Healthy Relationships and the Dangers of Social Media What a California Girl Taught Me About Practicing Healthy Relationship

I’ve spent the last three weeks recovering from a pretty serious four-month crush on a girl in California, and that recovery has led me into some deep reflection on the dangers of social media. I’ve come to see how social media confuses boundaries, allows us to escape the discomfort of what the Apostle Paul calls our “ministry of reconciliation,” and perpetuates the idol of self.

This girl and I met one Sunday morning about a year-and-a-half ago. I managed to secure a seat next to her in church and waited for that savory moment of precious opportunity. A prayer for the offering was prayed. Announcements were given. The pastor took the stage to deliver his sermon. “Turn to the person next to you and tell them your greatest fear.” God was my wingman, friends. It doesn’t get much better than that.

That day, I learned that her greatest fear was spiders, but she paid me no mind. She seemed far more interested in her phone and the friend sitting next to her than she did in me, so I dropped it. The next year flew by. I started seminary, wrote and published The Tale of the Elm Trees, and continued leading a ministry for twenty-somethings. If I’ve learned one thing over the last year, it’s that as a full-time graduate student enrolled in three graduate programs at two schools in two different states while simultaneously pursuing two separate careers, if you don’t make time for dating, it won’t happen. Other things will happily fill up your schedule, and fill up my schedule they did.

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The Secret to Forgiveness

Some years ago, I got involved with the high school youth ministry at the church I was a part of, and very quickly I came to care for a number of students, one girl in particular.

I’ll never forget the Friday night that this girl called me up and told me that she had gone to bed early under the guise of reading her book because her mom was drunk and she didn’t want to be around for the hurtful words that were going to spew from her mother’s mouth if she stuck around. As the son of an addict, it broke my heart, and I quickly came to care for this girl. I knew her pain.

Nevertheless, through a series of misunderstandings and miscommunications, my relationship with this girl was severed. I pushed for answers. I wanted reconciliation, but got nothing except the angry and protective rants of this girl’s father. He would have none of it.

I knew the history of this family. I knew that they had once been close with another family in our church, and that when the fathers had collaborated to do something about the alcoholism of this girl’s mother, the mother had found out through an intercepted text and slandered the father of the other family, saying that he had made a pass at her. The relationship rotted as the church leaders did nothing. Continue reading The Secret to Forgiveness