When We Understand Both Sides, How Do We Find Resolution?
My brief trip to Tahoe was amazing. Talk about prayers that moved mountains. It was infected, though, with “Christian issues” that I could not get out of my head or heart through prayer requests.
I would love your input and understanding. I hate the evil in the world!
Children are so amazingly trusting and one of the main reasons why our Lord wants us to have a childlike heart engaging in our relationship with Him (Matthew 18). Children love and trust easily because they are not tarnished with adult feelings of shame, guilt or the insecurities that develop because of fear.
God holds us parents accountable for how we affect our child’s ability to trust, whether it’s hindering or influencing. There is no judgment or stone being cast here. I was a single mom working two jobs while raising my kids and let me say, I made my fair share of mistakes.
I did the best that I could do with the tools that I was equipped with! Admittedly, I transplanted my own fears and shame onto my kids.
Sunday at church, there was this beautiful family with lovely children sitting where every person coming into the congregation would pretty much have to walk past. They were sitting basically where they were showcased, right smack in the middle of the church, with no chairs in front of them and a ten-foot open space designed to guide you to your seats.
These children were “perfectly” groomed and “perfectly” acting. Every parent’s dream, right? They were greatly admired and easily acknowledged.
Being Grammy Tammy, I understand now why older folk love to acknowledge precious children. Children bring life through their gifts of innocence, wonder and infectious smiles.
I went up and introduced myself as we commonly do each week; getting to know our body of Christ. As I approached, the children’s eyes lit up. The mother, sadly, became agitated and quite angry with me when I tried to engage in a conversation. She was adamant that her children are NOT ALLOWED TO SPEAK TO OR ANSWER STRANGERS!
Talk about shutting me down. I felt assaulted. I’m not used to that kind of reciprocation. My presence was not WELCOMED! Mama hissed and her claws of warning hurt like hell.
I do respect that. I get it our world is unsafe, is getting crazier, and we need protection. I also admit that I am not comfortable with my own grandchildren going into the children’s church unless I know the person teaching. That means I am still transposing my own fears and control.
Churches have always been targets for evil and not a place to let our guards down. There’s just more awareness of it today; thank God! The enemy prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
Where do we meet in the middle to teach our children that fear has no rule in our lives? The way the mother approached this (yes, I am judging here), she is setting her kids up for failure by sequestering them because of her legitimate fears.
They were sitting in a spot that had eight to ten feet of open space around them to be displayed! Look, but don’t stop and say hi and share the joy?
If she’s really worried about strangers, shouldn’t they be sitting with chairs in front of them as a protective barrier? Just sayin’…
When I was in youth ministry, many of the high schoolers were home schooled. What a gift to give your children, but…
Keeping your children sequestered from the real world until they are 18 and then sent off to college just seems to be another invitation to disaster. How will they fight off the lures and temptations of the world if they’ve never been exposed to it beforehand?
Being a parent is hard, but I believe children need to be exposed to reality gently so they can watch how their parents react to situations and people, how the culture operates, and the peer pressures that are placed in society.
This mom was clearly adamant about her children being “protected” and that is her duty however she chooses to do so, but that anger slayed me right in half. I was overwhelmed with shame. I felt almost like loving on others and engagement were a crime.
So how do we steer children to Christ through our words, our examples and our acts of kindness when we refuse to allow them engagement with the world where we’re present?
As I turned for my chair in a pathetic sulk, I blessed those babies with the biggest smile I could blast and left the mother with a hand gesture:
Don’t I wish!
As I sat down and composed my pout, a young couple sitting in front of me looked, smiled and said hi. They had their three-year-old princess daughter named Alexandria with them. When the worship music began playing, this precious little girl captivated me. She extended both of her arms in the air so angelically as she swayed to the music. She was mirroring her parents’ actions perfectly.
As I praised God for this precious little girl worshiping the Lord freely and uninhibitedly until she left for children’s church, my heart tugged believing we should be instructing and teaching our children to engage in society without fear while protecting them with caution.
The Body of Christ is meant to gather for community, fellowship, to teach and encourage others to emulate the life of Christ that we all make a part of.
How are we emulating our Lord by teaching our children that everyone else is to be feared? Isn’t that developing division instead of building community and unity?
I get both sides, I really do. I am just trying to rise above the division while loving like Jesus in a world that is full of fear and evil.
Until next time…