This past weekend I took a high school group from our church to attend a statewide high school retreat. I had been to the location twice before, but only to participate in the middle school version of this retreat. We were in the mountains with lovely views; cool, crisp air; and almost 300 high school students.
It is always good to get away on a retreat, or any event like this. It reminds you what is important. It reminds you of God. It creates memories: some funny, some serious, some life changing. One of the things I love about a retreat or a conference like this one is that it includes adult breakout sessions.
In our session we discussed twelve dynamics/characteristics of this current generation, known as the iGeneration. We were instructed to read through the article, mark it up, and decide which one we were surprised about and which one we were not surprised about and discuss. My group dove into this conversation, and right off the bat one man, 34, said that he had a problem with this list because we, our generation – the older generations, created these problems.
While many of us, myself included, fuss or complain or even simply acknowledge the problems of social media, smart phones, loneliness, depression, politics, loss of spiritual fervor (and interest) or any other issue, we also rarely acknowledge that kids are growing up in the world we created for them. We invented smart phones. We created social media platforms, and they became cultural giants because of us. My group member’s comment certainly changed my perspective on this little exercise.
Being around high school students last weekend and reflecting on this exercise made me think of how we as Christians (or anyone for that matter) go about our lives and live in sin and then blame others and especially God for our situation. It reminds me of the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke chapter 15 verses 11 through 32. Most of the time we talk about the reunion of the son to the father, but the very beginning of that parable describes the son demanding his inheritance early and leaving the house. In verse 13 it says, “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth on wild living.” The facts that the son was hungry, broke, and working with pigs (which in Jewish culture was a pretty big no-no) was entirely his fault.
Many people find themselves in similar situations and blame their spouse, their families, their friends, their church, their employers, and anyone else they can think of including God. However, more often than not our situation is our own doing. Despite our wrongdoing, God still invites us back to Him. Luke chapter 15 verse 20 says, “So he [the son] got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” In short, the lesson I was reminded of this past weekend and pass along to you is simple: instead of blaming others for our problems and circumstances, own up to it, acknowledge our role in creating those circumstances, and run to Jesus. Anyway, I was just thinking…