rev._joaquin_willis_3.jpgPeople struggle these days with making commitments. Our youth are being lost and many avoid having families and building community. If we would change this, it will take recommitting to God, redeeming our youth and rebuilding our communities. Psalm 37:5 provides the key: “Commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him and He shall bring it to past.”

Many today, especially the youth, are filled with anger towards God. Many are also angry with the church. Young people are angry with their parents, neighbors and friends.
We can hear their anger in the lyrics of their music. We see frowns and scowls on young faces and we see hurt and frustration in their eyes. Consequently, we see, among other things, young boys’ pants dragging and the hems of young girls’ skirts going up. In both cases, we see their underwear is showing.

Proverbs 3:5-6 states, “Trust in the Lord with all our heart and leaning not on our own understanding, [but] in all our ways acknowledging Him and He will make our paths straight.”

Paul stressed to the Corinthians in II Corinthians 5:18-19, that reconciliation with Christ equips us for recommitment and it leads towards redemption: “All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them, and He committed to us the message of reconciliation.”

When we do not let mercy and truth forsake us, God promises us our performances in life will be acceptable to Him. Those who believe God become seen as wise and able, because they are not seen by others as leaning on their own understanding but, rather, committed to acknowledging God in their lives and showing trust by letting God direct their paths.

It’s not too late to redeem our youth. The heart of the un-regenerated child of God, of any age, is filled with hostility towards God.  And their attitude offends Him. The dangerous thought, “We can live life without God,” is sweeping the world.

The good news is, through Christ we can still be reconciled with God but we must teach this to the children and to adults who are in Christ and teach them what words like “reconciliation” and “redemption” mean. Simply stated, they mean, for the repentant sinner – one who is sorry – a second chance to get right with God.

Today’s youth find many adults to be hypocrites, as they demand that kids do as they say, while we adults do as we want. You cannot expect to raise a child with integrity doing that.

For years, in my church, we’ve studied biblical passages centered on the rebuilding of community; i.e. Nehemiah, Ester, Ezra and Isaiah. The message and the prophecy in all were consistent: God promises us a Savior-Redeemer who would come, teach us and save us from sin and then He would reconcile us with God.

This Savior-Redeemer is Christ Jesus. He was not a sinner but He became for us a “sin-offering,” like a lamb, to God, a living sacrifice for our sins. 

How can we in Christ lose, if we too labor and suffer for God? We win the victory – for God, our youth and our community – when we suffer and labor serving our fellow human beings in the church and in the community, whether they are of the church or of the community.

He begs us sinners to put aside our hatred of Him, of our brothers and sisters in Christ and of our neighbors and to accept the salvation He offers us through Jesus’ death on the cross.

The goal of God’s design in all this is that we might be made right with Him so that we might be freely justified by God’s grace, through the redemption of our youth. And that we in Christ Jesus might recommit to God, redeem our youth and rebuild our communities by becoming the righteous of God upon this earth.

The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door UCC in Miami’s Liberty City community. He may be reached at 305-759-0373 or