Broken – Alien Youth Army Wed Night Session One
Many of you have come here tonight from a broken home, difficult circumstances, and conflict directly from the result of your own parent’s circumstances. It doesn’t seem right and it’s not fair but it’s true. Your parents may have had personal issues or events that unintentionally shaped how they talk, act, think, and care for you.
In fact, you may be in home that has experienced painful situations that no one has ever come to grips with buried way beneath the surface. The challenge for us tonight is to,
“Put yourself in you’re their shoes.”
I know this challenge puts ownership on you to initiate understanding and relational logic. The Bible puts it this way,
“When I was a child I spoke like a child, but when I became an adult I put away childish things.” I Corinthians 13:11
I love that as teenagers you want to be treated like adults. You will never begin to look more like an adult than when you attempt to understand someone’s point of view and love them through their difficulties. When you flip that switch as a child to love someone well and work through his or her circumstances you truly move on to adulthood. You also look a lot like Jesus.
As we talk about this reality you will feel a couple of thoughts.
1. That’s their problem. – You may come to suspect that your mom or dad has difficulty with relationships because of the past and in that you may not care. You may be tempted to think that they need to move on and not hold you hostage. I get that.
2. You’re experiencing pain. – You may be in this room and think to yourself, I don’t know what healthy love looks like or how healthy communication happens and I’m just impulsively acting out.
3. I have no idea. – You may realize that you don’t have a clue as to why your situation has unfolded the way it has. You may reason that if there is something under the surface nobody is talking about it and nobody will unless they ask.
All of these situations will demand a response and I hope to help you with that.
We have a tendency to go about our day and the busyness of life without ever realizing that there are tremendous things we can uncover with conversation. We get so busy building our little kingdom that we never take the time to see what is unseen.
If we don’t try to sift we will never see the unseen.
The Bible says this, “A word rightly spoken is like apples of gold in bowls of silver.” Proverbs 25:11
I have never seen apples made of gold nor a bowl made of silver but it sounds pretty valuable. God says that our words have this tremendous worth. We can bring life and death with our words and when we know how to speak them we can also bring understanding and healing. This is why conversation and truth in love is so amazingly refreshing.
In some homes, one of the mistakes I see often is the idea that if you don’t talk about the problem then it doesn’t exist. Family also has a very hard time saying, “I love you.” We also to this day often struggle with saying, “I need help.” Because we don’t communicate very well that family can go seasons without hearing the words, “Hey, I love you.” Or, “Hey, I need some help.” This insufficiency has piled up and caused more harm than good.
When it comes to understanding the heart of your mom and dad or them understanding yours, you will never be able to move forward in putting yourself in their shoes if you don’t ever open your mouth to talk.
As you talk, you may have to push through conversations where feelings are strong. As much as I’m telling you to talk I’m also telling you to listen. The Bible puts it this way,
“Be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” James 1:19
You’re not communicating if the conversation is one sided. Listen and give your family space to speak. Don’t react with hostility or defending yourself. I know that’s hard to do but if you want to experience healing and if you truly want to put yourself in your parent’s shoes then you’ll have to listen at times.
I’m convinced that if you have a healthy heart to heart conversation with your mom or dad where there is opportunity to hear about brokenness you will realize that they were once teens like you that experienced pain and stress that you face. If by your words and by your ears you’re seeking treasure and understanding beneath the deep it will greatly impact your mom and dad.
The Bible also says, “A soft answer turns away anger but grievous words stir it up.” Proverbs 15:1
I don’t know your individual circumstances. Some of you may have had multiple arguments and fights in your home that have escalated to the point of extreme hurt. The tone in your home may be on the edge at all times of verbal explosion. There may be a spirit in your home of constant fighting so much so that nobody even thinks the best about each other anymore. I hate that. I hate that it makes things hard to repair.
One of the things that will change that is a soft and gentle answer from the start. In calm and controlled ways you can start this process of healing by laying things out on the table first. You might start by saying, “Mom, how was your day?” or “Dad, do you know that I love you?” When you do this it softens years of piled up hostility.
In the middle of hard conversation one of the ways you can keep your cool and search for understanding is to see your parents as God sees them. God sees us as his precious creation. He has plans for each and every one of us. When you truly believe this you can see yourself in your parents. You no longer care who wins or what you might lose but instead you’re simply interested in them as a child of God. Focus on this as you uncover who they are and what they have experienced in their life.
You and your parents have a story. Uncover that story together.
Don’t wait until it’s too late and then spend the rest of your life wishing you had.
The hardest thing about the past is that you can’t go back. But you can take the past and make it point for your future. If you don’t want to understand your parents for the sake of your parents then understand them for the sake of yourself. One day you will be a mom or a dad and you will have intrinsic behaviors in you that are directly related to your circumstances today. It shouldn’t be that you wouldn’t have the ability to expect you and your kids to love each other well and have amazing conversations because you were unable to do it today.
This is a big deal and it’s another step toward healing for our broken homes, our broken relationships, our broken lives.