I’m sure you’ve looked at the TV over the past few weeks as I have and wondered what on earth is happening in the world. Bombings, civil war in the Middle East, glassings in city nightclubs, it goes on and on. You get to the stage where the sheer volume of negativity around creates in you a desire to grab the family, throw them into the car and head for the hills, so they can be afforded the protection they need.
As we all know, this isn’t a solution, as the world is behaving as it has since Adam and Eve, and will continue to do so until Jesus returns. We can’t change the world, but we can develop within our children qualities and characteristics that will help them maintain a healthy and positive perspective.
What I’ve noticed is how many families become fractured because parents stop guiding their children. By the time you become a parent you’ve experienced many of the ups and downs of life, giving you a street-born wisdom that should be passed on to your children. Many parents seem to abdicate their parental responsibility to mentor their children at all stages of their lives. Guiding them is not about domination but playing the role of lifesaver in the early years and their coach as they become independent. Although Jesus didn’t have children, he modelled the sort of parent we need to be, guiding our children through the world’s minefield because we’ve had to do this ourselves: “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Hebrews 2:18)
While we may do an effective job with guiding our children, the fact is that we won’t always be there when they need us. So, how do you protect your kids during these times? The answer lies in their character.
Character is a learned and internalized set of Godly values. This is the best protection you can give your kids, and it will come from a relationship with Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul reminded the new Christians in Corinth that because they are followers of Jesus, he would always be there to guide them through life’s problems:
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Cor 10:13)
In another of Paul’s letters (Ephesians 6:13-17), he uses the image of a suit of armor to explain the protection that a Christian has in dealing with the troubles of the world. How reassuring this is for a parent to know that in their absence God’s hand will be at work protecting their children. While the promise is there, parents have a responsibility though to teach their children the following while they’re young:
- faith in Jesus Christ.
- about God’s truth
- how to live a righteous life.
- how to graciously stand up for their faith
- the hope that comes from salvation
- a knowledge of the Bible.
The best way to protect your children now and in the future is to teach them God’s ways. It’s never too late to start; each day will present you opportunities. Take it seriously, and don’t leave their spiritual education to chance.