Letter: I, and the Christian church, have the answer to Ahlin's question

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Jane Ahlin’s Dec. 9th column, “ Losing Life Expectancy ,” chronicles the devastating effects of drug addiction on our society, but, more importantly, on the effects of drug addiction to a family that has lost a child to it. I have not experienced that loss and cannot imagine the torturous heartache they are enduring. I pray for comfort and peace for their family.

Ahlin’s last paragraph poses these questions: The elephant in the room, however, is our inability to figure out why our society—our culture—makes young people feel a desperate need to escape. What is it that makes living so difficult that drugs and suicide are alluring? Why do they give in or give up when their lives have only just begun?

I’ve waited for a response, but the silence has been deafening. Perhaps folks are just plain old worn out from the brutal election or the ongoing vitriolic banter championed in our politics and media. Surely someone has opinions on this matter. I’m guessing no one wants to speak up and be hammered into submission. Well, I am taking Ahlin’s bait. I, and the Christian church, have the answer.

But first some context from a Christian’s perspective: As an American culture we came to a fork in the road, and we took it. I was a child of the 60’s and 70’s and witnessed firsthand the sexual revolution and drug culture growth of the times. The seeds of progressive post modernism were sown much earlier, but finally blossomed in the vibrant tie-dyed hues of the time. What spawned from this cultural shift? Moral degradation, self-medicated bliss through alcohol and drugs, degenerate sexual expression and consequently distorted norms, destruction of the family unit by divorce and cohabitation, and the absence or rejection of faith. Then entered the technology age with the quick highs of social media, pornography, materialism and gratuitous violence along with various pseudo religions of social justice, environmentalism, et al.

Ahlin stated that the elephant in the room is our inability to figure out why our society makes young people feel a desperate need to escape. The values our society holds forth as important are empty boxes wrapped to look like beautiful presents. From what are they escaping? Could it be the results of those dopamine fueled social media hits, those always regretted casual hookups, or the constant call of an addictive substance used for recreation or self-medication? None will satisfy and we eventually have to come down from all of them to real life, where anxiety, depression and hopelessness dwell.


Now the answer: Jesus. Is. The. Answer.

All of the social media fame, illicit sex, drugs, money, entertainment and pornography are simply an attempt to fill a longing in our souls that only Jesus can fill. I know this from personal experience, but I also know it from personal observation. When our society fails to give our young children guidance toward faith, they often stumble through the vices above, damaging their lives and souls. (I am not implicating this family whose story I do not know) The inability of these vices to fulfill the longing for meaning leaves young people depressed, empty, feeling meaningless, and hopeless.

Allow me to introduce you to Jesus. The Christian faith believes that all persons are born sinners, in need of a savior. Look around, and inward, and you will see this is quite evident. We believe that God cannot tolerate our sin, but because of his undeserved and unconditional love for us, gave us Jesus Christ as a sacrifice to atone for our sins. We believe Jesus Christ is the sinless son of God, foretold by the prophets, who came to pay the price for our sins in order to be our individual Savior. "If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." Romans 10:9-10 All you need to do is admit you are a sinner, accept Jesus as your savior and Lord, and enjoy a restored relationship with God for eternity.
There’s the basic gospel, but the benefits are the identity, forgiveness, righteousness, relationship, peace, comfort, strength, assurance and the indwelling Holy Spirit. Surely this is the name of the elephant in the room that Ahlin is struggling to identify: that our society does not search for value from whence it comes.

This Christmas look to the one who created you, God Almighty, and come to his son, Jesus Christ, to find the answers to all of life’s questions. Merry Christmas!

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