There is no denying that the world we live in today is much different than the world we grew up in as a child. As this country moves forward, sin is recognized and labeled as “progress,” and more and more people are leaving the church. As a Christian mom, we have to learn how to parent a child in a world full of sin while the rest of the world is telling them that a sin is not a sin.
I’ll never forget the day that my family went to dinner at Olive Garden, and our waiter was a transgender. He was very obviously a man who was dressed up like a woman… clothes, makeup, and all. At the time my daughter was ten years old, and I could see the confusion on her face. Luckily she had enough sense to keep her mouth shut until the waiter walked away from our table, but as soon as he did she looked at me and said, “Why is that man dressed like a lady?”
At that moment I could have reacted to that situation in one of several ways. I know many Christians who would have reacted with disgust, possibly even getting up and demanding a different waiter or even leaving the restaurant. I know other Christians who probably would have continued having dinner with their family, but would have been rude or even snickering behind the waiter’s back the entire time, possibly even posting pictures on Facebook. In that very moment I had to make a choice about what being a Christian really looked like, and what I wanted my child to learn about Jesus.
I quietly told my daughter to be polite, don’t stare, and enjoy her dinner and we would talk about it after we left the restaurant. During dinner I made a very conscious effort to make sure that my daughter saw me being extremely polite and cutting up with laughter with our waiter. I even allowed her to use her homeschool math skills to figure out how much twenty percent of our bill would be so that we could tip him well. We even added five extra dollars on top of that. I decided in that moment that what I wanted my daughter to learn about Jesus was that Jesus loved everyone.
Later after dinner when we were able to finally have a conversation together, I explained to my daughter everything that was going on in our country at the time about same sex marriages being legalized, transgenders being allowed to use the bathroom of their choice, etc. This was really the first time that she and I ever had a conversation about sin being more than just telling a lie or being disobedient to her parents. It was the moment when she realized that our lifestyle choices are either pleasing to God or they aren’t. It was the moment when she was first faced with a decision about how she was going to move forward in world where not everyone believes the same things we do as a Christian. And it was the moment when I had to teach her that we can still love and be respectful to people who live differently than the way Jesus teaches us to live.
The single most important thing that Christian parents can do while raising a child in a world full of sin, is to teach them to love no matter what. In John chapter 13 verses 34-35, Jesus said, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” The way we treat people is the one thing that Jesus tells us will prove that we belong to Him.
I see all too often where many “Christians” get so fired up about things that other people do that they do not agree with. Some Christians may boycott a particular store or restaurant because they support things that we know are sin. Christians who CONSTANTLY shout out their political views that they believe in even at the expense of other people… I see many “Christians” getting on Facebook and posting hateful agendas against a particular group of people because they think that their Facebook post that shows how much they hate the sin, makes them somehow a better Christian. But hear me! It does not! Hateful rhetoric does not show the world that you are a Christian. Hateful rhetoric does the exact opposite. Our hearts are showing the world that we belong to Jesus, not our words.
Teach your children to love no matter what. Teach your children to be respectful of everyone, especially those who need to know Jesus. Teaching your children to love everyone does not mean that you are teaching them that it is okay to sin. It just means that they will grow up to be loving, respectful human beings who can choose to fight a world of sin through prayer rather than hateful rhetoric. It means that you have the opportunity to show them how to let the world know who they belong to. Just teach them to love.