Dark, ominous clouds rumble overhead. Tornado sirens go off in the distance. Torrential rain starts to beat down on the skylights overhead. I look at the radar, and red, everything is red!
There has been a storm brewing in my soul. Every time I start to relax and have a little peace, the raging winds of the storm blow it away. Like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, I look out the window into the funnel and see the wicked witch riding her bike, laughing and saying, “I’ll get you my little pretty!”
Raising teenagers is tough—tougher than I ever imagined. The hearts of my teenage girls are fragile and tender. And teaching them to ‘guard their hearts’ in the world they live in seems like an impossible task.
The more I talk with my kids lately, the more I realize that between school, all their devices, texting, and social media, they are living in a toxic world.
There are 5 elements that are toxic to the faith of our teenagers.
1. Toxic Friends
My daughter showed me a group text she got from a friend while I was cooking dinner the other night.
The text read, “If you are going to the football game on Friday, say, ‘I .”
I can’t write the three words it said. I can’t even allude to what it said. It was so vile and repulsive.
I was shocked and had to see it for myself to believe it. I started to feel sick as I leaned over. Yep, that is exactly what it said. The room started to spin so I sat down.
I couldn’t believe I had just read those three words on my fourteen year old daughter’s phone! I was filled with disgust and then I got really angry.
“Mom, I hear that kind of thing everyday at school, it’s no big deal. I didn’t say it back.”
2. Toxic Culture
“The world’s gone mad,” I was thinking several weeks ago.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you know what I am talking about. The depressing state of the world is undeniable. This summer has been especially dire. Every time you turned around something awful had happened somewhere in the world.
If it was a good day, meaning no mass killings, then it’s the Trump/Hillary debacle plastered all over the news and social media. Could we have picked 2 worse candidates? A rich playboy who has a god complex and a criminal. What is wrong with us?!
It’s no doubt that the world needs a good laugh right now. So I guess it’s good for something!
So, what is wrong with us? The answer is simple—we’re human. Left to our own devices we will thoroughly screw things up pretty much every time. And the more that God is removed from our culture, the more depraved our society will become.
3. Social Media Addiction
As if drugs, alcoholism, and sexual addictions aren’t enough to worry about with our kids, we have to add social media addiction to the list.
The use of social media and smart phone technology is a great experiment. Our kids have so many devices at their fingertips everyday. They are the first generation to have contact with their friends and the world available 24/7.
How will they fare in 20, 30, or 50 years from now? We just don’t know.
My parents divorced when I was 9 in 1981. Divorce in America was at an all time high in the early 80’s. I call it “The Great Experiment”. Couples were divorcing left and right and no one knew the long term consequences it would have on kids.
Well, 20 and 30 years later we discovered that divorce is devastating to children. Ripple effects can be seen long into their adult life.
What will we say about social media when our kids are grown? How is technology going to affect their future?
4. Liberal Schools
God has been kicked out of the public schools. This is not news. We’ve been watching it happen slowly for decades. Each year our schools are becoming a less safe and nurturing environment for our kids.
The number of school shootings that have occurred since Columbine in 1999 is alarming. And through the years we have been hearing about violence in schools more and more.
Kids are lost. Kids are mean. And kids don’t know how to cope with life. Put a weapon in the hands of a young lost soul and tragedy will surely follow.
Schools are becoming more and more liberal. And the educational system is becoming increasingly hostile toward Christianity.
Are our kids being taught the truth in school? Are our kids being taught the truth in colleges and universities?
5. Lukewarm Churches
The church is the vessel of hope to this wretched world.
However, instead of infecting the world with the love of Christ, are we letting the world seep into our churches?
When the ship is in the ocean, everything’s fine. When the ocean gets into the ship, you’re in trouble. -Mark Yoder
So, what hope do we have?
We have hope in Jesus Christ. He is our only hope—but He is a big one! And, we have the joy of knowing that we will spend an eternity in glory with God the Father.
But what about the here and now? Can we find hope in this life?
Hope is found in our families. Families are the building blocks of the church. And the family unit has power.
Taking back our families can change the world. Take back your days, don’t let every minute be filled with this sport or that activity. Spend time together as a family. Talk about the issues of the day and what scripture has to say about them.
You and I as Christian parents possess the antidote to this toxic world. We can’t save our kids, but the blood of Jesus can!