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What to Do When Young People Sin

A lot of parents are so scared of how their kids will make them look. When things happen to their kids, they worry about themselves. “Oh my goodness!” a parent might say. “My son was drunk and he got caught drinking and driving and everybody in the church knows. What are people going to think of me?” Or, “Oh my gosh my daughter’s pregnant. This looks bad. What are people at church going to say?”

That’s unfortunate. I think churches truly have gotten to this point. They need to check themselves and say, “No, no. That should never be the issue.”

When Jesus came, God said, “This is the image that I want you to portray.” And it is not an angry image, it is not a judgmental image, it is not a condemning image. When Jesus walked the streets He loved everybody. He hung out with the prostitutes and the drunks and the gluttons and the sinners. He was called a drunk and a glutton because He hung out with them. And when they brought prostitutes before Him and said, “What do we do?” He said, “Hey, that’s not your job. Your job is not to condemn anybody. Your job is to love and encourage and people to get better, right where they’re at.”

That’s the image of God, the one we’re supposed to reflect. It’s not anyone’s job to condemn our young people. Your job is not to say, “Hey look, you got drunk, you deserve everything that happens to you.” No, no. That’s not your job.

Your job is to ask why. Let’s get down to the actual root of why. Let’s ask, “Why did you get drunk and then drive? Why did you sleep with your boyfriend and get pregnant? What was the purpose of doing it?” And at the same time we need to love and encourage them, and ask, “What are we going to do from here? How are we going to handle life now?” We need to be with them. We need to offer our love, and say, “Let’s work through it together.”

The issue for the church is not, “How does this look?” We only have to do one thing. We have to say, “Okay, you know what? Your daughter is pregnant. Well, we love your daughter. We want to bless your daughter. We don’t want to cast judgment onto your daughter, we want to cast blessing onto your daughter. And we hope that your daughter’s child becomes a child that oozes the aroma of Christ. Sure it was a mistake to get pregnant, but Jesus forgave, we forgive, we’re going to help.”

Do you know how much better life would be if we actually got into the habit of saying, “You know what? Everyone sins, but we are not to condemn, we are to love through it.” I think you would find less and less people sinning out of rebellion, if they knew they were loved out of purity. I think that would change a lot of things.

3 thoughts on “What to Do When Young People Sin

  1. I can relate to this. I have a daughter and I remember howpeople used to ask me questions that were so negative, because I brought up my duaghter single-handedly.
    My duaghter is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I love her with all my heart and am very proud of her.

    Thanks Jeremy for putting up this blog post. Go Giantssss!!!

  2. Yes being the fortunate recipient of someone’s unconditional love does give you an added strength and could very well be the thread that keeps you together. When a person slips from the straight and narrow they know it and they feel bad about themselves. Everyone screws up sometime, you need to forgive yourself because God forgives you and he expects you to do the same. It isn’t always easy to pick yourself back up and start again but it’s the only option. Unfortunatly I know from experience that you can beat up on yourself to the point where you have no motiveation to forgive yourself and try again. With every day that goes by you slip back further and further and the bitterness grows until you are lost.
    There is a window hiding in that senerio, a moment in time where the DISTAIN of another or the LOVE of another can be the deciding factor in your fight or flight delema.
    I have been fortunate enough to have been brought attending a Church of Christ with a small loving congregation. These people have always been increadibly understanding, excepting, forgiving and generous with everyone whether they are a member of the Church or not.

  3. I am really enjoying your posts. I completely agree with what you’re saying about when young people make mistakes. My father is a minister and I grew up feeling like I was under a magnifying glass. The pressure to not make mistakes and be perfect was both self-inflicted and put on me by my dad; though I’m not sure if he was aware of the pressure he placed on me. I developed a somewhat self-righteous attitude before God humbled me. Young people, especially Christians, need space to make mistakes. The graciousness of the response of our church family should be an example of how God responds to all of us when we sin. God bless. I look forward to the next post.

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