Dodgeball is perhaps the most loved game in youth ministry. We roll out a handful of balls and commence throwing them at one another. Teenagers are naturals at dodgeball, they can duck, jump and throw better than most adults can. The skill of avoiding the dodgeball is essential, since getting hit by the ball knocks you out, and getting hit with the ball can at times really hurt.
What I have noticed (among both teenagers and adults) is that the game of dodgeball has many similarities to what happens when sin begins to grab hold of a person’s life. We duck, dodge, and deflect the consequences for our sin in an attempt to be seen a certain way. In high school Sunday School we discussed the life of King David and in particular his entanglement in sin with Bathsheba.
For those of you who may not recall: here is a quick overview of the story. David was King of Israel and he was at home while his army was off at war. One evening David was walking around his palace and caught a glimpse of a pretty lady bathing on her rooftop. David discovered she was the wife of one of his soldiers, but still he desired to be with her. So he brought her to him, and a little bit later she discovered she was pregnant. In an attempt to cover his sin, David brought home her husband in hopes that he, too, would sleep with her. He refused to enjoy the comforts of home, while his comrades were fighting on the battlefield. So, David sent the husband back to war with a note to give to the general of the army. The note instructed the general to place the husband in harm’s way and then have the rest of the army withdraw leaving him to die on the battlefield. Upon his death, David took in the pregnant widow and continued reigning as king. He was confronted by the prophet Nathan, and at that point he was convicted of his sins, and penned Psalm 51 (which is a great penitential psalm) expressing his sorrow for sinning against God.
While most teens haven’t ever committed adultery or ordered a man to be killed, they have experienced the desire to hide their sins in the same way David did. Teens will build multi-layer stories to cover up their sins, and to avoid the consequences that come from their decisions. They dodge taking responsibility as long as possible, perhaps for years. Parents need to be like Nathan, willing to stand before their teens and point out clearly the sin in their lives (when it is discovered), with the hope that your children will repent and take responsibility for their sins.
Read Psalm 51, and see if that is how you feel when you are caught in sin. Then be willing to discuss repentance with your child, perhaps even discuss a time when you were dodging sin and eventually how you came to repent and take responsibility. You never know, your teen may respond to you in a whole new way when they realize that even you have made mistakes.