These are only my thoughts about this question, however, I believe that our kids turn away from GOD for the following reasons, see if you fit into a least one of these categories.
- A religious home rather than a home that has an ongoing and intimate relationship with JESUS.
- Adults are one way in the public eye but totally different in their private life.
- Saying one thing yet doing the opposite.
- Not making JESUS totally relatable to children.
- Going to each and every single function just because it is happening in your local assembly of worship.
- Not living a balanced lifestyle.
- Making every little thing an idol just because you do not like it or agree with what your kids like.
- Having them dress as though it is the 1800’s or the early 1900’s.
- Telling them all the cannot do’s but never telling them what they can do.
- Being overly critical and demanding.
- Not understanding who they are and what they will like to take part in.
- Speaking at them rather than speaking with them.
These are the top twelve that I can think of right off the top of my head. You may have more than what I have provided, so add to it on a separate sheet of paper or on the back of this when you print it out.
Adults seem to forget what it was like to be a child and a teen or maybe even a young adult. As adults, we must find common ground with kids of all ages. A true Christian home is enjoyable, loving, and peaceful but a religious home is filled with confusion, lack peace, and resentment. We must be examples before our kids showing them as we are teaching them that being a born-again believer in CHRIST JESUS is not a burden, it is not full of do not’s but what we can do in HIM. We demonstrate to them who we are in CHRIST JESUS not who we want them to be in our own will. When our children witness that we are phony in front of and with other people it cultivates in them that JESUS is not who they hear who HE is when they are in church service.
We must let people be themselves but teach through the demonstration that they can be better in JESUS rather than who they see outside of the home. What is wrong with having music that they like to hear? As long as it does not promote foul language and disrespect of authorities and people of any kind, they should be allowed to have it in the home to enjoy. What is wrong with them being friends with people who do not go to church? You need to allow them to be friendly with all people and those that you do not mind having in your home allow them in your home, your home may be the home that your kid’s friends are attracted to because of the love, peace, and kindness that surrounds your home internally and externally. What is wrong with the clothes that your kid’s desire to wear? As long as their clothes are not sending the wrong message, such as tee shirts that can be read or have some type of logo or design. That your kids have their pants pulled up properly on their waist with a belt if belt loops are there. Depending on the function allow kids to be comfortable and like what they are wearing. My generation may be the last generation where females of all ages wore hats and gloves. Why are you making your female children dress in hats and gloves looking like little old ladies from yesteryear?
What we do and what we say can make all the difference in the world when it comes to pointing our kids to CHRIST JESUS. We may not think that what we make our children do but are not willing to do ourselves is causing our children to dread Christianity but it is. We must bring out the passion for CHRIST in our children where they love to study their Bibles, enjoy going to church functions as well as worship service. Telling them that GOD has a purpose for their life but not trying to pull that purpose out before it is time.
We must not make the lifestyle of being a Christian so unbearable that our children cannot wait to leave home just to get away from all the rules of the Pharisee’s and Sadducee’s that live in the home. Overbearing rules and traditions are killers. Make the effort to understand their world, be sensitive to their being youths. Meet them where they are not where you want them to be. Focus on the ways in which they will want to get to know JESUS better. Teach them by telling and demonstrating to them over and over just as you tell them and demonstrate over and over how much JESUS and you love them.
Whatever your child is attracted to, get involved. Paint in our actions and words how rewarding it is to be a Christian who trusts in CHRIST JESUS. Do you know that if JESUS was visible on the earth today and your children were attracted to go-go or hip-hop that JESUS would be right there with them? Okay, maybe you do not like what they consider to be music but I hope you get my meaning. I am not attracted to go-go or hip-hop either so I get it. But that does not mean that it is anti-Christ music just because we do not approve of its style or sound. Stop looking and calling everything that we do not understand things of the devil.
Our children can discover great worth in the Bible because of our demonstration of love, understanding (or trying to), gentleness, kindness, and our involvement. Rather than pushing them away because of our overbearing desires for them to achieve that which are not achievable. We must stop trying to make them perfect when we ourselves are not demonstrating perfection. And, recall and share your life as a child, a teen and a young adult. Tell them the good, the bad and the ugly parts of your life because just like them we wanted to discover, we wanted to participate, we were confused (growing pains), we are being human. Please do not be over judgmental and continuing to add more rules or demanding that they follow rules that are difficult or un-enjoyable not only to you but to them also.
We desire for our kids to praise and worship GOD from their own self-awareness of HIM and not because that is what you and everyone else is doing at the moment.
Be your children’s greatest supporter, cheer for them even when they miss the mark for trying to do that which they are interested in. Help them to correct that thing that caused them to miss out so that if they are interested then they can try again. Equip them to live an incredible life so that when they leave home they will not fall into the many traps that are out there waiting for them. Never count this young generation and the generations to follow out. They are amazing people and remember the older generations counted us out and look at how well we have done. I am a baby boomer, I am all that GOD said that I am and I have yet to discover all that HE has in store for me but I am excited to find out what those things are in HIS appropriate time. I am not too old to discover those things that young people consider that I should have done when I was young. I too still need encouragement and guidance from experienced people just as we must guide the younger generations. They can and will accomplish incredible things. Get to know and understand them rather than ignoring them, I promise you that these young people are actually set to amaze us.
1 Corinthians 9:22 Become or appear weak in your faith so that you can win those who are actually weak in their faith. Welcome the weak in faith but never debate what they believe in. Be the one who demonstrates CHRIST to them in love. Our being overbearing to others only pleases ourselves causing the others to rebel all the more because they resent what is being presented to them. Build up those who have no faith in or who are weak in their faith of CHRIST JESUS and what true Christianity is all about. Those who are weak in their faith we should feel and or see what it is they lack. And those who are made to stumble because of their weakness of faith is often caused by what they hear and see us do that contradicts what we are trying to place in them to do. Be willing to step into the world of others where they live without participating in those things which they do that are actually sinful acts. For instance, go where the prostitutes are and speak with them if possible. We do not need to sell ourselves or demean them more than they already are. Some of those prostitutes are debasing themselves because they are addicts, their pimp has lied to them and they believe the lie because what they received at home was far worse in their mind. Or, they may be trying to just pay the bills because employment is difficult to obtain for them and they would rather do this than sleep on the streets, or live in a shelter, and just like most of us want better for their kids. Remember our goal is to introduce those who do not know JESUS to HIM.
Rom. 14:1, 15:1-2; 2 Cor. 11:29; Rom. 14:14