The teenage years can be quite a tumultuous and trying time for many people. This time period is marked by many physical changes that are triggered by hormones in a growing mind and body. When a teen has to deal with very serious news during this time, it can often be very devastating since it piles on top of everything else that is already happening inside him.
When dealing with troublesome issues, one can use the Bible as the source of lessons in how to best handle the problem. It is considered to be the holy book of almost two billion people and its ability to transcend personal barriers and nuanced problems can’t be doubted. Here’s how you can use the Bible to assist a teen in need:
- Give him space. As willing as you may be to help someone, it is important that you don’t barge in to volunteer help in the way that you want to. Console him first and see if there’s something immediate that you can do. If you believe in the stages of grief, it usually follows five phases – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Obviously, people who are still in the first three stages are likely to be unwilling or unreceptive to what you have to say. Just be a good friend or mentor and console him in the meantime until he may be ready to talk or listen.
- Make sure that it is something that he would like to hear. A teen that is undergoing some turmoil may need spiritual guidance but this has to be tempered with the teen’s cultural background. Clearly, those who were weaned on a different religion like Buddhism or Judaism would probably not appreciate readings from the New Testament. Not only can these efforts become moot or irrelevant; they could also be offensive and cause further stress to the person. Make sure that the teen is interested in what you have to offer. Never preach and proselytize during a time like this.
- Pick out the most relevant bible passages for each situation. The themes of the Bible are centered on doing good deeds, forgiveness, faith and gratefulness. These are central themes that most spiritual people can see and relate to. By reinforcing these feelings, and being reminded that people have always dealt with difficult feelings such as these, teens may feel less isolated and be motivated to embrace a new disposition. The whole idea of these passages is to allow the people who read them a chance to change their perception and perspective in life.
- Ask him what he thinks about it. Imparting knowledge isn’t just about saying what you want to teach – it is also about knowing how the student has perceived the bits of information that you just shared. Asking questions on how he feels about the stories and passages will allow you to see just how much he understood the message of optimism that you want to share.
The Bible is a powerful tool that can be used to cope with various problems. If the situation calls for it and the context is right, don’t be afraid to use it to help a fellow believer.