Category Archives: Series

Worldly Friends – Part 5

This month we will conclude our discussion of how to teach our children to love the sinner but hate the sin without having a condemning attitude toward the worldly person. Here is the link to the first four articles in this series.

Last month we began looking into the book of Jude for direction concerning how we as parents are to interact with those who are worldly around us. This is not only important in our lives but also in our children’s because our children will model what we do. If we don’t want them to have worldly friends then we won’t be able to have them either. So how does Jude teach us to be in the world, be around the worldly, and yet not led away from our Lord? There are several things that are key, and we will break up the verses in Jude to discuss them.

First, we read that we must be in prayer. “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost” (Jude 20). We are to be in serious prayer as we encounter the worldly. We have already seen how the relationship isn’t to be a friendship. Prayer is first because we recognize the frailty of our ability to protect ourselves: therefore, we cry out for the Lord’s strength and protection. We need to be aware of the danger we are in if we are trying to restore or win a worldly man.

In Jude 21a, he is telling us to “Keep yourselves in the love of God.” We keep ourselves in the love of God by obeying Him. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3). To know His commandments, we must be in the Word. Every family member should be individually reading his Bible every morning and then come together as a family to read every evening. As we are in the Word, we learn His Word, it comes to mind through the day to direct us, and then we must choose to obey it.

In Jude 21b we now are told the secret of not condemning those who are worldly but whom we would be called to exhort. Look at this phrase with me, “looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” As we live our lives in Christ, serving Him every day, we look toward His mercy. We are to be constantly aware of our failures, and how we need, but don’t deserve, God’s mercy. When we remind ourselves of how pitiful we are before the Lord Jesus, we see that we have no room to condemn anyone else.

“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15). Here was God’s Apostle to the Gentiles describing himself as the greatest sinner of all. He wasn’t excusing sin in his life by way of grace, but he saw how far short he fell and was constantly aware of his wicked past.

“For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:9-10). Paul is demonstrating to us the secret Jude shared in how we reach the worldly, protect ourselves, and not judge them at the same time.

As we remind ourselves of our past, we are all the more grateful for God’s mercy and grace, desiring not to return to our previous way of life again. Those memories also stir in us compassion for others still trapped in sin and or worldliness. “And of some have compassion, making a difference” (Jude 22). I’m often moved to compassion for others when the phrase comes to mind, “Except for the grace of God, there go I.” Every one of us is capable of extreme worldliness and sin. Therefore who are we to judge another? Each will have a judge, and that is the Lord Jesus. Until then, we do all we can to reach and help them.

In Jude 23 we now have the key to protect ourselves from falling into worldliness and sin, “And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” First we observe in this verse, that the goal of our interactions with the worldly is to bring them to repentance. Next the Holy Spirit via Jude is telling us that we must hate what has trapped others. The Greek word “hate” means just that. We are to so utterly detest what ensnared the worldly that we don’t want to get close to it. It isn’t enough that we dislike worldly activities. We must hate them and teach our children to hate those things as well.

One example of something I despise is the TV. Many families are ensnared by the trap of loving to be entertained by it and are thus influenced by it. The only way to protect my children from that trap is to teach my family to hate the TV. “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me” (Psalms 101:3). I don’t condemn the families caught in the trap. My heart aches for them because they are addicted to the TV (beast). So many families are being infected, and they can’t break free from the worst worldly friend their children (and parents for that matter) can have—the TV!!! Therefore, I am teaching my family a disdain for TV by pointing out to them the wickedness found therein, the time that they waste, and the outcomes in the lives of families who are ensnared by it.

Since last month’s Corner I have received a few e-mails that asked how what I have shared in this series is applied when the worldly “friend” is actually a worldly relative. The danger is just as real with extended family as it is with other friends. As a matter of fact, the more your child enjoys the worldly relatives, the greater the potential harm. What do you do when you don’t want to hurt or offend your relatives, but you feel the need to set boundaries? Ask yourself, “Am I willing to sacrifice my child for the sake of relationships with my extended family?” Considering we are commanded to bring our children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, we must choose to do what we should to follow the Lord Jesus. Therefore it will require some courage to take the stands with relatives that we might be forced to make if we want to keep our children’s hearts.

I had finished writing this article when I met a sixty-year-old man whose life story was the perfect but sad conclusion to this series. While I was waiting for him to complete some paperwork that I needed, I asked him where he would be in a million years. He said he would be dirt. I countered him by saying that certainly his body would be dirt, but where would he be?

