4 the Teens I Love

Let the confusion begin: Some of you may be teens, some (because of certain choices you’ve made in life) I may think of as older & forgotten that you’re still a teenager. Some I still may think of you as a teen even though you just recently left your teen years (several I watched grow up over the years) but either way it’s been a part of your life and I’ve been there too….so how do I proceed from here? I have been known to have at least one or more teens in my life at any given moment and subscribing to this online newsletter, Christianity Today, http://www.christianitytoday.com/teens/ has been very beneficial in equipping me with some wonderful Biblical insight. The most current name in the news these days is Hannah Montana‘s Miley Stewart and the pictures taken of her by Vanity Fair. I wasn’t quite sure what they were referring to but since I know of her and have appreciated her public confession of faith on more than one occasion, curiosity got the best of me.

Prior to viewing the pictures I did a little self-examination and asked myself, “Have I ever done something I wish I hadn’t?” Of course the answer was a thousand times “YES!” Then I thanked God that I’m not in the public eye where all my mistakes are out there for the whole world to see and judge, even fellow Christians. I’m usually harder on me than others are but that never justifies my mistakes, just makes them very real. I always have to face the consequences. Just like she’s having to do now.

I’m not here to tell you what to think about celebrities or that they don’t have some responsibility when it comes to their role model to our teens because I think they do. I just want to put a thought out there about how we think we, as Christians, should act especially when someone knows we profess to be a Christian? Are we different from the world? What’s ok, what’s not according to God? In this page I chose to include the link to a very good article I agree with about whether to judge or not, etc. It relates to people in the public eye like musical artists, actresses and actors, etc. but I think it can be applied to everyday life for all of us. What do you think? I’d really like to know your take on all this. Kids, of all ages, are watching us, not just the teens but what if they are right now? Looking in the mirror is very hard…. but I feel it’s required of us as Christians.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/cl/2007/004/6.30.html

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Comments
  1. lhug143 says:

    For the teens in my life right now:
    I pray you seek God for His will for your lives and that you stand out from the crowd because you’re different. Show His love to those around you so that they want what you’ve got. Be true to your convictions and don’t sway! Stay in the Word and search for the truth! Trust God with your heart, your actions and your choices! He’s there for you even at your lowest and when you feel all alone! You are a treasure to Him and He loves you so much! I’m here for you too and I pray for you daily! I love you with all my heart and can’t wait to see how God will use you in this very weird world! You are so amazing! I have faith in you and your abilities. Don’t be afraid to dream and stay close to your God, He’s the only God and He’s so full of grace for us! Honor Him with your lives and He’ll bless you more than you can imagine! Love, LeeAnne

  2. Glenn says:

    Hey LeeAnne, I read this because Kim showed it to me. No general comments at this time… Glenn

  3. Fiona says:

    LeeAnne,
    thanks for sending me this article. I think the guy has a good point: none of us should ever think that we are “above” falling or messing up. We’re redeemed sinners, not perfect people so we’re all gonna mess up from time to time. However, I think it’s important to keep a couple things in mind.

    First, we (Christians) should not expect unbelievers (celebrities or otherwise) to act as though they are believers. The apostle Paul even says so himself in one of his epistles…he rhetorically asks the church “why are you surprised that pagans act like pagans?”. This doesn’t mean that they are not responsible for their actions, simply that it is not the responsibility of Christians to hold non-Christians accountable—God will do so.

    On the other hand, we *should* expect believers to act like believers. Obviously we need to extend grace to one another,especially those that are “weak in the faith”, but I think that is where “speaking the truth in love” comes in. To give you a very personal example, I have had several girlfriends who have been/are in immoral relationships w/their boyfriend. One of them had been a believer for years and the other one hadn’t been a believer for very long, however, because they both professed faith in Jesus, it was/is my responsibility as their sister in Christ to lovingly let them know that the way they were living was not in accord with the faith they professed and the Savior they followed. That didn’t mean that I preached them a sermon about their immoral choices, but I did gently let them know in an appropriate way and at an appropriate time that they weren’t living as they should. It was/is a very hard thing for me to do, but to ignore it would have been just as bad as their poor choice. Obviously once I spoke truth to them, it is up to them and God what they choose to do with their lives—all I can do is continue to love them and pray for them. Nevertheless, part of loving each other in the body of Christ invovles exhorting one another in the truth, even when it’s painful (the same way that parents spank their children–it’s not b/c they hate them, but b/c they want them to know right from wrong and learn obedience.

    I think that one of the faults of the American Church (“Church” used here in its broadest sense) is that we falsely assume 1) Christianity is an individual journey with no accountability to other believers and 2) God is somehow “ok” with sin because He knows we’re never going to perfect.

    As to the first assumption, if that were true, then most of the Apostle Paul’s writings were pointless: Much of what he wrote was in exhortation to specific churches/believers who had “fallen away” from their first love and were now engaged in full-blown sin. For the second assumption, God is not “ok” with my sin. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross did not make my sin “ok”—HE took the full consequences of my sin and it is only through HIS blood that I can be forgiven and “counted as righteous”. This is not to say that there is not forgiveness–there certainly is. and God, knowing that we will fall away, will welcome us back with open arms. Nevertheless, I think we are walking on dangerous ground when we begin to justify our sinful actions or the actions of others on the grounds that “none of us are perfect”. The only correct response to sin is humble repentance before an Almighty, Holy Savior.

    As for how this all applies to the lives of teenagers: it is helpful to keep the following in mind:

    1. Teens who profess faith in Jesus Christ should be held to GOd’s standards and encouraged to walk in HIS truth. There is not a separate “do as you wish just because you’re a kid” gospel for teenagers. There are things that all of us learn as a matter of age, but true, biblical teaching and exhortation is needed in the lives of Christian teenagers just as much as it is needed in the lives of Christian adults. Teens should be admonished to look to Jesus, not their peers, as their example of measure of who they are/should be.

    I know this is long, but these are my thoughts for what they are worth 🙂

    ~Fiona

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