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Romance Novels
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I’m a 16-year-old girl, and I love to read romance novels. Maybe I enjoy reading them so much because I’m not in a relationship of my own. But lately I’ve become more serious about my walk with the Lord, and I’m wondering whether or not I should continue reading romance novels.

Pastor Edmond Answers:

Having never read a romance novel, I can’t tell you whether or not they’re damaging to your walk with the Lord. But given the fact that the people who write and publish romance novels are interested primarily in making money, I’d imagine that in the average romance novel somebody in the story engages in some kind of sexual activity. The plain fact is that sex sells.

As I said, I don’t read romance novels. But once when I was in college and traveling, I stayed in the home of someone who did read them. One afternoon I picked one up and started reading it, because I love to read too and there wasn’t anything else to read.

I read one chapter, and I had to put it down. The content was so steamy that my glasses almost fogged up (that was before I started wearing contacts!).

Now, I don’t know if all romance novels are like the one I started, but I suspect that most of them are. And if that’s the case, then I suspect that reading about people jumping in and out of bed with a bunch of other people and all kinds of graphic descriptions about what they’re doing with and to each other isn’t very helpful to a person’s walk with the Lord.

I also suspect that even if your novels are of a more tame variety that are aimed at younger readers, there are still certain disadvantages attached to them. It’s quite possible that even tame novels help build an interest in romance novels.So as one gets older and/or runs out of the more tame novels, one kind of graduates to the steamy, arousing novels. Even if that doesn’t happen, there’s the danger that reading romance novels tends to build an everybody-has-somebody-what’s-wrong-with-me? mentality. And that mentality doesn’t do a whole lot for the self-esteem of someone who isn’t in a relationship.

If you’re already feeling kind of lonely, it doesn’t help your self-esteem to read a steady diet of boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl (or vice versa), boy pursues and wins girl.They hang out at Happy High School with all their friends who’ve also found true love. And whoever hasn’t found true love is unattractive, uncool, and a pitiful nerd.

Reading about relationships and wanting one so badly can put you in a position to start making all kinds of compromises to get into a relationship and to stay in it. And that’s dangerous!

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By D.C. Edmond. Reprinted with permission from Insight Magazine Online. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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