Things are kind of crazy in America right now, aren’t they? There’s full fledge crazy and chaos reigning supreme worldwide. It’s the kind of crazy that makes you feel frustrated, angry, scared, sad or any combination of the above.
Politics and those in leadership positions are fighting and tearing each other apart in allegiance to party, rather than working together for the greater good of all. There are mass shootings in our schools and places of worship while our babies are being killed by drive by shooters as they play on the stoops of their homes. There’s hateful words and acts being spewed towards groups of people based on their color, religion and sexual orientation. Christians worldwide are being persecuted. There are places in the world being ravished by war and violence. Record fires, floods and earthquakes.
It’s a lot. I could go on. But I won’t.
Some say we are in the end times. I believe we are. I also believe that it’s been the end times since Jesus ascended into heaven in front of his original disciples over 2,000 years ago.
As parents, how do we handle this? How do we handle explaining what is going on in the world to the ones that God entrusted us to train to change this world?
It’s simple really. We ground ourselves in the truth of God’s Word, and when our children come to us asking the tough questions, and they will, we answer them truthfully. You can’t shrug it off either, in some attempt to hide them from the ugliness out there, because, they need to be prepared. They can’t be prepared if we are too afraid to talk candidly about the world, and all its diverse issues, no matter their age. Prepare them, mama. Teach them.
I also think that a lot of the problems, issues, diverseness, etc., that we have so much trouble facing is because there’s a strong belief “out there,” that you don’t talk about the tough things. That adage, “Never talk, religion or politics in polite gatherings?” Or something to that affect. You could add, “or race issues, etc.”
No, mamas! Talk to your kids. Teach them to learn and not be ignorant of the world. Teach them how to be in the world, but not of it. (And that doesn’t mean shutting them in their rooms until they’re 35)
I have teens, and so, honestly, these conversations are easier to have with them than say a five-year-old. I strongly believe though, if your five-year-old is asking you a question about the world, God is in that moment and using that moment as a teachable moment.
Use His Word to guide you through it. Here are five truths and some passages that I have leaned on time and again when it comes to talking with my kids about what’s going on “out there.” I pray they help you. Highlight them in your Bible, write them on notecards, journal them out, pretty them up on frameable mats. Whatever creative means will help you and your children to dwell on and remember them.
1. First, and foremost, as parents, we must stress to our children that no matter how scary things seem to be, they aren’t.
For fear does not come from the Lord. That’s planted by Satan whose only goal is to deceive us and pull us from Christ. If we can’t remember this our self, let alone teach this to our kids, then it’s going to make the rest of what I must share hard to believe.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
“The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall, I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)
2. People are going to fail us.
Those closest to us, even our families, will let us down. It’s the nature of sin. So, it goes with out saying that our leaders, without a doubt, will let us down too. Other than praying for them, we can’t and shouldn’t spend an exuberant amount of time on or place any sort of allegiance to, our leaders. They. Will. Fail. Us. We only owe true allegiance to Christ.
“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37)
“You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3)
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)
3. This is a REALLY tough one, but stop arguing with others, especially when there’s no end in sight.
I seriously have trouble with this one, gals, so, trust me, I know how hard this is to lead your kids by example on this one. I have been trying to get the last word in since I uttered my first word, much to my parent’s dismay, and often, my detriment.
It is so easy to start arguing with someone when we feel our perspective is the right way, especially if we feel we are right because what we believe is Biblically correct. Yet, scripture tells us, first, not to argue. It also tells us to be mindful when someone does not know Christ. If they have not accepted Christ, then they are just not going to have a Biblical perspective. Their view, however good a person they are, is going to be a world view perspective, and that view can be convoluted from Satan. Asking them to believe or judge a matter from a Biblical perspective isn’t going to happen, if they aren’t truly grounded in the Word.
“A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.” (Proverbs 15:18)
“It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.” (Proverbs 20:3)
“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” (Ephesians 4:26-32)
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spiritof truth and the spirit of falsehood.” (1 John 4:4-6)
4. Hatred of people of other races, religions and those with other sexual preferences is flat out wrong.
Does God’s word teach us that Jesus is the only way to heaven? Yes. Does God’s word teach us that marriage is between a man and a woman? Yes.
However, it is not the way of Jesus to hate, berate, brow beat or whatever means of belittlement one can imagine, those who don’t believe that.
He did not teach that at all. Our job is to love them. That’s it.
And when we truly practice the love of Jesus, then God will open the doorway to sharing about Him and what He has done for them and if that person chooses to seek and follow Him, and make changes in their life, than that’s amazing, and it will have been their choice, and not through hateful shaming in the name of Jesus.
It honestly makes my stomach turn and my heart hurt at the way the “American Church” is rallying hatred, whether intentional or not, towards the Muslim and LBGT community, making excuses for treating those of other races wrongly or shaming women who made choices we don’t believe in or we wouldn’t have made.
It’s a terrible thing, and I for one, do not want my children behaving that way.
And, for goodness sake, mamas, please teach your children what empathy is!! Teach them that just because they don’t believe something to be true, especially when they have not walked in another’s shoes, that doesn’t mean that person’s hurt or grief or anger isn’t real to them. Teach your children to love on that person and ask them what they can do to help them, not tell that person to, “get over it.” Teach them to pray for that person, especially when they don’t like that person.
We must stand firm in the Word of God, yes. But we must not allow God’s Word to be misused as a weapon against those who are not believers.
God came to save everyone. Every. Single. Person. He created everyone. Every. Single. Person. He loves everyone. Every. Single. Person. Even those who believe differently than us. Even those whose sin is so reprehensibly unforgivable from our human perspective.
“ It is the written account of Adam’s family line. When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God.” (Genesis 5:1)
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)
“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:31)
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13: 34-35)
“And the LORD’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.” (2 Timothy 2:24)
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15)
“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:5-6)
“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 2:24-25)
5. Christians will be persecuted, but the battle is already won.
There’s outcry in the “American Church” of unjust persecution of Christians. (Which, realistically, we are so blessed in America to worship as we choose. Real, death and life, Christian persecution is happening on the other side of the world.) Christians are downright indignant of backlash the Christian community receives. Guess what? It’s biblical. Christians are going to be persecuted. To cry outrage and disbelief when it happens, well that shows you need to go back and read your Bible some more.
It’s Satan’s time to reign folks, we need to expect what’s going on in the world. God told us in His scriptures that following Him is HARD. It was never meant to be easy. If it was, what would be the point of His sacrifice to begin with?
Even so, he assures us that even amid persecution, trials and tribulations, He is right there. Even though it feels like Satan is winning the battle, he’s not. In fact, he knows that he already lost. He’s scared of God and His people and knows that we are conquerors through Christ who saved us.
We must remember this and to instill this in our kids. We must remind our self not to let Satan use things to tear us down.
Someone recently told me that Satan will use what makes us vulnerable to take us off the path God laid before us. At the time, I was having some people conflict, and I was fit to be tied. She said, “Right now, those people are making you vulnerable, so walk away and let someone else handle it.”
Good advice. Tell your kids to turn God when they are vunerable.
“You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 10:22)
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:7-9)
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
“But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” (2 Thessalonians 3:3)
“The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the LORD.” (Proverbs 21:31)
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:2-3)
Finally, my friends, remind your children that He always has their back:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)