Be Careful How You Answer

I’m haunted by a story. There was a woman who spoke at a retreat I attended years ago. She had been molested by older brothers for years when she was a little girl. When she was a young teen she went with her friend to a youth group meeting. That night the leader was talking about sexual purity and virginity. This girl knew that she was no longer a virgin. She hadn’t given that precious possession away, but it had been taken from her. Late in the meeting she went privately to the leader and asked her if someone who wasn’t a virgin could become a virgin again. The woman looked her in the eye and simply said, “No.”

That was the last youth meeting she ever went to as a girl. She’s been to several youth meetings as an adult speaker, but it took her years to learn the truth. It took a little longer for her to forgive the woman at that meeting.

I so wish the woman had asked that girl why she was asking. The questions we ask say so much about us. They are a window to our fears, our concerns, our prejudices, our beliefs, and our passions. When someone asks you a question, think before you answer. Sometimes there’s a question within the question.

In my direct sales business they talk about red flags. If someone asks if it’s difficult to haul my stuff wherever I go, there’s a good chance they’re asking because they are considering whether or not they’d like to join the business. If my companion asks if I’m hungry for ice cream, it’s very possible that they’re asking because they want to stop for ice cream. That little girl was asking because she wanted to know if she could be made whole again.

From the world’s point of view the woman was right. However, from a Christian point of view she was completely wrong. The speaker told us it took her years to find out that anyone who comes to Christ becomes a new person. She was made whole and new again when she accepted that gift of salvation.

Please be careful how you answer the questions of children, young people, and people who are seeking answers to life’s questions. A quick, flip answer could do a lot of harm.

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