Friday, April 5, 2013

May God Have Mercy on Us All

Being a teenager has never been easy. At that time of life we are rash, impetuous. We are filled with longings and passions we don’t yet know how to direct or control. This has always been so. Romeo and Juliet are easily identifiable characters no matter what century or nation reads their story. The mercy of God and the sometimes desperate prayers of parents have blessed all of us at various times in our lives, but especially during those turbulent years. In the past most of the foolishness of those years disappears, only to be remembered through rose colored glasses in chance meetings with old friends.

Today the stakes are higher. Seth Godin warns his readers that in the digital age, just like performing artists and authors we all have a backlist, an accumulation of our works, good, foolish, and evil. He almost hired a young woman, “until I googled her and discovered that the first two matches were pictures of her drinking beer from a funnel, and her listed hobby was, "binge drinking." Backlist!” Ask Prince Harry about the power of cell phone cameras and the Internet. In the past your backlist could come back to bite you. My father told the story of a young man looking for a job. Although, he had graduated with a good degree, at one time he was thrown out of school for a fire extinguisher fight in his dorm. He wasn’t hired. However, in those days there were no cell phone cameras, no Youtube, no Facebook, no email.

I am learning that the greatest gift I can give the young are my blessings. On those occasions when I am honored with a confidence from someone caught in that turbulent time of life, I try to let them know they are not alone and that they are not crazy. My generation walked those paths; that I understand; that it is going to be OK; in the hands of our Lord, profoundly OK. Just ask the younger brother in the parable of the Prodigal.

Pray for the young people in your life. Pray that they find their way. Pray that they find good jobs, good husbands, that they are blessed with every blessing that makes life worthwhile.

Teach them by word and example how to build a good backlist; how to be a good employee; how to exceed the expectations of their supervisor; how to use their skills however inadequate to the best advantage of their organization.

If you are in a position of power, extend mercy to others, remembering your own folly and mistakes.

In Exodus 17 we are told the story of a battle. When Moses held up his hands Israel prevailed, when he let down his hands the enemy prevailed. Hold up your hands for the generations to come who will give you your Social Security checks.

Hold up your hands in blessing. Give someone you don’t even know the victory.

Exodus 17

[9] And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.
[10] So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.
[11] And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.
[12] But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.
[13] And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

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