TEACH THEM TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER
"Father, help your children, and don't let them fall by the side of the road and teach them to love one another that heaven might find A place in their hearts 'Cause Jesus is love"
These prophetic lyrics were penned by Lionel Ritchie and released on the Commodores 1980 album entitled HEROES.
Recently a Chardon Ohio High School student shot and killed three classmates while wounding several others. With ever increasing Youth Suicides rates, this shooting and the Columbine shootings do this indicate that the moral character of the United States is in decline?
What is causing the increased violence among Youth People in the United States?
Many have said that the moral character of the United States is in decline resulting in the prevention of Young People developing a strong moral character.
One can say that moral character is the one thing that you cannot live without. A strong moral character allows a parent help their children to succeed even if it means they have to make sacrifices. When a person is equipped with a moral character, they do not commit intentional harm against others. Is this what is occurring the moral fiber and moral character of this nation's youth is being destroyed? But how and why is this occurring?
Throughout the United States there is an abundance of GOD's Houses of Praise Worship that have developed and implemented youth community programs. Yet the main issue is keeping Young People involved and engaged. Yes there many who reject the idea of taking these directions; however we must not leave those behind in life. Young People can only be lead to positive peer group environments with parental or adult support and involvement. This same type of involvement and influence helps to keep them in these environments.
Many attribute the current situation to the economy, others blame the lack of activities, others the education system, some have mentioned the music. Youth violence is the second leading cause of death for Young People between the ages of 10 and 24 and is widespread in the United States. Could the real issue be the United States is in need of a cultural make-over? Yet this is not just a phenomenon occurring in the United States, this is a global issue.
One's individual actions combined with their personality define their moral character. The moral fiber is the core strength of America with person of high moral fiber and character being able can stand up to anything the world can throw at them. Is the real the issue the Church's approach and attitude to Young People in this postmodernism world?
The increased pattern of Young People leaving the church is different than in some recent generations. By all appearances this exodus appears to be alienation from the church and from the truth claims of Christianity. This results in a generation of Young People who believe there is a God, yet they don't have any particular god in mind.
The Church in many ways has contributed to the problems with the promotion of full-service entertainment and activity centers. Here Young People have been taken away from their parents and put into a different peer culture resulting in a church peer culture. Many of the activities have very little theological, biblical, or spiritual content resulting with youth spending very little amount time in church activities. What happens when they grow out of church peer culture?
Many times Young People's spiritual growth is hindered by both adults and children alike. This hindrance comes in different forms and fashions sometimes even announcing that children are a bother, they're messy, and they're noisy in church; by telling them Do As I say Not As I do. Too often Young People's learning capability is under estimated with comments made indicating that "children can't understand the Bible because their too young". But at what age are they supposed to learn about the works of Jesus Christ? This type of attitude may indicate to Young People that adults really do not care about them until they reach what many consider an appropriate age. Yet when Jesus ministered to crowds, Young People were in the midst being feed and blessed with the same spoken word as adults. The fish and bread used by Jesus to feed the crowd was given by a young boy. As written in Matthew 18, Jesus called a little child to Him and had him stand with him among the disciples. Jesus never had to look for Young People because they were always near him.
The inspiration and instructions on how to best live our lives can come from the study of great men and women. One can go to the Bible and find many persons with high moral character. Learning by example is a time tested method with one such person being Jesus Christ; whom despite persecution won a growing number of followers with his moral teachings.
Jesus Christ's Sermon on the Mount begins with the Beatitudes containing the Lord's Prayer; the Golden Rule ("Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them"); the commandments to turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, and cast not pearls before swine; the image of false prophets as wolves in sheep's clothing; and many other well-known teachings, including: "Ye are the salt of the Earth," " Love your enemies," "Consider the lilies of the field," "Judge not, that ye be not judged," " Ask, and it shall be given you," and " By their fruits ye shall know them".
A key element of Christian ethics has been the fundamental recipe for the conduct of the followers of Jesus Christ. Christian Ethics are the laws which God gives to us and the morality is how we apply these laws. There must not be a division between the two.
Young People are beginning to understand that faith is discovered not inherited. While many Young People are being "spoon fed", many have the desire to feed themselves. Does the Church suffocate Young People by not allowing for their authentic spiritual maturity and spiritual growth? If this does occur then Young People will go elsewhere for what they desire and need. The Church must actively seek ways to foster the environment that generates spiritual maturity and spiritual growth in Young People.
In fact Jesus said "to come into the kingdom we must become like a child" and that we must never be a hindrance to children. There are no guarantees, however it all boils down to being the type of person that we want our Youth to be.
Adults, parents and guardians alike must treat young people as a mission field. The assumption must be made that mere nurture alone lead to Christian discipleship and Christian faith. Many Young People grow up fast and we must give them our best for them to live for Jesus while influencing other. They are the future of the church and can understand the gospels.
All parents and guardians have the non-negotiable responsibility to educate their own children while confronting them with biblical truth. Many are letting Young People make decisions far too early in life. So when 14-year-old, 15-, 16-, and 17-year-old's are making decisions about Church participation, adults should remember that is a Young Person making decisions that should be made for them.
The collective culture of a given group of people is a compilation of each person's existing beliefs and mental models. These beliefs and mental models are reflected in our day-to-day behaviors, but these behaviors are not necessarily accurate or complete representations of what we each personally think and believe – they are only rough, and often misleading, indicators. More importantly, these beliefs and mental models are developed by emotion impacting one's belief system.
The "codes of conduct" were delivered to mankind through Jesus Christ. When the "codes of conduct" are kept there is survival; however when they are not keep chaos reigns. Today often the words, love and acceptance are never heard in many homes driving them into the arms of others. Jesus thinks so much of children that he shows reverence to them and continues to bless them. We must begin teaching our Young People the tenants of Jesus Christ while abiding by and living those same tenants.