Daily Devotional for Saturday December 23, 2006

The Tragic Death of James Dungy and the Teen Internet Site MySpace

(John 8:44, 10:10)


This email comes from: bloody_vampiric_mistress@ "there is no problem with myspace look mine up at it is a place for people of all ages to meet friends so what people use profile to express themselves just because were all not perfect like you want us to be so what no ones perfect and you know what there is nothing wrong with what kind of music we listen to or what religion we have everyone is an individual in there own way everyone is expressive in there own way and who in the hell are you to judge others for there individuality you are nothing your life is meaningless you are nothing but a worthless peace of shi and i hope you die a slow and painful death you nasty bastar*"

I was already finishing a Devotional I had been working on for months on the teen internet site MySpace.com, when the tragic news came last December that James Dungy, the 18-year-old son of Indianapolis Colts' Head Football Coach Tony Dungy was found dead of an apparent suicide. As the details of his death began to emerge, it was learned that James had overdosed on prescription medication just a few months earlier. Another critical detail that came to light was the content of James' personal webpage on the popular teen internet site MySpace.com. Today, I want to speak directly to young adults about how precious this life is, and to parents about how critical it is to know what is really in your child's heart and head.

Let me speak first to the young adults. Please, listen to what I am telling you today. Your life is a gift from God. It is special. It is precious. You only get one. That is why I warn you all the time about the things out there that can damage, even destroy your one and only life. Things like alcohol, drugs, and sex. Never forget that satan's mission is to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10), and that means YOU! Satan is not some Disney cartoon character, some loveable class clown. He is the enemy of your soul and wants you destroyed and DEAD!

Satan masterfully uses the media to feed his lies to the masses 24/7/365 through music, TV, radio, movies, advertising, and the Internet. Never forget that Jesus exposed him for who he really is, a LIAR (John 8:44). He tells you the same lies he told Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. "God really didn't mean that," God doesn't want you to have fun," "it won't hurt you, "and on and on his lies go. He is often called the "tempter." Satan also plays on your youth and the fact you simply don't have enough life experiences to comprehend how dangerous some of the things you do really are. Not ONE adult in their 40s or 50s would honestly tell you they would make the same choices they did at 16 if they had known then what they know now!

Here is the bottom line. Satan is a liar and wants you DEAD. God is Truth and wants you to LIVE. This is really simple. Satan's goal is to destroy you and kill you. God wants to bless you and have a relationship with you for all eternity. If you ever think of killing yourself, those thoughts are from satan, NOT God. Satan will lie to you and tell you that you are better off dead, that your life has no meaning, that nobody cares about you or loves you. ALL LIES! The Truth is God wants you to have life, and life more abundantly. The Truth is that your life has meaning and purpose. The Truth is that there are people who care about you and love you. The Truth is that God loves you and cares about you more than you will ever know!!!

Parents, let me speak to you for a moment. The greatest need your child has is for you to love them and nurture them. You do that by praying for your child every day, by raising your child in the admonition of the Lord and in the Truth of His Word. You do that by protecting your child from the evils of this world. You do that by providing for your child's needs. You do that by having a RELATIONSHIP with your child, and that only happens through open and honest communication. The greatest need I see daily in the relationship of parents and their children is more open and honest communication. There is no substitute for taking the time to sit down and COMMUNICATE with your child. The younger they are when you start really communicating with them, the better that communication is as they get older.

OK parents, now I am going to give you perhaps the greatest information I ever will other than what is in the Bible. I assure you, unknown to 90% of the parents reading this today is a teen internet site called MySpace ( www.myspace.com ). It is a website designed predominantly for young adults to go and create their own custom webpage. There is a basic template that they fill in with pictures, with information on their likes and dislikes, with their blog ( a modern day "dear diary") that others can read and respond to, in addition to links to their friend's MySpace pages. I assure you that 70% of the kids between 14-20 who are on the computer have a MySpace. Of course, there are other comparable sites, but by far MySpace is the most popular of all in this genre of websites.

Let me make sure you understand what I am telling you. If your child has a MySpace, you will find out more about your child, what is really going on in their heart and head than you ever dreamed you would know. This is their personal signature, who they are, and in many cases a side of them that you never knew existed. By following the links to their friend's MySpace, you will also get a keen insight into who they really are and what is in their hearts and heads as well.

