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« How Wide Is the Door? | Main | I Love America »

To the Class of 2009:

You are one of seven billion people who live on planet Earth. You are one of over 306 million people in the United States of America. You are one of about 2.9 million high school graduates in the nation. Despite these statistics, you are one-of-a-kind. You are absolutely unique. You bring something to society, to the culture, to your circle of friends and to your family that makes you unique.

Now is the time to begin to respect who you are more than ever before. The huge choices that lie in front of you today call for your best and highest efforts. The difference you make in the world may mean the preservation of hundreds of lives. Something you do, something you accomplish, something into which you invest yourself may be critical to some important person that you don’t even know today.

I say this because hundreds of young people will die the day they graduate through alcohol-related causes. Thousands of high school graduates will suffer serious injuries on their graduation day. Many will lose their reputations, their honor, their mental abilities and their futures on the day that should mark the greatest milestone of achievement in their young lives.

Today, heartbroken parents will be called to identify the grisly remains of a precious boy or girl that they loved and nurtured for eighteen years. The few days after graduation rank among the highest for teens overdosing on drugs, contracting STD’s and taking their own lives. Through wild and crazy parties, risks and dares, stupid choices and heightened mental depression, young people whose lives should stretch out before them comes to a mangled and shocking halt. These acts are not innocent. They are encouraged by today’s cult of perverts who have a fascination with death. These lyrics are a small sample of the suicide lyrics sung by some of the most popular rock bands today:

Ablaze My Sorrow

Is this just a preparation, For what is soon to come?
Another life might be waiting, For me to enter the tomb

I am not the only one I am dying to find out
I want my life to rest, Solution suicide

This life is filled with ignorance, We are all born to die
No one knows what is to come, No one can see beyond life and time

Enter the realm of death, Sacrifice your life
To fill the emptiness, With knowledge from the other side

The music culture has a profound influence over the minds of young people. In addition to these depressing suicide lyrics, songs about killing people, getting drunk, getting high, committing sex crimes, disrespecting women and total lawlessness populate websites like iMusic, eMusic, Pandora, Rhapsody and many others like them. Driven by Satanic forces, depression and nihilism, the youth culture seems to be imploding on itself.

Class of 2009, reject this dark cloud of negativity and start loving life. Don’t hand over the reins of your life to the fried brains of a twisted rocker. Don’t let the sweet temptation of crystal meth, brown sugar or white crack bludgeon your brain into senselessness. It is now time to stand up against it all and respect who you are and where you’re going.

Joseph respected himself and made a difference. He held his head high, even after being sold into slavery. He rejected the sexual advances of his boss’s wife and was thrown into prison, but he didn’t give in. He lay forgotten in his cell for years before his good deeds were remembered, but he didn’t let it get to him. Eventually, he climbed up the ladder of success and became one of the greatest men in the kingdom of Egypt.

Paul respected himself and survived the crushing weight of guilt because he persecuted and murdered Christians. When he knew that other church leaders were wrong, he didn’t back down. He made his views known in a respectable way and gained the confidence of the entire church. His stature among the early Christian church members was huge. Today, one can hardly mention the writings of the New Testament without calling the name of the Apostle Paul.

Jesus respected himself and stood firm against the religious hierarchy of his day. He knew who he was and what he came to do. He submitted himself to the mockery of a trial, the abuse of the mob and the injustice of the cross. Yes, he was the Almighty God manifest in flesh, but he was also a human being with all the related weaknesses and limitations of the body. Despite feeling totally abandoned by the Father, he said, “Not my will but thine be done.” It was not self-loathing, but self-respect that authored that statement.

  • Self-respect enables you to be humble without humiliation.
  • Self-respect leads you to self-confidence without arrogance.
  • Self-respect means you can be sure without being presumptuous.
  • Self-respect teaches you to love yourself without being narcissistic.
  • Self-respect helps you to be assertive without being demanding.
  • Self-respect shows you how to be responsible without breaking beneath the load.
  • Self-respect informs you how to love others without being co-dependent.
  • Self-respect provides a way to be submissive without being robbed of self-identity.

If you truly respect yourself, you will …


…accept the fact that God loves you.

…embrace the fact that Jesus Christ died for you.

…understand that you are eternal and will live forever somewhere.

…realize that you have been created for a divine purpose.

…understand that you are a unique person, unlike anyone else in the world.

…accept the priceless value of your soul.

…agree that you matter in the grand scheme of the universe.

…deliberately ingest positive words and thoughts into your mind.

…exercise great caution in choosing and cultivating your relationships.

…invest in a great education.

…continue to learn throughout the remainder of your life.

…impose great discipline on your mind and body.

…develop your talents as much as possible.

…develop good moral virtues and habits.

…constantly work to improve yourself in every way.

…spend your money wisely, effectively and frugally.

…apply the highest standards of integrity and honesty to your life.

…develop a healthy fear and respect for God.

…respect your fellow travelers in the journey of life.

…resist any adversity that threatens to hinder you from fulfilling your dreams.

…protect your name and reputation from ruin.

…guard your eyes and ears from destructive influences.

…not waste your time on inconsequential matters.

…not abuse your body through neglect or dangerous behaviors.

…not resign yourself to second best in anything.

…not allow your mind to be destroyed by any substance or philosophy.

…not neglect your spiritual life.

Class of 2009, you can be better than all the classes of all the years who went before you. Respect your worth, your value and your future.


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