When emotions are strong, words can hurt. This can be especially true of conflicts with teenagers. God wants you to look beyond the emotional upset. He wants you to do something more than be hurt by hard conversations. He wants you to listen and learn from what is behind the sharp exchanges.
The following lyrics are from a song by Linkin Park, titled Numb. The video has over 655 million views on Youtube. That’s right, 655 MILLION views! The theme in the video is about a broken relationship between a mother and her daughter. The daughter, like way too many daughters, is a self-injurer. Read the lyrics slowly, these are the thoughts of an angry, hurting teenager, perhaps even your teenager.
Can’t you see that you’re smothering me?
Holding too tightly, afraid to lose control
‘Cause everything that you thought I would be
Has fallen apart right in front of you…
Every step that I take is another mistake to you
And every second I waste is more than I can take!
I’ve become so numb, I can’t feel you there
Become so tired, so much more aware
By becoming this all I want to do
Is be more like me and be less like you
And I know I may end up failing too
But I know you were just like me with someone disappointed in you.
The words are painful to read. And the song doesn’t have the answers to the huge questions that it brings to the surface. But make no mistake, the issues are there, the hurt is there, the broken relationships are there, 655 million views make that clear!
Parents, the Holy Spirit wants you to be a refuge to your hurting teenagers. Too many parents have realized too late just how deeply their children are hurting. God’s Spirit calls you to be a refuge of peace to your children. You must become that refuge before you can become the resource of hope that your children need.
How can you become that refuge? James calls you to embrace wisdom from above as you live with your teenagers. If fights, frustrations, angry silence mark your family’s world, hear God’s entreaty to become a refuge of hope. Hear the Spirit’s call to engage in wisdom from above:
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”
Wisdom from above is the pathway to becoming a refuge:
Are your thoughts and motivations pure so that your focus is knowing rather than correcting?
Are you peaceable and gentle, or are you irritable and aggravated at the inconvenience of living with a confused teenager who makes life a challenge?
Are you open to reason, that is, are you open to hearing what your children think is reasonable?
Is your first response one of mercy and one of sincerely seeing things from the perspective of your teenager? Or do you come across with the implied idea of, “Wow, that was stupid.”
Wisdom from above will help make you a secure refuge for your teenagers. This refuge will allow you to become that godly resource that your children need to follow God in this broken world.
This post originally appeared on Shepherd Press and was republished with permission.
Jay Younts is the author of Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, and he is the Shepherd Press blogger. He is a ruling elder at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.