Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Enticement of Gangs

My son, if sinners (gangs) entice you, do not consent. 
If they say, "Come with us, Let us lie in wait for blood, 
Let us ambush the innocent without cause; 
Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, 
Even whole, as those who go down to the pit;
We will find all kinds of precious wealth, 
We will fill our houses with spoil;
Throw in your lot with us, 
We shall all have one purse,"
Proverbs 1:10-14
(parentheses added)

These are the words of a father to a son, instructing him not to forsake the instructions and teachings of his parents to follow a group of sinners---gangs. The breakdown of a family does more than break down a family. It breaks down a city. Why are youth attracted to join a violent gang? There are three enticing things spoken in these verses:
1. "Come with us..." In other words, we accept you as you are and want to include you in our plans. We want you!
2. "We will find all kinds of precious wealth..." This will be a good thing. It will be profitable. You'll find status--you will be someone important!
3. "We shall all have one purse..." We are a family and will share everything. You will be in on decisions.
Of course it goes on to say that their violent ways will end up costing them their own lives, but this is not obvious in the beginning. "It is useless to spread the baited net in the sight of any bird." (vs. 17). If they knew how it would end for them then of course they wouldn't take the bait and get trapped--nobody would. But the deceptive enticement wins them over. Why?

Those who follow this path find those three things enticing-being wanted, feeling important and having a group to belong to. Everyone needs those three things and a family is the place we are meant to experience that. If our young people don't feel loved, or like they belong, or like they have a place and purpose on the path they are currently on, then they will look somewhere else for it.

Of course it doesn't mean children are not to be disciplined--quite the contrary. But the discipline must not exclude them from the family or make their gifts and purpose in life seem unimportant or unattainable. Wisdom is crying in the streets, discipline helps them to hear it and choose it. But they must feel that they are wanted, important and belong--not only to God but to the family as well.

Father God, I pray for the families of Waterford. I pray they are healed and restored. I pray strength for the families of Waterford. I pray every child and teenager and young person finds their place of belonging in a healthy, godly family. May they have hope and vision and see the path of their purpose. May they respond to the cry of wisdom that is calling for them. May the churches of Waterford arise and reach out to the families providing prayer, encouragement and help.

Re-prayer November 5, 2011 The Mayflower Compact also spoke of their commitment to one another, as well as to the advancements of the Christian faith.

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