Let No One Despise Your Youth

1 Timothy 4:12 (NKJV) 12 "Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity."

 

 

Introduction

Ellen White gave clear instruction to parents on how to raise the teens and young adults in their families. In one of her more pointed statements she declared: 

"God has opened to me what stands in the way of the conversion of youth and children—their parents do not treat them aright. There is too much indulgence and too much passion." {9MR 63.2}

What does too much indulgence and passion mean exactly? The detrimental effects of passionately punishing is addressed in the section on the discipline of children. Apparently the dangers of disciplining inappropriately continue as young people grow older. Indulgence is also mentioned, and takes on new meaning when children become teens and young adults. 

This page will consider relating to teens and young adults. Because much was written regarding teens and young adults in school settings, some of the admonitions will come from those communications.

 

Working With Young Adults

"A greater work than has ever been done must be done for the young. They must be won with sympathy and love; all barriers must be broken down between them and those who would help them. The most good is not accomplished by long speeches and many words of exhortation or reproof. The greatest tact must be manifested, for human minds must be dealt with carefully, and the Lord will work with those who are fully consecrated to his service. Jesus is drawing the youth, and we must all work with him, putting no forbidding aspects upon our holy religion. We must partake of the divine nature ourselves, and then present Christ to others as the friend of sinners in such a way as to attract souls to leave the ranks of the evil one, and no longer work as agents to destroy souls. We must seek to press the youth with all their fresh vigor and ability, into the ranks of Christ, enlisting them as valiant soldiers in the great fight for truth. We have sadly neglected our duty toward the young, for we have not gathered them in, and induced them to put out their talents to the exchangers. A different mold should be placed upon the work. There should be less sermonizing and more personal labor. Fresh manna must be gathered from the word of God, and every man have his portion in due season. A great work can be done by dropping a word privately to your young friends, and to those you meet in your daily walks." {RH September 2, 1890, par. 3} ... A special work must be done for the children. Do not neglect the lambs of the flock. Christ said to Peter, “Feed my sheep,” and again he said, “Feed my lambs.” The best results would follow proper labor for the youth. Souls have gone to ruin that might have been saved if they had been labored for with perseverance and love. There must be a constant effort put forth both by precept and example, to save our children. Do not think that scolding will bring them to the fold of Christ. The youth are to be won by love. Be interested in them, speak with them, pray with and for them. Do not be found speaking light and trifling words, jesting and joking, but let all your conversation give a holy evidence that you possess genuine piety. Those in whose hearts Christ abides by faith, know how to speak a word in season, they know how to pray with the sinner, they know how to present the truth as it is in Jesus. The lessons must be given in such a manner that Christ may receive all the praise. All that we have, all that we are, all that we can do, is God’s; it belongs to him; therefore when we give the best, and all there is of us, it is only that which belongs to God. {RH September 2, 1890, par. 5}

Nurture Young Adults

Teens and Young Adults want to be appreciated and respected. Do you want to touch their hearts, try loving them. This page looks at how we can nurture the young people among us.

Developing Character In Young Adults

The following paragraphs comes from a letter written to teachers on how to discipline students. Within the letter is timely counsel for parents. Find this letter and other related resources on this page on disciplining young people:

"You need not be afraid of manifesting weakness of character in being too merciful. I will risk every one of you that you will not be too merciful, too compassionate, or too sympathetic for the erring. What we want is the Spirit of Christ interwoven into our everyday experience. You want it when you rise in the morning, you want it at noon, and you want it at night. You want it continually, so that it shall be an abiding principle, as with Daniel, the abiding principle of fearing God, let the consequence be what it may." – {9MR 55.4}

"God has opened to me what stands in the way of the conversion of youth and children—their parents do not treat them aright. There is too much indulgence and too much passion." {9MR 63.2}"

 

Counsel to Youth and Young Adults

Walk In The Light

In this article first published in the Youth's Instructor, Mrs. White appeals to young people to surrender their lives to Jesus. She also points out that even the most perfect parenting may sometimes be insufficient to bring about the desired results. Notice the following excerpt:

"What a grief it is to see children of God-fearing parents, unruly and disobedient, unthankful and self-willed, full of determination to have their own way, irregardless of the inconvenience or sorrow it causes their parents. Satan takes delight in ruling the hearts of children, and if he is permitted, he will inspire them with his own hateful spirit. Parents may do everything in their power to give their children every privilege and instruction, in order that they may give their hearts to God; yet the children may refuse to walk in the light, and, by their evil course, cast unfavorable reflections upon their parents who love them, and whose hearts yearn after their salvation." {YI August 10, 1893, par. 2}

Soldiers For Christ

"The question is often asked, How can I resist Satan? There is only one way by which you can do this, and that is by faith, taking Christ as your helper, and pleading with him for strength. When Satan suggests doubt to your soul, when he tells you that you are too unworthy, too sinful, to realize the blessing of God, present Christ before him as your Advocate and Saviour. Tell him you know that you are a sinner, but that Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost. He came “not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Read all of this helpful article on resisting Satan.)

 

Working With Rebellious Youth and Young Adults

Home Discipline And The Rebellious Child

The following quote comes from a sobering article on working with teens and young adults, and provides answers to some of the vexing questions that come when total rebellion is going on.

"Some indulgent, ease-loving parents fear to exercise wholesome authority over their unruly sons, lest they run away from home. It would be better for some to do this than to remain at home to live upon the bounties provided by the parents, and at the same time trample upon all authority, both human and divine. It might be a most profitable experience for such children to have to the full that independence which they think so desirable, to learn that it costs exertion to live. Let the parent say to the boy who threatens to run away from home, “My son, if you are determined to leave home rather than comply with just and proper rules, we will not hinder you. If you think to find the world more friendly than the parents who have cared for you from infancy, you must learn your mistake for yourself. When you wish to come to your father’s house, to be subject to his authority, you will be welcome. Obligations are mutual. While you have food and clothing and parental care, you are in return under obligation to submit to home rules and wholesome discipline. My house cannot be polluted with the stench of tobacco, with profanity or drunkenness. I desire that angels of God shall come into my home. If you are fully determined to serve Satan, you will be as well off with those whose society you love, as you will be at home.” – {RH June 13, 1882 Par. 16} (Read all of this sobering article on working with rebellious children.)

Restraining Rebellious Rodney

"To tolerate language of disrespect and blasphemy, to continue to bestow favors on one who has no sense of appreciation, is aggravating the evil, making it more sure that God will take the punishment in His own hands. As those who have acted as this boy’s parents are not capable of restraining him, I am instructed that the best thing for them to do from henceforth is to let him know what it means to earn his own livelihood." (Read all of the letter regarding the spiritually-strangling effect of a rebellious young man who had been taking into a believer's home.)