“No, you’ve had enough bacon; you don’t need anymore,” I said to my then little man, who is now 26, as I reached for more. It felt as wrong to me in the moment as it does now.
We do a lot of things in the name of “we’re the adults here,” as if our status excuses our wrongdoing. It’s one thing to share with our kids the mistakes we’ve made and what we have learned, it’s another thing to tell them not to do something and then do that thing.
Teenagers are falling away from the church at an alarming rate – God’s not the issue; it’s His people. I want to disagree with them since our faith is based on the unconditional love of God who loves US ALL and wants us to love EACH OTHER, but I can’t disagree. I’ve seen Christians devour each other the same way that wild animals eat other wild animals. We are guilty as charged. We have not loved our neighbor as ourselves; our insecurities keep us from even liking ourselves. We have dined at the all-you-can-eat-buffet of gossip and told you to “never mind, just eat your veggies” and neglected our own sin while we savored the deliciousness of others.
It’s no wonder that it’s not working for the youth, it’s not working for the adults either. Pride keeps us so preoccupied with being right that we failed to notice that you moved on. We’re so consumed with the fear of YOU getting this wrong and unaware of the fear that’s ruling our own minds: fear that your bad behavior will make us look bad, while we behave badly. We control your outcomes when we’re afraid for ours and in this, we have neglected the most important part: your heart, the source of life and the place where Jesus entered upon your invitation.
On behalf of adults that have failed you, let me offer some of the most powerful words I know: I’m sorry. Forgive us. We have hurt you. We will hurt you. We don’t mean to. I’m sorry that we do what we tell you not to.
God’s people will get it wrong continually. We’re imperfect but God isn’t and He gets it right 1000% of the time. Blame us for our failings, not Him. Hold us accountable for our actions, not the Creator of your soul who just wants time with you. Forgive us. Forgive me. Listen, I love cool slang as much as the next person but “my bad” doesn’t carry the same weight as “I’m sorry.” “My bad” is void of responsibility. I’m sorry; I’m remorseful. I messed up. Forgive us all, if you don’t, you’ll grow bitter. And bitterness turns to resentment-resentment can turn that good heart of yours to stone.
We love you so much it hurts inside, we care so much about you that we could go crazy. We’re learning and so we take away your bacon, thinking we’re doing you a favor when actually, you’re teaching us. My 26-year-old son is the greatest example of God’s love and forgiveness in human form. He’s gold. I’m committed to saying “I’m sorry” as many times as it takes, even when I feel I’m right. I’m swallowing selfish pride to taste resolve. Hearts are more important. I want to love Him the way that God loves us: in ridiculous amounts. You are loved in ridiculous amounts, maybe even more than bacon.