Young People Ask . . .
Why Do Other Youths Have All the Fun?
“We just want to have fun, but it’s so hard,” 15-year-old Jason complained.
IT’S only natural to want to have fun—especially when you’re young! For most youths, having fun is as important as eating and sleeping. Spurred on by their peers and the media, youths eagerly pursue a wide variety of recreational activities. According to one survey, visiting friends, watching TV, going to movies, partying, and dancing topped the list of favorite evening pastimes among teenagers. Reading, playing games and sports, and listening to music were also popular.
With so many fun activities available, adults may have a hard time understanding why some youths, like Jason, feel that they are not having enough fun. But that is exactly what some Christian youths have claimed! Young Casey, one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, put it this way: “You see all your friends at school having parties and doing things, and you feel really left out.” But is the situation actually that bad?
Does the Bible prohibit having a good time? Quite the contrary. The Bible calls Jehovah “the happy God.” (1 Timothy 1:11) It should therefore not surprise you that King Solomon said: “For everything there is an appointed time, . . . a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to wail and a time to skip about.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4) The original Hebrew word for “laugh” here and related words can also mean “celebrate,” “play,” “make sport,” ‘offer amusement,’ and “have a good time.”—2 Samuel 6:21; Job 41:5; Judges 16:25; Exodus 32:6; Genesis 26:8.
Back in Bible times, God’s people enjoyed a variety of wholesome activities, such as playing musical instruments, singing, dancing, conversing, and playing games. They also had special occasions for feasting and joyful association. (Jeremiah 7:34; 16:9; 25:30; Luke 15:25) Why, Jesus Christ himself attended a marriage celebration!—John 2:1-10.
Wholesome fun is therefore not prohibited among Christian youths today. Indeed, the Bible says: “Rejoice, young man, in your youth, and let your heart do you good in the days of your young manhood.” However, Solomon follows up these words with a caution: “But know that on account of all these the true God will bring you into judgment.” (Ecclesiastes 11:9) Yes, you are responsible before God for the choices you make. You must therefore “keep strict watch that how you walk is not as unwise but as wise persons” when it comes to recreation. (Ephesians 5:15, 16) The reason? Many young ones make very poor choices in this regard.
When Fun Gets Out Of Control
Consider what happened back in Bible times. Some Israelites lost all sense of balance when it came to recreation, throwing wild parties that lasted all night! The prophet Isaiah said: “Woe to those who are getting up early in the morning that they may seek just intoxicating liquor, who are lingering till late in the evening darkness so that wine itself inflames them! And there must prove to be harp and stringed instrument, tambourine and flute, and wine at their feasts.” Not that it was wrong to get together and enjoy food, music, and dance. But Isaiah says regarding these revelers: “The activity of Jehovah they do not look at.”—Isaiah 5:11, 12.
Many youths today do the same—they give little thought to God when they seek recreation. Some brazenly defy godly standards, engaging in premarital sex, vandalism, drug abuse, and other reckless behavior for “fun.” In other cases, though, the young ones are not really trying to be wicked. But they fail to do things in moderation and to avoid excesses. (Proverbs 23:20; 1 Timothy 3:11) So when they get together to have a good time, things tend to get out of control.—Compare 1 Corinthians 10:6-8.
Recently, Awake! asked some young ones, “What goes on at worldly parties today?” One teenage girl answered: “Drugs, drinking. It really happens.” Young Andrew said regarding some party-going boys in his school: “All they ever do is brag about how much they drank.” Jason even went so far as to say: “A worldly party almost always has bad stuff going on.” Since “revelries,” or “wild parties,” are condemned in the Bible, God-fearing youths avoid social gatherings that feature such practices.—Galatians 5:21; Byington.
Dangers may even lurk in seemingly harmless forms of recreation. Many of today’s most popular movies, for example, feature nudity, graphic sex, and sickening violence. Hit songs often contain pornographic lyrics. Rock concerts are commonly scenes of drug abuse, bedlam, and violence.a
When Parents Say No
The bottom line? If you are a Christian, you simply cannot do all the things your peers enjoy doing. After all, Jesus said that his followers would be “no part of the world,” and that means being different from other people. (John 15:19) If your parents are God-fearing, they are keenly aware of this fact. So at times, out of a desire to protect you, your parents may discourage or firmly forbid certain things—things other youths are allowed to do. This is not always easy to take. “People want to have fun!” insisted one teenage girl. “Our parents got to have fun when they were young, but sometimes it feels like they want to keep us locked up.”
Following your parents’ advice in such matters may not be easy, even when you basically share their point of view. One athletic-looking youth we’ll call Jared recalls: “I wanted to play basketball on the school team. A lot of people were pressuring me to play, and it kind of bothered me. But then I talked to my parents.” Jared’s parents pointed out the dangers of “bad associations” and reminded him of how time-consuming his sports activities would be. (1 Corinthians 15:33) “That was it,” Jared says sadly. He went along with his parents’ advice, but he still felt bad that he didn’t get to play ball.
‘I’m Missing Out!’
Whatever your situation, you may likewise get discouraged from time to time when you hear your schoolmates boasting of their good times. ‘Why do other youths get to have all the fun?’ you may ask. Yes, how can you overcome the feeling that you are missing out?
It might help if you read Psalm 73 and meditate on the experience of the Bible writer named Asaph. In Ps 73 verses 2 and 3, he makes this confession: “As for me, my feet had almost turned aside, my steps had nearly been made to slip. For I became envious of the boasters.” Yes, while Asaph led a restricted life, others boasted that they could do whatever they wanted—apparently with no bad results. It seemed that they had plenty and were always getting more. (Ps 73 Verse 12) Asaph thus became so discouraged that he cried out: “Is it for nothing, then, that I have kept myself pure and have not committed sin?”—Psalm 73:13, Today’s English Version.
Fortunately, Asaph came to his senses before he did anything rash. He made a visit to “the grand sanctuary of God,” and in those wholesome surroundings, he gave matters serious thought. Before long Asaph had drawn a remarkable conclusion regarding godless pleasure seekers: “Surely on slippery ground is where you place them. You have made them fall to ruins.”—Psalm 73:17, 18.
The same can be said of many of your pleasure-seeking peers. They may think that they are having a good time now. But the enjoyment of sin is only temporary! (Hebrews 11:25) Because they do not follow Bible standards, they are standing “on slippery ground” and are in constant danger of experiencing a terrible crash—suddenly and without warning. God’s Word declares: “Whatever a man is sowing, this he will also reap.” (Galatians 6:7) Surely you have heard of young ones your age who have already suffered premature death, sexually transmitted disease, unwanted pregnancy, or jail as a result of “fun” escapades. Does it not benefit you, then, to steer clear of such things?—Isaiah 48:17.
Solomon gives good advice when he says: “Let your heart not be envious of sinners, but be in the fear of Jehovah all day long. For in that case there will exist a future, and your own hope will not be cut off.” (Proverbs 23:17, 18) Yes, no “good” time is worth losing one’s hope of living forever in Paradise on earth.
In the meantime, how can you satisfy your natural desire to have a truly good time once in a while? Are there safe, wholesome ways to do so? What if money and other resources are limited? Awake! asked youths around the world for some suggestions and ideas. These will be discussed in a future article in this series.
a See the article “Young People Ask . . . Should I Attend Rock Concerts?” in our December 22, 1995, issue.
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Should you feel left out because you cannot engage in what the world calls fun?