HTH: A Letter to Teenagers Beginning Sorority Recruitment
We first ran this article last August, when some of the earliest recruitment periods began for freshmen women across the country. This piece hit a nerve; both parents and students were eager to be reminded that they are perfectly accepted in God through Christ. Be encouraged; absolutely nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus.
You’re probably feeling pretty nervous right now as you prepare for a week of recruitment. You will be herded around from house to house. You’ll evaluate sororities each day. They’ll evaluate you. You’ll cut some. Some will cut you. In the end, there is the hope that you’ll end up in a sorority where you will make life-long friends, have lots of fun, and enjoy great community.
But right now, you’re anxious and afraid. There’s a little knot in your stomach as you await this process.
Is it normal and understandable that you’re nervous? Yes. Absolutely, yes. Why? Well, frankly, because the process you’re about to embark upon is as an image of hell on earth – in the literal and theological sense.
Is being in a sorority wrong? Not at all. However, the process of you evaluating people and them evaluating you is not the way you were meant to be loved or related to. It’s the opposite of how God relates to you as a result of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Let me explain. During recruitment, your acceptance into a group is contingent upon your merit, performance, and outward qualities. People look at your resume, your clothes, your hair, your teeth, etc. They listen to what you say and observe your personality. Each night, the sororities assemble to debate your worthiness for their particular group. Then, based on their perception of your merit, they either accept or reject.
For one week, you live under constant threat of judgment and condemnation. For one week, your worthiness is called into question. For one week, your acceptance continually depends on performance and you get the results each following morning.
Here’s what I want to say: It’s not that sororities are bad. (I happen to have hired three girls out of one sorority at Alabama, where Christian fellowship is fostered in such an excellent manner that it functions better than most churches at making disciples.) It’s not to say that you not should go out for recruitment; you’ll probably never have a better ministry opportunity to love and serve than being a part of a sorority.
What I want to say is that feeling the anxiety and fear of recruitment demonstrates just how sweet and beautiful the gospel is. Sorority recruitment is pretty much just an amplified experience of the way the world relates to people. We judge. We analyze. We accept and reject on a whim, and acceptance is never stable because it all depends on your performance.
Because of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, God relates to us in a manner that is completely antithetical to recruitment. Jesus lives the perfect life that you never could, but instead of claiming it for himself, he gives his righteousness to those willing to receive it. Then, Jesus dies on the cross and absorbs every sin, flaw, and imperfection that could ever cause God to reject you. For the sinner, who is washed white as snow through the blood of the lamb, Christ removes the possibility of any judgment or condemnation that you could ever receive from God. As a result, you have permanent acceptance from God the Father, which you do not have to earn and that you cannot mess up. And you don’t just have God’s acceptance: he delights in you as his precious daughter!
There is no turning in resumes to God. No debate over what picture to send him. No analyzing outfits and hair styles before you go into his presence. And let me tell you, there is absolutely zero concern or question about whether you will be accepted or rejected. God rejected Jesus on the cross so that he would never, ever – not in one trillion years – reject or judge you.
So here are two things I want you to know as you embark on your journey into a little taste of hell on earth. First, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Rom. 8:1). If the Maker and King of the universe loves and accepts you unconditionally, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about you. Let the anxiety of recruitment remind you of the comfort and freedom of your perfect acceptance through Christ.
Secondly, since Jesus has settled the question of your worthiness through the gospel, you can view sorority recruitment as a calling. You don’t have to view getting cut as a personal statement about who you are. It’s just revelation about where God wants you to be. You can trust that God has a place appointed for you, inside or outside of the Greek system. That place has nothing to do with how cool or fun or pretty you are – it’s just a statement about where God is going to place you to love and serve. It’s a statement about where God will use you to emanate the great light of Christ and the grace of God.
You are loved with no strings attached. You are worthy. And it has nothing to do with your performance. It has everything to do with Jesus and his grace.