"Did You Really Mean to Say That?"
This week I spoke with a good friend of mine. Her heart was broken at the behavior of her daughter, who is a young teen. Hurtful words. Destructive actions. Angry letters and emails.
All of them, like bricks, came hurling at my friend this week. How I wish I could talk to that young teen. I thought, I wish she could see the tears of her Mom.
It wasn't that long ago that I was a teen and I allowed similarly destructive words to be launched toward my parents. I didn't have the strained relationship that most teens have, but I still had moments where I allowed my anger and rebellion to get the better of me.
The realization hit me a few years ago, as I began building my family and seeing my own kids born. Waves of regret washed over me. Why did I treat Mom and Dad that way? Was it necessary to always argue, always try to be right, always get the upper hand?
I want to ask you, as a young teen, to consider your relationship with your parents. I know that often you feel confused, misunderstood, neglected, hen-pecked. Fine. Sometimes parents don't always know exactly how to communicate with their teens. They make mistakes. They may even say words they regret.
But think about the words you use. Try to step out of the heat of your moment and look forward a few years. Will this issue you are arguing about even exist? Will it matter? And most importantly, will you look back on your conversations with Mom and Dad and be proud of the way you treated them?
The Bible calls us to honor our parents. That doesn't mean we always agree. That doesn't mean we will do every single thing the same way when we have our own lives and families and households. What it does mean is this. They brought you into the world. They sacrificed to give you life.
Try to see past their mistakes and love them.
Because one day you will look back with regret at the words you might have used and you will say, Did I really mean to say that?
Daniel Darling is an author and pastor with a passion for young people. He is the author of Teen People of the Bible, a 100-day devotional for teens. Visit him on Facebook by clicking here, or at danieldarling.com.