Are You Ready? - John Perritt

John Perritt - Youth Pastor
Pear Orchard Presbyterian (Ridgeland, MS)

Dear Student,
I know junior high and high school can be tough. I can still remember starting 7th grade. For me, I was moving from a small private school to a fairly large public school. I loved private school and public school, but I was super-nervous to go to school. In fact, I don’t know if the word “nervous” actually captures how I felt. Terrified might be a more accurate word. 
Not only was I going to a new school with hundreds of new people, I was also around people who didn’t share my worldview. I never said it out loud, but I knew there were unbelievers present at this school. This isn’t to say that everyone in my class at my previous school was a Christian, but this context was much different than my previous one. So, for the first month or two, I had serious anxiety about getting up and going to school.
As I began to awkwardly transition into this public school environment, I enrolled in the required “Health” class – if that class doesn’t make insecure junior highers even more insecure, nothing will. As the teacher began to discuss contraception with the class, she mentioned abortion as an alternative. Being an extremely naïve white kid from a private school, I spoke up and said, “But abortion is wrong. It’s murder.” More than half the class erupted in disapproval of that statement. That day I discovered, the hard way, that not everyone shared my Biblical worldview. In a sense, I was persecuted for standing up for righteousness without even knowing it.
Fast-forward to 2015 and persecution continues to be present for teenagers in various educational contexts. There are “buzz words” Christian teens will need to exercise caution over when speaking out in class. I was foolishly unaware that people have different worldviews than me when I spoke up in my Health class that day. I claimed something was wrong when others thought it was okay. You need to be aware of different worldviews in order to exercise caution in your conversations.
Probably the most offensive words you need to be aware of are “male” or “female.” The world will tell you that even using the pronouns “him” or “her” might confuse and offend other students so you shouldn’t use them. Since you’re probably not following too many current events, you’re probably not aware that some colleges are trying to ban this type of language from their classrooms. The culture is seeing a big shift. A truth that’s being communicated is the falsehood that gender is offensive. For example, there are those in the world who say it is offensive for you to tell someone they are male and female. The world says they need to be able to choose that.
Here’s my point: you are growing up in a world that’s becoming increasingly hostile toward Christianity. We are called numerous times in Scripture to be persecuted, but it looks like current teens growing up in the world may get a lot more opportunities to be hated than previous generations. For me, I could simply avoid the topic of abortion and side step a lot of arguments that way. When I was growing up, I could have my Christianity with a side of comfort. It doesn’t seem like that’s going to be the case for current 12-18 year-olds.
Are you going to be able to avoid speaking about someone’s gender? Will you call a boy a girl? Or a her a him? 
The Bible isn’t vague on this issue and you don’t really have to search the Scriptures too far to find an answer. Genesis 1 and 2 are pretty clear that God created humans male and female. God assigned gender at the beginning, and he assigns gender today. Yes, there can be complexities from time-to-time in this area, but this issue isn’t as complicated as it is often made.
Are you ready? Are you ready to be hated? Are you ready to be made fun of? Laughed at? Left out? I’m sorry for you, and I’ll pray for you. I’m sorry that the teenage years are already uncomfortable without this issue. I’m sorry that the discomfort is only going to be magnified by these current cultural trends that don’t mesh with your Christian faith. But take courage. You worship a Savior who knows exactly what you’re going through. He was mocked just like you will be. However, he was also mocked in your place so that you could spend eternity with him. And he comforts you by promising that if you’re mocked for the sake of righteousness, you will be blessed.
Your Youth Worker

Posted by Joey Stewart at 10:00 AM