As a former counselor, teacher and youth pastor, I have two decades of life experiences interacting with teenagers. While certain students wore their emotions on their sleeves, many were hard to read. Subsequently, if I had time to visit with other staff members in the teachers’ lounge, a few questions to the right person often opened my eyes and mind to what is really going on in this person’s life.
But for [a]Cain and his offering He had no respect or regard. So Cain was exceedingly angry and indignant, and he looked sad and depressed. 6 And the Lord said to Cain, Why are you angry? And why do you look sad and depressed and dejected? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you, but you must master it, Genesis 4:5-7.
A perfect example is my friend Harry from college. Beside his foul mouth and immoral lifestyle, Harry provided comedic relief nearly every day at work. During a day trip to Cedar Point Amusement Park, my friend Eddy and I watched in awe as Harry ran into an old high school friend. Apparently, Harry went to a church youth group. Based upon his daily actions, Eddy and I assumed that Harry had never stepped inside of a church before.
Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted from God; for God is incapable of being tempted by [what is] evil and He Himself tempts no one. 14 But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions). 15 Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death, James 1:13-15.
This one encounter altered the course of Harry’s life. Over the next few weeks, Harry revealed that the person who led him to Jesus committed suicide and the one adult mentor he had committed adultery and left abruptly to pursue this new relationship. Most adults can’t handle this horrific chain of events, let alone a teenager. Like any prodigal, it takes time to get back on track spiritually. Nonetheless, unless you know what’s going on inside of someone, it’s hard to understand the why’s. If you’re patient enough, you too can unveil these layers, one by one to learn the reason why someone has become who they are for the good or bad.
by Jay Mankus