You remember Jonadab. He was the opportunistic enabler of Amnon’s sensual cravings for Tamar. Today, Jonadab would have earned a rich living on Madison Avenue. He was intimately familiar with the unholy trinity of youthful passions:
You can have it. You deserve it. Do what it takes to get it now.
This is the formula of TV commercials aimed at youth. They offer fast food, beer, cars, clothing, and safe sex all all nicely packaged in the self-serving phrase of drink responsibly. Paul was also aware of this unholy trinity when he warned a young Timothy to flee youthful passions.
Sin’s deceitfulness particularly targets teenagers and young people. Jonadab, in 2 Samuel 13, addressed the youthful lusts of Amnon. Amnon’s desires made him an easy target. He craved his sister, Tamar, and was willing to do whatever it took to satisfy his sensual passions. His headlong pursuit of immediate gratification had a fatal outcome. That is where living for the moment can lead. This is how teenagers and young adults are being encouraged in the 21st Century. What do you do? Somehow, simply saying, “Don’t do that!” rings empty.
For example, telling your children to be quiet because their play is preventing you from listening to the game will only reinforce the desire to live for the moment. Discipline must always have God as its focus. Teaching children to be considerate must be based upon God’s directions. Your game, in and of itself, has no more value than your children’s play.
The remote is used to turn up the volume as the children get louder. The louder the TV, the louder the children become. Finally, Dad explodes, “Can’t you kids see I’m trying to watch the game?!!” The kids run for cover and Dad quickly turns back to the game because it is third and goal. There are many forms of immediate gratification!
These types of situations with younger children will not lead to the conversations that your teenagers will need to combat the deceitfulness of sin. Remember, the multi-billion dollar combination of the entertainment media and advertising industry have assumed the role of Jonadab for your teenagers.
Paul’s encouragement is to flee youthful passions and pursue God. This must be your message – flee and pursue. If you discipline only to solve problems for the moment you will confirm for your children that only the moment matters. You will help promote the very patterns of sin you are seeking to avoid.
Parental training must envision more than a quiet house. Parental training must envision a life, not just a moment, that is lived for God. If the game, the movie, or the political show are, in actual practice, more important than the careful discipline and training of your children, you may enjoy the moment, but you will reap bitter fruit. You have been caught in the trap of the unholy trinity.