Columbine. Virginia Tech. These names are fairly familiar to most of us, and upon hearing them, we are filled with a sense of sadness that these tragedies occurred in our nation, in our time. Sadly, these incidents, while by far the worst of their kind, are not isolated. Over 40 other such tragedies have taken place in the past 15 years, and the general feeling is that there are more to come. Many have attempted to understand why and to get a grasp of how this could have happened. Unfortunately, the majority of those searching for reasons are looking for answers in the wrong places. As always, the simplest answers are usually the right ones. Let me explain. One of the saddest things about these tragedies is that seemingly no one knew what was going to happen; no one thought their child was capable of such violent acts. To that I say - Huh? Where have you been? How do you not know what is going on in the life of your child? How is it possibe that we allow our young people, who we brought into this world, to drift so far from us that we don't know what is going on? What are we doing? What is so important that we neglect one of the greatest gift's God gives to us? Parents, it is our God-given responsibility to raise up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. As a child of God, I'm glad to know that He is concerned with everything that goes on in my life and doesn't allow anything to slip by His ever watchful eye.
The title of this discourse is Monkey in the Middle. When I became youth pastor, I thought I knew exactly what was required for the job. Teach S.S., plan activities, go to camps, build and maintain realtionships with the youth, and try to guide them in the right direction. Sounds simple. The problem arose when I began to realize that I had a better relationship with many of them than their parents; that troubled me. It didn't seem quite right that whenever I would try to get them to talk to their parents, they didn't feel comfortable. I didn't understand it fully at the time, but I was taking something that didn't belong to me. When Pastor Burke approached me two years ago regarding how God had been leading him concerning youth, it relieved me to know that I wasn't the only one having difficulty with this issue. My hope and prayer is that, as parents, we would desire to first give our children our hearts that we might gain theirs. What is the result if we don't? Having already looked at Malachi 4:6, I would present Proverbs 30:11-14:
There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother. There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness. There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up. There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.
Are we there yet?