The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

I’m 16 and I have two jobs. I'm currently saving up for a motorcycle.

For years I have always wanted a motorcycle. It seems as if for some reason I can't live without it for long, like if I do not get it before summer ends, I will be miserable.

A lot of people have told me not to get one, but eventually I am going to get one. They tell me that they're not safe, you can die faster, etc. I understand all of that, and I ride my bike in the street with cars, trucks, busses, etc., and I think I can handle it. I know it's not the same but it is similar to riding a bicycle. One person I believe even said it was a sin. Their reasoning was that you're putting your life in danger knowing you could die! My response was you can die anywhere, no matter where you are. I believe I even told another person I was getting one, and they said “I thought you were a Christian.’’ What does that have to do with being a Christian?

I want to get into the sport. My mother always tells me that I want to be like my grandfather riding motorcycles. I’m not saying I won't try wheelies, stoppies and other tricks and stuff because I love those type of things, but I promised my family I will ride safe. The reasons I want a bike are just for the sport. I don't hate driving, but I think I may prefer riding.

I just want to have your opinion and feedback on this topic.

I also plan on doing something else, I know you would not like it, but I'll explain anyway. I have a motorcycle permit and where I live you can ride only with someone else if you have that. But I plan on riding by myself anyway! I need it for work, school, traveling and just having fun. At the same time I also do not want the cops to call my mom and explain to her why I’m not breathing. Recently I've been thinking that I do not want to end up with my last friend being the pavement or a car or something, meaning I don't want to die.

So I'd like your input on this. Thanks you are the best! You've helped me so many times!


Answer

I understand the glamor of riding a motorcycle. However, I also understand the teenage male brain -- having been one myself. As a teenager you don't evaluate risk very well. It isn't that you don't know that risks are present, but that you have difficulty making judgments, especially quick decisions, where all the potential risks are proper considered and weighed. I can see that in your note. You hit several concerns, but I can see that you haven't thought the problems all the way through.

I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to express this just like I would tell my own children.

My first concern is your safety, so therefore, I would insist that before you get a motorcycle that you take a good motorcycle safety course and not a cheap one. You need to learn what to do in the event of a crash to maximize your chance of survival. You need to know how to judge the road and what to do in bad driving conditions. If you want to do stunts on a bike, then you must first learn, so you need to take a second course that focuses on teaching bike stunts. I would require a promise that you will not attempt such trick riding until you learned how to do them safely.

My second requirement would be that you bear all the costs: license, insurance, the bike itself, and its maintenance. When you know it is money coming out of your own pocket, then you'll think twice about taking risks that may damage your bike or raise your insurance rates.

The third requirement is that you must act as a Christian, and that includes God's command: "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves" (Romans 13:1-2). You have to obey the laws, whether you agree with them or not. Thus, if you only have a permit, and the law requires an adult passenger, then you have to abide by it. That also includes all the driving laws. Yes, it will "cramp your style" for a bit, but it isn't forever.

If you just can't stand these requirements, then you demonstrate that you aren't mature enough yet to take on adult responsibilities. The fact that you have been planning to break laws to get what you want tells me that Satan has already wormed his way into your heart. A servant of God should not be planning to break laws. "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man" (Mark 7:21-23).

Now does this sound reasonable to you? If so, I want you to show this to your mom and tell her these are the requirements you are going to abide by and ask her politely if there are any others she thinks need to be added.

I haven't thought it that way and, yes, I would take the course and not do tricks until I've taken courses.

I don't know if I'm making a point with this but you stated that God has established the authorities. Do you mean that God has made these laws that the government has? I'm not sure but I know God would not allow guns to be so freely distributed around the world when people are using them in the wrong way. I know God would not create gay laws and legalize gay marriage. I understand what you are trying to say and help me follow directions and rules, but I know my God would not do such things. When Adam and Even sinned, God gave everyone freedom and let them make there own decisions and life is all about choices, so the government placed these laws.

I know what I was planning is wrong, but I don't even know. I was actually going to take the motorcycle safety foundation course and then get my license, but I'm not sure if I can get it right away or if I have to wait until November. The breaking the laws part was a backup plan, also I've spoken with many cops and they say most of the times your let of with a warning and that if your riding safe they will just let you go.

You misunderstood. Paul said, "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God" (Romans 13:1). Paul said this when the Roman Empire was at its height, and Paul had prophesied that severe persecutions by this government would shortly take place. Yet, Paul is reminding Christians that governments exist because God wants them in place. Peter put it this way, "Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king" (I Peter 2:13-17).

Governments, though authorized to exist by God, are still human institutions. People make mistakes. Wicked people can get into control and pass bad laws. Christians remember that because God authorizes the governments, the government's laws are subservient to God's laws. "Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than men!"" (Acts 5:29). What it comes down to is that as long as a government's laws don't run counter to God's laws, we are expected to be good citizens and obey the government. When a government makes laws that violates God's law, we ignore men and follow God.

