a message to those of us who are older to get help for those that are younger!
Excerpts from a testimony about some parents from the internet
“At this point, I can honestly say I don't love them anymore. I used to. I used to love
them and wonder why they didn't love me like other parents loved their children. I used to think they were just so horrible
because of me, that my very presence caused them to behave like that. They told me they hated me and then they told me they
loved me. They told me it was my fault they were unhappy. I used to want to die just so everyone would be happy again.
My mother abused me verbally, emotionally and physically from when I was 7 until I left home for good
at 19. She would slap me, hit me, kick me, pull my hair, grab my ears and pull, throw things at me, hit me with things, and
once she threatened to kill me with a kitchen knife. She told me she wanted to kill me, and that if I was gone everything
would be better. She always called me names. Even when I was too young too really understand what they meant. She told me
I was a selfish *****, that I was stupid, ugly, fat, smug, evil, a sl*t, that I would be hated by everyone who met me because
I was so awful and stupid….”
“…Dad was verbally abusive and neglectful
mostly. I mean, he hit me sometimes, but not as often as my mum. Usually for small silly reasons like my mum did, like I walked
in fornt of the TV when his football team was losing. His words were the most hurtful thing about him, just like with mum.
I'd rather a bruise or a welt any time, rather than the words. He told me I was useless, that I made him sick, that I wasn't
as good as his other daughters, that I was fat and ugly and untalented, that I had to validate my existance to his daughters.
He never says he loves me when his daughters are around. Back then he knew that his side of the family treated me like dirt
(still do). He knew his grandchildren bullied me and called me names and hurt me and called me their 'slave'. He knew his
daughters were nasty to me, that they either ignored me or made fun of me in front of other people. He knew they called me
fat and stupid to my face. It's been that way since I was born. They didn't like the fact that my dad married someone else,
other than their own mother, they
hate my mother and so they hate me too.”
think how this person reacts when Jesus says we must pray
" 'Our Father in heaven,
may your name be honored.
If you were that person how would you respond?
are often a result of a person thinking of their Father. How can we blame people for drawing back in horror at being asked
to consider God as a Father
Here are some things that get connected to the word Father in
the world at large:
“he beats us to a pulp”
“he’s drunk again”
“he uses us as cheap slaves”
“he is stressed all the time but never talks about it, just takes it out on me”
never says thank-you or sorry!”
“he sleeps, eats, drinks and watches TV but doesn’t even talk to me”
“he gets angry at me even thought
I’ve done nothing wrong”
“he physically and mentally abuses her, and then tells me to call her “Mom!”
“he tells me not to swear at him
but swears at me and others all the time”
“he tells me that using drugs is wrong, before he goes out and gets drunk!”
“he hates me, but thinks his kid’s
abuses me sexually and mom knows it but does nothing because she is scared of him”
“he means nothing to me anymore!”
Perhaps the perspective of this pain can best summarized in these words from a young person“I hate my Father, help! please!”
Can you hear the pain in this call for help? No-one wants to hate their father or have their father hate them. No
one wants to hate their parents! No one wants to hate God either!
Why do I bring this
up? I do it because…of transference! As people we transfer our emotions onto others so easily. We don’t want
young people incorrectly transferring these horrible emotions onto our pure, loving God, do we?
We as Christians HAVE AN OBLIGATION!
- We understand our true Father’s love (or should).
- We have the ability to show the value of true transparent
and real love to others.
- We do know we are not better than any other person because we also do some stupid, selfish, ignorant and
nasty things, but we know we are forgiven and loved and can be transparent and honestly reflect Jesus as best as we can to
those around us
desperately need to know this!
Perhaps you are thinking this doesn’t
apply to me! I grew up in a home where love was shown correctly. If that’s the case you are blessed and you need to
So many young people
need “spiritual” Fathers, Mothers, Grandparents, brothers and sisters!
Let us investigate some young people attitudes towards Christians and why they have them.
Let’s look at what our Lord Jesus says about it and what we can do about it.
ready to have facts upset your comfort level because the facts aren’t pretty!
the love of God is incredibly powerful and can easily correct incorrect perceptions and heal broken hearts, if we let Holy
Spirit work in us. If we let Holy Spirit work in us!
