15 July, 2010

You Don't Have to Walk Alone

OK, so, I'm laying here in bed at 4:30 AM wide awake, my mind racing a hundred miles an hour with thoughts from conversations I've had over the past few days with some various young people. The things they have shared with me, the pain, the emptiness and loneliness... sometimes it weighs so heavy on my heart and mind that it is almost more than this preacher can take. The load some of these kids are carrying is so much more than many of us comprehend, and more than anyone should be forced to deal with... especially at such a tender age. Kids are working to pay the family bills. Kids doing their best to hold together a household with some sense of normalcy while parents act the fool with their drinking, drugs, illicit sex and failed marriages... leaving the young person to try to parent their parents. I could go on and on but want to be careful to not even hint at any of these kids lives in such a way as to betray the confidence they have bestowed upon me by opening their hearts and lives to me. I care so deeply for them, but at the same time I often cry out to God because of the pain I'm feeling for them. We have a generation living before us today that is in more pain than any generation that has come before them. They have an information overload with all of the technology at their fingertips. They are often texting to 3 or 4 people while at the same time, they are sitting with a group of their peers. They are chatting with friends on Facebook, and when they go to bed they ask, "text me?" What I see here is a cry... "I'm lonely!"
Never before has it been so easy to "stay connected" yet they are more disconnected than any generation that has ever walked this earth before them.

I'm reminded of the words to a song that was popular a few years back, performed by Green Day:
I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don't know where it goes
But it's home to me and I walk alone

I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
and I'm the only one and I walk alone

I walk alone, I walk alone, I walk alone

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
'Til then I walk alone

The words to this song could be an anthem for this generation, and could be why it was such a popular song. Most young people are inwardly lonely. Community life is gone, a thing of the past. Their families are divided by divorce or lack of love. The family unit of the past is all but dead. Friends disappear forever after graduation. New friends at college don’t seem to really care about you. They go to a movie or the mall where there is a crowd of people around – but they still feel lonely. They go to a party where drugs are offered up like candy, and they are dancing and drinking – but still feel that loneliness inside. Everyone is talking but no one is saying anything. In an effort to find an escape they offer themselves sexually to someone... but they cannot seem to escape from the loneliness they feel. They go home, but their parents are not there, or if they are, they are so disconnected that they cannot find the love they are searching for. David expressed it so well in Psalm 142: "No man cared for my soul."

I believe that Jesus expressed the feelings of these young people in the story of the Good Samaritan. "They stripped him of his clothes and money, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road." (Luke 10:30). This man was robbed and left wounded by the side of the road on the Boulevard of Broken Dreams. Various people passed by, but no one stopped to help him. He was lost and alone, just like so many of these young people. But there is an answer to their loneliness. Christ does not want us to be lost and lonely. That is why he told that story about the Good Samaritan. He wanted us to know that there is someone who cares and that there is a way out of loneliness and hopelessness. That answer is in Christ himself. Not in religion or going to church... but in a relationship with Christ. The problem is, we are failing them because we are not introducing them to this Jesus!

About 4:00 AM this morning, in my sleeplessness, I opened the profile of one of these young people I've spoken to recently and was looking at the info she shared about herself. Under "religious views" she wrote: "don't care!" Those words screamed out at me at how we, the Body of Christ, have failed. I truly believe that if we had shown her the true Jesus, not some religious tradition and the mumbo jumbo so often uttered as we live something totally different, then she'd care. Those words, "don't care" scream at me... "I'm alone and empty. I have no hope!"

To that young lady and so many thousands of others, I want to tell you, you don't have to walk alone. There are those who care and want to be there for you; but above it all, Jesus is there.

To my fellow Christians, I want to say that we are told to do what the Good Samaritan did! The Bible tells us, "Go and do likewise." That same Bible says that Christ left "us and example, that ye should follow his steps." (I Peter 2:21)
Church... God told us to help young people like I am talking about to escape the horror and prison of loneliness of this lost and dying world!

So, what did the Good Samaritan do for that man who was left alone on the side of the road?
1) He had compassion for him.
2) He administered medicine to him.
3) He took him to the inn and took care of him.

Jesus says to us... "Go and do likewise."

Rather than burning with anger and judgement of our young people, we should have a heart of compassion for them.
The medicine we need to administer is called "love, acceptance and forgiveness."
Our lives should "preach" to them the healing message of the cross.
The "inn" is our churches, where we should bring these young people and "take care" of them. Our churches should be the place where loneliness and brokenness can be healed. No more religion... let's show them the love of Christ!

I'm convinced that if we (the church) are doing our job, these young people will begin to say to themselves, "why be lost and lonely on the Boulevard of Broken dreams? Why should I keep on saying, 'I walk alone"? Jesus said, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

I challenge all of you who are in Christ... be a "Good Sam." Show someone love, acceptance and forgiveness." One of the things that jumps out to me in this story that Jesus told is that his compassion and actions were without condition. He offered his time, efforts and money with no guarantee of anything in return. He simply "went and did likewise." That's the approach we must take. We offer ourselves to a lost and dying, with no requirements in return.

That's what Jesus did, and we must do the same.

1 comment:

Jan said...

Sorry you could not get some sleep Pastor but I hear your cry Loud and clear. I've had many sleepless nights crying out to the lord for our youth of today.They are lonely and don't know how to commit it friendships..We need to show them Jesus and how he will walk with them and be a true friend. then they will know how to be a true friend..