religion, christianity, articles
Christian living

I Have Been Young

By Irene C. Taylor

religion, articles, christianity

When counseling with young people, one is met with the cry, "You just don't under stand!" The implication is that we are too old to appreciate the trials of the young. Some years ago, as a young couple, this writer and her husband were privileged to hear a masterful lesson for young people delivered by the late brother B. C. Goodpasture. Many were the sage, scriptural points of advice he gave. One in particular made a lasting impression on my mind. He said, in essence, "You have never been old. You have not yet experienced life's lessons. I, on the other hand, have been young. I have walked in those shoes. I am better able to view matters from both viewpoints." Today's young people might express it like this: "Been there, done that."

In our walk through this life every human faces temptations through the same three avenues: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride or vainglory of life (1 John 2:16). Satan has polished his temptation skills and now dresses them in more enticing finery but the avenues remain the same. Control of the mind is control the actions.

The worldly concept of fun carries heavy penalties. Our young are tempted to taste of the squalid side of life through indulging in drugs which flow so freely, especially cocaine, marijuana, and alcohol. Sex is touted as "safe," through the use of certain precautions and "mistakes" can be erased through abortion. After all, everybody does it.

Religion is condemned as too restrictive. Worldly psychologists counsel their patients not to become involved in religion. Too much dedication to religious standards might result in feelings of guilt and that could hamper mental health and happiness, according to their philosophy. Do what makes you feel good. Even Christian young people are taught this error, and sometimes by their own parents-if not in word, then in deed.

It is apparent that Christian parents have a huge challenge. Mothers would do well to weigh carefully the cost of Leaving the training of their children to another while they work outside the home to acquire "things." Parents desperately need to resurrect the policy of teaching respect for authority and the wisdom of age. Solomon advises the young to "hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother" (Prov 1:8). It is wisdom to learn from the experience of others.

"Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them" (Eccl. 12:1). Devotion to God shields from many of Satan's snares in adolescence: and in age. The young person encouraged to sow wild oats may never leave the oat field. Disdain for God's standards for worship and service to him learned in youth may linger through life. The attitude of boredom (do I have to) toward things religious planted in youth seldom yields a harvest of dedication in later life.

Respect for authority in the home is a must if one is to learn respect for the authority of God and the laws of the land. Mothers, you are undermining respect for authority when you help your children circumvent Dad's rule. Differences between parents should be mutually managed without teaching a wrong concept to the child. Parents would do well to regularly consult Paul's teaching in Ephesians 5 and 6.

Wise is the parent who instills a respect for the older Christian. Wise is the congregation which continues and encourages interaction between the ages rather than segregating the assembly by age. Remember, please, "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread" (Psa. 37:25). There is a special, sweet security in serving God throughout one's life. Mother! Bend that twig, or get a crooked tree.

Published December 1997