I know, every generation thinks the task of parenthood they face is more challenging than their parent’s generation faced…
But I truly believe 21st century parent face some incredibly difficult issues; issues that previous generations never imagined. Here’s just ONE example…
They wear girl’s clothing, use girl’s bathrooms at school, and are represented to the world as a girl.
Both families say that in a few years, their child will begin to take medication to suppress their body’s natural adolescent hormones, and eventually undergo sex change surgery.
Along the same lines but with a different twist are parents who are choosing not to identify their child by any gender (even though their gender is obvious from a biological standpoint) so that their child can one day “choose” their gender identity.
To the typical Christian parent, these issues sound like something obscure that the’ll never have to deal with. But you’d be foolish to think so. It’s going to become more and more mainstream in a very short time. Legislation is already being passed in a number of States to “protect” such decisions against discrimination. You and your children will no doubt come in contact with it sooner or later.
And this is only one of many issues. Homosexuality, abortion, infidelity, cohabitation, pornography, and many others are very real present-day challenges that you have got to think about as a parent.
21st century parenthood is not an easy task.
My purpose in bringing up this issue (and the many others it represents) is not to cast stones or criticize. I want to ask you, Christian parent, how are you preparing your child for these realities?
Some principles to keep at the front of your mind (and your child’s mind):1 God’s word has more authority than public opinion or personal feelings.
No matter how clever the arguments, the Bible is very clear about these and other issues. As believers in Christ, we must accept and encourage what He says is true and right. We can’t allow popular opinion, no matter how popular, to dictate what we believe or how we live. And be ready: holding firmly to a biblical stance will earn you and your kids all kinds of labels – “homophobe,” “bigot,” “hateful,” and many others. It’s an emotionally difficult place to be because none of us likes to be disliked. But we’re in good company. Jesus was killed for similar reasons.2 Most of the people involved in these issues are not the enemy. They are victims of the enemy.
For example: The parents and children involved in the gender confusion issues I mentioned are not to be hated, called names, or ostracized. They are deceived. They have been tricked into thinking that lies are actually truth. Satan has fooled them, to their peril, and possibly their destruction. Our job is not to push them away, but to draw them close in the love of Christ. We should be praying for them, meeting their needs when possible, and living out a radically real faith before their eyes. As parents, we have got to teach our children what that looks like and how to do it.
One exception bears mentioning. There are some people involved in these issue who are truly enemies. They are the ones who aggressively promote these issues, attack believers, and wage their own culture war against biblical values and the gospel of Jesus Christ. While it’s true that they too are victims of the enemy (deceived), they’ve gone a step further in becoming militant. How should we respond to those people?
We respond in much the same way:
- We love them
- We pray for them
- We live out a radically real faith in front of them
- But we also watch out for them, being wise to the fact that our enemy is using them to destroy the very things our God loves, and that we could become their targets.
We are taught in scripture that we are to…
Notice three clear and powerful things:
- We are to intentionally “stir up” love and good deeds in each other’s hearts.
- We are not to neglect meeting together.
- We are to do so even more as the day of judgment/end of the world approaches.
Why are these things so important?
- We will forget to love and do good toward those who are “against” our beliefs, and instead become angry, hateful people who do not represent Christ… unless we receive Godly encouragement from other believers.
- We will be swayed by our culture if we are Lone Ranger Christians. We need the support and encouragement of others to help us maintain a clear biblical perspective in a world that is shifting so radically away from Christ.
- The harder it gets to maintain biblical viewpoints and convictions, the more we need the encouragement of fellow believers. If you think it’s crazy hard now, believe me, it’s going to get even harder. Our children are going to face it worse than we have it. We have got to serve them well by teaching them how to think (according to scripture) and how to respond (with compassion). But we’ve also got to teach them how to lean on the strength of the body of Christ… and we’ve got to do that by teaching and by example.
I know that’s a very strong statement and that there could be exceptions, by the grace of God. But never forget that one of the primary means God uses to preserve the faith of your children, is you, their parent.
Your intentional, active, well-informed conversations with your children about these issues will be used of the Spirit to guide their thoughts and shape their attitudes. Please, please PLEASE do not allow your own awkwardness about these crazy issues cause you to neglect these conversations with your children. As Solomon did his own son, you need to plead with your children to hear God’s wisdom and apply it to their own lives (Proverbs 1:8-19).
These are only a few of my thoughts about the challenges of Christian parenthood in the 21st century.
There is so much I could say, but mostly I simply want to urge parents to be intentional and agressive in passing on their faith and instilling a true love for Christ in their children.
We parents have got to become proactive instead of reactive.
We’ve got to initiate these deep, issue-based conversations with our children. If we don’t our children are going to be swayed by the culture… and the hope we have of a generational legacy of faith will die on the vine.
There’s nothing more important you could do with your life… nothing.