As I stood in line behind a burly man with a goldenrod 'Buffs' t-shirt at the local Target, I listened to his rant about the teenagers of this era.
"If you want to see what this country is headed for, just walk into a high school. It'll cause a revolution!" He shouted.
He described teenagers as dumb, ignorant, uninformed, lacking all skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic, and so on. The basis of this pedestal/high-horse discussion was the cashier having to add a couple numbers in her head. And we all know that teenagers can't do this anymore, right?...
The goosebumps of anger were popping up all over my arms and neck. I'll admit that school is much different than it was a few decades ago. We aren't using chalkboards and long-hand, but instead we're using calculators and laptops. However, I refuse to say that all teenagers are bad. I know many teenagers who have a heart and a passion for change in this world. Who knows, maybe instead of purchasing two cases of beer, they're out studying politics and movement. Just a thought, old man.
And then I started to feel guilty (as I've mentioned before about my emotions) that I was hating this oblivious "hater". I want to yell in his face like he was yelling in the face of any poor person who would listen. And then I remembered the time Jesus got angry.
23 One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”
25 He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26 In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”
27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
3 Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2 Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3 Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”
4 Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.
5 He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.
Did you see that? If you only read pieces of that, please catch the part where Jesus got angry. Yes, God of all things, man of perfect, sinless life, got angry! If you've ever doubted that Jesus was actually man, this should give it all away. We were created in His image, and therefore have the same heart and emotions of God as well. And take note why Jesus got angry-- "their stubborn hearts". I can't think of a better example of stubborn than a man who categorizes all things in one lump as bad and evil. Teenagers who don't know how to do long division in their heads will not be the death of this world, but men with stubborn hearts who see everyone else as wrong certainly have a better shot at it.
Jesus came to this earth to show us what love really is. When He tells them that "the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath", He's reminding these fools that God never needed millions and billions of people to fulfill a bunch of rules and regulations. He doesn't need us to do it. He's God, people. He designed all those Commandments (including the Sabbath--or a day off) for man. He knows we're tired and weary, He knows we could work ourselves to death, and He knows we just need a break sometimes. Enter, Break. He knows we'll never reach all of those laws, but you bet your bottom He wanted to protect us from things like murder.
You see, we're all missing the heart of God. We're all taking His love and compassion for us out of the equation of right and wrong, good and bad. Jesus is good. The heart of God is good. Jesus is in my heart, my heart was created by God, and therefore, my heart is good. Your heart is good.
You got angry at your neighbor? Ask yourself why. Maybe you're saddened that they were volatile in their thinking and language. Maybe you mourn for the anger and fear they have built inside. Jesus is right there with you, and your heart is good. You're upset because the people at your job are treating you unfairly? Maybe you're discouraged that the value of another human life is so minimal. Jesus sees that and feels that too, and your heart is good. In murder, anger, confrontations, disasters and tragedies, Jesus is weeping beside you.
Don't miss the heart of God, people. Don't miss that what He ultimately wants is to love you and have a relationship with you. He knows you, but He wants to know you, so you can know Him too. Don't beat yourself up today. Ask God why you feel the way you do, and ask Him to protect your heart from people who are ignorant, mean, and fearful. And then pray that maybe one day they're hearts will be opened too. You won't feel so bad when you recognize that your heart is good.
Have a question? Need some help? Or maybe just someone to talk to...
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.