The word monsters stood boldfaced on a regional newspaper’s front page yesterday. It referred to two teenage boys who have admitted to killing an 18-year-old female classmate last spring in Victoria, B.C.
The details of the plotted murder are coming to light. To call them chilling is an understatement. Why did the boys commit such a heinous crime? Because they’d killed countless victims on video and computer games and wanted to know what it felt like to kill someone in real life. They told Facebook friends that they didn’t experience the adrenaline rush they’d anticipated. Makes me wonder what they’d do next time if given the chance.
I feel sickened and saddened by this news story. Sickened because of the crime’s brutality and blatant disregard for human life. Saddened because this isn’t an isolated incident. Several weeks ago a beautiful teenage girl was beaten in a Vancouver-area park in broad daylight; she died the next day. Further saddened by a Statistics Canada report released this week that says our area has 78 teens ages 12-17 locked up for committing homicide in 2009. What’s with that? What’s happening to our kids?
Lamentations 2:11-12,21 describes Jerusalem’s destruction, but it also paints a picture of the tragedy taking place in our own neighborhood: “I have cried until the tears no longer come; my heart is broken. My spirit is poured out in agony as I see the desperate plight of my people. Little children and tiny babies are fainting and dying in the streets. They cry out to their mothers, ‘We need food and drink!’ Their lives ebb away in the streets like the life of a warrior wounded in battle. They gasp for life as they collapse in their mothers’ arms…See them lying in the streets—young and old, boys and girls, killed by the swords of the enemy.”
Why are our kids killing each other? The answer is far too complicated to address fully in a blog, but I can offer a brief suggestion based on Lamentations 2:22—“You have invited terrors from all around, as though you were calling them to a day of feasting.” This was true about Jerusalem, and it’s true about our society today.
Our North American society has invited terrors into the land via pornographic and violent TV shows, videos, computer games and internet sites under so-called ‘Freedom of Speech.’ It has taught our young people that it’s okay to kill unborn children, the elderly, and the physically or mentally challenged. It’s invited terrors into the land by kicking out any mention of God’s name in the classroom. Strange, isn’t it, how kids are wearing Halloween costumes of every gory description to school today but Christmas will not be celebrated in December? As we’ve opened the door to terrors, we’ve bid goodbye to absolute truth. And kids are literally dying for lack of it.
So what are we to do? Again, the answer is far too long for a simple blog, but here are a couple of suggestions for starters:
* Do as Lamentations 2:19 says. “Rise during the night and cry out. Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord. Lift up your hands to him in prayer, pleading for your children, for in every street they are faint with hunger.” Simply put—pray for our youth. Cry out to God to protect them from the terrors that our society has invited in and to give them the courage to say no to temptation. When you pray, don’t simply ask God to bless the kids and keep them safe. Go a step further by incorporating His Word into your requests. Ask Him to teach them to fear Him above all else and to give them an insatiable desire for the Scriptures.
* Spend time with your own kids. Build relationship with them. Pour your lives into them especially in the preteen years. Experts say our kids’ theological bent is set before age 12, so be intentional about teaching and modeling Christ to them before the teen years. Your window of opportunity is small; after that, they’re more likely to let peers and media influence their understanding of who God is. (I wrote 10-Minute Time Outs for You and Your Kids for parents to read with their children ages 6-12. It helps kids understand how God’s Word is relevant to them at their age).
* Be a good role model. Stand up for truth. Don’t invite terrors into your home by excusing sin in your own life. Do as David writes in Psalm 101:2,4—“I will be careful to live a blameless life…I will lead a life of integrity in my own home…I will reject perverse ideas and stay away from every evil.”
A couple of weeks ago a Facebook friend wrote, “I’m a mess. You’re a mess. Mankind’s a mess. That’s why we need a Messiah.” How true! These so-called monsters—these two teenage boys—and others their age behind bars, need the Messiah. So do millions of other North Americans, young and old alike. As followers of Jesus Christ, let’s do whatever’s necessary to stand against the evils in our land. Let’s make Christ known, for He alone is the answer to what’s happening to our kids.
Do you pray God’s Word? If so, what Scripture would you suggest praying for today’s youth?