Friday, February 04, 2005

Deceiving The Youth

Many children start going to Sunday school at a very early age. Sunday school teachers, rightly so, try to teach the children Godly values and encourage them to live Godly lives. The best way most children learn is through repetition and one of the most repeated themes of Sunday school is, “Be like Jesus”. Sadly, however, this theme of “Be like Jesus” is abandoned once our children reach college. In college, as I have experienced, to be like Jesus is thought to be idealistic and impractical.

There is nothing wrong with telling our children to be like Jesus. In fact to be taught to be like Jesus is probably the best teaching any child could receive. If we can teach them as children to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute us as Jesus did, then why can’t we teach them as adults to continue to love their enemies? Does meaning of Jesus’s words somehow change once the child receives his or her high school diploma? More importantly, does the meaning of Jesus’s life change when the child sits down in the college lecture hall? Quite simply, the life and words of Jesus are the fullest universal and unchanging expressions of what it means to be a holy creation of God. The relevance of the ethic of Jesus is not dependent on the age of the disciple. Both man and child are to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them. Both man and child are to overcome evil with good. Both man and child must heed the warning of Jesus, “Those who live by the sword, will die by the sword”.

We cannot continue to speak out of both sides of our mouth. Our children are being pulled in two different directions and eventually something is going to give. We must decide whether to teach our children either to be like Jesus or just admire Jesus. So which is it? Is Jesus the Son of God who is Lord or is he just a nice guy? Is Jesus the Christ who loved to the point of death or he is just a great guy? Is Jesus alive and real or he just idealistic and impractical? It is time to stop deceiving the youth, more importantly it is time to stop deceiving ourselves.


Coming Next Week: The Romans 13 Charade


J-Wild 10:40 AM  

Hey Chris, those are great thoughts and a pertinent challenge to imitate Christ more. Yet, is it possible that Christ to be both admired and imitated at the same time. Jesus calls us to become like little children, not just like him. Even in teaching kids to imitate Jesus we don't ensure a relationship with him? Some of the people who have shaped my life the most have been people I have not known personally, but only admired from afar. Couldn't this be the case with Christ as well?

I get your underlying point that Jesus wasn't just about being nice, but was about being holy, compassionate, grace filled, and dedicated. Those are lessons we could all learn from.

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