What is it about being young that makes humans so deaf to the ones who have already walked the paths? Do the younger ones think us older folk just suddenly came to be one day without having lived any kind of life? Do they not understand that we too had to travel down the same roads with many of the same choices, decisions, options, stumbles? Or that we have watched others pay a heavy price for things that they just knew would “never happen to me”? Do they think we’re lying about the outcomes that almost always follow certain choices? Because we don’t understand? That things are so very different now? Really?
Yeah, I guess I believed that to some degree about my parents and other older adults. Until I got older and realized that they were people too.
Younger ones, it’s not because we don’t want you to have any fun, or even that we don’t comprehend why you are doing what you are doing. It is because we understand all too well what lies ahead and know that some lessons should never, ever have to be learned. We try to block that road because we love you that much and want to spare you the impending, soul-wrenching, wounding heartache that is sure to follow certain choices.
But I guess, as most of us do, you’ll have to learn it all on your own. Just know though, as you walk the road that almost everyone you know has warned you against, that experience can be a cruel, relentless teacher. Before it’s too late to get off that path, I pose a few questions for you to ponder—even though you will still likely choose to do what you have in mind to do.
- Is all that you are choosing to do being done in secret? Why? Even before anyone knows what’s happening, secrecy pushes relationships apart and invites separation.
- Is just about everybody you know telling you that this is bad idea? Why aren’t you listening?
- How will you think about this decision when things aren’t so good anymore and you can’t get out of it easily? How will you view this a year from now? five years from now? when you go to your high school reunion? when you have children? when it’s broadcast to the world?
- How do you think you’ll feel about yourself when all is said and done? Will you look back and be proud of yourself or feel regret?
- How would you feel if it were your beloved baby brother or sister making this decision? What would you possibly want for them that you don’t somehow want for yourself? Do you want them to find out? Because they will. What then?
Some questions that you may not be able to answer until after the fact:
- What hurt are you trying to cover by doing this? It may feel good and be fun for a while, but in the end, this will only make that pain even worse.
- How will you feel when what you are doing to someone right now, turns around and happens to you? I’m pretty sure what is great and wonderful for you right now will not be ok when you are on the receiving end. It won’t happen to you? Ok, why not?
- Of course God will forgive you if you ask. Will you be able to accept His forgiveness? Have you ever considered whether or not you’ll be able to forgive yourself? Will you receive forgiveness from the people you may hurt along the way? If not, can you live with that? Will you let yourself walk in His forgiveness and love or will you listen to the accuser’s voice that never stops telling you how stupid you were for not listening to anyone?
I suppose you’ll have to make your own mistakes and find your way through the maze too, just like so many before you. Nobody expects you to make perfect decisions and live life exactly right. Certainly, most of us survive bad choices, but why survive through something you don’t have to? It’s not like falling down and getting a skinned knee. It is far more painful than that, and we can no longer bandage the boo-boo for you, kiss it and make it better. You won’t be able to undo this.
Why not take a moment to listen to others who have walked the paths already? Take a break from your focus to really hear with your heart and soul, whether you know the circumstances or not, the pain our choices have caused us. Can’t you hear it in our voices pleading with you not to go down that road? Can’t you hear our love for you? Don’t you know yet that we want nothing but good for you? Why would you think anything other than that? Can you hear God’s love, through us, for you? He wants so much more for you. I hope that one day you’ll understand that too.
Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.
Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)