We often speak with disdain about the lives of people who are living carelessly or godlessly. If we aren’t careful with our words and careful about how we handle our fear, we can poison those closest to us against someone who is highly valued by our God. Yet…when we are in the presence of that someone…we most likely treat them as though they are valued.
Suddenly, one day years later, our teen treats those very people with disdain and we are stunned. We feel humiliated and ashamed by their behavior. We lecture them in the car on the way home and once again when we arrive home.
But what if we had valued these folks behind their backs with our words because we know God values and love them? What if we valued them in person and behind closed doors?
Our children would be released to value everyone – even those whose lives don’t reflect what we so desperately want them to reflect.
With that thought, though, fear rises in us! We desperately do not want our kids to accept the behavior of these people and then possibly slip into their harsh attitudes or destructive lifestyle.
So there is a balance. In order for this to work in your particular family, it has to be a God-directed balance.
I think in our society we are so politically correct that (even in our homes) we can throw out the baby with the bath water. Either we teach our kids to love everyone and say little to explain why they are wrong or we love no one beyond a small core of people and rage against anyone who is morally unsound.
We want to teach our kids the difference between right and wrong and yet…we want to teach them to hate the sin not the sinner. That balance is unique for each family…even each family member. One child might be able to walk that tightrope easily without being influenced in the wrong direction. The other might jump on the bandwagon of love and acceptance that drags them into the same lifestyle.
Know your child. Know his heart…her weaknesses and strengths. Build in the safeguards for each one. Pray this prayer (these verses) constantly for yourself and each of your loved ones:
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)