I am a fifteen‑year‑old girl. A while back, a nineteen‑year‑old guy told me he really liked me and asked me to be his girlfriend. I told him I didn’t feel the same way; but he kept on insisting, so I finally let him kiss me.

It turned out that he has a son…. Ever since then, I’ve kept rejecting him, but he’s told me that he has unfinished business with me. I don’t know exactly what he means by that, but I’m afraid. He talks to me on the Internet and, I don’t know, insinuates things…. He hangs out with thugs, and that scares me. I don’t know if he wants to harm me or if I should tell my parents what’s going on.

If I could start all over, I would’ve never gotten to know him. Please help me! I don’t know what to do. I’m desperate!

Dear Friend,

Did you know that fear is an alarm system that God gave us to warn us when something is wrong? What do we do if a fire alarm goes off? We run! And we tell other people about the danger. These are the same actions that you should take in response to the fear alarm that you are experiencing.

You have very good reasons to be afraid. First of all, this man who is pursuing you is already a legal adult, while you are still a legal child in most countries. He is older and more experienced in the ways of the world, and it sounds like he is using this to intimidate you. Unfortunately many girls are not as smart as you are, and they might be intrigued by the fact that someone who is older and has more experience is interested in them. They might not see the extreme danger that they are in.

Your intelligence and good sense already indicated to you what you should do. Yes, tell your parents immediately! It doesn’t matter if you don’t get along with them right now. (Many fifteen‑year‑olds don’t get along with their parents; fortunately, as they get older, their relationship usually gets better.) Nor does it matter that your parents may get scared at first, and might overreact. You are their precious child, and they will protect you with their lives. When they see that you are in danger, they immediately find ways to keep anything from harming you. Once they understand that you are being responsible in telling them your situation, they will help you by establishing some healthy and reasonable safeguards for the future.

Social networking sites on the Internet can be fun, but they can also be dangerous. Predators create profiles to make themselves appear to be what they are not. They lure unsuspecting and naive girls and boys who just want to have fun and are not aware of the potential danger. Often, they trick the boy or girl into a situation in which he or she is confused about what to do. You have done the right thing by asking us for help.

The oldest story in recorded history tells of a young woman named Eve.(1) God told Eve that she could eat the fruit from all of the trees in the garden He planted for her, except for one. Eve probably intended to follow that rule. But one day, when she was alone, she met a creature who claimed to be much smarter than she was. This creature began trying to convince her that the rule didn’t really matter, and that she would be better off if she overlooked it and ate the delicious‑looking fruit.

What should Eve have done? She should have run away as fast as she could to tell her husband about the creature who was trying to influence her. Unfortunately, however, Eve was intrigued by the possibility that the creature would lead her into becoming wiser and smarter than she already was. She was tricked into thinking that the creature, who was Satan himself,(2) cared about her best interests more than the Supreme Being who had made the rule. So instead of running, instead of telling, instead of obeying the rule, Eve ate the fruit. This simple action was the beginning of trouble for all humankind.

We can learn many good lessons from the true‑life story of Eve. First, she seemed to be completely unaware that there was any danger to avoid. We should learn from this the value of discussing potential dangers with our family and friends. Parents have the responsibility of warning their own children, but teenagers often believe that older people are uninformed or unnecessarily cautious. So it is also the responsibility of more mature teenagers and older siblings to share information and warnings with their younger and less mature friends and family.

Secondly, we can learn from Eve that it is very important to check with a wise friend or family member before deciding to communicate with someone new. Although making new friends can be a wonderfully positive experience, it is usually best to proceed slowly and with caution. It is not safe for either adults or teenagers to give their personal information such as address, phone number, school or workplace to someone they have just met, whether it be in person, on the phone, or on the Internet.

Thirdly, the story of Eve teaches us to pay attention to the alarm system that God put inside of each of us. The more obvious alarm is fear, but there are also other significant alarms, such as uneasiness, confusion, or suspicion. When we ignore these alarms, we get ourselves into trouble.

Lastly, we learn that rules have been made for our own protection. We may not like them. We may think they limit our freedoms. We may even believe that our own way would be better. But ultimately, we face severe consequences when we choose to break those rules.

Don’t be like Eve!

Linda and Charles
1 Ge 3
2 Rev 12:9; 20:2