Always watch yourself, because we shouldn’t become prideful; we are not perfect either. That’s what the verse is saying in Matthew 7:3 (ESV) “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?” This verse reminds us that we are all sinners, we all make sinful errors. So do not become self-righteous, and remember that you were bought with a price; Jesus dying on the cross, for our sins.
We however, must still confront sins.
Give them the truth, whether they feel like hearing it, or not.
Did Jesus stay silent amongst sinners, because he didn’t want to hurt their feelings or risk them feeling disrespected? No. He told them the truth even if it meant losing that “potential follower.” Nothing stopped him from doing the Lord’s work, not even people walking away from Him. Why should we allow a relationship, potentially departing from us, stop us from doing the Lord’s work?
These are things we need to make sure is not happening especially, before we commit to something, like a marriage. In that case, you both need to be walking towards the Lord— both putting God first, or else you are setting yourselves up to potentially fail, that marriage.
Maybe you’re saying, “well, our kids won’t have any friends, if they do this.” Sadly, this very well may be true, but ask yourself what is more important for them;
To have relationship with their current best friends? or to have relationship with Jesus?
In God we have an eternal friend, and if in being bold in your faith, you lose your earthly friends or even some family members, isn’t something like that always making room for something better? Maybe new friends, or maybe something bigger, that God has planned, for your life?
We, as parents, have the duty to make the best decisions we can for our children until they are not under our house anymore, but even then it is still our duty to advise them, and remind them of God’s word, the only difference when they have reached adulthood, they may not take and use all of your advice. Maybe just bits and pieces, or maybe not any of it. Having an adult child, is not an excuse to not give them the advice, and not advise them against sins.
Proverbs 22:6 (ESV) “Train up a child the way he should go, even when he is old he shall not depart from it.”
You are still Someone’s Child— Adult or Not:
Just as it is our duty, to honor our parents. That does not stop when we reach “adulthood.” Esphesians 6:1-2 (ESV) “Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise),” We are to always give honor to our parents. Obviously, as we become adults, get married and have our own children, we can make our own choices and make our own decisions for our own family. However, we must always honor our parents, as our parents.
To You, Who Have Big Hearts:
I guess lastly, I want to discuss you people out there, who honestly are like most people. You have big hearts. You’re loving, and so compassionate. I personally know a few people who would continue to give you anything, until it killed them, just because God calls us to love. It is wonderful, to see so much passion, and empathy for others, as well as seeing someone take on that commandment from the Lord, so eagerly.
The issue to this is, Most people like this struggle deeply, with rejection. They fear making someone else potentially feel rejected or unloved, because they were hurt by that so much themselves, that they usually just allow those people to walk on them, instead. How could someone reject you, after you just gave them so much love and compassion, right? and so what happens that i’ve seen, is they keep this vicious, cycle going. They spin in circles, where they keep pouring love, and pouring the gospel into something/someone that will throw it away every time, because of their unwillingness to listen. Or another scenario, the vicious cycle is, you are not pouring the gospel into someone, to prevent them from feeling hurt. Whatever the issue, and however you’re handling it, give this fight to God.
Love is not a feeling. Why do we rely on our feelings, to show us what love is? When we base love, off of how we feel or how we make others feel, we are setting ourselves up to never understand the love of God, and eventually might even reject Him, because he won’t always make us feel great. Sometimes following Him, will be tough. How will we withstand those hard places when we base love off of our ever-changing emotions?
Fruitful, and Fruitless:
If your children can understand, talk with them about this issue and decision, use this as a teaching moment, and ask them questions. Do not end up, subconsciously teaching them to chase people who throw the gospel away, or to base what love is off emotions. Teach them to show the love of Christ to everyone, but to only pursue any friendship or relationship with those who have willing hearts to listen. Like I said before, they [children] are the most vulnerable, so let’s help them to identify fruitful and fruitless relationships.
Have them do the thinking and problem solving, see what answers they come up with. Teaching them using real life, is a great way to help them problem-solve independently, getting them ready for the world when they are older, and have their own family to make decisions with. Talk with them about fruitful relationships and why we should keep them close, and fruitless relationships and why we should not keep them close. This should not change, if it happens to be family members who are involved. The Lord has told us to be watchful of who we surround ourselves with. 1 Corinthians 15:33 (ESV) “Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” Proverbs is also a great place to read, for more guidance on this.
Matthew 15:13-14 (ESV) “He answered, “Every plant that my Heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”
Matthew 7:6 (ESV) “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.”
If i’m honest, I don’t have the answer to how people can be so full of anger, and hate. I still struggle sometimes trying to understand how God could even send his only Son for us, knowing how sinful, we truly are. But I do know, that the Lord will never do that with us, If we accept Him, He will never forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5-6 ESV). I encourage you, tell someone when you see them struggling, talk it out and remind them you would like to help, but do not push your faith in God, or God’s word to the side lines in order to cater to their feelings, or to yours.
Proverbs 27:17 (ESV) “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
To Think About:
With discussing that, what relationship should you be worried about? The one you have with them? or the one you have with God?
If you are worried this person, or these people, will never speak to you again or even hate you, because of you shining a light on the truth, you should re-examine your relationship with them, altogether. That does not sound like a fruitful relationship you should keep close, nor allow or advise your children to keep close either.
We need to encourage our children to have “close when fruitful, far when fruitless” type of relationships. Especially, right now.
We need to be able to guide our children, so they understand their faith in Jesus Christ should and does, matter more than anything. We also need to be able to help them when they potentially lose relationships, due to their faith in Christ and are feeling discouraged through that. We are to be salt and light of the world. We cannot be the world’s friend, and the friend of God, at the same time.
Colossians 4:6 (ESV) “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
Matthew 5:13 (ESV) “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”
How can we guide our children, to stand firm in faith and lift others up?
Through leading a Godly example, even through our errors.
As parents, we know our children’s maturity level, as well as what they can, and can’t grasp. Guide them through the Bible at the pace you think is best for them to understand fully, and go from there. The Bible is at a 3rd grade reading level, so even if you are worried, thinking “even I don’t know the Bible that well.” It’s not too late, at all. I encourage you, to just dive in and learn with your children!
To end it here, I’m not saying go up to people who are obviously sinning, and tell them they are going to hell. That would not be a beneficial conversation, for either of you. Start conversations with genuine questions like, “Why do you think that?” and “What do you mean by that?”. Draw out their perspective and their why’s, and then tell them what the Lord says about it. Keep conversations fruitful and calm as much as possible, and if it’s not staying that way, I encourage you to end the conversation there. Maybe try again at a different time when tempers are gone, or leave them be entirely. But again, always speak the truth. Don’t ever dim it down, don’t hide it, and don’t ignore it for someone, or yourself.
And, remember the sacrifice God made, only for us;
John 3:16-18 (ESV) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.