Monday, May 24, 2010
Walking with the Wise
Something was different about Johnny.
All through the years he just loved playing baseball, and spending time with his family. He always got A's on his school work and he kept to himself pretty much...until he started to hang out with that new crowd of boys.
These boys were different. They dressed in black, wore spiked collars and black nail polish. But mom and dad didn't say a word, they shrugged it off as a phase and promised they wouldn't interfere. Johnny had a good head on his shoulders and could make his own decisions. After all, they sowed some wild oats when they were teens and didn't they come out alright?
Well Johnny didn't come out alright. This was the wrong crowd. A crowd he should have not gotten anywhere near. What seemed to be harmless turned into a lifetime of addiction, shame, guilt and regret that changed the course of his life. He could not believe the damage he had done. Where were his parents, he wondered bitterly...why didn't they warn me?
"Do not be mislead. Bad company corrupts good character. Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God--I say this to your shame." 1 Corinthians 15:33-34
Johnny's parents were tragically mislead. They thought that Johnny's new friends were harmless, even though there were many red flags. They thought they should not interfere and it resulted in years of rebellious recovery for Johnny. It nearly cost him his life. They neglected their responsibility as parents and paid the high price for it.
I wonder how many times parents have turned a blind eye to their children's friends for other reasons. Perhaps to gain their child's approval, or to help them to become popular. They might have trouble with saying no. Or maybe they assumed the 'I am your friend, not your parent' position. Some just honestly did not notice until it was too late. When the above happens heavy consequences can lie in the future, many grieving parents who have lost their child can attest to this.
He who walks with the wise become wise, but a companion of fools suffer harm. -Proverbs 13:20
Who are your children's friends? Are those relationships bringing them closer to God? If not, is that lining up with the biblical goals for your family? We need to ask ourselves these hard question as we carefully assess their friends.
Our children need to walk with the wise. They need to spend time with the Lord and in His word to develop a strong, faithful walk with him. They also need to spend time with mom and dad. Parents need to actively put time into their children by shepherding their hearts and discipling. Do not leave this for another. Do not assume that when they get older they will make wise choices. Other wise friends can also include grandparents, elders, family members, godly men and women, boys and girls whom have a strong personal relationship with God (all screened by you and your husband, of course, and never to replace you). Many parents find they can do this more effectively by getting together with other families and watching over their children in a supervised setting rather than have them go out/spend time by themselves alone.
Folly is bound up in the heart of a child. Proverbs 22:15
Children do not know how to discern danger and many are actually drawn to it. If foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, then we need to be even more attentive, alert and purposeful in our parenting. The luring away of our children can happen subtly and quickly, I have even heard of stories of children being negatively influenced in what would be considered as 'safe places' such a youth groups, etc. by the other youth there whose parents who did not care or watch over what the children did. Many parents chose to homeschool to protect their children but stopped short there, the other activities the children were involved in surrounded them with the same influences they would have found as if they were going to school. These didn't understand what happened since they felt they were protecting them by homeschooling. And so we go on to this verse:
The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it. Proverbs 27:12
We were appointed by God to be in authority over our children. Not the culture, not the village, not Dr. Phil, not parenting magazines or psychologists. There are many voices that will pull us away from doing what we know is right with our children--do not listen to them, they are lies! (Colossians 2:8) Such as to let them wear that revealing outfit you don't approve of, or go to that party where you know there will only be trouble. Follow your instincts and say no! Have courage and be bold--these are our children that are at stake. God put you in charge. No one will love and protect them the way you and your husband do. The people who will want to influence your children and lure them away will not be around for them when they fall.
Stand your ground, Christian parents!
Protect your children
and help them to walk with the wise!
Note: Teaching our children to protect themselves is a must-- of course they will be in contact with non-Christians so it is important to teach them to respond in Christian love, sharing the good news of the gospel.
(She Looketh Well Series--Part 3)