In a culture where teens are becoming suicidal over selfies, parenting teens can seem daunting even for the strongest parents out there. Before you throw up your hands and think there’s no way you can understand this generation, remember: God’s Word holds timeless truth that’s relevant to everyone.
Our Understanding and Love for Our Teens Can Increase
Of course, we can all grow in our love for one another and for our children, in particular. The teen years can be a difficult time for this, because even if you thought you understood your child’s “love language,” the ways to express it are in flux. Even if your teen feels genuinely loved and understood by you, though, it is not enough.
For someone who is not convinced of God’s promises as true and His love as secure, there is an insatiable appetite that no human (or even all humans, combined) can meet. There is a void only the God who created us can meet that even the closest and most supportive community of friends and family, the “perfect selfie,” and hundreds of Facebook “Likes” cannot begin to fill.
Our Children’s Longings Point to Their Idols
While modern Psychology is not without its benefits, it has increasingly assumed jurisdiction of many areas that God speaks to in His Word, as Ed Welch explains in the video below.
The idea of “selfie addiction” as a mental illness highlights the culture in which we live, a culture in which an increasing number of deviant practices are seen as acceptable and beyond our control.
Even in a day when many teens dream of having a video go viral and appearing on shows like “American Idol,” the concept of idolatry is often set aside as irrelevant. However, anything we treasure more than God, anyone whose approval we value more than God’s, reveals an idol of our hearts.
Where technology showcases such idolatry, we can be thankful: Once it is out in the open, we can help our kids understand their own hearts and point to the healer of hearts, the lover of their souls.
Our Teens’ Idolatry Demonstrates Their Need
While it might sound harsh, at first, calling out our kids’ idolatry is actually the best thing we can do for them. When we examine behavior and thinking patterns and expose them to the light of God’s Word, at first, it seems condemning. In the New Testament, though, we learn that even the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20) were not given to condemn us, but to reveal to us our sinful hearts (Galatians 3:24, Hebrews 4:12), our need for a Savior.
When we see that we fall short of His standards, as well all do (Romans 3:23), we realize that we qualify for redemption — and our Savior is ready and willing to redeem us from our sin (Mark 2:17).