Second Date

September 22, 2014

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“He what?!”

The DJs sounded more than a little surprised as they talked to a young woman on air.  It was time once again for their segment called ‘Second Date Update’ during which they help figure out why a second date hasn’t happened when one of the two folks who went on a date wants another date and the other just doesn’t.

The segments are absolutely fantastic; you can’t make this stuff up.  The radio guys will find out from the one who wants the second date everything about the other person that makes that person so fabulous, and they’ll find out about the date to get a feel for how things went and why the person who didn’t call back, didn’t call back.

The worst/best one I ever heard was the one with the “He what?!

The (nameless) girl had gone out with the (nameless) guy to dinner.  (It was weeks ago; who could remember their names?!)  He’d thought they’d had a great time and wanted to go out again; she knew she never would.  The guy wanted the DJs’ help because he was sure they’d hit it off and had a future.

When the DJs had her on air, she reluctantly informed them that yes, they had gone to dinner … but he’d spent the entire time looking more at his cell phone … and texting on it … than at her.  When they did talk, she’d basically been talking to his forehead while he kept looking down at his phone.  At one point, she excused herself to go to the ladies’ room, and glanced back over her shoulder to discover that he wasn’t texting while he was ‘talking’ to her at dinner; he was playing Candy Crush!!!  On their first date!

The DJs almost choked as they asked him, “Dude.  Did you really do that?  Is she serious?”

He didn’t deny it.  “Well, uh, yeah.”

The radio guys guffawed.

Nameless Guy then said to Nameless Girl, “If it makes you feel any better, I just felt so comfortable with you that I knew I could play that game – I don’t even have to concentrate on it – and still 100% focus on you.”

There are so many things wrong with that statement that I 100% cannot enumerate them all.  Clearly, that second date did not happen.

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That’s still the worst/best I’ve heard on these segments.  This morning’s, though, was a definite close second.  Some girl named Nan and some guy named Travis had gone on a date.  She really liked him and thought they had a good time, but Travis never called her back.  So Nan called the radio guys and told them her story.  They called Travis, and it got interesting.

He had great things to say about Nan, how much fun they’d had, how pretty and charming he thought she was, etc.

“So why didn’t you ask her out again?”

“Well, I sorta told her some things about me that aren’t true.”

“Really?  Like what?”

“Well, I told her that I played football at Texas A&M, but I didn’t.”

Pause.

Slowly he breathed out his next segment.  “And I told her that I’m a sports agent … because I thought that was more impressive than assistant manager at Pep Boys, which is what I really am.”

Another pause of incredulity.  You could almost hear the DJs’ mouths’ hanging open.

“I didn’t call her back because I just didn’t know how long I could keep up the lie.”

When the DJs un-muted her mike, she lit into him and said that she would never go on a second date with him and how could she believe anything he ever said that night and was it all just a big lie?!

It honestly restored my faith in humanity that in our ‘anything goes’ culture, these young ladies had standards.  Yay!!!  There is hope!

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Standards are essential, and these days rarer than many of us might like.  They are also responsible for much of the logjam that happens in the Christian faith.  We get caught up in how everyone is supposed to live and give off ‘you’re doing it all wrong’ vibes to anyone who doesn’t measure up.  Then the ‘everyone’ and ‘anyone’ represented in that sentence are so put off by our ‘standards’ that they want exactly zero to do with us and, by extension, with our Christ, which is clearly terrible since, as flawed as we are, He is flawless.

This is not good.

Our standards are so often at odds with our idea of grace.  As many have pointed out, we are quick to appreciate and live in God’s grace for ourselves, but we hoard it when we ought to be in dishing it out to others.

But Jesus never let His standards get in the way of His grace.  He clearly told the adulterous woman whom the Pharisees wanted to stone, the very woman He saved from such a horrific fate by putting the Pharisees in their place, “Now go and sin no more.”  He flashed His righteous anger at the temple when self-promoters were defiling His Father’s house.  Over and again He taught us His standards and lived out His grace.

Those girls on that show were right to decide not to go on a second date with those guys.  But when it comes to God, the only right thing is to keep spending time with Him because He wants a second date with you … and a third … and a fourth … and an eternal one.  Those girls shouldn’t go out with those guys again because any future relationship they might have would not be healthy.  But the only kind of relationship that comes from a personal, up-close relationship with the God of the universe through His Son, Jesus, is a healthy one because He is the God of second chances, the God whose love does not end, the God of standards whose ways are grace.

I used to worry that some people would learn of God’s abundant grace and focus so much on the second chances that He gives them – that He gives to all of us – that they would just go out and do whatever they want and then just tack on an “I love you, Lord; thanks for forgiving and loving me!” at the end of the day and go right on being a Royal Twirp.  But then it hit me:  this is Jesus we’re talking about, and Jesus isn’t about to get played.  I think He’s covered on this one.

Maybe what He wants me to do is follow His example of having His standards and living out His grace.  Maybe that’s what He wants from all of us.

Godspeed.

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