My Teen Smokes Weed!!
A few weeks ago, a young lady that was new to our youth group pulled me aside and told me she was leaving her old church to come to “this one.” She wanted me to she was changing churches because the pastor at the other church had made it clear to the youth group that smoking weed was wrong, sinful, and anyone that did not agree was not welcome in that youth group. Seems harsh…
The same week, a mom contacted me to tell me that she had caught her son smoking a joint with his friends. This “church mom” was furious, she grounded him forever, taking all his personal possessions and left him alone locked in his room with nothing but a Bible. Poor guy…
The week before, a teen in my group told me one of their siblings had been caught by their parents with marijuana. The family was so embarrassed and was doing all they could to keep it a secret. Secrets, secrets are no fun…
So, what do we do when we find out teens we love, respect, and are even leaders in our groups are smoking marijuana?
Remember we are all sinners.
The longer I am in ministry the less and less I am surprised when I hear sinners… sinning. Our calling as leaders in large part is to push teens towards forgiveness.
Teens haven’t fully matured yet, so expecting them to make better decisions than they do is truly foolish.
As Christian teens mature, we will sometimes witness them making one incredible awesome decision followed by a terrible one. It’s kind of a dance between the two. We cannot put expectations on them we are unwilling to put on others—including ourselves.
Shame will not lead to repentance.
I wish sometimes I could make this a huge poster sign like what you see at sporting events, and hand it out to everyone Christian on earth. Shaming someone over their sin will only encourage them to walk away from the Lord. Romans 8 is pretty clear that condemnation is not for those in Christ and doesn’t lead people to Christ. Rather, it is God’s kindness that leads towards repentance (Romans 2:4).
Don’t deprive teens from Godly community.
Banishing a young person to their room without community them from the Godly community they so need. Sometimes, having friends who love both Jesus and them can be one of the greatest ways to fight temptation.
We cannot allow the cultural heinous sins of the day to be viewed as uglier than other sins. We must see this sin just like all others. Whether it’s gossip, lust, or smoking weed, it’s still sin and it’s the reason why Christ died on the cross. He paid a ransom we could not pay on our own.
Encourage them to tell their parents.
Sure, you can tell the parents, but a more powerful and healthier option is always open honest communication at home. Coach them and pray with them as they prepare to do so. If your students aren’t willing to tell their parents, you should be prepared to tell them yourself. Be sure to review your state and church mandatory reporting policies, knowing that your particular church leadership might already have some explicit language requiring you to inform guardians and other authorities.
Heart over behavior.
We want students to love Jesus with all their hearts and live obedient lives as a worshipful response to their Lord. Get to the heart of the issue, not pushing for behavior modification, but true reflection and remorse. There are worse things than smoking weed, like dying separated from God and going to Hell. Keep perspective.
Joshua Glymph is the High School Pastor at Fruit Cove Baptist Church in Jacksonville, FL. He is a 13-year ministry veteran, the husband to Beth, Daddy to Hannah, Micah, and Ezra, and a football loving, UGA fan. You can find him on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM @jglymph1 or at WWW.JOSHGLYMPH.COM and JOSH@FRUITCOVE.COM.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.