If you have been checking out the iParent blog for very long, you know that I am strong proponent for parents stepping up to take the leadership role as their children’s spiritual leaders. The church simply is not there to water and fertilize the seeds of faith we sow into their lives on Sundays and Wednesdays. What happens in the other 165 hours in a week, to strengthen them and help them practice their faith? In everyday life, our children, and we as grown-ups need to be engaging in activities that help us act and think like God wants us to think, not just “turning off” our Christianity while we’re away from church. I know I must improve in these ways with my daughters and suspect that many parents can relate to feeling like we’ve not done what we could have to help our kids grow into spiritual champions. That’s why this morning, when I walked into a hotel lobby for breakfast, I paused in front of an aging big-screen television to watch Dr. Jeremiah Wright answer questions about his beliefs and the controversies that have arisen from some of his comments and relationship with presidential candidate, Barak Obama.
I’m not overly interested in pursuing the political side of things here on the iParent blog, but rather the spiritual side of things. Dr. Wright kept referring to him and his church as Christians, and himself as a minister of the Gospel. When I hear people identifying themselves in these ways I start to listen to what they say. The question that disturbed me most was this, “Do you believe the verse that says, “I am the way, the truth and the life. no man comes to the Father but by me.”?
I was disturbed because he didn’t say, “of course I do, I’m a Christian and minister of the Gospel.” What he said in answer was a quote from Jesus from John 10, where Jesus says “I have other sheep too, that are not in this sheepfold.” I take this to mean that Jesus Himself disagreed with His own words, and that there are actually many ways to Heaven. What Jesus meant is that he’d come for the Jewish people first, but that already, people of other nationalities and backgrounds were believing in Him as the Messiah.
Having said all of this…I was struck by this overwhelming sense of needing to be the protector of the kids and families who attend my church, but also a need to protect those who live in my very own house. Kids and young Christians are impressionable and we have to constantly gauge their words and deeds to see if they are getting off track. Getting off track begins in the brain, and ultimately will be exhibited in words and deeds.
We can never be afraid of telling our kids about truth, even if it doesn’t sound good, or makes us have to answer more questions. According to the Bible, Jesus is the only way for a person to reach Heaven, and our kids have friends who may never embrace Christianity. Parents have to be proactive to protect our kids’ faith, because left alone, it may become dilluted and weak. A weak faith, is really not much of a faith at all. The first challenge they face, they are more likely to step back from their initial position. Ultimately, this weakness, first from parents, and second in kids, is why we see that over 50% of Christian high school students leave the church after graduation.
Are you a protector? Stand strong and guard the hearts and minds of the young ones God has entrusted to you!