A recent conversation with one of the middle school guys that attends our youth ministry really got me thinking. It got me thinking about the frustration and the necessity of this ministry.
This student has grown up in the church. He knows all the "Sunday school" answers (which means he knows just enough to make him dangerous ... which is part of the problem). This student made the following statement (that is probably more true of kids in his position than any of us like to think) which is truly terrifying.
"I believe God. I believe that Jesus died for sins ... (long pause) ... BUT I JUST DON'T CARE."
Why this is so scary
On the surface, this scares me for a couple bad reasons. This student is in a ministry I'm responsible for. This student has had opportunities some believers dream about; growing up in the church.
The more I thought and prayed about it, the more I'm afraid I became about the condition of this students soul. I scared because he doesn't get it.
Doesn't get what?
He doesn't get how bad it is. He doesn't get how powerful it is. He doesn't get how destructive it is. He doesn't get that it's IN him (not just something that others struggle with). He doesn't get that all his "words" and all his "works" are meaningless in light of it. He doesn't get what an offense it is to a holy and perfect God. He doesn't get that he's not as "ok" or "fine" as he thinks he is.
Because of this low view of the vileness of sin, he doesn't get his need for God's redeeming grace. He doesn't get his desperate need for grace because what he say, does, and thinks "isn't that bad." He doesn't get that his pride and arrogance have blinded him not only to the reality of his situation, but the awesome and precious gift God offers. He doesn't get that God has offered him a way out, if he would only believe and repent. He doesn't get that faith is more intellectual, academic knowledge. He doesn't get that what he needs is a heart change.
He doesn't get it. So moving forward we will: lovingly challenge him, continue to teach him, pray for him, and trust God with the results.