Never before in our nation’s history have we experienced the rate of mental illness and suicide in our young people. The number one reason is No Hope.
In an attempt to curb child abuse, we have driven our kids into a world of insanity, because we are too afraid, too lazy, or too busy to love them enough to exercise firm discipline and draw clear moral boundaries while developing healthy parent-child relationships with them.
The Romans Answer
I believe a hint of the answer is found in Romans. The Scriptures say in Romans 5:3-4 – “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
If we view that scripture in reverse we see why teens say they have no hope is because they have not developed any character because they have not persevered through any struggles in life.
A Tragedy in America’s Culture
Ironically because parents and society have gone so overboard to shield our kids from pain and discomfort, millions of kids are now inflicting harm on themselves by self-mutilating or cutting.
This is a tragedy that has a great deal to do with the fact that they are crying out for someone to exercise justice on their behalf for the evils they have been coerced to engage in so often without consequence–evils that they have now acquired an insatiable appetite for, beyond their ability to control—commonly called “addictions.”
Few are doing anything about it. In fact, our politically correct culture sometimes approves and even encourages many of them.
The Spiritual Aspect
But there is a deeper part to the human entity than most people understand or believe today. It is called the “spiritual nature” and I have written more extensively on this subject.
In short, it is the part of us that will surrender ourselves to authorities ten years after committing a crime. It’s not just the conscience; it’s more like the conscience of the conscience. It’s the part of us that still bears the image of God, tainted as that image might still be.
And when teenagers are allowed to do what they want, when they want, and to the degree they want to do it without natural consequence or impunity, there comes a time when doing what they want doesn’t bring them the satisfaction they thought it would, or once did.
Consequently, like any addiction, they chase the genie, falling deeper and deeper into the behavior that they once thought would allow them to experience the ultimate. But, experiencing activities, behaviors, and attitudes that violate the remnant of God that exists in all of us without any consequences upsets the natural order of things.
Understanding a Solution
Self inflicted wounds harm its perpetrator—physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. Yet, still there is a cathartic. Anyone who has inflicted harm on themselves will tell you this.
Of course, this cathartic affect doesn’t justify the ends or the means. It is a perversion of the natural order of things. It is cathartic in the same way any sinful pleasure can be cathartic. Smoking crack is cathartic for the misguided or addicted user. It is a satanic deception and perversion of what God intended by way of justice.
So what is a possible solution? Believe it or not it is an old understanding of raising teens.
Believe it or not, when consequences or appropriate discipline is administered on behalf of a person committing a harmful, sinful, and/or evil act, there is actually a cathartic affect that takes place.
In fact, based on our experience at Shepherds Hill Academy, teens are desperately looking for someone who is bigger, stronger, older, and wiser than they are to help them mature and develop appropriate character.
When administered properly, loving discipline eventually brings healing to the situation— along with a healthy degree of catharsis.
This hurts, but doesn’t harm. Hebrews 12:11 – “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. What are some things you have learned in your relations to friends or families with any form of addictions?