You will watch as your sons and daughters are taken away as slaves. Your heart will break as you long for them and nothing you do will help. Deuteronomy 28:32
Our children’s salvation is a weighty matter. When our teens are lured into debilitating bondage of any kind, our hearts break into pieces. The things that captivate teens today are serious; they are deadly. The impact of these things on our children is the deepest heartbreak that we will ever know. This is particularly true when nothing we do to lead them out of darkness seems to help.
On the other hand, there is no greater joy in life than the birth of that child. The innocence and potential of this new creation brings a sense of unworthiness. It demands the best from us and evokes a depth and sincerity of heart that we had never known. In the depth of our souls we vow, “As long as I live, as long as I have anything to say about it, I will keep this child out of harm’s way,” The commitment is made before God with the intention that it would be kept until we die.
Parents find it easy to sacrifice to give their children the best that they can lay hold of in the world. Despite their sacrifices, without warning and without mercy, the teen years hit and that child is just not the same. Somehow knowing that the forces of darkness have seduced innocence, is difficult to grasp.
Self-blame is a normal response, as you believe that your “best” should have been enough to hold that child on the safest pathways of life. The most bewildering thing to reckon with is that they were willing participants in their own demise. You watch, you game plan, you discipline, and you erect the iron-tight, healthy boundaries that their behavior demands. Despite your efforts, nothing you do seems to help.
It Boggles the Minds of the Experts
Unless you have lived through teenage rebellion, it’s nature is not evident. It’s easy to believe that parents just don’t care anymore; they are standing back and watching while hell is belching out its worst on a generation of innocence. Whether you are a parent or a spectator, it is evident that hell has saved its most debilitating and insidious demons for this generation.
Volumes have been written to reveal and mitigate the effects of what the enemy has engineered and launched against children. From those volumes emanate strategies, programs, theoretical solutions, and the best wisdom man can offer. The government has intervened, the private sector has thrown millions at the problem, yet it still persists. It has intensified in homes, in schools; in fact, most anywhere you turn today the tragedy of teenage rebellion is flourishing, seemingly without remedy.
We Have Opened the Door for This Curse
Sacred law demands a high standard of righteousness so that all will go well with us. Little by little we have allowed compromise in our Christian walk. We have allowed free sex in our homes and on the big screen. We work under the table and integrity has gone out the window. We have sought after mammon and left our children in the hands of people who know not God. We have allowed the killing of innocent babies, for the sake of personal convenience. We have taken prayer out schools and some cringe when the name of Jesus is spoken outside of the church walls.
In this world, we can speak without censor of gay and lesbian issues, the legalization of marijuana, pre-marital sex, and anything else under the sun. But we whisper the things of God hoping that no one will take offense. We have allowed our children’s minds, hearts and souls to be filled with the things that are vile, yet we wonder why they are overtaken by darkness. We have gorged them with the problem and starved their souls of the solution. The Church has given up too much territory to the forces of darkness, and our children are being carried into slavery by forces of darkness.
They Need a Compass
How do we lead teenagers out of rebellion? I do maintain that prayer is the springboard for change, and that your fervent, righteous prayers will avail much. But I speculate that to lead teenagers out of rebellion we have to give them a compass.
Let me explain. As an aspiring Army officer in training, part of my qualification was to pass a compass course. I was dropped off somewhere deep in the woods of Ft. Benning, Georgia, with nothing but a map and a compass to find my way home. I was on course until I lost my compass. A panic gripped my soul.
I wandered through the woods until it was dark before I found my way home. I had a map that provided a detailed depiction of the landscape that I had to negotiate. However, I soon found out that without a compass, the map was useless.
The Parental Relationship Is Key
When our teenagers are in rebellion, we turn to pastors, counselors, and other experts for help. But I postulate that the greatest heart connection and ultimate influence over that teen can be found in the parental relationship. If we take responsibility for the condition of our hearts and move toward repentance, we will be on the road towards reconciling our teens back to God.
Why do we need to look at ourselves? We live in a time when our kids don’t need a lecture from self-righteous parents who have been there, done that. What they truly need is a compass. In other words, we need to live our lives in such a way that they can look to us and find their way home.
I have always worked to teach my children Christian values morals and principles from the Word of God. I believed that I was giving them a very good map to negotiate through this life. Despite my best efforts, two of my children were seduced into drugs and alcohol by the age of 12. Another one moved into this same culture at 18. The things that they involved themselves in could have led to their arrest or death, had it not been for my prayers and the Grace of God.
Our Kids Discern Our Commitment to Christ
Always be aware that our Christian walk is closely scrutinized by our kids. They look for a solid walk with the God we profess to believe in. Can we truly say that we have displayed a walk with God before our children, that has been true, honest, and real? Can they depend on us to respond to morally challenging circumstances in a way that honors God? Can they trust us to stand-by our words and live what we believe? Our lectures are empty if we don’t reflect a deep commitment to the integrity of our faith. If we don’t demonstrate that our principles of faith are real and that God’s Word is active and alive in our daily walk, they will know.
As a parent I have often had to confront compromising moral situations on behalf of my children. When I judged them and magnified their wrongs, a wall would go up in their hearts. They shut me out and discounted every good thing I tried to teach them. While I had given them my best wisdom, I realized that no more words were available to communicate the pain in my heart, my concern for their efforts towards self-destruction, and their need to change. They did not need my wisdom; they needed a compass.
This Changed Everything
I had to decide in my own heart what was right for me. That decision had to be backed up by integrity and a consistent walk with Christ. My job was to be who I was in God. Regardless of where they found themselves in the middle of the night, I found myself before the throne of grace interceding for their futures and destinies in God.
While they were sneaking around in darkness, living lives of lies and deception, I was standing before God, angels, and demons calling those things that were not as though they were in their lives.
Regardless of what they did to break down society, I was committed to prayer and service to people who wanted positive change in their lives. While they were working to test and destroy our relationship, I was praying that God would give me the grace to love the unlovely.
This was my stance because I knew that it would honor the Lord. This was His expectation of me. When they came out of the grip of darkness, they acknowledged that they found strength during their rebellion, when they heard me praying at night and in the fact that I would not compromise on the principles of faith that I held. In a way, my life had become a compass that lead them home.
See Yourself as a Compass for the Next Generation
The bottom line is that we don’t have to fix them; we just have to be committed to walk with God in honesty and integrity. Perfection is not demanded. Sincerity in our efforts to honor God is a must. We must see ourselves as a compass for a generation of teens who are lost deep in the woods of life. We must redeem the time because it is getting dark and there are still many who have not found their way Home.
If you are in the throes of teenage rebellion and confusion, I encourage you to stand in prayer daily, do battle against hell, and call down the grace of God. His grace is sufficient and it is HIS will that not one of your teenagers should perish.