Our Children, and Extending God's Love Outside the FAMILY
Question: The children in our neighborhood are a terrible influence on my children. If I’m honest and discerning about it (rather than spacing it because of my own desire for “freedom”), I know that “bad company corrupts good character” and even most of the “religious” neighbors have children that deeply love and mimic the world. That would make them, according to God, enemies of God—which is NOT what I want for my children, of course. SO, how do we reach into the lives of the neighbors without giving our own children over to “conforming to the patterns of this world”? How can my family influence them if we have to avoid them? And what are they going to think of me? That I am snobby? : ) However, I just can’t risk our children yoking with hers.—Margaret
We just CAN’T risk our children yoking with the children of the world. The answer to your question is...VIRTUALLY ALWAYS do what you do with unBelievers on your turf—and not theirs. Meaning, YOU provide the direction and creativity and are involved and watchful. Even “bad” children love to go bowling, ice skating, etc. and you can do it all on YOUR terms. You choose the places and see to the environment and the companions and how it is handled, and how long it lasts. You must be involved with your children’s futures, instead of naive or lazy or worldly-minded about children needing exposure to sin in order to be “well-rounded.” If you want to lose your children the way those folks will lose theirs, go ahead and follow Freud’s advice on this one. GOD said, “Bad company corrupts good character” and “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord!” Sure, it creates some awkwardness when you don’t accept the neighbor’s return invitations most of the time, but that is just the way it goes. You can accept the safe invites, but NEVER the questionable ones even when there are major pressures to do so. It is beyond a doubt that we DO live in enemy territory. The Scriptures are very clear that this world is enemy territory, and only a very foolish person would live and act otherwise.
So....If my son is doing something in some slightly more dangerous environment spiritually (something on the world’s turf that we’ve targeted for Jesus)—he’ll nearly always have a couple of other (at least one) younger or older true brothers with him. Even if they weren’t “invited”! You’re absolutely right. You CANNOT risk your children yoking with the enemy’s children. If we’re going to “yank the unBelievers from the fire”, we’re going to do it on God’s turf or on God’s terms, not like lone-ranger hero types, disconnected from the Head and the body. In the Civil War (and any war) they always refer to getting “good ground” to fight on, or they don’t fight—they move on. Hope that is helpful?