Discerning where the conversation was going, he briefly described his childhood. He was raised by very conservative, Christian parents who went to church three times a week and read the Bible together every night after dinner. His folks didn’t drink or smoke, but he decided he wanted to do those things. Therefore, he hasn’t touched a Bible in many decades and has no interest in spiritual things. My heart was grieving for him and his parents when I summed it up like this. “So it is a personal preference—along the lines of your parents like vanilla but you like chocolate?” He smiled at me and said, “Exactly!”

I asked him what had happened when it sounded like he had the perfect Christian home? Did he have friends who led him the wrong way? He looked at me with an expression that said, “Now you got it.” And then verbally affirmed, “Exactly!” With a heavy heart I left him and wondered how parents could ever think that it wouldn’t matter if their children had worldly friends.

What about you? Have you learned to love the sinner by not condemning him but hating his sin? Are you teaching your children to do the same? Is your goal in a relationship with a worldly person to help him to a spiritual walk with the Lord Jesus? Do your children have worldly friends? There is much at stake in your answers to these questions—the spiritual future of your children. May I encourage you to evaluate your life and your example and make sure it is what the Lord Jesus would want it to be.

Worldly Friends – Part 4

In this series of Dad’s Corners, we have been discussing a question a brother recently asked me concerning how to raise children who will not condemn worldly friends and won’t be drawn to their worldly lifestyles. If you haven’t read the previous Corners I would recommend you do so before reading this one.

We have already seen that Scripture teaches that there isn’t any way for our children to have worldly friends and not be affected by them. “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul” (Proverbs 22:24-25). This verse deals strictly with the angry aspect of worldliness, but we have seen how all types of worldly friends will have the same effect. The closer a child’s heart is drawn to worldly friends, the more he will be changed by them. Therefore, it is dangerous to the souls of our children to have worldly friends.

The family that doesn’t believe worldly friends, Christian or unbeliever, will influence their children is headed for a rude awakening as evidenced by the e-mails we receive from families who are in the midst of just such a crisis situation. They will describe problems they are having with a child who wants to quit homeschooling, make worldly choices, or follow a worldly lifestyle. When we ask about the influences in the life of the youth, we will be told of a worldly friend. The justification the parents give for allowing the friendship in the first place is often that they didn’t want to offend the neighbor family to whom the child belongs.

However, parents should ask themselves if losing their child is worth the possibility of reaching the neighbor? I believe that Proverbs 27:12 has the answer. “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.” There will be other ways to share Christ with a neighbor that won’t involve compromising the spiritual direction of our children’s lives.

In our quest to help our children choose not to have worldly friends, our example will be very important. If we have worldly friends, our children will also be drawn to those same kinds of friends. I am defining a friend as someone with whom you spend significant amounts of time. The book of Jude gives us an exhortation and pattern for our interactions with those of the world, and it doesn’t involve friendship. Let’s study it so that we can learn from its instruction.

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 3,4). Those who are worldly and want to be our friends do not come up and identify themselves as being worldly or ungodly. They are as dangerous to us as they would be to our children because they can deceitfully pull our hearts away from the Lord Jesus by drawing us to their worldliness and ungodliness. The exhortations in Jude’s epistle apply as much to us today as they did when Jude first penned them.

What is the tool a worldly friend uses against a believer? He uses the same one that has been used through the ages. “You’re free in Christ. Go ahead. It’s okay.” The first steps of compromise may be small, but soon bigger ones will be offered, all under the cloak of “grace will cover it.” Jesus said in Matthew 7:15-17, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.”

Looking at a man’s fruit and what he promotes is a good way to discern whether he will be a friend that walks after the Spirit or after the flesh. If he is after the Spirit, following his example will lead us to a walk that is holy, without blemish, and a denial of fleshly pleasures. “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:24-25).

Worldly friends will not lead us down a path of self-denial but one of gratifying the flesh, lasciviousness, and worldly pleasure. Yet the walk of a believer is to be the opposite. “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:12).

In Matthew 7:16, which was quoted above, Jesus said we don’t gather grapes (good fruit) from thorns. In Luke 8:14, Jesus tells us what the thorns of this world are. “And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.” The cares, riches, and pleasures of this life are the fun things that many believers are chasing today, perhaps because this is what their worldly friends are pursuing. It is probably no wonder then that there is little real spiritual fruit being produced from these lives. I find it deeply saddening that the pursuit of fun and pleasure is a “high place” today within the professing church. We now live in a pagan nation while the professing church has lost its savor as salt because of the pursuit of fun. (Side note: is it any wonder that youth groups and all their fun activities have not produced real dynamic fruit?)

