Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Youth Page

Written by Mrs. Doreen Tamminga
Another school year has begun for many of you. Do you remember the first day back at school? Maybe you were waiting at the bus stop in the morning with your mom or brothers and sisters. At your side was your backpack, filled with pencil crayons, pens, and all the other school supplies you had carefully packed yesterday. Then you were excited about going back to school. But this morning you were also a little nervous. Would you still have the same friends as last year? What if some of them had forgotten about you? What would your new teacher be like? Who would you sit with on the bus? Would you have a seating plan? What if you had to sit with someone you didnÕt know? Anxiously you waited for the school bus, scuffing at the driveway with your feet.

At last the big yellow bus came and you climbed up its steep steps. The bus driver smiled at you and said good-morning, and you managed to say hi back. Slowly you walked down the long black aisle of the bus, and with relief, you saw someone you knew. ÒCan I sit here?Ó you asked.

ÒOf course,Ó you heard and you started to feel a little better. The glass doors closed and the bus was off, bouncing you along to school. Time and again the bus stopped, its red stop sign flipped out, and the doors opened to let in other children. Soon the bus was filled with noisy voices and laughter.

Your stomach started to feel sore again as the bus pulled into the driveway at school. You could see the playground full of children, but from this far away you could not recognize any of them. They all seemed to be laughing and having fun. Who would talk to you? Who could you play with? Would your friends remember you? Or would they have made new friends over the summer? Slowly you picked up your school bag and climbed down, off the bus.

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Everyone needs a friend. A friend is someone who will listen to you when you are worried or sad, be excited with you when you are excited, help you when you need help, play games with you, and comfort you when you are hurt. A friend can be a boy or a girl that is your age, younger than you, or older than you. You can even find friends in your family. Your brothers and sisters, your mom and dad, they can all be your friends, because a friend is someone who understands you and cares about you.

Have you ever fallen off your bike and scraped your knee on the pavement? If you fell very hard, it would have bled. You put a bandage on, and soon the bleeding stopped. In a few days, the scrape had healed, but you may have noticed that you still had a scar on your knee, a scar that would not go away. In the same way, sometimes your friend may hurt you by ignoring you, by choosing someone else to play with, by talking about you to someone else, by being unfair to you in a game, or by laughing at you. Because he or she acts this way, both of you become unhappy and donÕt want to talk to each other. You might not know why he acted meanly to you. You might worry that she does not like you anymore. And so your friendship seems spoiled. If you try to talk to your friend, and ask him what happened, he may tell you why he acted the way he did. And if she had done something wrong to you, she may ask your forgiveness. Then you need to forgive her.

In the LordÕs Prayer, we pray, ÒForgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.Ó And so you can become friends again. You can laugh and play together with him or her again. But just like the scar on your knee that would not go away, you may still have a worry that something might happen again to break up your friendship.

And so you see that people change. Sometimes they can be kind and sometimes they can be unkind, they can be fair one day and unfair another, and friendly or hurtful. Even your friends can be this way. Because every boy and girl is a sinner, no one will have a perfect friendship. In the Bible, though, we read of Someone who is kind and merciful and never changes. You know Who this is, donÕt you? It is God: God the Father and Holy Spirit, and His Son the Lord Jesus. We read of God that He is Òmerciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercyÓ (Psalm 103:8). That means He does not quickly become angry with you, and He is ready to forgive you when you are sorry for your sin. And when you love and obey His laws, God is pleased to call you His friend (John 15:14-16).

But what if you start ignoring the Lord? What if you donÕt bother to pray for a few days, or you spend your time reading other books, but donÕt listen to the Bible being read? What if you disobey GodÕs commandments by being rude to your brothers and sisters, and not listening cheerfully to your parents? What happens then? Will the Lord still be a Friend to you? Or will He become angry with you and turn away from you? Will He ignore your prayers and not forgive your sin? No. The Lord will be angry at our sin, but He will also forgive it if we repent. You must then go to Him, tell Him your sins, and ask for forgiveness. And because the Lord does not change, He will still be merciful, even though we have left Him.

Read what it says in Malachi 3:6: ÒI am the LORD, I change not.Ó Our friends may change, turn their backs on us, and leave us, but the Lord is always merciful, willing to hear the prayers of anyone who is sorry for their sins.

ThereÕs a Friend for little children
Up above the bright blue sky,
A Friend who never changes,
Whose love will never die.

Unlike our friends by nature
Who change with passing years,
This Friend is always worthy
The precious name He bears.
(Author Unknown)

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