Last night me and my bro stayed out 'til 2:00 in the morning. We saw I Am Legend, ate out, visited one of our friends wo was working, and played Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (which trumps Halo 3 in every way possible) well into the wee hours of the morning with our friend Tyler. It was fun. I was able to get through the night with the aid of Full Throttle (an energy drink which is a lot better than Monster or RockStar-it tastes like juiced gummy bears!!! And it's good for you, too. Heh heh, J/K) But I stayed awake! ;-)-
As cool as it was, I was still a little troubled. My friends all seem to have dropped their principles by the wayside. Sex jokes, immorality, and ungodliness permeate all conversations and subject matter. Not that I've never laughed at a bad joke, but I'm sincerely trying to "be an imitator of God," and "live a life of love," just as God commands us in Ephesians 5.
This passage goes on to say, "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light...and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them."
I believe that the church at large (at least, what I've experienced) has neglected passages of this kind. Why? Perhaps because they're comfortable giving the same feel-good sermons every week, preaching to a congregation that's grown up on these kind of messages.
In my mind, messages of this kind do little good in helping Christians be effective witnesses in the world around them. Many of my friends who have grown up in these environments seem to take up a seat every Sunday, and then go about their week just as any non-believer would.
Christians have to some degree "created their own ghettos." They put on their masks on Sunday, then remove them the rest of the week.
I think the tragic truth is that many of these kids see the Christian life as a subculture of sorts. You know, Christian concerts, Christian movies, WWJD bracelets, the like. None of these are bad things, they just need not be the extent of the faith of Christian young men and women.
Many of my Christian friends (I won't name names) are sleeping around, drinking, etc., with no thought whatsoever towards the wrongfulness of these actions. I just don't like seeing them doing those sorts of things to themselves. It's not my intention AT ALL to merely point out others faults for the sake of seeming "Holier-than-Thou." These actions bother me.
I've tried to follow Galatians 6:1 "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him GENTLY." I feel strongly, though, that I'm not having much of an impact.
It's like my friends see me as some goody-two-shoes or something. I'm routinely, directly excluded from conversations. Like last night, my brother and my friend told me I had to stand back over here while they had a conversation in low voices over there. When I asked my brother why that was later on, he said because it was a personal thing of my friends. Uh, if it's personal, then how come this friend talked to my brother about it? No, the truth is that they were talking about something that this friend and my brother didn't feel comfortable sharing with me. This happens a lot, and it's honestly annoying. I'm not the type to go "tell" on people (I mean even if I was, I'm eighteen, you think I would have outgrown that habit by now!!!), so what gives???
I'm routinely excluded from conversations and gatherings b/c my friends know I would have a problem with watching a gory slasher or sexually immoral movie or because I don't approve of their nasty jokes. The only people who I feel truly want me around are my girlfriend and my friend Joel. The rest invite me to parties occasionally, but everytime I've gone to one I've felt very ignored except for a few isolated instances, so I thought "forget that" and just stopped going.
I'm really trying to be a good witness and walk the walk as well as talk the talk, but I feel as if I'm having zero influence.
People always tell me that people's opinion doesn't matter, and I know it doesn't in the big picture, but most of the time I don't think these people know what it means to feel rejected by almost all of your old friends. Are people afraid I'm going to bite their heads off or something? I feel like a total reject. Does anyone agree? Can I get an amen here? The last several months I've been battling dark thoughts and feelings of worthlessness. I'm having real troube with this, as more and more of my friends backslide into bad choices and I feel ineffective because of it. Though I won't stop praying and caring about these friends, I'm in need of friends that share my views. Pray for me that I can GET UP THE NERVE to give these people a call, and stop having depreciating thoughts about myself.
The following song has helped me greatly through these thoughts, reminding me to keep holding on. It's by 38th parallel, a now non-existent Christian alternative rock band that never got near the amount of recognition they deserved:
Days grow long and the days grow dark and the days grow ever colder
The trust that I started with frays as I get older
The road is hard it seems to me there is no way around this
From all You've done for me I know you'll never break your promise
So you're at the end of this day
Where the world is shaded in gray
I will look to blue horizons
And watch for You to come
When my hope is tattered and torn
When my faith is weathered and worn
I look to the blue horizons
(Whatever you say, have me go I'll go, whatever you say, I'll go)
I look to the blue horizons
38th parallel, "Horizon"
Please continue to pray for me as I strive to "fight the good fight." God Bless.