Don’t Wreck Your Life Before You’re 20

A Plea to My Teenage Patients: Don’t Wreck Your Life Before You’re 20

Dear Teenagers,

I have taken care of most of you since you were babies. Your parents have trusted me with your care, and I think of you as my own children. I think we have a pretty good relationship.

That’s why I’m writing this letter to you.

You are in a dangerous period of your life. What you do now, and in the next few years, will have a great impact on your entire future life. You can either grow into more and more maturity, usefulness, and happiness, or ….you can wreck your life even before you really get started.

How can you destroy your life? I can think of lots of ways. But, I’ll focus on the two most common things I see, and two of the most destructive. These are not just theoretical. I see these things happen all the time. I want you to know about them before you take the bait that hides the hook that may wind up ruining you.

1. Sex.

How can sex wreck a life? Isn’t it a good thing? Isn’t it encouraged by everyone, and don’t they tell you how to use condoms for “safe sex?” Don’t “they” expect teenagers to experiment with sex?

Human sexuality is a good and beautiful thing. God created humans and human sexuality. He created the sexual act. This was all God’s idea. And he wants humans to enjoy sex and their sexuality in the way he designed. He made us males and females, and he intended for the sexual act to occur in the safety and love of marriage between one man and one woman. Sex outside of these parameters is dangerous, damaging to both parties, and an offense to God. Does that mean that God will not forgive sexual sin? Of course not. God, through Jesus, forgives our sins as we go to him in trust and repentance. But, there are usually consequences, often severe, that result from doing things our way instead of as God intended, and this is not less true in the realm of sex.

So, here’s the problem. We live in a hyper-sexualized society. Many people in your lives will say they expect you to have sex, because after all, you are teenagers. Or, others will turn a blind eye and pretend they don’t notice. Or, others will teach you all about “safe sex”, how to use a condom, etc. Or, the media (movies, books, the internet, billboards, advertisements, and on and on) will make you feel like there is definitely something wrong with you if you are not sexually active. Many people will act like the word “virgin” is a joke: “what, are you kidding me, you are still a virgin?” Girls are openly or subtly encouraged by stores at the mall, by so-called “celebrities”, even by otherwise responsible adult authority figures, to dress provocatively and immodestly.

Girls, boys will tell you that if you really “love” them, and because they really “love” you, you will yield to their desire for sexual intimacy. What they really mean is that they want to have sex with you. They don’t love you; if they did, they would not ask for and demand sex. This is a selfish manipulation.

Guys, you will get pressure from the culture and from your friends to be a real man: real men have sex with their girlfriends. And too often, girls are willing to oblige your desires.

The problem is that all these things are lies. They are lies. And if you believe the lies, you could wreck your life, or at least diminish what God intends for you to be.

How can sex outside of marriage wreck your life? Easy.

a. The obvious thing is STD’s. Sexually transmitted diseases. This is what everyone talks about. You know, stuff like HIV-AIDS, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, HPV, chlamydia, venereal warts. Stuff like that. But, wait a minute. Can’t modern medicine handle all of this? Nope. Only some of it. And much of it is increasingly more difficult to treat. These things can all affect you, and can affect your future spouse, and maybe even your babies.

How about prevention? Won’t a condom protect you from all this stuff? Isn’t that what you are taught? Isn’t the condom one of the miracles of modern science? No. A condom may confer only partial protection.

b. Pregnancy. Birth control methods have eliminated this concern in many cases. And some will tell you that birth control allows girls and young women to be as promiscuous as they want to because pregnancy is no longer a big issue, not as much of a “problem” as it used to be. Also, thanks to easily available abortion, there is a back up plan to birth control. Pregnancy can be ended quickly, quietly, and efficiently. Not mentioned by abortionists is that abortion is killing a baby. You don’t want to live with that guilt.

