For some reason religion, when in the hands of teenagers, tends to go only one of two directions: shyness/embarrassment or annoyingly vocal. I tended more towards the former, very much so inspired by my peers who were the latter.
I know a teenager who is incredibly devout. He seems almost old-school in his piety – taking great care to shield his ears from the music his peers take in veraciously, keeping a short leash on his tongue, and he reads his Bible half a dozen times a day. Despite all that, he is not obnoxious or the squeaky wheel when it comes to his faith.
So why did he break my unfair, overgeneralized mold about the two types of religious teenagers?
Because he’s a registered sex offender.
I think it’d do Christians better if they sinned more. I know that sounds terribly odd, but I think for many of us raised in very strict Christians homes we are taught how to keep our religious codes with sniper-like precision. Santa visits them ever year. Their confessions are as weak as the coffee in a mechanic’s waiting room because they’ve got nothing to release from the vault. And that’s exactly why they are so annoying and loud.
For being a teenager this teenager I know is incredibly humble – no doubt because he has already fallen hard, nearly as hard as you can fall in our culture, and landed bloody on the ground. He is meeting Jesus and finding redemption, and that isn’t translating into a fiery, over-the-top personality bent on declaring all of the faults of his surroundings.
I hope I really don’t need to make the disclaimer that I’m not suggesting we purposefully go out and sin. But maybe it’d do us some good to actually sin and wipe away the self-righteousness that seems to grow as quickly as weeds in a garden.I don’t think his crime is a good thing, but it’s taught himself invaluable about the proper way to express his faith.
I point a dozen times a week here that we Jesus seems to turn our whole existence into opposite day. Sinners should not be quarantined or beaten down, for they are the most powerful among us and have the strongest witness. Sinlessness does not give the greatest testimony, but in fact it’s sinners who aren’t going to hell but are merely coming back.