“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.”
Matthew 23:13 & 15 (NIV)
Welcome to another early morning edition of Sunday Morning Word! Today’s poem comes from Jon Jorgenson. It’s subject, a group of people we as Christians love to condemn: the youth. Have you noticed how much we blame today’s teenagers for the wrongs that happen in this world? “What’s wrong with the youth today?” we lament. “I have no hope in the human race!” we profess. “Kids today are just so evil!” we exclaim. But do you remember that old saying? A phrase that was posted on the walls of every classroom and hallway in my elementary school: “It takes a village to raise a child.” What happened to that village? Who is really to blame for the problems of our youth? When you see a child acting a fool in public, you say, “They acting like they just don’t have no home training!” Maybe it’s because they don’t. Where is the mother, the father? The home today is broken. Women, men, especially men, are spiritually under attack, and the people paying the price are the children. What is the church doing to help? Absolutely nothing.
We sit on our high horses behind locked doors, satisfied that we’re going to heaven, not having a care for anyone else. Let them burn, right? No! Jesus wants us to spread the good news that he is risen! What good are we to him if we don’t?
“You are the salt of the earth. But if that salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16).
Strive to be that salt and light for this lost generation. When Jesus came to earth he didn’t go straight to the temple, garnish himself in robes, and have endless disputes on the law the with religious people. He went to where the sinners were! If you were nasty, dirty, wallowing in sin, you were more likely to have an encounter with Jesus than a self-proclaimed righteous man. One thing my mom says often is: “You keep running from God. One day, you’re gonna run smack into Him!” That is what needs to happen with today’s youth, but we have to lead them in the right direction, without judgment or ridicule. Don’t try to tell them what they’re doing is wrong because they won’t listen. Leave that to God. Jesus didn’t try to change Matthew, a tax collector and a sinner, before he told him to follow him. When they follow the path of Jesus they will find themselves changing without even realizing what is happening. We as a church have to make sure that we’re not the ones turning them away.