When my daughter was born, I knew it wouldn’t be long before I was given a shirt just like this. Everyone has seen them. You may even own one. It’s almost a prerequisite for dads with daughters. Because every dad has to protect his little girl from the evil boys of the world, right?

It’s not that I was looking forward to getting one. I wasn’t. I accepted the gift through gritted teeth. I might go so far as to say I hate these shirts. And I’m really hoping that I don’t get another one for Christmas.

It may sound strange to you, but I think that by wearing these shirts (or making these kinds of jokes) speaks volumes about our Christianity. And that isn’t something to be proud of. If we actually believed the message these type of shirts are preaching, then our Christianity has taken a hard left turn away from the teachings of Jesus.

Let me start with going over the list of things these shirts say, and then I’ll show you how it differs greatly from what Jesus said.

Rules For Dating My Daughter
1. You hurt her, I hurt you.

2. Get a job so you can afford a lawyer.

3. Lie to me and I will know.

4. She’s MY little princess, not your score.

5. I’m everywhere.

6. Know that I don’t like you.

7. I don’t mind going back to jail.

8. Everything you do to her, I will do to you. Twice.

I do realize that there are many other shirts that say similar things. I’m working off a shirt that was given to me, that I have since gotten rid of.

1. You Hurt Her, I Hurt You

Threatening someone is always the best way to start a relationship isn’t it? That’s how I meet my wife (NO, it is not.) Now, if I can layer on the sarcasm a little thicker, threats of physical violence will definitely make any relationship that you are a part of, even by association, so much stronger and healthier. (No. It won’t. It will makes things worse. It will stress the relationship even more, and most likely end it prematurely.)

Is this the kind of Jesus we are called to model?

Because I can’t seem to find that one verse where Jesus told the Pharisees that he would get God to strike them with lightening if they said mean things about him. Do you know why? Because that wasn’t the person Jesus was. That wasn’t how He lived out His message.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:38-45

Jesus calls us to live out, even towards future, potential boyfriends of our daughters with love. Not with threats of violence, but with prayer and kindness.

2. Get A Job So You Can Afford A Lawyer

This straight up assumes that you are have to sue whatever boyfriend your daughter may have. Because a boyfriend has to hurt a girlfriend, right? That’s how this world works? Or you’s does apparently.

Why would you assume things about your daughter’s boyfriend’s conduct? If he is so bad, don’t let your daughter date. You are still the parent in this situation. Parent.

Beyond that, do you honestly think that taking a boyfriend to court is going to fix anything, should something happen? A lawsuit won’t fix a broken heart. A court case won’t mend any physical pain. So why threaten this?

“The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters.” – 1 Corinthians 6:7-8

Whether you actually would sue a potential boyfriend of your daughter, there is nothing Christ-like about threatening to harm someone. The Apostle Paul says these things in his letter to shame those that think this way (1 Corinthians 6:5). We know better.

4. She’s MY little princess, not your score.

Now, there is a bit of truth to this. Your daughter is your princess, and you should treat her as such. Any potential boyfriend should understand that she is someone special and should be treated with loving kindness and grace.

But this statement is filled with pride and ownership. The reality is, your little princess doesn’t belong to you. You do not own her. She isn’t even here because you did anything.

“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.” – Psalm 127:3-5

My daughter, my princess is mine by the grace of God. She is alive by the grace of God, not anything that I did. That is the truth about my daughter. And that is true for your daughter (This is also true for sons).

Yes, she is not a score or a notch on someone’s belt, but do not deceive yourself with thinking you have some ownership or lordship over your little girl. One day, by the grace of God, you will hand her off to someone that truly loves her. You will give her away, so to speak, to a husband. She will not be your little princess anymore, but someone’s bride.

It could be this boyfriend. It could be someone that she hasn’t meet yet. Either way, it is important to remain humble. Remember who brought your daughter into the world (and I don’t mean your wife). Remember that all you have, all you hold most deal has been given to you by a gracious God.

6. Know that I don’t like you.

This one…this one really bothers me.

Relationships are hard. That is the reality of life. Relationships are hard. They are made worse when some high and mighty, power grabbing idiot decides that it is in the best interest of everyone involved in a relationship that he bring hatred and malice into the mix.
Fathers. Parents. This is what you are doing when you make statements like this. Whether you put in on a shirt or you say it out loud, all you are doing is making a tough thing worse.

You are making it worse for you daughter. Now she is dealing with the rift that you have created between her two loves, you as parents and this boyfriend. And you are the one making things worse. This is kind of situation is prime for a teenage runaway, because you needed to hate someone that took interest in your daughter.

You are making it worse for you. By making the boyfriend the target of your anger and frustration, your daughter becomes collateral damage. Any venom or spit-filled comment that rolls off your tongue, at him, is going to hit your daughter as well. It is going to show her who you really are.

You are making it worse for the boyfriend.

Now, hear me out.

Whoever this potential boyfriend is, his only crime is liking your daughter. And I’m sure she is amazing. But hatred is not what this boy needs. It isn’t what any person needs.If we are going to take the words of Jesus seriously, we need to be showing him love, not hatred.

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.” – Luke 6:27-28, 32-35

I’m not saying that you can’t disagree with something about this potential suitor. He may have a crazy satanic tattoo on his head. He might vape. I don’t know. The list of potential things that might rub you the wrong way is endless, and getting longer each year.

But regardless of who this person is, regardless of who your daughter may want to be dating, you need to show that boy love. Jesus loved those people that he didn’t agree on everything with. So should you. Be like Jesus.

3. Lie To Me And I Will Know

5. I’m everywhere.

7. I don’t mind going back to jail.

8. Everything you do to her, I will do to you. Twice.

I bunched all these ones together for two reasons. One, so this blog isn’t enormous, but two, because these four have a lot in common.

When we say these kinds of things, even to potential boyfriends of our daughters, we are making proud, violent statements, claiming Godlike qualities for our own.

“Lie to me and I’ll know. I’m everywhere.” Those are examples of omnipotence and omnipresence, qualities of God. “I don’t mind going back to jail. Everything you do to her, I’ll do to you, twice.” Those are examples of divine justice and judgement, roles only God can fill.

We are making statements that we have no power or authority to make. We are lying to fearfully impress someone. We are trying to assert a position of judge when we have no right to sit on that seat.

To say that we want to strike fear into the heart of our enemy?…to say that we are trying to scare someone straight, to go down the right path…that is to say that fear is the best motivator. That being scared or frightened is going to make people act or react in a way that we would deem desirable.

And fear can be effective. But it isn’t how Jesus acted. It isn’t how he lead. It isn’t how he lived.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:38-45

I put this collections of points last because this point hold so much weight, even though I keep repeating myself through every point.

Jesus calls us to love EVERYONE. Whether they want to date your daughter or not, we are called to show them the love of God. Not hatred, not resentment, not some twisted bitterness or anger because he wants your princess.

Jesus asks those that follow him, those that call him Lord, to live and act as He does. That means showing love and concern for all peoples, potential boyfriends included. Whoever he is, whatever he is like, he is just as deserving of Christ’s love as your precious daughter, and is just as loved and held dear by God as your daughter.

If we are going to take Christ at his word, we need to love everyone. We need to be showing that to all potential boyfriends. Even if we have to put in on a t-shirt so they know it.



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