Love and acceptance!
We all want to be loved and accepted. We all need love. From before we are born until the day we die, we long for love. Acceptance by others plays a major role in the shaping of our lives. We want to be loved and accepted for who we are.
Often however, our love and acceptance of others is dependent upon their behavior. If they treat us right, we respond with loving actions. As long as they behave the way we like, we accept them freely.
But, look out for the person that goes against our standard for them! Tragically, when we reject those we do not like, scars often remain. Our response to youth is especially critical because they are in a moldable time in their emotional and spiritual development. They often struggle with their identity and with being accepted. Being rejected will actually shape their future.
Some time back I visited with a man in his early thirties. At a casual glance he looked to be one of society’s outcasts. As I got chatting with him, he was exceptionally friendly with apparent goals and ambitions. He had gone through some rough times, but seemed to be coming through okay.
My heart began to ache however, as he revealed deep bitterness and hurt. He had grown up in a religious home, but had always been somewhat of a “rowdy.” He was an embarrassment to his parents and his relatives refused to talk to him on the streets. The people in the community despised him.
He sought for love, but was rejected. This rejection turned him away from his family as well as God. Deep bitterness and loneliness caused by rejection and lack of love burned within him.
As I visited with him I could not help but think of the youth we have around us. How will they remember us in time to come? Have we rejected them and driven them away, or have we loved them for who they are?
I trust that all of us will view our youth through God’s eyes – eyes of love. After all – God is love! May we take a positive part in shaping our youth. Lets love and accept them. They might not fit the mold we would like to squeeze them into, but for their sake and for God’s, lets love them and accept them.