Thursday, 1 September 2011

A young man...

For at the window of my house I have looked out through my lattice, and I have seen among the simple, I have perceived among the youths, a young man lacking sense, passing along the street near her corner, taking the road to her house – Proverbs 7v6-8

Oh the joys of youth! I am not talking about those teenage years, but those years of young adulthood, basically the early twenties, when most young people need to find their ways. It is a marvellous time. The world is before you. You no longer are under your parents’ thumbs and you are free to explore the world for yourself.

Solomon knew these when he wrote in Ecclesiastes – ‘rejoice in the days of your youth.’ But he followed that up with – ‘but remember the Lord.’

That can be tough. Many physicians, psychologists, and psychiatrists tell us that there is a period of time in the early twenties when young adults, especially men, are incapable of reasoning the long term consequences of their actions. You see it all the time. And, to be honest, we can think back to those days in our lives and wonder – ‘what was I thinking?’

It is this situation that we see described here. Looking out the window the writer of Proverbs see a young man ‘lacking sense (or, as the KJV has it, ‘void of understanding.’)

This guy is seeking out his own way. Almost immediately he is drawn by the temptations of the world. In his case his temptation is the one that, I am almost certain, virtually every young man has to deal with. ‘And there he met a woman, dressed like a harlot, with a crafty heart.’ This woman draws this clueless fella in with her words. All he knows and all he really is concerned with is what he wants at that moment. The long term consequences never cross his mind.

What are those long term consequences? ‘Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.’

There is a draw to self-destructive behaviour in those marvellous years of discovery. May those of us who have been there offer our help, advise when we can, and pray when we can’t.  

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