Absalom was a troubled young man. He did not present himself as troubled, but he was. He projected power; he manipulated his father, the king. He was arrogant. He was vengeful, taking the life of his brother in payment for the honor of his sister. He had a flare for the dramatic. He had 50 men who ran ahead of him to announce his going and coming. He challenged his father’s leadership by publicly proclaiming that life would be better for all if only he were king.
But the real Absalom was not what he appeared to be. Inside he was hurting. He relied on subversion and raw intimidation to achieve what he wanted. He had no answer for the pain in his heart. He had no comfort for the lack of relationship with his father, King David. He had no confidence in the loving-kindness of God; rather, he was convinced he had to make his own way in this world. So Absalom used the images of power, good looks, arrogance, and popularity to secure what he thought he wanted. But with all this, he was weak and lonely, without solace and joy.
Teenagers are often like Absalom. They present an image of arrogance and defiance. Yet inside they are hurting. Too often, parents react only to the projected image. They, like Absalom’s father, David, fail to see that what is needed is relationship with God. So parents respond to teenagers with hurt. They are intimidated and fearful—or angry. Parents, forget that God is bigger than their troubled, hurting teenager. An angry teen is at odds with the God of heaven, and therefore lives with a troubled, unsettled spirit—but he often doesn’t know why.
Think about your teenagers. Often, just beneath the surface of their angry, defiant demeanor is a sea of uncertainty and hurt. They perceive something in their lives to be unjust, and take aim at the first target available—usually parents. Do not misunderstand—I am not excusing this behavior—just attempting to understand it.
If you are confronted with anger, arrogance and intimidation, reach out in the power of God. Seek God’s help in prayer—pray for a heart of compassion. Love him or her sacrificially, showing Christ-like love and commitment. Return good for evil. You don’t have to engage in a shouting match. Often the image of defiance you see in your teen hides a deep hurt that only God can heal. Your teenager may be hurting because he believes he has lost your approval. Yes, your teen may be wrong, horribly wrong, and you must work to lead him along the right path. But more than anything, he needs the love of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit. David failed to confront Absalom with God’s love. By ignoring the hurting heart of his son, David allowed a great final confrontation to occur. Absalom lost his life. David lost his son.
11 thoughts on “Absalom and your teenager”
Thank you for this..I have a prodigal and he is going down wrong path..I needed to hear this
All along I knew that God was the only one who could heal my daughter. But I kept blaming myself and tried fixing it by myself. All it did was cause more issues, more anger and more conflicts between me and my husband. N ow that we have laid the situation down at God’s feet, we are seeing huge improvements in our daughter’s attitude. Our situation is not a molehill, not even a mountain, but an erupting volcano! But our gracious God has brought hope!
I also needed this. Thank you!
What a great artice this is.Thanks a lot and will act upon the above wisdom because I have been going through a difficult time with my teenage gal.we need to protect very much a child that the devil is attacking because there is a great anointing. Thks once again.will copy and paste just for ref…will make a point to buy some of your parenting books.God bls you
I was this child! My parents saw a child that was disagreeable, manipulative, and difficult all the way around. I had no relationship with my dad because of it and a volatile relationship with my mother. I was in trouble literally ALL THE TIME. What I really was, was a child who desperately needed love and attention and was searching anywhere and everywhere to get it even if it meant making bad choices. It was awful for all of us. This is a wonderful article and explains exactly what I was feeling and exactly what I needed. ♥
Thank you, Joni! I am blown away by your thoughts. Thank you.
Thank you for this article, you will help so many parents if they listen! This is the first article of yours I have seen. I am looking for a way to follow you on Facebook so I can continue getting your articles. I am not seeing anything. Can you guide me on where to look? (If not facebook, another way) Thank you
You can check out the blog on FB under Shepherd Press. The posts are also at the Shepherd Press website: shepherdpress.com/blog.
Thank you so much for writing about this subject. So many parents including me needed reminding of what our focus needs to be on when it comes to our kids at any age.
Lori – the important thing to remember is that God is not against you. The story of Joseph wold be good for you consider.
Thank you so much.