In war torn areas of the world there have always been horror stories, especially grievous when we hear of little children, playing in minefields. Then there are the ugly news articles about children finding supposedly hidden weapons of their parents and killing themselves or their friends.
I was thinking recently of the analogy of our teen age children who distain the curfews and restraints and limitations imposed by their parents. "I'm old enough to make my own decisions." "I'm gonna do what I want to do, and you're not going to stop me!" Maybe the words were not actually said, but the actions clearly declared that that is what they were thinking.
Now if you saw a four year old playing with his dad's revolver, would you try to stop him? If you slapped it out of his hand and yelled at him, could that be described as an over reaction?
When a 16 year old hangs out with bullies, druggies and foul-mouthed young adults who curse their parents and laugh at the pain and distress of others, would you try to stop them? If you are 30 years older than this kid, isn't it possible that you have collected enough knowledge about the "mine field" to direct him out of it before disaster occurs?
I've seen a young, sweet, teen girl leave home to hang out with a south-central gang, and give herself to the leader because "he loves me". I've tried to get her to see how her parents have loved her all the way from changing messy diapers to staying up all night at her bedside when she was sick. And what kind of love does she expect to get from this gang leader? She's just another "Ho" in his harem, and as soon as she is no pleasure to him she will be discarded like a used bandage. She listened to me, but nothing registered.
It is really painful when you see young people you care about heading for disaster or destruction, only they are now too old to slap the gun out of their hands. You can lock them in their room, but they are big enough that they are able to open the window and run. You can talk sense to them, and they only hear, "blah, blah, blah".
The only hope I know of is that somehow they get soundly saved before these special danger years. Young people who have genuinely come to love Jesus, may make mistakes, but they will come through in the long run. Unfortunately, our kids often say all the right words, convincing us and the elders of the church that they are ready to make public declaration of their faith in Jesus Christ. But they do it only because it is expected of them, and they don't want to make any waves. Then, somewhere in those teen years, lustful hormones and a rebellious mindset decieve them and blind them completely to the dangers of their foolishness. Only if Jesus is really living in them are they able to listen to reason and tiptoe out of the minefield.
I've seen many young people that I have loved go in each direction. It hurts. I need to pray more feverently. Shame on me.