Kiss Goodbye to “I Kissed Dating Goodbye”

Peacemaking includes being able to admit being wrong. So stories of people who publicly acknowledge being wrong are encouraging and instructive.

Recently, author Joshua Harris has acknowledged that the popular book he wrote some twenty years ago, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, was not only naïve but in some cases caused harm, and asked his publisher to cease publishing it. Harris realizes that he was “young, certain, zealous and restlessly ambitious,” when he discouraged Christians from dating, a view he now recognizes as not based on Scripture.

“Admitting that I was wrong hasn’t been easy for me. I’ve angered people who still like my book, and my efforts are understandably viewed as inadequate by the people who were hurt. But I’m glad I set out on this journey because it’s been a pathway of transformation for me, and I’ve heard from others who have found healing in knowing they’re not alone in reconsidering old ways of thinking…

“Admitting I was wrong about the biggest accomplishment of my life has given me a greater willingness to admit that I don’t have all the answers…”

Mr. Harris notes that critics are referring to his current round of talks as an “apology tour.” Should one apologize for promoting a particular viewpoint that one later regrets? Apology is appropriate when there has been an offense. But writing a book promoting a particular lifestyle is not in itself offensive. Readers are free to accept or reject the ideas in Mr. Harris’s book, so if readers were harmed, perhaps it’s because they put too much stock in Mr. Harris’s ideas without evaluating those ideas for themselves. Perhaps it’s a matter of influence: Mr. Harris used his influence to promote a particular viewpoint that he now realizes was incorrect. Whether or not others were harmed, it’s a matter of integrity now for him to correct that viewpoint.

Mr. Harris is to be admired for admitting publicly that he was “wrong.” That takes humility.

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