I invited a guest to author the Back Page this week. Well, I got this in an email and couldn’t put it down. So, here you go. And thank you, Paul Tripp.
– Pastor Jim
When you look at a 16-year-old, what are your hopes and expectations for them? Go to school, do your homework, and please avoid the typical teenage temptations and errors? Some boys are different. Here is the story of three who refused to be passive in the face of wrong.
The boys were attending a large, established, and well-known Christian school. But there were problems in the school as never before. The student body had become divided, with a separation between the “suburban” kids and the “city” kids.
Those labels were just a cover. This once-great school had become racially divided. There hadn’t been any violence, at least not yet, and much of the racism was covert. But it was there, and real, and undeniable.
This was unacceptable to these three teenage boys. A Christian school is supposed to be known for its love. A place of peace. Yet the culture of this school had become defined by worldly stereotypes and division.
These three teenage boys decided to do something. They asked the headmaster for permission to hold a weekly Friday-afternoon discussion on race relations in the school. That first Friday, a mixed group of 25 uncomfortable teenagers gathered in the assigned classroom, with the three original boys the only ones looking as if they wanted to be there.
One of the three boys started the conversation by confessing his own hurt and bias. Voice after voice followed. Sometimes it was confession, sometimes confrontation, but honesty ruled that hour. The culture of the school didn’t change permanently that day, but a door had been opened that would be hard to close.
The following week, 50 students crammed into that classroom and the conversation began to migrate from confession and confrontation to reconciliation. There were even times when students would get up, walk across the room, and embrace one another in a public gesture of respect. The third week, the gathering had to be held in the auditorium.
These three teens have since graduated, but their legacy remains. That school is more racially unified than it would have ever been otherwise, and it’s only because three unremarkable and unsuspecting boys would not remain passive in the face of an unbiblical status quo.
Don’t miss the point: As a follower of Jesus Christ, you cannot think biblically about life and adopt a passive lifestyle.
To begin with, the world you live in is terribly broken (Rom. 8:18–22). Second, God’s agenda is the complete renewal of everything (Rev. 21:1–5). Third, God is sovereign and has placed you exactly where he intends you to be (Acts 17:24–28). Fourth, you have been lit by God’s grace and called to radiate his character in the darkness that surrounds where he has placed you (Matt 5:14–16).
The question is, will you live biblically, exercising the character and influence you have been given? Or in your passivity will you try to take yourself off the hook with self-serving rationalizations, flawed logic, and unbiblical thinking? Remember, the One who has positioned and called you is with you.