Last updated on October 11, 2020
I am 18 years old and currently in high school. I have been asking myself if I should commit all the possible sins and mistakes during my youth or remain devout and chaste. My father told me to enjoy my youth, to get drunk, smoke, and do drugs because when I grow old I will regret not having fun. Long story short, I did that for a while, but I was really depressed because a part of me was sick with myself knowing that I didn’t have the protection of God, that I was by myself, and all the positives and negatives of my life were on my shoulders. I began to read the Bible, pray more, and listened to the preacher, but a part of me wants to keep partying. Sometimes I feel like I am missing out on hardships that will make me stronger and depriving myself of adventures that my peers constantly seek. How can I be politically correct and still be funny? How can I give the other cheek but still be valiant and strong? How can I seek the heart of a woman and still be chaste and pure? How can I enjoy life without regrets and walk in the path of the Lord?
Unfortunately you received some bad advice.
“Rejoice, young man, during your childhood, and let your heart be pleasant during the days of young manhood. And follow the impulses of your heart and the desires of your eyes. Yet know that God will bring you to judgment for all these things. So, remove grief and anger from your heart and put away pain from your body, because childhood and the prime of life are fleeting” (Ecclesiastes 11:9-10).
Youth is a time for activity and fun. You should enjoy yourself, but it is a mistake to think that being stoned out of your mind or drunk or any other sin leads to long-term fun. Granted, while you having sex, it feels great, but then there are the heartaches of breaking up because you weren’t faithful, there is the discovery that you made a baby and are responsible for the child’s welfare even though the mother wants nothing to do with you again, and then there are the diseases. “For the lips of an adulteress drip honey and smoother than oil is her speech; but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death, her steps take hold of Sheol [the grave]” (Proverbs 5:3-5). I could make the same argument about alcohol and drugs. They might seem amusing, but once you’re addicted, the agony of trying to stop is not funny at all. Then there are the regrets of education you missed because you were high and the difficulty to learn because you messed up your mind. “Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger long over wine, those who go to taste mixed wine. Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly; at the last it bites like a serpent and stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things and your mind will utter perverse things. And you will be like one who lies down in the middle of the sea, or like one who lies down on the top of a mast. ‘They struck me, but I did not become ill; they beat me, but I did not know it. When shall I awake? I will seek another drink’” (Proverbs 23:29-35).
You can have lots of fun that doesn’t involve sin. Hike in the wilderness, canoe a river, build something, repair an automobile, etc. Every one of these is difficult, but they will make you into a man you can be proud of. Having a sexually transmitted disease when you are 20 is also hard, but it won’t make you into a better person. The difference is some hardships are constructive — you accomplish something — while other hardships are merely destructive.
Humor doesn’t have to be crude, derogatory, or destructive. Watch old-time comedy shows and see that they are still funny and not one bad word is said.
And who is stronger, the person who strikes back without thinking and ends up in a brawl, or the guy who can control his impulses and defuses a bad situation? “It is honorable for a man to stop striving, since any fool can start a quarrel” (Proverbs 20:3). “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression” (Proverbs 19:11).
In regards to finding a woman, are you looking for a wife to share life with for the rest of your life, or are you only looking for sex? Women are not foolish, they can tell what a guy is after. Get to know women without any pressure for sex. Find someone you enjoy being with. What worldly men don’t realize is that once sex comes into the picture, that is all that they think about. They no longer try to get to know the person as a person, so they never find a companion.
You enjoy life without regrets by not living a life that doesn’t destroy yourself and those around you with your sins.
Thank you very much! I sent this email without thinking that you would respond that fast. Your answer gave me peace. I think I need to meditate more on the Bible verses you have sent me and formulate my own judgment based on the Bible instead of my father’s opinion. I can’t stress enough that I am very thankful for getting your help when nobody else would.
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