There are times when God puts wicked people into power. He does so for His purposes. "For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth"" (Romans 9:17). Pharaoh's stubbornness and wickedness gave God an opportunity to display His might as he brought Israel out of Egypt.

Yes, right now we have a corrupt government from a Christian's point of view that is enacting laws that make a mockery of God's laws. Those laws will be ignored by faithful Christians. But I'm certain that God's is allowing this to happen to bring about a future change. But just because a government has gone bad in one area, it does not give us the right to ignore them in all areas. That would be putting ourselves above the government. The characteristic of the time of Judges is stated both at the beginning and end of the book: "In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit" (Judges 21:25). The statement is to explain why the people morally went from bad to horrible as documented in Judges.

It doesn't matter if some cops say they will look the other way. You are surviving right now without a motorcycle. Having one will make it easier in some ways, but if it doesn't happen as fast as you want, your life is not worse. Here you have to exercise patience.

Wow!

I thank you for this so so much and now understand. I still have to obey the government in other ways and only ignore the ones that are making a mockery of God.

I have been quite patient. Let's see, I wanted a motorcycle a few years back, now I got my permit after months of waiting and I was happy after that. Each of my checks from my job went straight to my mom without me thinking twice and I still do it. I've been trying to save up since April for the motorcycle but I realized she needed the money, so about last week I told her I will have to start saving up my money. You know I have a lot of patience but sometimes throughout my life it's like "When can I ever get something for me or spoil myself!" Now that I plan on saving my money for this would this be an act of selfishness knowing that my mom needs the money?

Also I plan on riding with a friend and obeying the laws! But I really wanted this motorcycle and I've been waiting for it forever.

Another thing with me: I have started to get an attitude that is like "I don't care." Like whenever my mom is yelling at me or telling me to do something I always tell her, "I simply do not care," and I really don't. It's like I'm just fed up with everyone and everything. I don't know if you've ever got that feeling, but it's like I hate everyone! I can't stand people and I don't care for them. But I walk around with this fake smile on my face but deep down inside I feel like just doing something to them. I know I won't but sometimes I have these feeling inside of me. I know I actually care for them.

I say I'm a Christian, but am I really? I know I cannot let God down because He's the one who's holding me up, but that's how it feels sometimes. I even have thoughts all the time as in what would happen if I were to die and leave this earth, and it makes me happy just thinking about leaving early and leaving everyone behind. I don't know what to do.

I just want to hurry up and get my motorcycle so I can cruise off in the middle of the night and just ride! Clear my head sometimes. Have fun! Fun only I would enjoy. It's like I'm antisocial. I don't really get along with people, and it's just really awkward talking to them. I just can't wait for a lot of things like moving out of my parents house and going to college. Maybe then I would change. I just can't wait! Maybe I don't have any patience, but I'm holding on and trying. I'm killing myself out two jobs just to get this motorcycle. The motorcycle just seems as my way out from everything! My way out from being awkward with people, stop hating people, etc. Maybe people might think I'm cool because I ride a motorcycle. Maybe I might even get a girlfriend who will stay! Just maybe.

Anyways thank you so much for your response.

Why does it have to be all or nothing? Can you give your mom a good portion of the money you are making and save a portion for the future? I know that any delay seems impossibly long when you've only lived 16 years (and 16 years is not close to forever), but you can accomplish two tasks at once.

What you are feeling is the need to be independent. It is what every male goes through to one degree or another. I think it is built into us. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). However, in your drive to be independent, you are disconnecting yourself from people in general and that isn't good. As independent as you want to be, you still need other people.

"There is one alone, without companion: he has neither son nor brother. Yet there is no end to all his labors, nor is his eye satisfied with riches. But he never asks, "For whom do I toil and deprive myself of good?" This also is vanity and a grave misfortune. Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken" (Ecclesiastes 4:8-12).

You know that you really do care about people, it is just you have feelings that are getting it in the way at the moment. Pretending to feel different when you know the feelings are wrong is the proper thing to do (Proverbs 28:26).

A motorcycle is going to give you more freedom of movement, but it isn't going to solve life's problems. If you get a girlfriend simply because you have a motorcycle, what kind of girl would she be? What would happen when a guy with a bigger, shinier bike comes along? You need a girlfriend who desires you as a person and not the toys you own.

If there are things that you are not happy with about yourself, the time to change them is now. Don't wait for events around you to force you to change. Don't think that mere things can really change your character.

Are you really a Christian? That isn't something I can directly answer. There are lots of people who claim to be Christians but never bother following the commands of Christ. "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46). I would like you to read What Must I Do to be Saved? and see if that matches with what you have done. It should be a matter of knowing and not feeling. "Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked" (I John 2:3-6).