High school is an awkward time of life. As a Freshman no one is really sure what to make of the facial hair, boob sizes, and seemingly adult-like behavior of the upper class men. A considerable amount of time is spent trying to determine who you are, what your legacy is going to be, and how you’re somehow going to fool everyone else into believing you’re awesome instead of insecure.
Most teenagers are consumed with impressing people.
The problem with this consumption is that it often drives teenagers to make decisions they don’t really want to make. Don’t get me wrong, some teenagers make stupid decisions simply because they’re stupid, but most teenagers succumb to stupid decisions because they care so deeply about what people think. This can lead to a lot of irrational decisions, but the one I feel most burdened for is the teenage alcoholic, because it can end up affecting everything else.
I was having a conversation this week with a friend who said he felt like our generation was a lost cause. His reasoning: everyone parties. “Even the so called ‘Christian’ kids party,” he said. And I must admit, he’s kind of right. So many teenagers go to FCA meeting on Tuesday morning, church on Wednesday night, Younglife on Thursday night, and get hammered Friday and Saturday… all in time to make it to church on Sunday. Clearly there’s a problem with that picture.
The natural reaction to this problem is to set up boundaries for teenagers. We start pouring out our energy toward creating a safe place for the good kids who don’t want to be a apart of that. Christian student groups become the escape hub for the students who want to make wise decisions and steer clear of the party scene. A gap is created between the “real Christians” and the “worldly Christians”, who honestly probably aren’t even Christians based on their works. As a result of this strategy, a wall is placed between the righteous kids and the unrighteous ones, and suddenly, unintentionally, a terrible terrible mindset is created.
This mindset is the purpose for this post. Somewhere along the way the pure students who wanted to make the wise choice bought into the lie that they were more favorable and righteous than the party-ers simply because they don’t get drunk on the weekends… and I’m more guilty than anyone. My righteousness became my sin.
Is teenage drinking wrong? Yes. Are teenage drinkers making decisions that have potential to ruin their future? Yes. Is drinking really the problem? No.
You know what the problem is? The problem is not alcohol consumption; the problem is every teenager’s pursuit of anything that will satisfy them other than Jesus. The only reason alcohol became the go-to sin is because it’s the easiest substitute for value, love, and approval.
As easy as it is to write off the party-ers, we have to remember that drinking is not the unforgivable sin. Drinking and driving isn’t even the unforgivable sin. God’s basis for righteousness is no longer about our personal holiness, His basis is on Christ’s holiness! None of us are saved for abstaining from drinking, drugs and sex on the weekends, we are saved because Jesus abstained from all of that, along with every other sin, and then chose to die for us. Through his life we have life, and we’re to be his witnesses… even to the ends of the party scene.
This is a much longer post than I usually like to make, but it’s so important for anyone dealing with high school students. Whether you’re in high school, a teacher, a student pastor, any mentor of any kind, you have the ability to point teenagers toward Christ instead of alcohol. Don’t give up on the teenage alcoholic!
Is my generation a lost generation for getting drunk on the weekends? Yes! But only because we need Jesus.