In April I went to my youth group’s prom alternative, and I had a blast.
On the one hand, maybe you go to school with me. Maybe you’re really confused about the “alternative” part of that last statement. No, I do not participate in prom, and I’m fairly ashamed to admit that I tend to be ambiguous as to why. I’ll clear all that up in a minute. On the other hand, you may be a member of the Lord’s church on the complete opposite end of the issue. Yes, I did go to a function that essentially has its roots in prom, and I have no reason to believe that God disapproves of that action. Whether you just think I’m weird or you think I’ve compromised my purity, I’d like the chance to defend my choice in going to prom alternative.
WHY I DIDN’T GO TO PROM:
I don’t want to lust or cause others to do so.
The problem of lust stems from a couple of issues. I believe the first is prevalent immodesty. Let’s face it: modesty isn’t a part of the world’s culture anymore. Non-Christian girls are no longer concerned with covering up, and prom fashions reflect it. Do you know the agony I went through to find a dress for prom alternative? It was terrible. Between the heinously low-cut gowns and the barely-a-yard-of-fabric dresses, pickings were slim to none for the Christ-conscious teenager.
The other issue, is, of course, dancing. It always cracks me up when Christians condemn “dancing.” I dance around my room all the time with a hairbrush in my hand pretending I’m a rock star, and I’m pretty confident that God has no problem with that. However, if I were to go to prom and basically rub my body up against that of a boy with my hormones raging, that would be a definite problem. Moving your body to music is not a sin. Doing so in a way that can cause others to lust is a sin. Take a look at Matthew 18:7—“Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!” I don’t want to be a stumbling block to anyone, whether through the way I move my body or simply through what I’m wearing.
I don’t want to be surrounded by bad influences.
2 Timothy 2:22 says “Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” The word “lust” here doesn’t refer only to sexual lust, but a desire for anything sinful. I can guarantee you that some (not ALL, SOME) teenagers only go to the prom so they can get drunk and/or have sex afterwards. Would I participate in that? Of course not. Do I want to be around that? Of course not. I don’t even want to put myself in a place that could potentially lead to something sinful.
I don’t want to give the illusion of approval.
I could go to the prom in a completely modest dress. I could go only to hang out with friends, not to dance. I could go without actually participating in any sinful activity. However, participating in prom would be tantamount to giving my approval to the sinful actions of others, and that’s just as bad. In Acts 8, after Stephen is stoned, Luke tells us that “Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death.” Did Saul (later Paul) actually kill Stephen? No. Was he just as guilty of his death? Yes. Sin goes beyond the physical act straight into our mindset. I don’t want anyone to believe that I approve of his or her sinful activities.
Alright, now for the flip-side…
WHY I DID GO TO PROM ALTERNATIVE:
Immodesty, lust, and worldliness were absent. I want to make one thing very clear: I do not believe in any way, shape, or form that a “special occasion” is an excuse to dress immodestly, whether the event is a prom, a prom alternative, or anything else. At my alternative, there was a dress code. If we wouldn’t be comfortable wearing it to a worship service (or if others would be uncomfortable with us wearing it to a worship service), we weren’t allowed to wear it to prom alternative. My own dress came to my knees when sitting and didn’t even show any skin below the collarbone. With a shrug to cover my back it was a perfectly modest (and dare I say, beautiful) dress. Non-Christian dates were also a no-go. We were chaperoned at all times. There was no dancing. Nobody lost their virginity, their innocence, or even their hearts. We all just had fun together. I didn’t have to worry about seeing, hearing, or “accidentally” approving of something sinful. I was in a God-honoring environment.
It was an opportunity for fellowship. The plan for the evening was lovely. A couple from my congregation graciously invited us into their BEAUTIFUL mountain home for a delicious, fancy dinner. Next we changed into normal clothes to go bowling at the local Brunswick. Finally, we trekked across town to another family’s house, where we made s’mores and roasted hot dogs over a backyard campfire. The girls spent the night there, while the guys drove to the church building to sleep. We all got together again for breakfast the next day.
How fun is that? I had a blast. The early church often got together just to “break bread” and “take meals together” (Acts 2:42)—they enjoyed simply spending time with one another. That’s what we enjoy too!
When all’s said and done, I had a wonderful evening. I grew closer to brothers and sisters in Christ, and I had a fantastic time doing so. I’m so thankful that someone had the idea to give us a special evening free of temptation or worldliness!