With a Little Help from My Friends

Father and sonNote: Next week I will be returning to part 2 of the Terrors of Hell.

A couple weeks ago Jen and I were discussing the topic of our children and having friends.  Since we started home-schooling a couple years ago the girls don’t spend much time with peer group friends and we were deciding whether this was good, bad or indifferent to our children.

Our daughter Madeline has a friend her age that attends our church and since we are not a big gathering there are not a lot of other similar ages for all our girls.  This is such an interesting topic to me and I’m feeling pretty firm in my convictions but I’m genuinely interested in what other Believers think about the topic.  So please don’t be shy about offering your opinion.  However, I’d like you to use Scripture to support your views.

Proverbs 13:20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.

As I’ve been thinking about this verse and any others that deal with our relationships one thing is very clear to me and I think very clear in scripture.  There are two classes of people, wise and foolish.  What do you want your children to be?  Isn’t it obvious that if you want your children to be wise they should spend time with those that are wise?  The opposite is destruction.

1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”

Most people will agree they want their children to run with “good company” and they don’t really consider their children’s friends “evil”.  A better question to ask is “are they saved”?

Can you be confident they’ve been born again and are new creations in Christ?  This is a whole other blog, about how you can discern salvation in children.  But for now let’s consider, not just that kids attend church, but are they Believers?

I thought back to my child hood and most especially as I came into my teenage years and young adult years.  The choice of friends I made was, except for the grace of God, my undoing.  God had providentially made arrangements to keep me alive, but it certainly could have been different on many occasions.  I say this and I’m ashamed of those choices and the things that a foolish young man was drawn into, but it’s the reality of my life and I praise God for His goodness and mercy in preserving me for His purposes.

Have you ever walked down the street to see a group of teenage boys together, or walk through a shopping mall and see the behavior of the kids “hanging out”?  It’s not what I desire for my children, but take it to a religious place.  How about the youth group at most evangelical churches, and you will see the same thing only under the guise of the “Christian” banner.  Am I wrong?

We have been blessed that our oldest daughter Grace has been saved and she can see the value of her relationships.  She enjoys spending time with some of the women in our church that are helping shape and mold her into a godly woman, these women are older than Grace but they are still young women.  Not with the desire to go to the mall and be foolish.

How do you suppose the fools will be destroyed?  Does this literally mean death and destruction?  Well yes, I think it can and it does.

2 Kings 2:23-24 Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead!  Go up, you baldhead!”  So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the LORD.   And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.

Here is a group of adolescent kids that are running around together.  Can’t you envision this scene?   We see it all the time, and once one decides to do something they all join in.  So they decide to mock and taunt Elisha, God’s chosen prophet.  These kids were drawn into the foolish behavior that offered destruction.

What about the group of teenagers that attend a party together?  They end up getting drunk and someone or all of them die in a car crash.   Is God to blame for this behavior?

Will this happen to my children if I allow them to be with other friends?  I don’t know.  Possibly and probably not, but think about the values that are shared when fools hang with fools.

Does this mean we will never allow our children to have friends their own age and go do things with them?  No, I don’t think that is what I’m saying, but I want to make close examinations of those children and what I allow my children to participate in.

I’m the one charged to bring them up in the training and fear of the Lord, so I must take Scripture and challenge my life and be willing to have it change the status quo.  God has given me a tremendous responsibility; and He will hold me accountable.  I can easily allow this to go with the flow and just believe that it’s a good thing for my children to have lots of foolish friends with no biblically validated reason for it.

Will this hurt them socially?  That is the argument I expect to hear the most often, but that doesn’t persuade me.  I will trust God that He has that covered, and I will train my children to interact with adults and other children responsibly and respectfully.  After all isn’t that part of the job?

If you are a Believer what do you think?  Because I expect if you ask most people they’ll think this is crazy talk.


Tuesday’s with Madeline…

Madeline’s 11th Birthday

Romans 5:1-2 and an ink pen are very similar.

“What?”  Yeah that’s right. “How?” you are probably wondering.

Every other Tuesday I take my daughter Madeline to breakfast; it’s time spent with my girls that I absolutely cherish.  One week is Madeline and one week is Grace.  When Lydia is old enough she will be added to the rotation, although we are a few years away.

Madeline is my loud daughter.  She has a sign in her room “live life out loud” and it fits her personality well.  She is very funny and can always get the family laughing at her antics.

My primary responsibility is to share the gospel with Madeline and attempt to show her the need for a Savior.  I’m hopeful in the time we spend together and I trust in the Lord as I faithfully deliver His message as often as I have opportunity.

Tuesday breakfast gives me a wonderful occasion to search Madeline’s heart, to get to know her, to shepherd her, and to be the loving father God has called me to be.  Grace’s conversion this year has had a big impact on Madeline’s life and she can see the difference in her sister.  I continue to hope that these vital years God will use to draw her to Himself.

Romans 5:1-2 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

If you just read this verse I’d like to ask you to read it again, slowly…  I really want you to marinade in these words.  Can we begin to grasp the magnitude of this statement?  If you are a born again follower of Jesus Christ you have “peace with God”.  This is no small deal.  What if you don’t have peace with God?  You are condemned.  You only have punishment to look forward to.  I don’t write this to shock anyone.  This is reality and this is the truth.

You have been justified by faith.  You are “just” in the eyes of God, no longer guilty for your sins, because you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ.  This is also an incredible truth.

Here’s where the ink pen comes in.  As Madeline and I discussed these verses I held up my pen and asked her if she had faith this was a pen?  She said “Yes Dad.”  I said “what if this pen doesn’t write would it still be a pen?”  “Well yes, it’s still a pen but it’s worthless.”

Exactly right, and a pen that won’t write should be thrown out; kind of like faith without works is dead (James 2:17).

If I say I have faith in Christ but my life doesn’t reflect my profession, I don’t really have faith and I’ll be thrown into the fire and burned ( Matthew 13:42).  Our lives must be a living sacrifice to God, holy and pleasing to Him or they are built on a false faith.

To perfection you might ask?  No, not to perfection but recognition of your sin does something completely different to you than it ever did before.

It’s an analogy that resonated with Madeline and it resonated with me as I consider it this week.  Jesus also used analogies.  He called them parables.