Proverbs 22:6 (Passion Translation)
Dedicate your children to God
and point them in the way that they should go,
and the values they’ve learned from you will be with them for life.
In most places of our country, school is already in full swing. Sports have started their seasons and most children are back to socializing with their peers on a regular basis. This is a great blessing! Considering this time last year, we were all confined to our homes trying and mostly failing with few exceptions, to create a digital community. It’s just not the same. Life for our young people is beginning to transition back to normal and that's something to be excited about. Though, at the same time it can be terrifying! Yes, sending your sweet, innocent child into a dark, ruthless world can be unsettling. Especially these days, when culture is violently trying to silence and back into a corner those who believe in the truth. Though there is a spiritual battle for the mind and heart of your child, fear not! The Lord has overcome! Not only has He overcome, but before the foundations of the earth were spoken by Him into existence, He saw the lives of our children and decided now was the perfect time for them to make their grand entrance into the world. Kind of a humbling honor, isn’t it? He decided your kid would be the perfect candidate to stand for Truth in a seriously dark world. Which also means, God decided that you were the perfect parent to raise a child in a world like this. Crazy right? Sometimes I feel like the train of sanity has come far off the rails of our home life. At times my wife and I are reduced to a shell of parents by my four very human children who are experts at finding every limit we ever had. The Lord sees our very real, imperfect family and all of the mess we cart around with us and still says, “These guys are perfect for bringing my Kingdom into the world.” He sees your family in all of its chaos and calls you His beloved Kingdom Pioneers.
We have to believe this, because Proverbs 22 is not just a word of comfort. It is also a command of direction as well. It says quite literally, that we are preparing our kids to go out into the world. The Lord expects us to not only believe that when they are adults, but also as they grow up in our homes as well. Your kids are carrying the Kingdom of God when they go to school, soccer, homeschool group, on their first date, at the bowling alley and anywhere else you give them permission to go. It’s crucial that they know this and feel equipped to walk in it. We must refuse to believe that little Suzy and Johnny are victims or too fragile to be equipped to go out into the world. We do need to be there for them and ready to calmly walk with them through the hard stuff they don't understand.
Your kids are going to encounter sexual brokenness, manipulators, socio-paths and all other types of humanity, no matter what, at some point in their lives. It’s much easier to equip them to deal with this stuff in a healthy way, while they are still living with you. Does this mean that I purposely throw my kids into dangerous situations? No way, the devil needs no favors in making life hard for all of us. After all, I am still a dad that would do anything to protect my family. Throwing your kid in the pool and walking away is a bad way to teach them to swim, but so is yelling and screaming at them every time they get near the water's edge. Both techniques use fear as the motivator. We have to be confident that God loves our children far more than we could ever imagine and that He has given us everything we need to come alongside our kids to teach them to boldly swim in the culture we are floating in.
We don’t pretend the world is a G-rated movie our kids are acting in. When they have questions about uncomfortable situations we give them real answers that are sometimes equally uncomfortable. This can be hard at times, but we want them to know the Truth to go into the world confidently. Your kids are made to desire truth, and they will naturally begin to look for it on their own, if we are not prepared to give it to them at home.
Only you as your child’s parent will know what your child is ready for and when they are ready to handle it. But it’s vital, as we equip them, that we are not driven by fear or trying to hide the truth in any way. The world is a scary frontier, but our God is much bigger, and He has established our families as Kingdom Pioneers.