Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
I have never had a lot of opinions about the government or how America is run. I see the corruption, the laziness, the greed, but I have always chosen to either ignore it or feel complacent towards it. In light of recent events, I feel the need to share some ideas in teaching our children as we live in an age where we constantly endure frustrating government issues. As a mommy of a little man who will soon be out in the world, I have been pondering what my actions and opinions and thoughts are around him and I am becoming more and more in tune with how those things will one day effect his decision making and his influence in the world. Regardless of the endless malarky that makes up the whole that was once a powerful country, I want our children to be equipped with a healthy and holy perspective on all things, including government and politics.
| I want my kids to follow God, above all others |
This is a simple, but crucially important commandment from God himself. “You shall love the Lord your God will all of your heart, with all of your soul, and with all of your mind.” (Matthew 22:34-39) Period, no but’s. This is the end all be all of a Christ followers existence. To love God.
How do we do that? By loving others. “And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
How do we love? With grace, like we give ourselves, like Jesus gave us.
This means that regardless of what the law of the country says, I am to love God and others regardless. It leaves no room for hate, slander, or malice towards someone of a differing (even sinfully) opinion from me and it also means that if the government wants to stop me from loving, that God’s law supersedes government.
I want our kids to understand that God is sovereign. Over. Everything.
| I want my kids to winsomely engage their culture |
This is a phrase our church has adopted into its mission statement, to winsomely engage, and I can’t get it out of my head. The thought of engaging is a threatening thought in and of itself in an area of the world where people live miles from one another. This idea to winsomely engage is even more so. The idea of “in the world, not of it” doesn’t mean we must keep ourselves a tier above the rest, but it means we are to get in, get our hands dirty, and strive to introduce hearts to the only One who can transform them, while understanding our identity in Christ. This is not an easy idea and I am uncomfortable with the idea that to teach my kids to live in such a way means that my fingernails will have to get grime under them too.
If my friend down the street wants an abortion because she had unwedded sex and is still in high school, me voting to have some congressman change the laws about its legality isn’t going to change anything in that little girl’s life. If I want to really cause change in her life a pile of fresh baked cookies and a chug of iced tea is going to be more help than casting a ballot. That is the harder choice. It’s easy to be high and mighty and judge her for her actions, what is hard is to admit that you are just as guilty and that there is hope for both of you. That little mama needs someone to love her, not to tell her that she is wrong. She needs someone to introduce her and that new little life to the saving God who ordained them, not a bible-beating Christian who is bent on the false hope of legislating morality.
I want our kids to live a life that reveals that mercy triumphs over judgment. Every. Time.
| I want my kids to respect authorities |
“Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience. Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.” (Romans 13}
As you can deduce, the authorities that God put in charge in the times of Paul were not God-fearing, nor safe, nor completely wise men. Regardless of a person’s beliefs or actions or decisions, I want our kids to learn to respect those who are placed in charge of them, regardless of their morals or ideals, because God, in His sovereignty, has appointed them for their position. I want our kids to understand that while we may not agree, we are to be careful to never slander them or wish them ill. I want them to understand that their leaders, as ill-intentioned and unintelligent as they may be, are responsible to God for their actions while we are held in the mighty palm of God no matter what.
I want our kids to realize that God isn’t surprised. Ever.
| I want my kids to be authentic & unafraid |
We are all broken, and no one needs to tell us that. But we, ourselves, must acknowledge our brokenness in the light of the goodness of God, so that we can accept the grace of God. In light of our inadequacy, we can learn to be authentic in our relationships, acknowledging our need for Christ and embracing our humility in spreading His words. Because of this authenticity, we do not have to conform to earthly laws that directly violate God’s laws. But we also have freedom within the law of our governments because anything, outside of sinful action, is permissible through Christ’s shed blood.
In the same way that a wife can win over her husband with her grace and quiet words, we have the opportunity to influence our authorities and peers with our quiet submission and grace towards them. This can only happen through the empowering of the Holy Spirit and the realization that God is sovereign and in control of all things. This, in the end, removes the need for fear in our lives, our government, and our relationships.
I want our kids to understand that while they will still face trials, Jesus has. Overcome. Our. World.
When I die, I want to leave behind grace-filled, authentic, Jesus-dependent children that will not fear the world, but will fully engage in it, knowing where their identities lie and holding tight to the eternal hope in one day spending eternity with God.
Engage with me? What are some things that I’ve forgotten that we should leave with our children? What are some ways we can teach our children these ideals?
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