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by Ben Ditzel
There is something about a young adult that those of other ages find strangely different than all other age groups. Is it the fact that when you are in your late teens and 20s your life undergoes many changes both mentally, socially, and physically? Perhaps. But one of the primary differences is the fact that they are at the age when they are coming out of the hard shell of childhood and coming into the shell of adulthood. That stage in between when they have little or no shell at all. Itís a time when they are susceptible to all kinds of new thoughts, ideas, religions, and ways of life. It can be the best years or the worst years of ones life. What choices are made, what friends are chosen, and how time is spent determine a large majority of what kind of life they will lead in their adult years. Young adults have a strong desire to break free from their childhood ways and their parentís ideas once they get to an age where their peers start having a stronger influence on them. Studies have shown that children who have been taught right and wrong from childhood, without any reason behind why they should do wrong, usually turn their backs on their family, faith, and friends from childhood. Those who were taught the reason behind why the rules are laid down and what the real life consequences are if those rules are broken had a much higher likelihood of in the long run becoming like their parents in the discerning and choices they made. Why? Well for example if you are a guy (and if you're not, please try to relate) and your Dad told you when you were 17 not to go out with a girlfriend and was rude to her but gave you no reason why he didn't allow you two to go out, you would usually assume that he's just being mean and once you are 18, you'd leave home and go out with that girl. But if your Dad sat you down and told you, 'Son, I don't want you going out with that girl because I have met her parents and they are very disrespectful to each other, fight alot, and she isn't turning out much better. Unless she is around you, she is rude, sassy, and flippant to others and in time she will get used to you and act the same towards you.' That would put it into a new light for you and you might be able to understand that your Dad isnít just being mean. He had a reason for not allowing it.
As a Christian, our Father is God. He tells us what to do and what not to do. He doesn't sit us down and tell us to our face, but he has told us in His Word what He would have and commands us to do as His children. But, if you are a parent, I'm sure you realize that this method of talking it out doesn't always work. Same goes for children that are told what to do by God in His Word. Some children will simply rebel. But the method of talking it out is not to be cast down. Children have a far more likely chance of coming back, so to speak, after a few years or so, after they have found out for themselves, that Mom and Dad really did know best after all. They've tried a few things that their bad peers pressured them to do and realized that the consequences are just like Mom & Dad said and slowly it often dawns on them that, 'If they were right about these things, they probably knew what they were saying about those other things to.' Young adults: Mom and Dad were young adults once to and things were different at that time, but only slightly really. A lot was the same. Same peer pressure, desires, want for independence, and so on. The focus point is when children rebel against their parentís faith. When children go against God, and church, and religion, so many parents feel crushed. Itís hard to see any point of leverage to connect with their child anymore. Why? There is no right and wrong in the childrenís mind. They always built all the rules on the right and wrong principle and Ďwhat does the Bible say?í guidelines. When they deny that, there is no tool to come back at their attitudes and actions. I once had an acquaintance who I was having a discussion with on the phone. She lived several miles away so we talked on the phone occasionally. We were discussing beliefs on women's position in a church. She was part of the Salvation Army and therefore was and had friends in primary parts including preaching in her church. I was quoting the Scripture where it says women are to be in submission and to be silent and not teach in church. She came back with the answer that she didn't believe that part of the Bible. She got so incredibly mad at me for telling her the Bible spoke directly against her holding authority in church that she told me that she didn't believe that portion of the Bible applied to her. I was taken aback. I didn't know how to come back to that. There was no way to use Scripture as a tool to defend my faith if she didn't believe in its infallibility. To not believe that parts of Scripture are true is heresy and if that person sincerely believes such, they are showing a very strong likelihood that they are unsaved and not Christian. When children take their childhood faith and beliefs and either bend or erase it, there is no way to fight back to correct them or tell them where they are making foolish mistakes. They will just say, 'Thatís what the Christians believe, but itís stupid. I used to go to church and those people are backward and hypocrites.' As Christians who are calling after our children, siblings, or friends who have fallen away and become very worldly, the only thing we can do is pray. This is where our faith and trust come into serious play. We need to trust that God is in control. He is all powerful, and only He can bring them back to Him and turn their wayward minds back. So isn't there anything we can do? Just continue holding up our faith as a good example of Jesus Christ. Hold 'His banner high' and continue to be there for the person at any time and they will know that in time, 'those Christians' are more reliable, trustworthy, and committed than their other friends who use and take what they want from everyone and if there isn't anything that they can gain from being with them anymore, will leave and find someone else. They will develop, in time a better impression of Christians once again and if God is working in their hearts, He will lead them back to the truth. And this time, it will be through their finding, so to speak. They will be far more established in Jesus Christ than ever before because they came to it through the hardships and trials that being without Him will bring. So many notable & strong dedicated Christians donít come from a history of being church going Bible thumping children and young adults. A good deal have a period in their lives of possibly a year or so, even many years, where they were very worldly and left all associations with 'religion'. Itís the same principle that Christians find when they are persecuted. They become stronger and persecution makes the church flourish. So, to struggling parents, friends, and siblings, I say, give them to God, be a light for Him, and let Him take care of them. God will move in His way and His time and He is sovereign and perfect. In time, Lord willing, they will come home. ~
(c) 21 July 2008