Monday, April 16, 2012

Prom Time!

Prom season is beginning. Our home has begun receiving catalogs from various prom dress stores promoting the newest fashions to wear. Many, if not all, of the gowns promoted in the pages of these catalogs are very tight, low cut, high slits, and plunging backs leaving little if anything to the imagination. I’m not sure that anything about these gowns appeals to me as a mother, but especially not as a Christian mother. Do I really want to send my daughter out wearing something as provocative as one of these gowns? Would I want my son escorting a young lady dressed in this way? Do I really want to send my daughter or son out for an evening such as the prom and its festivities?

Daily, it seems, on Facebook and through email I am able to view photos of young Christian boys & girls posing for the camera before going to school dances. Their clothing often reveals more skin than it covers. It saddens me to see very few Christian young people abstaining from these worldly customs. I Timothy 2:9 instructs women to adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation. Our dress is to profess godliness and good works, not advertise goods that shouldn’t be for sale. How would we feel if Christ were standing beside of us? Would we want our bodies to be shown in front of Him?

Not only is the dress worn to the prom inappropriate for a Christian, but let’s consider the actions that take place before, during and after the prom. Oftentimes there are before prom parties where teenagers indulge in alcoholic beverages. There are coed sleepovers, and after prom parties. During the dance itself, behavior is anything but chaste. The word lascivious comes to mind. Now, this isn’t a word that we hear very often. In fact, we don’t hear it enough. Lascivious behavior will prevent us from entering heaven; it is a work of the flesh. (Galatians 5:19-21) Lewdness, sensuality, debauchery, indecent bodily movements and unchaste handling between males & females are some ways to describe the word lascivious. All of those words describe the behavior that is seen at school dances. Isn’t this something that a Christian should flee instead of openly embrace? Again, would we want to be seen by Christ if He were in attendance at the dance or prom festivities?

What is the church to do in this season of proms? I know in some areas, local congregations join together to provide a nice dinner and perhaps some entertainment for the Christian teens to attend so that they have an alternative to the prom. That is a good option.  However, aren't we just attempting to clean up the world?  Brad Harrub, in the April 2012 Think magazine has a wonderful article about what he intends to teach his children about the prom.  He brings up a valid point that even at these cleaned-up, church sponsored events, the same temptations are present. "Rather than trying to "clean-up" worldly sinful behavior, I believe we need to focus on avoiding it, and growing stronger in Him."  Amen!

What are parents to do in this season? Parents need to teach their children about being different than the world. They need to impress upon them that missing one night of the prom will not damage them for life, however it will show their dedication to the Lord. We need to teach them that remaining pure and honorable before God is our goal, and god's commands are not mean or evil, but for our own good.  Personally, I went to dinner and a movie with a friend. My life didn’t end because I didn’t attend the prom.

Mothers, we need to start young … author Sheila Butt tells the story of shopping with one of her granddaughters who would not buy a Barbie doll because she wasn’t dressed modestly. We need to teach our children to walk properly, as children of light (Romans 13:12-14). Proper dress and behavior are commands that do not change with our opinions and cannot be compromised. This shouldn’t wait until their junior or senior year of high school, but should start when they are very young.

It’s not too late to take a stand for Christ and begin avoiding the works of the world. Some parents may feel they cannot prevent their child from attending the prom because they attended. Don’t we learn by our mistakes? As we become more knowledgeable of God’s word and what His will is for us, don’t we have to make changes in our lives? In the long run, don’t we want to raise strong, faithful Christian children or just let them live in the moment and be popular? Any Christian who is concerned with their soul and avoiding the works of the flesh will see the danger in participating. Let’s support our young people by providing them good activities and the love and support they need growing up in this world.

This post is an edited version of an article I wrote that was published in the West Virginia Christian newspaper in 2010.