Jimmy Kimmel hit a new low in my book last week when he had children interviewed about their thoughts on gay marriage outside his LA studio. He wanted them to explain it. At first, my husband and I just sat there puzzling (a friend sent us the link) over why he thought it was appropriate to pull kids into the USA’s gay celebration—but then—we realized that this really is the new normal. Jimmy’s just going with the flow.
Over the past week, I’ve received several posts and emails from mothers asking how to talk to their kids about what is happening in the culture. After all, this is startlingly new territory for parents: explaining why a man is being celebrated as a woman on the cover of a magazine is not something we’re used to talking about. Here’s the thing: If we don’t set a place for the truth of Scripture at the table of our children’s hearts, the world will set out a feast all it’s own.
Talk we must.
So what do we tell our children? How do we talk to them as Christian parents? If you’re searching for your footing, here’s some ideas and direction:
- Talk age-appropriately.
Clearly, you’ve got to talk about age-appropriate things. There’s no need to take your four year old out to dinner and explain things she’s not ready to hear. You’ve got to know your children. When you sense they’re ready, or if they start asking questions about things they shouldn’t be burdened with, it’s time.When the time is right, tell them the truth. Most of our kids are old enough, and so we have been having honest, and sometimes painful discussions with our children in the months leading up to the SCOTUS ruling. This generation of children are being forced to think about things that never even entered my mind as a child: from racists to the brutal beheadings of Coptic Christians in Syria to Bruce Jenner and the removal of the Ten Commandments from public grounds.
- Take them to God’s Word
The Bible should be the authority in the life of every person who claims to be a follower of Jesus. Read about God’s standard, His mercy, and His holiness.
- Tell them we’re all in a war.
In the Bible, we see everywhere that we are in a very real war. Talk to your kids about the spiritual war that is waging around them—the Bible says they are part of it, too.
“For we do not wrestle with flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places.”
Consider the word Paul uses here to describe what’s happening around you every day. He says we are “wrestling,” but not against flesh and blood. Wrestling is a very personal fight. Every day, we wake up on a spiritual battle field. The place where the devil wages war against individual believers is in the mind. Our goal is to first steal back any thoughts that the devil places in our minds and give those thoughts over, “taking them captive” to the mind of Christ. Even Paul’s use of the word “captive” reminds us that there are captives in this war.
Do your kids know about putting on the armor of God? Read what the Bible says here.
- Pray with them.
There is power in the prayers of God’s people!Pray humbly, because we are all sinners.
Pray reverently, because God is holy, set apart and worthy of our praise
Pray with hope, because the Bible says that our hope is not in this world; it’s in the Lord!
- Teach them how to talk to other’s about what God says is sin, and the remedy for it: Jesus!
- Start here:
- We are all sinners, by birth and by choice. God says that our sinful, fallen hearts are bent towards sin, not away from it.The culture is telling gays that Christians are against them—but true followers of Christ point the finger first at themselves, because they know their heterosexual sin is no better than their gay friend’s sin.
- When my fallen heart tells me to lust after anyone who is not my husband, I am in sin.
- When our fallen hearts tell us to lust after someone of the same sex, we are in sin.God calls us to turn away from all our sin—by placing our faith in Jesus and then daily (daily, daily, daily) surrendering our fallen desires to Him so that we can walk in the ways He has told us are good and right.
- Dare your kids (and yourself!) to be like DanielDo you remember the story of Daniel?In the ancient Middle East, one empire was being replaced by another. In 605 B.C., the Babylonians conquered Israel, taking many of its promising young men into captivity in Babylon. One of those men was Daniel.When the story takes place, Daniel was in his 80s. (See? You’re never too young or too old to stand for God!)Through a life of hard work and obedience to God, Daniel made his way up through the political ranks and eventually, became administrator of this pagan kingdom.It turned out that Daniel was so honest and hardworking, his co-workers, other government officials, became jealous of him. This was a problem, since they could find nothing he had done that warranted his removal from office.
Finally, they decied to use Daniel’s faith in God against him. They tricked King Darius into passing a decree that during a 30-day period, anyone who prayed to another god or man besides the king would be thrown into the lions’ den. Can you imagine?
Daniel learned of the decree but did not change his habit of praying to God. Just as he had done all his life, he went home, knelt down, faced Jerusalem, and prayed to God. The wicked administrators caught him and told the king. King Darius, who loved Daniel. He tried to save him, but the decree could not be revoked.
At sundown, they threw Daniel into the den of lions. The king was so worried and upset, he could not eat or sleep all night. At dawn he ran to the lions’ den and asked Daniel if his God had protected him. Daniel replied,
“My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong
Scripture says the king was overjoyed. Daniel was brought out, unharmed, “…because he had trusted in his God.” (Daniel 6:23, NIV)
God’s Word is true and He can be trusted! The culture may change, but God does not change. His standard is right—and as Christians, we are called to follow Him—no matter what. God takes good care of His people. We do not need to be afraid.
The Bible teaches that we are to be ready to give a defense for the Scripture “in season and out of season.”
We either believe God’s Word or we don’t—and we demonstrate that by the way we live our lives.
Will you be set apart? Dare to be a Daniel!