Raising Children in These Tumultuous Times

Parenting is not for the faint of heart. It is probably one of the hardest jobs. You are responsible for a life. It is your job to instill values, morals, teach and instruct, protect, comfort, and discipline. I think most parents have uttered the old phrase, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” But there is also an old saying that we should “practice what we preach”.

Have we lost that as a country? Who have we become?

I can’t scroll through any social media platforms or watch a news channel without feeling completely overwhelmed. We have been bombarded with information and opinions; and quite frankly, none of it is positive. It seems the more negative, opinionated, and hate filled speech, the more air time and likes it gets. What are we teaching our children? What kind of world are we leaving for them and how can they possibly thrive in a society like this?

25 WPBF News
Atlanta Journal
LA Times

Covid and the return to school debate. I have been overloaded with statistics, stories, and conspiracy theories. People who took all precautions and still tested positive. People who refuse to wear a mask and are still negative. Others who tested positive and had a symptom and felt bad for 24 hours. Still some who spent time in the hospital and a few cases in my hometown where others have lost their lives. I am trusting that our teachers and staff are doing everything to help prevent and protect my children from this virus. I am concerned equally for their physical and mental health, and I’m not sure there truly is a wrong answer in what we as parents decide. So, we made the decision to send our sons back to school.

Tampa Bay Times via AP
Star Tribune via AP

John Minchillo AP

Racial and social injustices, inequality, black lives matter, all lives matter, blue lives matter….

We somehow have lost what the real issue is. Instead of listening to those in our black community and their real life experiences, we want to defend ourselves and not believe them. We want to make the excuse that it is all politics and/or the black community needs to stop living in the past. I believe they are living in the present and how even to this day, they still face racism, inequality, and injustices. It’s not the past, it is the present. Why are we not standing united? Americans pride themselves on coming together, why aren’t we now? It is not a matter of supporting the Black Lives Matter organization, it is the simple statement that black lives matter and they are treated on a daily basis that they do not and this is real.

My children have questions that I have a difficult time answering. How do you teach children to not hate others based on differences when all they hear and see is the opposite? I have taught my boys respect, empathy, tolerance, compassion. Yet, those you extend those characteristics are persecuted for it. They are labeled “snowflakes”, “liberals”, “anti-Trump”. I disagree with all of these labels. Why? We are called to stand out by our actions. America…we are not loving each other.

Steve Helber/ AP
LA Times

So, what does God’s word say about how we as Christians should live and act?

A devotional I read the other day asked these questions that we all should ask ourselves, not only during these tumultuous times, but every single day.

  1. Motives- Are they pure?
  2. Thoughts- Are they kind?
  3. Judgments- Are they right and just?
  4. Words- Are they gracious?
  5. Actions- Are they pleasing to God?

This is what we should be teaching our children and modeling for them.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

Colossians 3:12-15

Let them know we are Christians by our love….

Living by grace,

Misty

The Hypocritical Christian

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..

Romans 3:23

I think that Christians are often described as hypocritical. Their lives may not add up all the time to their actions. The expectation is that Christians should be perfect and without flaw. The truth is, that is impossible.

Why? Because we all are human. We all are flawed, make mistakes, and fall short of the glory of God. There is only one person who walked this earth blameless and without sin, Jesus Christ.

It becomes discouraging when fellow Christians cast judgement in the same way. This can cause us to step back and allow shame to overtake the truths of what God says about us. We may feel that the Church isn’t all it says it is and we stop attending; and that eventually leads us to start separating from God. Our hearts may grow bitter and we question if those relationships we made were even real.

We are often troubled, but not crushed; sometimes in doubt, but never in despair; there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend; and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Have you ever been let down by someone who you thought was a good Christian friend? I have. I found myself in a place where my actions did not line up to my faith that I proclaimed. I felt incredible shame, guilt, and confusion and didn’t reach out to those same friends. So I guess in part it was my fault. At the same time, I expected them to still be there for me. I expected forgiveness, grace, and love. I expected them to be perfect, when in reality, they were just as capable of making mistakes too. I miss those friendships, but I also learned a great deal about them. I saw how I needed to change in my relationships and that I too was incredibly judgmental. My expectations couldn’t be met by an imperfect person.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

1 John 1:8

If we could be perfect then their wouldn’t have been a need for a Savior. What would be the point? God sent His son to die for our sins because we were failing. We were unable to keep the law and God saw this. In order for any of us to spend eternity with Him, there had to be a final sacrifice.

Our God knew then and knows now that we will always fall short. Falling short comes in many forms. I think sometimes we only focus on what some call “major sins”: murder, adultery, etc. While those are definitely sins, there are others that we tend to overlook, and maybe we overlook them because we don’t want to admit we all sin. Some examples are : drunkenness, lying, gossiping, pornography, greed, divorce, etc. The hard truth is that there is no sin greater than the other. I believe this because our Heavenly Father forgives us of each sin, no matter the severity, as long as we ask for forgiveness and truly repent. The Lord says,

I, I am he, who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.

Isaiah 43:25

I am a hypocritical Christian. I will no longer feel shame and guilt when I am labeled that. I can walk in boldness, courage, and forgiveness because of what Christ did for me on that cross.

Let us all remember that we are in need of a Savior, and it is because of Him that we can walk freely in His grace alongside of Him.

To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.

C. S. Lewis

Living by grace,

Misty

1 John 3: 17-18

Lord Jesus, I pray for our nation. I pray that hearts will be transformed and we extend love instead of hate, compassion instead of judgment, understanding instead of ridicule. Give us the strength and willingness to stand up for what is right and just for we are all your children. May we be obedient to your command to love one another as You love us. It is in Your name I pray, AMEN.