Last night we had one of our ritual “meltdowns” that seem to plague us on the weekends. One of the boys got frustrated with his brother and allowed a tapestry of profanity to escape his mouth. When I confronted him, we had to go through about fifteen minutes of him denying, then admitting, then editing, then admitting again what he did. While I am not comfortable with this, I am becoming more accustomed to it. Keeping promises, telling the truth, controlling tempers and keeping our hands to ourselves seems to be the common sins of this home.
But last night after the meltdown I spent some time with him to not only express my concern, but also to tell him that I understood his struggle. I shared with him my challenges when I was his same age and how those feelings of inadequacy and loss of control caused me to turn to God. For thirty minutes I explained how I felt when I was his age; how I attempted to be good, but all the while knew that I was “acting” one way when my parents were watching and doing—or at least thinking—another way when they weren’t around. Eventually, I explained to him, I got sick and tired of me and my attempts to be what I simply could not be.
It was strange how he instantly got very close to me and seemed to hang on to every word I was saying. It was as if he way saying, “You had the same problem I have?!” I know that he was listening, that he wanted help and that he was unhappy with himself. Over the past month I have heard him say on more than one occasion that he “hated himself”. And so I shared the good news of Jesus Christ. This is something that he has listened to before, but last night he heard it because he was hungry for it. Last night he wanted to find redemption, restoration, newness and a fresh start. He was tired of the his own emotional outbursts and really wanted to know how to be the boy he yearned to be.
I explained God’s love for him, his own responsibility for his sins and poor choices, God’s gift of His only Son, the penalty of sin, and so on. He heard the gospel at a time that he urgently needed to hear it. He asked me to help him pray to God….and so we did…. and my son became redeemed—-born again. After he prayed I offered to pray for him. And with him next to me I prayed and prayed and prayed—-in a manner I don’t often pray. But when I was through he was sleeping soundly and quite peacefully.
It’s not the pastor or priest’s place to lead a son to Jesus Christ—it is the role of the son’s father. It’s not a youth leader’s responsibility to disciple a young man or young woman—-it is the role of the parent. I can think of no higher calling than the honor of leading a child to the open arms of our Lord. My son received salvation last night but I received a double portion of joy.
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