As we lead our children away from worldly friends, we need to set the example for them. We want to evaluate the fruit in the lives of those with whom we spend time. Are they drawing us closer to the Savior or away from Him toward fun and entertainment? I want to conclude this series next month by finishing our look into Jude for direction in our interactions with those who are worldly.

Worldly Friends – Part 3

This month we continue with the topic of how we teach our children to love others who choose a worldly path but not embrace what they are doing. The previous Dad’s Corners can be read here.

We instruct our children best by our example. Our “walk” prepares the way for them to receive what we teach. Therefore, we could ask ourselves how we, as parents, are demonstrating the love of Jesus toward the worldly “Christians” we encounter while not being influenced by the sin in their lives.

Paul said in Philippians 3:17, “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.” Paul was commanding us to note those who live a Christ-honoring life and follow them as examples. He also encouraged us to notice those who do not have a godly life and come alongside them for the purpose of restoring them. “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1).

Paul is directing that we would do two things with the information we learn from observing people’s lives. We look to those whose walk is Christ-honoring as examples, but we work toward restoring those who have a sinful, worldly lifestyle being careful that we ourselves aren’t influenced by their sin. Therefore, we can learn from Paul’s godly example as to how he lovingly attempted to help believers who were making bad choices.

Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 2:4 express his broken heart and concern for the Corinthian believers. “For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you” (2 Corinthians 2:4).

“And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved” (2 Corinthians 12:15). Paul demonstrated his love by ministering with a willingness to suffer. Even at the risk of the Corinthians rejecting his leadership, Paul rebuked their conduct and did not back down. He was saying in verse fifteen that the more he loved them by speaking the truth in love, the less he was loved by them. Usually, the more someone is loved, the more he loves in return.

People want to be accepted and loved, and Paul was no different as noted by the fact that he mentioned that the Corinthians were loving him less. Paul, led by the Holy Spirit, didn’t come to the Corinthians to win their acceptance through funny pulpit stories and “I’m okay, you’re okay” talk. “When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay?” (2 Corinthians 1:17). Paul told them the truth about their sinful, worldly conduct and God’s thoughts on it even though he knew it was costing him the feelings of love the Corinthians should have had for him. “But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay” (2 Corinthians 1:18).

A good doctor will tell the patient what his real condition is and what is necessary to restore him to health. Paul demonstrated in the Epistles that he was a good spiritual doctor because he was willing to directly address the bad news of their spiritual need. “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” (Ephesians 4:15).

The Greek word for love in Ephesians 4:15 is agape and is well defined in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Paul’s love fits the criteria that is set forth in these verses. He was definitely kind and patient. He wasn’t proud as he exhorted them, but rather he was honest and direct.

In Ephesians we find another of the many examples in the New Testament of Paul speaking the truth in love to those in his flocks by exhorting them to stop living a worldly lifestyle. “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness” (Ephesians 4:17-19).

Paul has set forth the example for believers as to how we love worldly believers, and we are the example for our children. Do we speak the truth in love to those who are worldly and help them to see their condition before the Lord Jesus? We may not be in a position of spiritual authority over our Christian friends, but we are still able to admonish one another in love. “And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another” (Romans 15:14).

In the e-mails I receive, it often appears that people prefer to “wink” at the worldliness in others’ lives than to risk the possibility of losing their friendship or appearing to be “holier than thou.” This is generally stated in the context of a parent writing and expressing concern about the influences on his children from worldly families and friends. Rather than offend a brother by bringing up worldliness in his life or his family’s lives, the parent will allow his children to be in jeopardy of worldly influences.

Ignoring sin is more comfortable than admonishing. “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17). When two pieces of steel are used to sharpen each other, friction results. A true friend will welcome and receive an admonishment. However, “A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise” (Proverbs 15:12). Only when a scorner repents will he come to realize that the one rebuking him was acting out of love.

Could it be that church discipline is so rare today because few are willing to take a chance of offending any one, and therefore, sin is tolerated? If brother would admonish brother in an ongoing, casual way—as iron sharpeneth iron—I believe there would far less need for church discipline because worldly, sinful lifestyles would be dealt with before they became major sins.

