In a previous “Theology & Culture” (T&C) in February of 2022, we took a look at some of what was happening in our culture when it came to our children. We discussed that in many places children are being taught Critical Race Theory, race guilt, gender identity confusion, social justice and a
number of other views contrary to what many Americans want their kids indoctrinated in.
Any uproar over what is going on has fallen on many deaf ears. Those who want to confuse our kids over all kinds of issues continue to apply pressure in the aforementioned areas. On a positive note, there are people, from parents to others, who are not wilting under this ungodly attack on our children and are speaking out and standing up against this tide of destructive thinking.
For example, to his and the state’s credit, the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, signed a bill into law forbidding schools from talking about gender identity issues to kindergarten through third grade students. We could argue it should have forbid this discussion at all levels of education but it was a start. This, of course, has caused some people to lose their minds. The point is that it is not the government’s place to play the parent, and no child should be subjected to conversations such as those forbidden in this law enacted in Florida.
This is just one example of people fighting back to protect children and to put parenting where it rightly belongs - in the hands of moms and dads. Sadly, in some cases, parents have shown little concern or interest in well, parenting. Raising children takes work. It takes commitment. It takes having values that we can pass on to our children.
God has given parents the responsibility to raise and teach their children. We cannot pass that off to others. The church is here to support the parents, but not replace them, as we have noted on other occasions. As we wrap up this “War For Our Children’s Souls, Part 2,” let me encourage us
regarding what God wants from us by first noting what we mentioned previously.
First, we noted that our kids are given to us by God. Passages of Scripture such as Ps. 127:3 and Deut. 6:4-9 remind us that our children are an “inheritance” given to us by God and that we are to invest in their lives, teaching them Biblical truths that apply to life in general.
Second, we mentioned that we needed to pray for our children and invest in them. Parenting takes time and energy. We need to keep our kids before the Lord in our prayers. If you are not a parent of a child but God has put you in a place of influence with children, pray for them and teach them the things of the Lord when the chance is given to you.
And, finally, we shared the importance of modeling Jesus before children. They need to see a Christlike life in person. We must be sure that they are seeing Jesus in our actions and attitudes. Our lives need to match our words.
Let’s wrap up with a few other thoughts regarding our involvement with children and the ministry we have with them as parents or/and influencers.
In Ephesians 6:1, it easy to focus on the command for children to obey their parents. Some parents use this as a way of controlling their children. They expect the kids to do whatever they say. We should never expect our kids to do anything that violates Scripture and if we are
Christian parents, we must not ask them to do so.
There is a place for children obeying their parents as well. That is seen in this verse. In our society, children listening to their parents and doing simple things like chores, or being encouraged and taught to make morally right decisions is not supported by much of culture. We have people telling children to rebel against their parents and do their own thing, even though it may go against God’s Word. That makes it that much tougher for parents to do their job.
As parents, we must also keep in mind that if we are disobedient to God, it is hard to press our kids to be. We tell them to obey but do not model what God says. We need to set the example and model obedience.
Ephesians 6:4, though directed at dads, does include moms, and for our discussion, anyone who impacts kids. The verse says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
The point of the first part of the verse is that we are not to provoke (rouse to anger, exasperate) our kids to the point that we make them mad by how we are treating them, obviously in a negative way. There are parents who belittle their kids, mistreat them, and then, sadly, get angry when the child gets mad or responds in a way that the adults do not like.
We are not talking about a child getting mad because they did something wrong and we lay down rules, guidelines and discipline. But we must not harass, pick on and put down our kids. We cannot show favoritism, or be cruel.
The verse also reminds us that we are to bring up our children in the “discipline and
instruction of the Lord.” The idea of discipline relates to the entire training and education of
children, instilling in them morals, cultivating their mind, and correcting when needed. We must
encourage children as they grow.
The word “instruction” means teaching by words. It is giving kids wise counsel, though they may not always like it or want it. We instruct them in how to live so we need to make sure that we are being role models in following Christ as we do these things.
Children are the future of our country, churches, and society. There is a direct attack, as we have mentioned, on our kids. There is an agenda that is being force fed on youth of all ages today, whether it be, as we have noted, gender confusion, race guilt, etc. Those kids that God allows us to influence, whether our own or other children, make sure to teach them the ways of the Lord.
In closing, I would like to share a few thoughts from Andrew Palau. In an interview on “Family Life Today”, he was asked by the co-hosts, Bob Lapine and Dennis Rainey, about his father, who has gone to be with the Lord, the evangelist Luis Palau. Andrew was asked to speak as if his parents were in the room at that moment, and pay a tribute to them. The following are a few of things he noted and I want to share them with you as an encouragement to stay the course.
Andrew said, (1) His folks lived out their faith. No matter what he did, his parents never wavered in their commitment to Christ; (2) they never gave up on him. Even when Andrew drifted, they let him know that they loved him and encouraged him; (3) they prayed for him. We need to pray for our kids. Let them know that we are praying for them.