I asked three young women, each coming from solid, biblically sound homes, “Name one woman who you can tell has been transformed by the gospel and why.”
Mouths open, then close.
Finally, one stutters out a friend’s name, an old roommate. She mentions that she actually invited this friend – this rap-listening, cuss-throwing, freedom-loving – friend to bible study for the first time. They went, they learned, they talked and God met them.
Both of them.
By a twist of roads and a grace-filled choices, the once enemy of God, became a lover of God. One might declare her transformed by the gospel. I would declare her enamored with the Almighty. Because it’s the love that compelled the change, the transformation.
And I’m wondering how often we forget the love rather than just reaching for the transformation?
This is a confusing time for adults, undoubtedly. Now amplify it ten notches for our young people. They are more confused than ever with messages being aimed for their minds and their souls at every angle. And I’m wondering if for too long we have been teaching them a “band-aid” message?
You have feelings for people of the same sex? Let’s fix it and get private counseling because we needn’t share it with anyone. With this comes loads of shame and feelings of inadequacy.
You are addicted to drugs? Let’s give you harsh boundaries and scrutinize your every action. With this comes more fury and leads teens down deeper and darker roads.
You want to have sex with your boyfriend? Before marriage? Let’s scare you with the reality of getting pregnant, raising a child, killing your dreams, and reminding you that sex is bad. With this comes a tainted view of sex, one of the most beautiful gifts given to humans.
Our young people are facing unprecedented issues (they aren’t new, but how they are receiving them are), and we are holding out band-aids.
When Jesus is the balm. And falling in love with Him is the only ultimate healing agent.
Let’s give them the balm of Jesus.
Now, I’m not saying what we’ve been doing is wrong. Oh no. I have gleaned wisdom after ounces of wisdom from dear ones of the faith. A healthy church is a church of all ages. So is a young woman; one who surrounds herself with a myriad of women (ages, backgrounds, cultures). What I am saying is that I believe we have never before been in battle with our culture in the ways we are now.
The Me, Me, Me emphasis of social media is beyond anything anyone could have dreamed up. The celebration of sin seems so prevalent; it’s hard to know what to celebrate. The engagement of the war between believers is throwing everyone into thinking they need to start dressing in camouflage.
When maybe with everything spinning out of control, we need to find foundation. Get back to the basics.
Maybe its time to remind people how much God loves them.
When was the last time you took your daughter, your son, your neighbor, your friend and held their hand, looked directly into their eyes and reminded them that God loves them so very much? So much so that when Jesus cried out to His Father, “Father if you are willing, remove this cup from me, yet not my will but yours be done.”
And God didn’t remove the cup.
His Son needed to be crushed because God so loved the world. Your son, your daughter, your neighbor, your teen.
Maybe we have been fueling our kids’ arsenal with all good tools: How to fight sin. How to combat the devil. How to ward off the bully. How to stay away from all the evil. But maybe that feels like just another added tool to their tool belt rather than solid ground under their feet.
Maybe we just need to get back to:
A love for a God that so loves them.
A love for a God that so loves us.
A healing agent: the balm of Jesus.
Could it be that we’ve created a war story without ever remembering the love story?
Let’s consider how we teach our children (and remind ourselves) about God. That rather than getting out a band-aid, we actually get out the whole balm. Jesus. That we remind those around us how deeply loved they are and the sacrifice that was made for them. That this becomes the anthem, not to ward off the evils of this world and make everything (public school, entertainment, dating, sex, drugs and rock-and-roll) evil, but as parents we pray and fight for the cultivation of love.
A pure and lovely and captivating love for Jesus.
And we all know this to be true: A human who is truly in love is free enough to truly change the world. They simply need the balm of Jesus.