I Messed Up, Now What?

The general consensus I get from teens is that they feel like they’re constantly being judged. This happens mostly from their peers, but many feel judged by the adults in their lives too – teachers, parents, youth leaders. However, there’s a fine line between judgement and expectations. Something we need to highlight to teens. As a human we need to make sure that our expectations are not seen as judgments. However, if teens are feeling judged, it’s not surprising that in some situations bad choices can be made. This isn’t just kids who didn’t grow up in church, no, this is teenagers as a whole. Looking for a mainstream example? Watch Footloose, where the Pastor’s daughter is making some interesting life choices.

As a blogger I get the privilege of learning and hearing different stories from teens with all different backgrounds. I get the honour of becoming their friend. More importantly, when they find themselves on the other side of a bad choice, I get to come along side of them and help them through it. This means a lot to me. I think it’s so great that the teens I volunteer with are comfortable enough with me to come to me for help. It’s nothing short of amazing.

Often after we’ve made a poor choice we get convicted about it. Some may refer to it as a conscience. I believe it’s the Holy Spirit pointing out our wrong behaviour so that we can correct it. After you’ve done or said something stupid, it’s a gentle reminder not to do it again. Here is an example that I think ring true for many teens out there.

  1. You say some really hurtful things about a classmate and they find out. Maybe you share a really juicy secret your friend confided in you. It flies through the whole school. It gets added to and all of a sudden it’s a really nasty rumour. “Whoops! I messed up, now what?”

A lot of times the response is to do it again. Maybe it was fun, maybe you want to forget. What if instead you stopped, owned up to it and learned from it? What if you took your eyes off the here and now and started looking up instead? In all these situations it goes against the grain of even secular teaching. I know this because my six year old sister lectured us on the dangers of caffeine being a drug. “So if caffeine is a drug, having a Pepsi is like smoking.” (Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up.) She goes to a public school and is learning about making good choices. Therefore, it’s not like these choices are only frowned upon in church. At a young age, children are taught the difference between a good and a bad choice.

However, it’s human nature to turn towards sinful behaviour. People may disagree with me and when I first heard that comment I disagreed too. Then my mother, whom I greatly respect said, you don’t have to teach a child to lie. It’s true! You don’t! Kids are cute when they’re little, but the second you get the 3 year old into trouble for colouring the dog they will blame anything under the sun to get out of trouble. Including the dog! It’s human nature to turn towards sin so much so that we developed a program to teach children the dangers of making poor choices in the hopes that when they become a teenager they’ll remember those lessons. It’s called health class!

Hope you liked this post.

-Utpal

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