The other option is to go ahead and have the baby if you become pregnant; this is the only right choice. But, then you face the gut-wrenching decisions about whether to give your baby up for adoption or keep your baby, whether to marry the father, how to raise your baby, how to support yourselves, and so on. I admire the courage of young mothers who keep their babies and raise them; it is very difficult, and often limits life choices. I get angry at “fathers” who sire these babies and then leave the mother to figure it all out; these guys are nothing but sperm donors and selfish abusers of girls, spineless wimps, and creeps. They are not real men and they are not real fathers.

c. Your soul. The thing never talked about is what sex does to the person. God intended it to be a thing of beauty and pleasure between a married man and woman who love each other, and as an expression of total oneness. Sex within marriage binds the husband and wife together at the level of the soul and psyche. It is given as a gift from God to be enjoyed; there is no guilt in ever enjoying God’s good gifts in the way God intended.

But, abusing or using God’s gifts in ways he has not given will always result in pain, misery, disappointment, and suffering. And the same is true with sex, and especially true with sex. Sexual union with another before marriage will injure your soul, will damage your psychological state, and will cause great mental suffering and guilt. I have seen it. I have seen it cause depression or great anxiety in young people you would think have it all together. The expression that “condoms do not protect the heart” is all too true.

d. Your future husband or wife. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for the two of you to enter marriage as virgins? Wouldn’t it be great to have nothing to hide, no surprises for your spouse in the form of former lovers or STD’s to explain? Wouldn’t it be a beautiful gift to your future spouse to say you have waited for him/her and can give yourself now fully, without guilt, and love openly, without secrets? You may think that this vision of marriage is unrealistic and never happens, but it can and it does, and I guarantee that you will have no regrets if you wait for your future husband or wife.

One more thing: pornography. This usually is an affliction of guys, and it holds a perverse attraction for any male. It is so easy to enter the world of pornography. Don’t take the bait. Stay away from it. It will make you a slave. You will have images burned into your mind that you cannot get rid of. It is not a victimless and innocent activity. It offends God. It diminishes you. It demeans women. It is a sin against your future wife and marriage. Don’t get burned by pornography; it is playing with fire. Stay far away.

So, I implore you, don’t give in to the lies and pressures of our culture. Your future spouse will love you all the more for your sexual purity, and you will avoid a whole world of problems.

2. Drugs and Alcohol. OK, I know, you know all this. Just say no to drugs, right? But, how many of your friends are doing drugs, legal or illegal, and are ruining their lives in the process? We all know that drugs are readily available. You can get them if you want them. And, alcohol is just too easy to get your hands on. So, what is the big deal with drinking or doing drugs? Everyone knows that all teenagers experiment with this stuff, right?

That is one of the problems. You may feel that you need to experiment a little just to show you are a normal kid. You may feel pressure from your friends, from movies where the hero does recreational drugs or is always stoned, etc. But, everyone does not do them, and you don’t need to feel pressured to.

Why not use them a little?

a. Drugs and alcohol are addictive. There are many people out there whose lives have been completely taken over by drugs. They are addicted, and they have to have them. They are slaves to drugs and alcohol. They will lie, steal, kill, ruin their families, isolate themselves, lose jobs, and so on, to get the drugs or alcohol they need. And, when I say need, I mean it. They cannot live without these substances. And rehab hardly ever works for the long haul. I don’t even discuss the legal problems here.

Are you willing to take a chance on becoming addicted for your entire life? You may be saying, “that would never happen to me.” But, that is just what every drug addict and alcoholic used to say. Do you think they ever intended to become addicted? That was never the plan. Their lives are gone, ruined, wrecked. Is that what you want?

b. Drugs and alcohol are mind altering. You will do and say things you would never do or say without these substances on board. How many casual sexual encounters or date rapes occur under the influence of drugs or alcohol? How many fights and auto accidents are the result of these substances? A whole lot. And when an innocent child is killed, or one of your friends dies because you are drinking or using, you may not even remember what happened. But, how will you feel, and how will you ever shake the guilt?

I plead with you, stay away from drugs and alcohol.

There are lots of ways to wreck your life before you turn 20. These are only two of the easiest, and two of the most common.

This is my plea to you to avoid drugs and alcohol, and stay sexually pure until you are married. Avoid these two landmines. I plead with you because I love you and care about you enough to warn you and tell you the truth. I want you to be what God intended you to be; don’t short circuit yourself. God created you to live with dignity, in his presence, enjoying the good gifts he wants to give you.


Don’t wreck your life.

Dr. Miller

Copyright 2011 Jerry A. Miller Jr. All rights reserved.