Monday, February 23, 2004

The Problem with Prospecting

(This concept was touched on at Metro (Bible Study) last week, and I thought it was useful, so I will briefly reiterate and expound. With apologies to Ben Stuart for probably butchering his idea.)

It's all about how you look at people.

Imagine you are a hip, single twentysomething "on the prowl", as most are. (If you are neither single, hip, nor twentysomething, this may take more imagination to process.) You walk into a coffee shop/bar/mall/generic-public-place-with-a-mixed-crowd-approximately-your-age. You spot a group of equally hip, equally single twentysomethings of the opposite gender (let's stick to hetero singles, there's too much to address otherwise).

Unless you are a member of a monastic order, you have a complete lack of gender-specific hormones, or you are Trevor, your first impulse is to "check" these parties "out." Hopefully, you have enough finesse to avoid the "stare-and-drool-openly" technique common to college males. But, however furtively, you take a look. You evaluate. You size up any nearby competition. Then, you either advance and present yourself, or sit back and ponder the likelihood of your success/failure.

It comes naturally. The animal instinct of sizing up prospective mates.

But if you are a Christian, this is totally, totally wrong.

*Cartoonish 'spit take'* "What???"

Yeah. Completely wrong.

I direct your attention to I Timothy 5. "...Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity." (While this verse is gender-specific as it pertains to ol' Timmy, you ladies can extrapolate what that means to you.)

This is one of many such passages in the NT. To put in modern context, treat the cute guy at church like your brother. Treat that hot girlie at work like your sister.

(I shouldn't have to drag this out, but I feel there may be a few of you who aren't quite making the jump with me.)

Would you "check out" your brother or sister? If your answer is no (and I hope for your sake that it is, cuz otherwise that's just nasty), then you should not be checking out other opposite-gender, hip, single folks. Period. No exceptions.

"But Dave--" I hear all of you saying immediately. "That's totally unreasonable."

Yeah, it seems that way. I've been thinking about this lately. I've been trying to think my way around it. "As long as it isn't lust..." "No one is being hurt..." Etc. etc. etc. All the lame excuses. Because, yes, I'm a guy, if I see a cute girl, my first instinct is to check her out. This doesn't mean I'm some kind of creepy guy, and if it does, then each and every one of you are creepy too. Except Trevor. There's no use in self-righteously denying it, cuz that would be a lie on top of everything else.

We can justify this "harmless habit" all we want, but at the end of the discussion, it comes down to how you look at people. I think this can be cleared up in a few questions, answered honestly:

--How does Jesus look at people? How does he evaluate them?

--When you are "checking out" someone (even innocently, if there is such a way), are you really looking at them the way Jesus does?

...Conviction, anyone? Yeah, me too.

I don't know, just something to think about.

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