5 Things I Would Tell My Teenage Friends Who Are Dealing With Divorce

I have been working with teenagers ever since I was one.  Though I am aging out I still get to hang out with teenagers on a pretty consistent basis and on occasion I get asked for advice. Sometimes the advice flows out of my experience, sometimes it flows out of maturity (just being able to look back from around the bend with a clear perspective), but most often the advice I like to give comes from the Bible because I have found it to be a reliable and authoritative guide to knowing God and figuring life out.

However, before I dig into what I would say to my teenage friends who are dealing with their parents’ divorce I want to say this: My goal is to help you in your situation.  To that end I won’t be writing about what all the Bible says about divorce.  Rather, I’ll be writing mostly about what the Bible says about you or about parents.

Here is what I would say to my teenage friends who are dealing with their parents’ divorce.

1. You Are Not Alone. Sometimes you may feel like you don’t have anyone to turn to or that anyone gets what you are going through.  I want to encourage you that even in our darkest hour that God is still with us.  Turn to Him, even when you do not know what to say and he will hear the cry of your heart.  Check out Romans 8:35-39.

2. Your Parents Are Still Your Parents. You may see one more than the other, but both are still your parents and you need to honor them both.  Refuse to choose sides and engage in gossip or negative talk.  This means that when you are with your mom, you do not need to gossip about your dad or when you are with your dad you do not need to talk bad about your mom. Check out Exodus 20:12 and Ephesians 4:29.

3. Pray for Your Parents Every Day. God can create human life and change the hearts of kings, He is most certainly able to change the hearts of your parents.  However, your parents may never change how they interact with one another.  Pray everyday for God to comfort you and to give you wisdom in how to interact with your parents.  Check out 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.

4. Forgive Your Parents. You may be holding on to a grudge against your mom or dad or both.  Forgiveness can be tough, but it is necessary.  Forgiving your parents if you hold a grudge allows you to process what has happened and begin to move on with your life.  If you are a believer, then remember how God in Christ forgave you.  While a divorce is certainly a big deal and issues may be compounded by the way one or both of your parents are treating you, you need to start down the path of forgiveness. Check out Matthew 18:21-35.

5. Lean on friends that you can trust. It will be helpful for you to talk about how you feel about your parent’s divorce.  You may need to find a trusted adult or counselor that you can talk to on a regular basis and will encourage you and help you process everything that is going on.  Check out Proverbs 18:24, Proverbs 19:4, and Proverbs 27:9.

To those of you I know Personally: I don’t know what having divorced parents feels like, but I know that things will be different for you and I want to be here for you as a friend while you go through this. My parents were never divorced and so I can’t pretend to know what you are going through.  Though I don’t know how you hurt, I know that you hurt and so I’m here for you.

You may also want to check out what Christian recording artist Britt Nicole has to say about dealing with divorce (her parents are divorced). I linked to an interview with her on this topic that I found on the Lifeway Girls Ministry blog here:  Britt Nicole on Divorce

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Avatar: 3 Things I’d Tell My Teenage Son After Watching Avatar

Ok before I start its only fair to say that my son isn’t a teenager (he’s almost 2 months old) and I’m really not a fan of Avatar.  But because I had the opportunity to see the movie and I work with teenagers (and I can imagine my son being a teenager one day), I went to the movies with the eyes of a father.  I posted something similar earlier in a post entitled, 3 things I’d tell my Teenage Daughter After Watching New Moon.

Here are three things I’d tell my son after we watched Avatar together…

1. Amazing Story (telling)  Does Not Equal Truth

The movie Avatar was one of the most amazing special effects movies I have ever seen (Especially seeing it in 3D).  Not only was the cinematography convincing, but the story line drew the viewer into the movie.  There were actually people clapping and cheering around us at different parts.  It was amazing, but it wasn’t true.

I know, I know your saying, “Duh! Dad, That’s the point.” But I want you to hear me out on this one.  We can see things projected on a screen that amaze us.  We can allow our imaginations to be invited along on a journey such as this, but we have to understand that this is fantasy.   Fantasy can’t inform our logic.  Remember, I told you a story about a kid who said he believed that all the miracles of the Bible could be explained by aliens.  His interest in science fiction had lead him so far as to believe it more rational for aliens to manipulate us than to believe that God could work in His own creation.

You are an intelligent young man.  I am proud of your ability to reason.  As I have told you countless times before the faith I hold is my own.  I have taught you truth about God, but you must use your own mind to engage the truth about God and come to your own place of faith in Him.  It is not enough to blindly follow me on the path I tread.  You must seek wisdom for yourself.  Your eyes must be open.

2. We Don’t Have to Look to the Movies to See Injustice

You have grown so much from the little infant that once peed on me.  I can see you becoming a man more and more each day.  You are taking on responsability and helping others.

Do you remember how people were cheering in the movie during the battles scenes?  The director did a great job of creating a sense of injustice.  Did you see the look on the alien faces when their home was being destroyed?  There was so much sorrow and so much anguish.  But that was just a movie.  In parts of our world today, even in our city, there is injustice.  People are being taken advantage of and hurt many times just because of their ethnicity or their beliefs.

It is our responsibility to challenge injustice when we see it.  Ultimately all injustice will find its day in the court of our high King who will call for a reckoning of the living and the dead.  Every evil dead or act of wickedness will be exposed and called into account.  Hell is not a doctrine contrived so that people would conform to faith.  Hell is the reality and logical end God’s justice.  It is also what makes his love and mercy poured out in Christ so amazing.

That is why we seek to go out of our way to tell others about God.  Not only because He is just, but because He is loving.  All of us have sinned against others and been sinned against.  We all need justice and forgiveness that can only be found in Jesus.

3. Living Vicariously Doesn’t Equal Real Living

I am proud of you for the work ethic that you have developed.  I know at times that it was difficult when your mother and I limited the screen time that you absorbed.  The truth is that football games, movies (like avatar) and video games are all entertaining, but there is so much more to life than entertainment.

There is a whole sense in this movie where Jake becomes the Avatar.  At first its like a video game, but then the lines between his world and the rest of Pandora blend.  This may fit well for a movie plot, but it does not bode well for real life.  As you grow older and take on the responsabilities of being a man you will have to choose for yourself how you spend your time.  My desire is that you would choose to engage in this life fully.

I knew guys who flunked out of college because they stayed up late playing video games.  In the end the video games and TV won’t last.  The exercise we get from watching SEC football games doesn’t count for us like it does for they guys who are in the game.  My prayer for you is that when it comes to how you will live your life and the decisions you make, that you are fully engaged.

While there is more that could be said and discussed about the movie.  I thought these three points were worth talking about briefly.