Worldliness is rampant among believers today. Similarly to the way a cold bug spreads in the physical realm, one worldly family spends time with a godly family and spiritually infects that family with their worldliness. It takes the deep love of a godly family, and a willingness to be rejected, to try to help a worldly family by speaking the truth in love. An evidence of our love for others is when we are willing to suffer loss of fellowship as a result of their not appreciating an admonition. Are we more concerned about their spiritual health or our desire for friendship? In a time of political correctness and tolerance, may we choose to be courageous and love others enough to encourage them in a closer walk with the Lord Jesus.

In this process, it is important that we share with our children concerning these interactions that we are having with worldly brethren. We want them to know biblically why we are speaking the truth in love—what the sin is, what Scripture says about it, and what the outcomes will be for those who choose not to repent. We desire that our children would understand the consequences of sin, and then abhor sin and a worldly lifestyle. This is an important part of our children learning to love the sinner and hate the sin rather than embracing it.

As our children see that our hearts are broken with concern for others and that we are willing to speak the truth in love, they are learning to love those for whom Christ died. When we share with them the truth of the Scripture, they will understand the seriousness of not embracing the world. If speaking the truth in love causes a distancing of a friendship, our children will observe our example of choosing fellowship with the Lord Jesus as being more important than worldly friends who will compromise our walk with Jesus. We will continue this next month.

Worldly Friends – Part 2

Last month we discussed the seriousness of friendship with the world. Please see Part 1 if you didn’t read it last month or you want to review its information. We discovered that a friend of the world is an enemy of God. Therefore, it is a dangerous thing to have worldly friends due to their influence in our lives and also our children’s. One question this might bring to mind is how are we to harmonize the command “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. . .” (Matthew 28:19-20) with Ephesians 6:4 that tells us to bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?

To answer this, we must realize that Jesus is not commanding our children to reach the lost. That is our responsibility as mature believers in Christ. Children are children (big surprise?), and those they are around will greatly influence them. “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed” (Proverbs 13:20). Therefore if we don’t want our children to be worldly, we can’t have our children spending time with those who are worldly. This may be a shock to some, but Ephesians 4:14 is clear, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” Reaching the unsaved or ministering to worldly Christians is our responsibility not our children’s because our children will be pulled down by worldly associations.

Some may not agree with the idea that children are not called to reach the lost or restore worldly Christians, but Scripture always agrees with Scripture. The Holy Spirit led Paul to write in Ephesians 4:14 that children will be tossed about and influenced by those they are around. Whether it is worldly Christians in clubs, teams, school or even church, they will exhibit a strong negative pull on the godly youth the more time they spend together. Certainly, the lost are far, far worse in their influence than even a worldly believer.

Consider Jesus’ disciples, who were men that Jesus was training personally. When Jesus first sent out these grown men, yet immature in their faith, He sent them out two by two. “And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits” (Mark 6:7). Missionaries today often go two-by-two because there is spiritual encouragement and accountability when two are sharing with the lost. The Lord is not going to send out a child to reach those who will be a stumbling block to his own faith.

Then let’s answer another question that begs to be asked. “Why would a child of more faith be pulled down by associating with a worldly child of less faith?” Aren’t we who are saved to be stronger than the world? “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). However, we still have the flesh to contend with, and Paul speaks clearly to this war.

Paul describes the battle that rages within each believer in Galatians 5:17: “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Surely, no one reading this would consider his child more spiritually strong and mature than Paul. Paul shares his struggles in doing what is right in Romans 7:18-19. Briefly, here, Paul says, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” Even a spiritually mature person like Paul struggled in following the Spirit; therefore, our children will be pulled down by worldly associations.

Every saved person has two natures within him—a new saved spirit and the flesh. These two are at war constantly, and the battle is what Paul is describing in Romans 7:15-25. As we grow in Christ by reading the Word and making obedient choices, our spirit grows stronger in the Lord Jesus and more able to resist the pull of the flesh. However, even someone like Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, acknowledges the reality of the struggle. If it is such a battle for the mature, then that explains why children are so easily swayed.

A good example of this might be the game called tug of war. When you have only two people on the ropeeach one pulling against the other—the strongest one wins. However, it is no contest when there are two on one side pulling against one on the other. That is why a Christian youth is pulled down by a worldly youth (Christian or lost). You have two against one. The worldly youth joins forces with the Christian youth’s flesh, and the two are more powerful than the Christian’s spirit can resist. The result is one more Christian youth being pulled to the world.

Parents frequently tell us that they can’t find like-hearted friends for their children so they just pray for their children and believe that their children’s faith will not be harmed by worldly Christian friends. If one doesn’t heed Scriptural warnings, disaster will likely result. “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished” (Proverbs 22:3). I have heard deep sorrow in the voices of many parents who have shared with us over the years about how they lost their children due to worldly friends, and the greatest tragedy is that it could have been avoided.

