When I got saved at the age of 21, everything was GREAT…for about a week. Then I panicked.
I started thinking thoughts such as, “How in the world can I have a godly marriage? I don’t even know what marriage is!”
All kinds of thoughts regarding godly families, and my inadequacy in leading one, began racing through my mind and caused me anxiety.
One of the things I did to help me get a grip was to ‘interview’ Christians and members of Christian families.
They didn’t know I was interviewing them, because I never told them. I simply asked people questions and listened.
And one of the best ways I ‘interviewed’ these people, was simply to watch, observe, and take notes. It’s AMAZING what you can learn simply by keeping your eyes open, and by keeping a prayerful watch over people as they live their lives.
And one of the things I noticed will blow you away! I’ll share that in a moment.
But first let me explain what I paid attention to.
Yes, faithfulness has been my obsession for quite a while. I’ve been unfaithful in my Christian walk, more than once, and I never want me, or anyone else, to go through that.
That means I notice people who are super-faithful, and those who are not, and try to draw commonalities. I actually have interviewed many people who are unfaithful, and asked them all kinds of questions. (If you ever want to have your eyes opened to risky things Christians can do that have negative impacts on others, just do that.)
And in paying attention to all these people who seemed to be afraid and resentful of Christians, churches, and everything related to Christ that involves humans, I almost missed it. I almost missed what may be the biggest way we, as parents, can help our children to NOT feel safe at church…and maybe even help them to be unfaithful.
Are you ready for it?
If you want your children to not feel safe with other your church family, all you have to do is regularly criticize other Christians.
I almost missed this. No one has ever pointed it out to me. I’ve never read about this anywhere (which doesn’t mean no one has made this connection. I’m SURE multiple people have, I just have missed it.).
But it’s crystal clear.
When our children grow up and see us criticize other Christians, they most likely will assume that’s the way all Christians act. They will simply absorb the belief that is the norm is for “us” to criticize other Christians, then they will assume that’s the way all Christians act. (Just as I marveled in high school how my friends who had sex, drank, or smoked, were SHOCKED at how many people did NOT do those things…and my friends who didn’t do those things were SHOCKED at how many did…people generally think everyone else is like them.)
It’s so simple. Treat everyone with grace and kindness. SHOW your children grace. Don’t just talk about it…be about it.
Honor everybody. Talk about people in their absence as if they were there with you.
If you do that, your children will understand that giving others the benefit of the doubt, and treating them with love, is the Christian norm–what all Christians do.
“Yes, but Frederic, not all Christians do that!”
Yes, that’s correct. However, if we are going to err, let’s err on the side of mercy, love, and grace, not judgment.
“Mercy triumphs over judgment.” –James 2:13
Please, please, PLEASE do not talk badly about other Christians.
Your children’s souls are at stake.
As well as yours.
I commit to never again criticize someone behind their back.
Won’t you join me in that commitment?