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Part One: Child-Rearing … Taking Responsibility!
In world where everyone is expected to keep up with the latest trends and fads, my parents never made us feel uncomfortable about being different. They taught us to be loving and kind to anyone and everyone, but they never portrayed that it was important to “fit in” with the crowd. Somehow, we understood that being different was not a curse, but a blessing. Believe me – we’ve been different as long as I can remember! We have dressed differently, talked differently, played differently, ate differently, made decisions on acceptable entertainment (music, movies, etc) differently … you name it!
This isn’t because we want to have a holier-than-thou attitude and treat everyone else as if we’re right and they’re wrong. In fact, some of our closest friendships have been with people who have different standards than we do. It’s just that YHWH has given us strong convictions in certain areas and we feel the duty to uphold those.
Secondly, they take responsibility for our welfare – physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally. They are protective about what influences surround us. When we were young, my parents instructed us that if someone started to tell us about a movie they had watched, we were to ask them not to. They knew that family standards are different and they did not want us exposed to something that they did not feel was acceptable. They were (and still are) very careful about letting us talk and play with other children who they did not know very well. We weren’t allowed to go off to bedrooms or be unattended for very long. Some people may feel that they were overbearing in sheltering us, but I can tell you how thankful I am for their protectiveness.
As we got older and grew into the teen years, we were not expected to be rebellious. There were absolutely no excuses for wrong behavior … age and adolescence didn’t make any difference. Now that I’m through those teen years, I can look back and view them as some of the happiest and most contented years of my life. I see them as years in which I developed a deep respect for my parents and a close relationship with them.
They were years that I cultivated a love for the Heavenly Father, a relationship with the Messiah and deeper understanding of Scriptural truth. Through study and life experience, I gained spiritual knowledge and my personal convictions were formed and strengthened. I see similar experiences in the lives of my siblings and I ask myself why? Why this difference? How is it that in a time when the majority of families are dysfunctional, our family is functioning … not perfectly we’ll all admit, but at least that is our goal. Why is it that my siblings and I are thankful for our parent’s protection and loving guidance, when so many young people are rebelling and going the way of the world?
I don’t have all the answers, but I do want to share a perspective that may shed some light.
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abides for ever.” 1John 2:15-17
The definition of lust, as used in this passage, is “desire, craving, longing, desire for what is forbidden.” This word is used a few times in a positive context (such as Yeshua desiring to eat the Passover with His disciples), but most of the references are in a negative context, describing a desire for what is forbidden. Our culture promotes lust and self-gratification EVERYWHERE we go. It is what makes the entertainment industry so profitable. One of the definitions of pop culture is – cultural activities or commercial products reflecting, suited to, or aimed at the tastes of the general masses of people.
Biblical standards of right and wrong are forgotten or ignored and now it’s all about us; what we like and don’t like, what makes us happy, confident, fulfilled, etc. This is a humanistic worldview and a quick look at its definition should make us turn and run in the opposite direction! Simply defined,
“Humanism contends that human beings are a part of nature, that they have emerged as a result of continuous evolutionary process, and that all their values–religious, ethical, political, and social–have their source in human experience and are the product of their culture.”
This sounds very different than the passage in 1John 2, where we are instructed to love not the things of the world and the lusts of it. Is it possible that so many young people are turning their backs on the ways of YHWH and embracing the ways of the world because they have not been taught to love the Heavenly Father, or more specifically, are taught to love the things of the world? Maybe they haven’t been taught the value of a life lived in total surrender to His Will? Perhaps they have been surrounded by opposing influences and do not have the Biblical foundation and knowledge to stand against peer pressure?
I once heard someone say, our children are the only possessions that we can take into the Heavenly Kingdom. Granted, no one can force their child to accept the gift of eternal life that was purchased by the blood of Yeshua and no child is going to make it into the Kingdom because his parents are. But parents have an incredible responsibility to train up a child in the way he should go so that when he is old he will not depart from it. We see a lot of “departing” these days and it is unspeakably crucial that we know how to combat these darts of the enemy and train our children in righteousness.