before you used her. Do you see the inconsistency here? I'm not saying you should or should not marry her. You should be thinking about who want to marry from the next eight to ten years and making up your mind after careful consideration. The fact that you sinned with this girl is not sufficient reason to marry her. However, I'm pointing out that you don't know what love and marriage is really about at the moment. You have a lot of growing up to do.