May each parent be on guard and resist the fallacy that their children won’t be harmed by worldly friends. We parents are the ones who are called to reach the lost and restore the worldly brother. Even then we must be on guard as well. “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). Here Paul is exhorting us to come alongside a stumbling brother and help restore him. Furthermore, Paul adds a caution that we should be careful in this effort to restore because we might also be tempted in the sin that snared our brother. Even those mature in Christ are in danger of being pulled down by the worldly brother.

Next month we will continue this discussion on living in the world, loving those who are worldly, and not condemning them.

Worldly Friends – Part 1

A brother in the Lord recently asked me a question that deserved far more attention than the brief answer I was able to give him due to lack of time and thought. If we hadn’t been leaving when the question was asked, I’m sure it would have sparked a great discussion. The question was, “How do we teach our children to love others who choose a worldly path, but not embrace what they are doing and not condemn them?”

Every dad who understands the need to love others and yet has purposed to raise his children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4) should be concerned about this. We want to show the love of Christ to all we come in contact with and teach our children to do the same. We should teach our children to shun what Scripture says is wrong and worldly but to embrace what is of the Lord. In doing so, our children will view others through our grid of teaching and deem their conduct, activities and dress as good, bad, or in between. It is a very difficult challenge for our children to choose to live for the Lord Jesus, but not be influenced by other’s lifestyles and also not condemn them.

First, we dads must realize that being worldly is ungodly and dangerous to our children, otherwise this whole topic is a moot point. “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:12). The word “friendship” in this verse simply means “fondness.” James is saying that even just a fondness for the world makes one an enemy of God. I don’t want that for myself or for my children.

James 4:4 seems to be a very black and white statement in a black, white, and gray world. How does a parent decide what is too much worldliness? I, personally, would rather not be even a little bit of an enemy with God. Isn’t it better to remain on the side of righteousness and to make sure we don’t have any kind of friendship with the world? Each dad needs to think hard about this and the ramifications to his family. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2).

Next, it is important that we understand the danger associated with our children having worldly friends. If our children spend time with worldly children, will that worldliness “rub off” on them? “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Ephesians 4:14). In this verse, we are told that we should no longer be children because children are easily influenced by others. Children are the example used in this verse of those who are being easily led away. This verse is very clear. It doesn’t limit those who are led away to children who are simple or gullible. ALL children fit this category of being tossed to and fro. We want to think our children are different—that they are strong and stable. However, Scripture says children are led astray. This is the nature of children, and it is critical that every parent believes what Scripture says. If we don’t apply this truth to our parenting, our children are in danger.

Whoever are children are around will influence them. That is one reason why we are told in Deuteronomy 6:7 to be with our children. “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” If we are with our children we have the opportunity to influence them ourselves and to protect them from unwholesome influences. Because of the preciousness of our children and how easily they are led astray, the Lord is telling us to be with our children.

Parents attending conservative churches frequently tell us of a struggle they have. They are pleased with the church in that it is conservative and doesn’t have programs that split up the family, yet often other parents will not oversee their children. After the worship time, the children are allowed to run loose, away from the parents, and negative “fruit” prevails with the children.

I know some parents think their children will conduct themselves properly even when among those who are acting inappropriately. That might be true, but I have seen many times through the years groups of men drawn into foolishness when they never would have acted that way with their wives present. I think most will find that even more “mature” youth will tend toward folly when among the “right” group of peers. It may not be as bad as worldly children initially, but it will all lead in the same ungodly direction. To avoid this influence on our children, we will need to be with them, and that will impact our time. As adults we want to enjoy fellowshipping with other adults while letting our children have “fun” with the other children. However, the fun they are having is often not for their edification.

It is common to hear about a family who has tragically lost their home to a fire. Even if everyone escapes safely, it is a terrible thing for a family’s home to be destroyed. Yet, many families choose to have fireplaces and woodstoves in their homes knowing fire presents a great danger to life and property. Why? It is because they are choosing to put safeguards in place to manage the danger of the fire. In the same way, it is important that each family understands the seriousness of exposing their children to worldly children and that they choose appropriate safeguards.

Now that we are in agreement as to the seriousness of friendship with the world, what does Scripture say about teaching children to love others and not condemn them? We are called to love others, but how we do that and protect our family is the key issue. We will continue this important topic next month.