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I was counseling a teen who said to me, “Mr. Thomas, you don’t wear Walmart to high school.” It was great! In his simple way, he clearly articulated what every human on the planet feels. He’s insecure, and he’s willing to give up his life choices to groupthink.
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I told a group of folks at our Houston conference that when two people date, they are dating each others’ representative, not the real person. You won’t know the authentic person until marriage. Until then, the person you’re dating is representing the person you’re going to marry.
Spouse - Person - Disappointment - Spouse - Disparity
Granted, that you won’t know your spouse entirely, but he (or she) will be different than the person you dated. Your disappointment in your spouse is proportional to the disparity between the representative and the person you marry.
My teenage friend, who’s afraid to wear Walmart clothes among his peers, also suffers from this “representative problem.” Walmart is not how he wants to “represent” to those whose opinions have power over him. The biblical category for this is called fear of man. You can find the text in Proverbs 29:25: The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe. Notice the Hebrew parallelism:
Fear - Root - Cause - Point - Snaring
Fear is the root cause: your starting point. Snaring is the result. Trust (Read: faith) is the root solution, and safety is the result. My teen friend chose not to trust the Lord, but to fear (and crave) the opinions of others. The result was that the views of his peers controlled how he thought, which manifest by his clothing choices. His “fear of man” gave are all the kids at his high school the power...
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