Stay with me on this! Psalm 103 says that God does not treat us as our sins deserve. We have previously established that it is not good to treat your young children as their sins deserve. Instead, you are to graciously point them to bow to the authority of the King of the Universe. Also we have established that middle children should trained in the development of godly character instead of simply having their behavior corrected. So, this leaves us with teenagers. Are they the only ones who are to be treated as their sins deserve or does God have something different for them as well?
Problems often arise with teenagers because the biblical objectives of the two earlier training periods have not been met. The significance of God’s authority has not been established in the early years and behavior rather than character development has been the focus of the middle years. However, there is another important reason problems develop with teenagers, even if the first two objectives have been met. In this case, the problem is that parents have not developed an exit strategy for when their teenagers leave home. What is permanent in the family is the relationship between husband and wife. The children are the temporary residents in the home. When children reach puberty, they become different altogether. I am sure someone reading this is amazed at my brilliant observation! Seriously, they are the same and yet they have become different. They can now make babies, hold a job, and are no longer dependent upon you for everything. They will sin and make mistakes. The last thing they need is to be treated as their sins deserve.
For example, suppose a friend invited you to attend a prayer meeting. You say great and ask what is theme of this meeting and what will we be praying for. Your friend looks at you with great excitement and says, “We are going to earnestly ask for God to give us what we deserve!” If I were asked to attend such a meeting I would ask where it will be held and then tell my friend that I will be as far away from that meeting as I possibly can.
No one who understands the nature of God and the depth of his own sin would dare to ask to be treated as his sins deserve. Yet somehow, folks tend to think that is a good idea to treat teenagers as their sins deserve.
Hang on, there is more to come, but this is a start.