"Let no man despise [your] youth."
This snippet of a verse has been running around in my mind recently. As a kid I always wondered why someone would ever "despise" someone's age. I would try to imagine some kid making fun of another kid because he was only 9 and not 10. As I went through college I gained a little more insight into this verse. A lot of it has to do with what the entire verse says:
"Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity."
As we grow through life, youth often has a way of proving itself through actions. We refer to this as "immaturity". When someone rebels against authority; When someone acts like they know better than what everyone else tells them they need to do; When someone lacks the desire to show responsibility for their actions; When someone "acts their IQ and not their age."
Often these actions cause others to look at teens and tweens and say things like "they're just young" or "they'll eventually grow out of it" or "they are so immature". Often times our (and I will currently list myself in the youthful age group) actions are so contrary to what scripture says that our life should be that people blame our actions on our age. Wouldn't it be nice if people could look at our actions and "blame" Christ? "Hey Johnny, you have been so loving recently. I really appreciate how you have served in the church these last few weeks. I can really see Christ in you." Or maybe this would be a jaw-dropping statement "Who has replaced the Jill I thought I knew? You have washed the dishes and vacuumed the house 3 times this week without ever being asked, and you haven't complained once about not being able to use the car this week. You have been so Christlike recently."
The verse explains itself when it says we are to "be examples of the believers"; we are to have actions that signify that we are growing in Christ, trying to mimic Him in every aspect of our conversation and conduct. When someone thinks of things that describe us, do they think of us as loving, faithful, honest, patient, kind, pure and honorable? Or is the word that comes to their minds "immature"?
So, I hope that when people look at my life they don't despise me--because of my age or actions. I hope they look at me and see someone besides myself. I hope they see Christ.