Did I keep my heart pure for nothing?
Or asked another way, if I do stay pure, where is the fun in that?
These questions are daggers pointed at the hearts of your kids. It is foolish to ignore them. It is equally foolish to answer these questions by simply enforcing rules and being angry at wrong behavior. Let me explain.
Following God by living a life of purity is a path that marks teenagers as social misfits in our culture. As a parent, you have to get this! Psalm 73 unveils the emotional battle your kids face with clarity.
The boundaries of purity contrasted with a culture that mocks purity can lead to a response of bitterness in your children. The Holy Spirit EXPLICITLY warns about this when he directs the psalmist to say:
“Then I realized that my heart was bitter,
and I was all torn up inside…”
Why was he bitter? Because he considered the success, the excitement, the good times of the culture around him as an isolated moment in time. Bitterness came because the psalmist was only looking at the beginning of the video of the life of wickedness. The mocking challenges that appeared to be unanswered almost destroyed him. Listen to his words:
“But as for me, I almost lost my footing.
My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone.
For I envied the proud
when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.”
This moral struggle was real. These words were written to help you understand the deep struggles your teenagers face as they view a godless culture that does what it wants. You can’t deal with this bitterness and envy simply by enforcing rules and being disgusted with the evil of the bad actors.
So what do you do?
You begin by doing what the psalmist did. You make God your good. Before you can help your children to deal the issues they face, you must make God your refuge, your joy. Don’t let the culture define and intimidate you. Do what the psalmist did, look at the video all the way to the end.
This is how you can reach out to your children. Don’t get caught up in rule enforcement and anger. This is what drove the psalmist to the point of bitterness. Rather, love your children enough to help them see that the wicked do not end well:
“Then I went into your sanctuary, O God,
and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.
Truly, you put them on a slippery path
and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction.
In an instant they are destroyed,
completely swept away by terrors.”
Help your children to see the how the video story of the mocking culture really plays out. Against this back drop purity can be seen not as stupidity, but as a profound blessing. Take the time to do more than just say no. Invest in your children so that they can see for themselves where hatred for purity really leads.
Make the nearness of God your good!