For part of this week, all of our young people are away on various purposeful missions in life, one helping his grandfather, one flying planes for a living, and one at a spiritual retreat, and thus God allowed me some time for quiet introspection and prayer as I looked over some old photos. My heart was full of love and thankfulness for the children He had blessed us with.
Then for a quick trip to the local Wal-Mart…
I am assuming we have all heard about or seen some very unusual scenes there reflecting the moral decline of our country, but today I was grieved and dismayed. There were several very disturbing instances which would make a parent’s heart feel threatened.
I hope my face didn’t reveal the sadness that I felt.
Today the challenges we face in this pagan culture became clearer to me, and it made me wonder how our children will navigate the years ahead. Today I had to ask myself if I had prepared them adequately for being able to share the Gospel with the lost and the hurting in such a God-less and God-hating world.
At first, I had to wrestle with feelings that no Christian should entertain such as pride, fear, and judgmentalism.
But then I recalled:
“When [Jesus] saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
~Matthew 9: 36-38
And so my heart and thoughts did a 180° turn (from condemnation to compassion) right there in the condiment aisle, and pray, I did! As I slowly pushed my cart toward the checkout, I cried out to our heavenly Father that we and ALL our children (yours and mine) would be filled with His great love and compassion for this dying world and see our own depravity in light of the risen Savior. We all nailed Jesus to the cross.
It would be SO easy to turn my back the terrible things that are happening in our culture, and conveniently forget that people need the Lord. It would be wrong to go home, overlook my own sin (thinking I am somehow better than someone else), and perpetuate this hypocrisy to my own family.
“By faith the church was called to go
In the power of the Spirit to the lost
To deliver captives and to preach good news
In every corner of the earth”
~Keith and Kristen Getty
I pray that our children won’t become Pharisees, quick to judge and condemn the weird, unlovely, or deviant.
I pray that our children will not be naive or cynical or fearful regarding the future of our world, but rather seek to be an active part of the harvest, knowing God has commanded us to do this.
I pray that our children would hunger and thirst for righteousness and pray for the hearts and minds of all mankind to see and respond to the truth and love of Jesus! John 3:16.
I want them to know the worth of men made in the image of God and to know that man, contrary to the excellent specimen he could have been, is fallen and sin-sick. Consequently, the most excellent examples of true compassion will not always be well received. It’s a fact that sinful men frequently do not act or react well. Those on whom Jesus had compassion crucified Him. Why should we expect anything less?
Teaching a little anatomy from the viewpoint of a nurse. I didn’t realize that they were also learning compassion as I told them about the patient’s feelings. It is so neat how the Lord can use every little thing to prepare and soften their hearts.
Our Response is to Pray and Teach:
Pray intentionally as you teach your little ones and ask for grace and the very words of the Holy Spirit to communicate this heart of God’s love and compassion as you go about your day.
I believe spending time with one or two carefully chosen elderly neighbors is also a great way to develop compassion within our children’s hearts. We did a lot with widows and had many wonderful times and lessons.
We also need to teach our children to resist being drawn to this kind of behavior, to see evil for what it is as well as to have compassion for those who are under the influence of evil. You have heard the saying, ‘to hate the sin, but not the sinner’.
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” ~Matthew 22: 36-40
For our sons, teach them that every girl is a kind of sister to be protected and defended and that that is what real men of God do. In your home, encourage them through interactions with you and their sisters. Help them to understand that girls (and men) who would flaunt themselves and act in immodest and immoral ways have bought into a lie. Satan is a lair, and we live in a spiritual world where there are real demonic forces who are out to destroy any knowledge of Christ.
Especially because of this growing exhibitionism which we see at Wal-Mart and other places, teach your young children, boy and girls, how to take every thought captive as they see those who would set themselves up against God…for immoral and debasing actions are against God!
“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” ~2 Corinthians 10:4-5
Teach them that everything that doesn’t agree with the Word of God is a lie and that they gain victory by being “transformed by the renewing of your mind”. This refers to a complete change of nature that occurs when our minds come into agreement with the truth of God’s Word. Romans 12:2.
We must be transformed into the image of Christ if we are to represent God as his ambassadors in a hurting world. As our minds are renewed, God’s kingdom is extended through agreement with his word, and His purposes on earth are realized.
This is an urgent need; we have such a small window of time as parents.
We must earnestly and continually pray for all the people –including those hurting souls in line with us at Wal-Mart.
Talk to Him.
“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” ~Jeremiah 32:27
“If you treat everyone as though they are hurting, you’ll be treating the majority of people in the proper manner.” ~Zig Ziglar