If you kick a stone in anger, you'll hurt your own foot.
If you read my blog last week, you know that I had an issue with a group of boys at the youth group meeting I am in charge of. In case you didn’t read it (and shame on you), I’ll share a brief version. One young man decided it was his turn to be in charge. I politely asked him to give the floor back to me, he refused, and I asked him to move to the back of the room where he and another of the leaders had a verbal exchange and he made the decision to leave the meeting…and three of his friends followed. Not exactly the way I had intended for my first real meeting with the kids to go. (There was a whole lot more to the story…you really should have read it).
Anyway, this past Wednesday night was intended to be the end of the year party. The young men who chose to leave were told that, if they left the meeting, they would not be allowed to attend the party. You guessed it; Wednesday afternoon I received a text from the young man who had attempted to ‘share’ my platform asking if he could come. I encouraged him to come and talk to me about it and he did…15 minutes before the party was to start, along with two of his friends (the third boy’s parents wouldn’t let him come). I had prayed that they would come back. I had hoped that they would have the courage to come talk to me about it and here they were.
Immediately two of the three were sorry. They made some bad choices and “we won’t do it again.” Let’s see, they’re thirteen…I don’t know about that promise, but I believe they were sincere when they said it. I asked them why, after it was their choice to leave, I should allow them to come. The leader of the group told me that he really liked the group and that his friends were there and he wanted to be a part of it. The one friend agreed with him. The other stood by and watched. These boys need to be a part of this group. Of all the kids, these three young men need a positive influence in their lives, so I told them there were three requirements to attend.
1. Individually, they must apologize to me, sincerely.
2. Individually, they must apologize to the other leaders, sincerely.
3. Individually, (and this was the killer) they must each apologize to the rest of the group, sincerely.
Just the words, “I’m sorry,” would not be sufficient. They were absolutely agreeable to the first two. The third one brought wide eyes and tortured sighs. They wanted to know why they had to apologize to their friends so we talked about respect not just being for adults, but for everyone around them. They agreed and asked for a few minutes to think about what they wanted to say. I told them they could have the time and then join the group. It would be up to the others whether or not they could stay.
This was not an easy assignment. The words, “I’m sorry,” fell out of their mouths so easily to me that I felt it was important to stress to them that to be truly sorry is an action, not just words. The first action to show true repentance was to say it and mean it in front of their peers. The leader of the group went first and he did a fine job. I was proud of him. The second young man was not so sincere and by the third all sincerity was lost. Even the leader of the threesome had taken on an attitude of indifference.
As hard as it was for me (and it was VERY hard) I told the young men that the leaders and I could not accept their apology. Even about half of their peers were in agreement. But I left the door open. Yes, this was the end of the school year party, but I intend to meet with whoever would like to join me on Wednesday evenings for fun and fellowship. This will start next Wednesday night and, if the threesome would like to join us, they’d be given another chance.
Unfortunately, the evening did not end there...
I'll finish the story tomorrow. Sorry, you'll just have to check back!
Blessings to you today!
Do not teach your children never to be angry; teach them how to be angry.