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You Reap What You Sow?

Jeffrey Lee on January 2, 2014

Thoughts on a recent BBC report "Young people 'feel they have nothing to live for'"

Unemployment is not a easy situation for anyone to face, let alone for young people today.  In our current financial climate, it does not seem to be getting easier.  There are many feelings, emotions and issues of self-esteem that one may experience in this situation that can make life challenging.  I know in my experience, the feelings of uncertainty and self-esteem have been a challenge personally.  Having a family and trying to provide was an even greater pressure to face.  I reading this report by the BBC, I am empathetic with those young people who have worked through secondary school, college, and university and are struggling to find employment, and especially those who have worked toward a passion,  a particular field of study, but cannot find work in that field.  The greater concern though is the report that young people feel as though they have nothing to live for.  The report "found 40% of jobless young people had faced symptoms of mental illness, including suicidal thoughts, feelings of self-loathing and panic attacks, as a direct result of unemployment."


Self-harming, suicide, panic attacks are serious challenges that youth are struggling through, considering or have already attempted.  The difficulty I have with the report is that is seems to solely blame unemployment.  Though this is a contributing factor,  could there be other factors that also contributing to these issues.


I do not want to belittle unemployment as a factor, but that someone would consider self-harming and suicide speaks of much deep issues that youth are struggling with.  Could it be that our Western institutional and societal education system is reaping what it has sown over the years?  When you teach young people that they are the product of time, matter and chance, that they have no real, definite origin.  Life is what you make it, truth is relative and there are no definite absolutes, except those you make.  There is no real purpose to life but self-pleasure and material gain.  To top it off, when you die, thats the end.  Why type of life does society really expect our young people to desire to live?  Where is the hope and purpose in this kind of teaching?  My suggestion, underlying some of the challenges that our young people face today is that our young people are not taught substantively why and what they should live for.  They have had meaning, purpose and hope stripped from them.


I want to write and give some hope to our young people today from a Christian perspective,  because I believe the Christian faith answers these questions.  You may or may not have seriously investigated the teachings of Jesus, so I ask you to consider today.


First, we find our origin in God, our maker.  God made each one of us "in His image," meaning that our life is sacred, because we bear the imprint of God.  We are loved by God and are most valuable to Him.  It is important that young people today know that they are not just some refined animal, but all humans beings are a distinct creation, finding our worth, meaning and worth in and by God.  You are loved by the God who made you.


Second, young people need to know that there is meaning and purpose to life.  As a Christian, I believe that meaning and purpose our found in knowing and worshipping God, relating and loving Him, along with serving humanity with the love God has shown to us.  He gives us an objective moral standard to live by, not a subjective personal standard, that changes from person to person.  Theologian Ravi Zacharias in his book, Jesus Among Other God's, says, "We do not live so that we can eat, nor do we just eat so that we can live. Life is worth living in and of itself. Life cannot be satisfied when it is lived out as a consuming entity. When it is filled by that which satisfies a hunger that is both physical and spiritual in a mutuality that sustains both without violation of either, only then can life be truly fulfilling."  Jesus promises to meet that hunger that people desire when he said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).  Young people can find that there is more to life then just living and dying!  Life is full of heartbreaks, hurts, pain, wrongs and sin.  We can all find healing and forgiveness in Jesus.  Many people forget, Jesus was not only God, but he also was human and he faced pain, hurt, suffering, rejection and betrayal.  He understands and identifies with what all young people are going through.


Lastly, when it comes to destiny, Christianity gives hope to the world because Jesus taught there is a life after this life.  This life is but a shadow of the new life to come.  Young people today can know that there is a better life promised to those who know and follow Jesus.  Jesus said, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).  The best is yet to come.


Many years ago, in the summer of 1985, I met Jesus, believed in him, asked him to forgive my sin, my sin against God and people.  I have followed Jesus from that day onward.  Since then, I have experienced a peace and joy that God has given.  It does not mean that I don't have struggles, pain, heartaches or make a mess of things sometimes.  But knowing God has helped me through.  Young people, would you consider giving your life to follow Jesus today?


Find out how to become a Christian today (video links):


Are you a good person? (video)


The Gospel Message (video)


What is Christianity? 3min video


If you live in or near Birmingham, UK.  Why not visit our church?  We also offer Christianity Explored courses where you can investigate what Christianity is all about and ask your questions.


Stechford Baptist Church