Wrong attitudes to Holy Spirit…
We must not lie to Holy Spirit,
remember what happened to Ananias (Acts 5)!
We must not resist holy Spirit! (Acts 7:51)
Our decisions and will are sufficient to stop Holy Spirit working correctly. Let’s pray that we don’t
do this! Sometimes it takes courage to open ourselves to Holy Spirit, particularly if we have been hurt and abused by others.
My prayer is that we would all have sufficient courage to face
There are many perceptions young people have towards
Christianity as outsiders of the church. I will only address a few today!
If you are a
young person perhaps you can learn the older people are unaware of the painful inadequacies in our churches and in love help
them understand how they can help.
If you are older, perhaps you could open yourself in
love to help the younger people who desperately need our help!
The first perception of the younger
generations is that we are “hypocritical”.
in addressing the “father” earlier that hypocrisy was key in the criticism’s leveled at the bad Dad.
Young people are very relationship based.
They are far
more sophisticated at discerning relationships that the older generations were at their age.
people are hyperlinked in their relationships. They have continual input from many different people at all levels of life
almost 24 hours a day. All these demand emotional investment so young people learn to discern valuable from superficial relationships
Two faced or double standards are easily identified. Unfortunately
young people do not care as much about this as older generations do. This means they believe we all put on masks to protect
our images at all costs.
They believe many Christians do exactly this! Are they right?
How many of you sit in church telling young people that you have it all worked out and everything
is okay? If we do this we are lying and we are not being true spiritual parents to our youth. Let’s be transparent!
We don’t have it all worked out!
The bible says so! It says
“This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the
redemption that came by Christ Jesus.!”
GRACE IS everyone’s right! How much grace do we
show to others?
- Youth, how much
grace do you show to the older generation?
- Elders, how much
grace do you show to the young?
STEROTYPES! We so love them don’t we! The youth hates stereotypes
but do it themselves as well!
Here are a few words that will show some superficial
differences between young and old:
rings! Tattoos! Jeans! Rock music!
- Suit! Tie! Jacket!
Hat! Dress! Gloves! Flowers! Hymns!
Tell me these words didn’t evoke stereotypical thoughts in our
heads. It’s so wrong!
Let’s be honest, we are all so visually impacted that
we all add all sorts of pre-understandings to everything we see. We have to be careful! Let people who are not Christians
stereotype but let’s agree not too!
What is horrible in a Christian is that we allow these
stereotypes to influence us to fail to see the stereotyped person for who they really are!
are someone Jesus loved so much he DIED for them! UNCONDITIONALLY! And INDIVIDUALLY! Specifically them!
We didn’t have to change one thing ourselves did we? Jesus loved us despite ALL our failings!
And BEFORE we loved him! If we want to be a spiritual grandparent, parent or sibling we have to love others unconditionally,
BEFORE THEY LOVE JESUS, THE CHURCH, CHRISTIANITY OR US!
That means we forgive
them for everything before they even ask us too! That’s the Christian way!
None of us fit into a stereotype and
it is insulting to say we do!
Let’s drop stereotyping and treat everyone as individuals?
Another perception of outsider youth is that we are the collectors of “salvation scalps”!
It is so wrong to think young people don’t know the Christian message! Yet we keep blasting the same message
at them. Let’s move on folk! Most of them have heard it (if inadequately) many times before they reach thirteen. The
problem is they don’t believe it because they don’t believe Christians care for them and they
don’t believe Christians make a difference because
- Statistically most Christians are no different from outsiders!
- There is no substantial
evidence of a different lifestyle or something that is significantly different! [Statistically proven]
Christianity seems to outsiders to be commonplace and boring! They see it as manipulation and indoctrination. Many
teens hate church because of having to attend it and finding it unhelpful. When they can choose to, they often leave! Why?
Because the church they attend is not relevant! It feeds out platitudes and makes little difference!
It is not being what Jesus wants it to be. Because JESUS is RELEVANT
and many young people say they accept Jesus but not the church Christians! I don’t think they know what they are saying
but I hear and understand their hearts!
How does Christianity
cause us to live differently to the guys next door?
