Focus: How do you prepare for and respond to betrayal in “dating” relationships?
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” -Proverbs 4:23
Dating is a HUGE part of our student’s lives. It is a marker that affects so much of who they are and how they are perceived in their culture. As we learn from Joseph in Genesis 39, “romantic” relationships often lead to lots of pain because in those relationships we let others into our heart. This undeniable process that we go through in developing a relationship is necessary to grow with others, but as a family, there are some ways that you can “guard your heart” and protect yourself from betrayal before it happens.
Discuss the following areas as a family and determine the best way that you can help your student “guard their heart” in each one. Remember, the best way to influence your student is to communicate WITH them and not just TO them…work it out together.
The Big 3:
- Identity: As students begin to have a desire to date, the quickest mistake they can make is to give up their identity (in Christ, your family, and their personality) for the sake of the person they want to date.
- Safety: Dating typically creates more opportunities for your student to be in more consistent and close contact with someone else, potentially outside of your supervision.
- Purity: This is a decision that MUST be made WAY in advance; otherwise when the time comes there is much greater potential for making the wrong choice and having to live with regret.
In order to set up your student for successful dating relationships, when they are ready, begins right now. Don’t wait until they develop a relationship to deal with the issue…be prepared and talk about it regularly as a family! The more you talk (and listen) about it early, the easier it will be to handle specifics when they arise.
Focus: How do you deal with betrayal in your family?
As we are learning in this series, betrayal happens in relationships with those who are close to us. Typically the people who are most likely to hurt us are the ones that live in our own home! Joseph experienced this first hand. Check out the story of his family in Genesis 37. He was sold by his brothers into slavery! If anyone had a reason to feel betrayed and seek revenge, Joseph did. But years later, he had the power and opportunity to ruin their lives. Here’s what he did:
“Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence. Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance” -Genesis 45:3-7
- When have you felt betrayed by your family?
- How does being betrayed change the way you interact as a family?
- Joseph chose to forgive. When did you last forgive a family member?
- Are you holding any grudges that are in the way of your family relationships?
Joseph experienced betrayal. His story could by the greatest revenge story ever, but instead, he chose to forgive. Forgiveness is often seen as weakness, but the truth is that it takes an incredible amount of strength to forgive someone, especially your family, for betraying or hurting you. Are you there yet?