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Hello everyone! What are some of your favorite things to do on Sabbath? I like to watch nature shows, listen to music, and read! :)

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Parents Rules on Sabbath Keeping-Really Annoying

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My parents have a ton of rules that my siblings and I have to follow on Sabbath. I find this really annoying, but I don’t know what I can do about it.—Help Me, 14, OH


Shayna Answers:

Dear Help Me,

Welcome to every Adventist kid’s world. I’m sure all of us have memories of boring Sabbath afternoons with no hope of anything “fun.” But what was worse than the restrictions was the lack of explanation as to why they were in place. To your parents’ credit, explaining the concept of Sabbath to a 6-year-old can be pretty hard. Now, however, you’ve been in the routine for 14 years!

It’s our parents’ responsibility to teach us appropriate social behavior. This encompasses spirituality, worship, and yes, appropriate Sabbath behavior. Even if you decide not to interpret Sabbath your parents’ way when you become an adult, it’s important for them to teach you there’s a distinction between Sabbath and the rest of the week.

Now that you’re a teenager, you raise a good point. You shouldn’t be expected to follow the same rules that you did as a kid, but this is mainly because Sabbath shouldn’t be the same experience for you.

As we grow up, it’s our responsibility to decide what we believe and why. This includes making Sabbath and other spiritual  things more of a personal experience. Your parents shouldn’t have to tell you what to do or not to do, because you should be formulating your own ideas about the importance of Sabbath.

Let’s briefly talk about why Sabbath is important. You probably already know Exodus 20:8-11, but this longest and most descriptive commandment is also the only one that entreats us to “remember” it. Deuteronomy 8:18 and 11:1 also emphasize the importance of obedience to God’s commands. And Isaiah 58:13, 14 not only promises blessings for keeping Sabbath, but it also reminds us that Sabbath should be a joy.

As you grow up, you’ll find that observing Sabbath will also be an exercise in trust. The temptation to treat Sabbath like any other day will only increase, yet God made the Sabbath a covenant with us to increase our faith and show us that we can trust Him (see Exodus 31:16, 17).

Usually the sort of activities that help us to relax, demonstrate our love for God, and maintain a worshipful mind-set are quiet  and peaceful ones. What’s most important about Sabbath is making a conscious effort to focus on God. So get creative! Join the AYS committee at church, help with children’s church, or come up with some community projects or games that will help keep the other youth in your church involved.

I also encourage you to talk to your parents about their rules. Think about what would make the Sabbath day more enjoyable for you and talk to them about it. Remember that “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27). It’s OK to have fun as you honor God. In fact, He intended it that way.
 



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