Senseless Behavior

     A week ago, last Friday night, as we returned home from worshipping with the saints at Pekin, IN, we received a telephone call informing us of some horrific news. Two young adults (21 and 22 respectfully) and a 14-year-old were the casualties of a murder/suicide incident. As it happens, the two adults had been students of mine at Eastern Greene Schools. The brother and sister of the 21-year-old were also former students of mine. His father and our youngest son were extremely close friends and worked together as EMTs. This young man’s family had suffered several tragedies: the older brother of this young man committed suicide when he (this latest victim) was in 8th grade. His dad suffered a massive stroke and heart attack which took his life not many years later. As well, the young lady’s life (the 22-year-old) had not escaped tragic circumstances. Still, the event of April 16, 2021, does not seem fitting for such young people. It has been aptly described as “senseless.”

     Of late, several such scenarios have been the focus of newscasts across this country. That teenagers and young adults as described above are included in such horrid circumstances is appalling. While some of the media outlets focus on the crime itself, making it either political or racial or both, among the myriad of the most serious of questions pondered are, “Where are the parents in these cases?” and “What makes young people act this way?”

       Circumstances may change the dynamics of the answers to these questions, but not the core of the solution. Statistically, where children must deal with separated/divorced parents, the problems escalate for young folks. In some instances, children must deal with multiple divorces of their parents which further compounds disciplinary issues. As well, when children must fend for themselves (both parents being absent from the home and the child left alone) self-discipline is weakened if not altogether made void in the minds of inquisitive children. The core problem, however, is the lack of godliness taught and obeyed in the home! Ephesians 6:4 places the responsibility of raising the children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord within the father’s hands! As in the case of Timothy, we find grandmother and mother taught God’s truth to Timothy. (2 Timothy 1:5) As to why Timothy’s father is not credited with his spiritual upbringing, we are not told. The point here is Timothy was taught God’s righteousness regarding behavior and that same teaching is commanded from today’s parents toward today’s youth!

     This is not an article defending tangible weaponry, but it is an article demanding knowledge of how to behave oneself with and without tangible weaponry. It is also an article proclaiming the need to become wise in the use of God’s weaponry – the word of God (Ephesians 6:17). Being a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12), one must learn when, where, why, upon whom, and how to use this incredible weapon of truth! The rightful  training regarding this weapon begins at a very early age (Proverbs 22:6) with continued education in the use of the weapon lasting until we depart from this life (Revelation 2:10; 2 Peter 1: 1 – 11; Revelation 14:13; et al).

     Therein is the core problem: gross lack of knowledge of and obedience to God’s word (Hosea 4:6) is the definition of “senseless behavior.” Since man cannot live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4), it behooves parents to rightly train their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord! Romans chapter 1 plainly states the eternal damnation toward those who do not like to retain God in their knowledge. To the Thessalonians, Paul writes, “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” (2 Thessalonians 1: 7 – 10) All senseless behavior, regardless of how serious the physical consequences, is eternally deadly for it lacks the knowledge of and obedience to God’s word! 

      Can we blame only the parents? No, but neither can we excuse those parents who fail to instruct their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord by their words and deeds (Colossians 3:17). Children may rebel even after the teaching and sometimes obedience to God’s word. If the parents have done their job in training the child properly, then their obligation is fulfilled. Just as every adult has a “choice,” so does the maturing child. Every choice has a consequence: they need to be taught and urged to choose wisely!

     While the latter days shall wax worse and worse with deception given and received, (2 Timothy 3:13) this evil should never exist in the hearts of God’s children! Further, those who are God’s children need to be steadfast, unmovable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58) that others seeing our good works will glorify God (Matthew 5:16). It is not a matter of making new civil laws or redacting laws already established. Man’s laws are not as powerful as God’s; neither are they eternal! If we obey God, then behavior with morality simultaneously improves to righteous acceptance.  Senseless behavior is just that: sense-less! There truly is no excuse for it … especially when the abundance of God’s word is present with us! Parents need to teach it … children need to obey it!