Before I could offer any advice, he spouted off a list of reasons why it was OK for him to rent a hotel room on prom night. He made sure to be safe. He and his girlfriend were legal adults. He had done it before, and his emotional health seemed just fine.
I heard these excuses from a student in my youth group, a student I was supposed to be counseling. I wish I could tell you I said something that changed his mind, but I only changed the subject. That day, I realized the way I talked (and thought) about sin needed more than a makeover. It needed a renovation. In the past, I only spoke to the personal, physical consequences of sin—broken relationships, legal trouble, STDs, etc.—and my students noticed. Individualism had sneaked into my belief system, constructing obedience into a selfish statue of personal comfort. I needed a better answer than, “Sin will ruin your life.”