(A note to the reader: See, this is why I don’t do series. Because constantly, in the middle of them, God interrupts my regularly scheduled thoughts and prompts new, urgent ones. Such is what has happened, today. So the series on Women ends in a quite unplanned way…with an open letter to the next generation…and to all adults who have heavily contributed to a culture we often criticize. May God help us all, as only He can.)
I scroll Facebook, and this headline comes up:
Sex assault charges tied to “50 Shades of Grey” movie.
The picture with it, of a young man only a few years older than my oldest son. His eyes look scared and dead, if that’s a possible combination for a mugshot.
And I think to myself, I’m sorry about everything about this. I’m sorry for this young woman who will be scarred for life. I’m sorry for this young man who made horrendous choices that will alter his future. I’m sorry for the culture that has celebrated perversion in a form of a “harmless” movie with pumped fists and squealing women and then asked young people not to skew sex. (Also? This is not really about 50 Shades of Grey. I never intended on writing about it, because many of my author friends seem to have that covered.)
And I know: it’s choice. And we all have it. And we must own ours and face consequences. And if this were my daughter. All of it. Period.
But I’m also tired of we, adults, blaming kids for the culture in which we have had a heavy hand in creating. I’m sad that we have sent young adults mixed messages from our life and not lived a better example of a steady, Godly one in front of them. So much so that it surprises young people (and they’ve told me) when an adult is real, honest, humble, and holy.
So I write this open letter to them…those young people we often blame for how the world is not how it used to be…to show them adults can own our stuff, too…to inspire them to be the kind of people that will lead us better than we’ve led them…and by the grace of God, for all of us to pursue living holy.
Please don’t think sex is about Fifty Shades of Gray. That’s about abuse and perversion, things that tarnish and implode pure minds and hearts.
Please don’t think following Jesus is about celebrity status, glamour, or becoming famous. That’s pride and ego, which can’t co-exist with ministry, nor will it help you when times get tough and you realize following Jesus is gritty (often background) work.
Please don’t accept being addicted to your phone, comfortable in the status quo, settled into a religious routine, selfish, unwilling to change, like you’ve seen adults in your life model for you.
And p.s. yes, you are responsible for your own choices. The beauty of life is getting to choose the thing that makes our soul well, today. So please don’t use us as an excuse for why you can’t do right. But I know you’ve been influenced, so I’ll also stand as an adult and take adult responsibility for the culture we have largely created, yet blamed: in the mentor department, we have grossly fallen short.
We have created impressions and mindsets with you about trust and relationships and worth by getting out of things we no longer enjoy, like many of our marriages.
We have asked TV and video games to be the teacher we were meant to be because we are too busy with our schedule to properly parent you.
We have told you to love Jesus with our lips but not modeled the servant life.
We’ve become parents who want you to like us, taken guilt parenting and indulgent parenting so far we’ve caused you to feel entitled, then gotten mad because you are.
So, kids…pray for us, will you? Pray for the adults in your life that we will wake up, stop blaming society for things we have allowed into our homes, remember God again and rather than get offended, become determined to show you something different, from now on.
We love you. We just haven’t always done it right.
But God. He’s the answer, yesterday, today and forever. The only way to heaven. The glue in our marriages, if we let Him lead. The Creator of sex, not Hollywood. Capable of changing culture and being bigger than all the colossal shortcomings of people, everywhere, even the adult people in your life, which is really good news for us all.
Maybe you don’t trust us. But you can always trust Him.
Please go to the Word for answers. Please don’t follow the script of Hollywood. Please forgive we, adults, for not leading you better.
Lead us, by the way you love God. Let Him start revivals deep in your soul, as great movements of God have often started in youth and spread to their elders. Show us how to serve. Determine to be better, do better than we’ve done.
And give us grace, as our Heavenly Father so graciously gives us all. We are flawed humans, too.