I DON'T DO TEENAGERS ◽ HOME
By now, your teens know that the Easter Bunny is not real, Santa is just an old man in a suit, and Cupid is a drawing on a paper. They’re realizing that there is so much fiction in the world around them. If they watched the news with you during the election, they saw and heard slander, mistruths, and realized that even leaders fail at presenting facts and a faultless campaign. They may have been disappointed in the truths they felt as a little kids, where Mom and Dad were together, but they’re now apart, and they don’t know if that love was ever true, or not.
So how do we help our teens distinguish between fact and fiction? Of course, we tell them that fictionalized characters are ones that are not true in books and on the movie screens. But, of course, there are non-fiction stories that are told of heroes and those that have lived lives that inspire and strengthen our own lives, if we read.
And then…there’s the case of the Bible. Every person, teen or adult, has to decide for themselves what to believe. And so will your teens. Here are some pointers to remember:
If we pick up the Bible like we do a Bandaid, just to bandage our wounds when we’re hurt, they’ll see the Word as an occasional fixer upper, and won’t ever realize the truth of the story told inside.
If we use the Bible as a weapon to shape up our unruly kids, quoting verses in discipline, they will see the Word as harsh and unkind, and that will relate to the giver of the Word – God. And it will damage their relationship with Him. They might even reject the truth of who God really is.
If they see us only open our app or our Bible occasionally when we attend church or listen to a sermon on line, they may look at it like they do a movie – a story to read for entertainment or when bored.
If we read the Bible together as a family to learn about the character of God and his love towards us, they will see and know God and want to follow him. (Start with the book of John – it’s a fantastic one – as Jesus interacts with all those who question who he is).
If we have come to know the Jesus of the pages in the bible as our own personal savior, and we love him so much that we want to sit in his presence and digest his words because they are life, and those words actually evoke change in our lives for the better, our kids will see those words as life – true life!
If we listen to the questions our teens ask about God, their wonderings and their frustrations, and offer to pray with them, search with them, and then allow God to speak to them, they’ll soon realize the truth…
And just what is fact?
It’s a fact that the Word of God is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12). We don’t have to use it as a weapon, ever. It rather should be seen as an extension of who God is to us, personally. Just like we read a non-fiction book about the life of a great person and feel as though we know them when we close the book, we should train our teens that getting to know God and the power of his Word is what will carry us through life.
And we can’t do this, if we don’t know it ourselves.
Consider reading the synopses of the books of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation to be once again renewed in your own faith of the facts of the geography, the people, the places, the stories and the power of the God, the Creator, the Savior. Talk about these things with your teens over dinner, not as something laborious or boring, but as life giving and amazing.
The way for our kids to know the truth about God’s word is to immerse our families in it, so much that when they step out into the world on their own and see anything that doesn’t align with “Love God and love others” they immediately recognize it and turn away from those untruths that destroy and kill.