You likely haven’t thought of growing up in a Christian home as a dangerous environment… but it is.
Here are some of the dangers of growing up in a Christian home… as I see them…
The danger of familiarity
If your children grow up attending worship services, hearing the Bible read, working on memory verses, singing worship songs, etc. they can easily become so familiar with those things that the “wonder” of what those things represent gets lost.
It’s like a lot of other things in life:
- How many people live in a beautiful place but no longer see its beauty?
- How many employees bring home a solid, stable paycheck payday after payday, but fail to see the blessing of security?
- How many individuals walk around in seemingly perfect health and take it for granted?
Growing up in a Christian home gives children a great advantage through their exposure to the truth of God. But it also provides the possibility of those things becoming mundane, rote, and no big deal to them.
[pullquote position=”right”]As parents, it’s our job to keep the wonder of Jesus and his grace alive, to talk of it often, to continue describing the awesomeness and joy of who our God is… so that our children cannot forget it because of familiarity.[/pullquote]
The danger of isolation
Many Christian parents, who rightly want to prevent their children from being sullied by the sin of the world, wind up isolating their kids from the world instead of teaching them to live in it in a godly way.
Isolation is not Christian. Jesus taught that we are to “go” into all the world (Matthew 28:18-20). The Christian message that parents want to see its purifying work in their children has to be let loose on the world… through those very children.
But isolation doesn’t happen only because of well-meaning but over-protective parents, it also happens through a subtle mindset of “separation.”
Children who grow up in a Christian home can easily get the idea that in order to be “good” Christians they must have nothing to do with sinful people. Jesus didn’t believe that (Mark 2:16-17). Neither did the Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 5:9-10). [pullquote position=”right”]Our children need to know that the grace God has given to them can only impact others if it is allowed to touch them – and we are the hands of Jesus that does the touching.[/pullquote]
The danger of self-righteousness
It’s a very difficult balance that Christian parents have to walk in teaching their children.
Our children need to be able to observe life as it happens around them and make wise, godly, discerning judgments about the situations they see. And we need to help them see where they are being wise and encourage such thinking.
But we have to be careful that right alongside that wisdom we are teaching them an appropriate appreciation of its source. Wisdom comes from God (Proverbs 2:6) – no place else. We need to teach and demonstrate for our children that any wisdom we or they may have, is a gift. It doesn’t make us better than others, only better informed.
[pullquote position=”right”]It’s a constant, deliberate, difficult work to remind our children that everything they have, they have received (1 Corinthians 4:7).[/pullquote] They are humble recipients of the grace of God, and truly, were it not for God’s grace, they would be in the same or worse situation than the “worst” sinner they see or encounter.
The danger of compassion-deficit-disorder
Yes, I made up that term… but it’s a real condition, especially for people who grow up in a Christian home.
[pullquote position=”right”]Any of us, adult or children, can become so convicted and convinced about the truth of God’s word that we forget how it came to mean so much to us.[/pullquote] God brought us to whatever place of understanding we are at, through a process of growth.
- From unbeliever
- to babe in Christ
- to growing disciple
- to fully committed follower of Christ
…we all go through the same process, no matter who we are.
But the more convinced we become of the truth as we grow up in a Christian home, the more vulnerable we are to compassion-deficit-disorder.
- We can become angry at the callousness or sin we see in unbelievers. But why are we surprised? That’s what unbelievers do.
- We can become impatient with other believers, expecting them to be at a higher level of maturity than their limited experience with God allows.
- We can become condemning in our attitudes, even if we never say anything openly.
Our children are prone to compassion-deficit-disorder, perhaps even more so if a Christian environment and home is all they’ve ever known.
Growing up in a Christian home can be extremely dangerous…
because these and many other battles happen internally. They’re attitudes that are not as obvious as other things like lying, disobedience, and bickering with siblings. So that means that we as parents have to work extra hard at noticing, gently uncovering, and helping our children deal with them in themselves. It’s hard, emotional, humility-required work, but work we must do if we want to help our children avoid or overcome these dangers of growing up in a Christian home.