I would encourage every parent with a child between 14-20 that is on the computer at all to ask your child if they have a MySpace or something comparable, and that you want to read their page. Be prepared for your child to lie that they don't have one. Be prepared that if they do, they will probably put up a huge fight about letting you read it. Be prepared that if you do read it, what you will find out. Based on what is on your child's MySpace, you have the perfect opportunity to really start openly and honestly communicating with your child, since again, what you will read is in most cases their innermost thoughts and what is in their heart.

For privacy reasons, I chose not to reveal the MySpace page of the sad young girl who wrote that email I shared with you at the beginning. However, having viewed her MySpace, it was VERY chilling. Glorification of death, of promiscuous sex, a page that reeked of satan and utter rebellion to God and his Word. I am fairly certain that this girl's parents have never read her MySpace, though they need to since she is very troubled and is in for a difficult and rough life unless she turns her life around and to the Lord. In most cases I deal with, young adults like this troubled girl don't have anyone in their life who really cares about them and they grow up in homes void of God and His love and Truth. They are simply looking for attention in their rebellion. Pray for her, since she needs to come to know the love of Jesus Christ in her heart and life.

I would be shocked if Coach Dungy or his wife had any knowledge of James' MySpace. It was full of thug and gangster themes, glorifying smoking pot, adulation of thug rappers like Tupac and Snoop Dogg. No doubt some of it may have been a "front," or simply an effort to be someone he really wasn't. Many young adults will use this type of site to portray themselves as someone they fantasize about being. But there is still much truth to be gained about a person from what is on these sites.

James Dungy's MySpace was disturbing enough to know that something wrong was going on in this young man's heart and life. The scary thing is that this is a young man who was raised by two loving, nurturing, and Godly parents. He was afforded all of the possible blessings life could offer a young person. He was raised in the church! Yet despite all he had going for him, James had some serious issues going on in his life. His very last post on his blog talked about not having "ne one to talk to."

Parents, listen to me carefully. YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CHOICES YOUR CHILD MAKES. God gave them the same free will He has given you and each person. That is why raising your child in the admonition of the Lord, in His Word, is so critical. So you can hopefully start shaping at a young age those choices your child will make later in their life. James Dungy was 18, living on his own in a campus apartment. Coach Tony Dungy and his wife are NOT responsible for his choice to take his life. It was his choice, and his choice alone. If you had a child take their life, YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CHOICE YOUR CHILD MADE! You can only do your best, and at some point, leave them to the Lord and pray for them.

I love you and care about you so much. The death of James Dungy is a sad reminder of how busy satan is in trying to destroy the lives of our children. It is also another reminder of how raising your children is the greatest ministry that a mother and father will ever have in this life. Young adults need to understand that life is not a game, it is a precious gift from God and this one life we each have will be over sooner than we think. The key is to fulfill our Divine purpose of serving and glorifying God with our life and living it each day for Him. Parents need to do the best job they can at laying a foundation of faith in their child's life, and doing their best to openly and honestly communicate with their child.

For any young adult reading this today that has had thoughts of killing yourself, STOP AND LISTEN TO ME. That message to kill yourself is coming from the lips of satan who wants you dead. NOTHING IN YOUR LIFE IS WORTH KILLING YOURSELF OVER. You are not alone! God loves you very much. If you feel there is nobody to listen to you, email me! I am here for you. My email address is bkeller@liveprayer.com . Everything you say is 100% confidential. I will do my best to help you. Killing yourself is NEVER the answer. There is always hope and God will always provide an answer. I am praying for you.

For you parents, again I can only encourage you to do your best to instill God's Truth in your children starting when they are in the womb. The more you openly and honestly communicate with your child, the better your relationship will be and your child will never feel like they have nobody to talk to. The greatest gift you will ever give your child is YOURSELF! Don't ever get so busy with your own life that you neglect your child. This is a wicked, sinful, and evil world that we live in. Your child needs you to help guide them and protect them from the traps satan has layed to destroy, even kill them. I am praying for you as God gives you His wisdom and strength each day in raising your children.