In what way do we significantly do something different to everyone
in the community for the community without looking for a reward!
How sacrificial are our lives? Most of us don’t understand the word sacrificial!
What we want is “souls” for Jesus! What Jesus
wants is disciples!
He wants to heal the hurts! Not put a band-aid them, and
then beat them up with a hammer!
Our enthusiasm for building up lives and developing our
young people (and perhaps our older people) is far less than this push for evangelism that permeates our lives. This sickens
the outsiders, because they don’t see why we do it, and they don’t see any value in it as shown by our lives!
Let’s just review the Great Commission and actually read the words:
Then Jesus came to them. He said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. So you must go
and make disciples of all nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy
Spirit. Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And you can be sure that I am always with you, to the very end."
What is a disciple? It’s one who acknowledges who Jesus is, but
it is more isn’t it?
You have to follow and mould yourself in the image of
the master to be a disciple.
We don’t talk of disciples of teachers at school
nowadays do we?
No! It requires self discipline to be a disciple, and most young
people could never become so self disciplined as to be a disciple of a teacher at school. A disciple not only learns what
is taught, but how it is taught, and how to live like the teacher!
Are we disciples
of Jesus and do we disciple others? Or do we look for a cheap conversion prayer and feel we have done ‘our job”?
I hope it’s not the latter!
Similarly we need to be disciples if we are to disciple!
We need to exercise self discipline! This means we must do things that are right even though it is difficult for us,
it takes us out our comfort zone, and it is sacrificial!
Are we true disciples?
Can we lead by example and not words? Have we the compassion, love and self discipline of
a true disciple? Are we right enough with God that others looking at us will see Jesus? That’s the Christian way! “Our Father in heaven”
If we are to show our young people
what those words mean . . . we have a lot to do!
We have to be disciples who are not
hypocritical and reflect true spiritual leadership.
We need to reflect
- Love unconditionally!
- Love sacrificially!
- Love continually!
- Love transparently!
- Love passionately!
- Love by serving
- Love intelligently not mindlessly!
- Love by investing our time and resources!
- Love by listening!
- Love with compassion!
- Love with creativity
In this way they can start to understand who Our Father is and we
know that once they start to understand this that they will love the same way.
we can recover the lost love for them. Maybe they can get them to understand God loves them very, very much! Maybe they will
get it because we finally get it too!
So what can we do?
- Young adults having relationships with important adults that support them in their lives are
more likely to have successful life outcomes.
- Just one genuinely caring adult can make a huge difference in a young persons
people are protected by the presence and involvement of caring and supportive adults.
- The presence of high quality relationships with
peers and adults is associated with psychological health, improved academic performance and success in relationships as adults.
(Child Trends Research Brief: “Helping Teens Develop Healthy Social Skills and Relationships: What the Research Shows
about Navigating Adolescence”, Elizabeth Hair et. al, July 2002.
So le’ts take time to do this for each other (youth to elders, elders to youth, Christian
- Ask people about their day or week and LISTEN
- Offer to pray
for specific things, do it, and FOLLOW UP
- LOOK FOR and discuss what type of things we might have in common
- Let’s GET TO KNOW each others
FOR THE OTHER person and pray for them when they don’t appear as expected (find out why)
- See if we can ASSIST each other
- Try WORKING SIDE
BY SIDE on something
- Let’s organize to HAVE FUN together, laugh together
- SHOW we care—smile, develop real affection,
- Look for and COMMENT ON THE OTHERS STRENGTH, ignore their weaknesses
- Do HAVE HIGH AND REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS for their
growth and betterment
- Demonstrate your trust—by MAINTAIN CONFIDENCE (don’t go blab to others)
- Don’t give COMPLIMENT unless
it is sincere and then say it with conviction
- How about asking them to EDUCATE you about something
- Talk positively and LISTEN WITHOUT
- ENCOURAGE others to participate in activities for our community and each other
- REMAIN CALM/PATIENT when the other person is angry
- COMFORT/CONSOLE the youth when hurt/upset or disappointed
of all, let’s
Ask Holy Spirit move our spirit to love others deeply and sincerely without prejudice.
After all Jesus does all this for us doesn’t he?