There is no doubt that the culture around us has changed and continues to change everyday. There have been multiple books, blogs, dissertations, and sermons written on the topic of post-modernism and its impact on Modern America.
If you would like a general overview of some of these challenges from a Christian perspective, Wayne Bray's new book Inside Out is a great resource. With every passing day it seems as if some new issue is put right in front of us concerning the changing tides of morality and ethics. Transgenderism, non-traditional marriages, bathroom 'accommodations', abortion on demand are all issues that are not only discussed today, they are normative in our conversation of what it means to be an American. Just within the past few days there has been a story about a male cyclist, identifying as a female, who won the world championship for females. There was also a tragic story concerning the government forcing a father to go along with the medical sex transition of his seven year old child. These truly are perilous times. The America we live in is looking less like Mayberry and more like Babylon everyday.
I believe we should advocate for righteousness in the public square. We are compelled to by Scripture. As Americans citizens we have the right not only to the freedom of worship, but also to the free exercise of religion. There is a difference. We can and should live out the teachings of God in all that we do. From the voting booth to the drop-off line at our kids school, we should seek to live out the righteous teachings of God.
As with all things concerning these issues, my main focus is not on fixing all of the ills of our culture, but rather I have to ask two questions:
1. As a father, how will I guide my family through these issues?
2. As a pastor, how will I guide those I shepherd through these issues?
Elections matter. Presidents matter. Supreme Court decisions matter. But what matters most is what happens in your house and my house. I am concerned about the culture, but I am more concerned about how we as Christians respond to it.
With that in mind, I would like to offer some biblical principles on how we can guide our families through times like this.
1. Live your faith for your children to see
When our children are younger, we have direct influence over them. Before they start school, especially, they are constantly concerned with pleasing mom and dad. In that season of life the relationship we have with our children is one of direct authority. They learn how to honor their father and their mother. As the grow older, the relationship we have with them shifts from authority to influence. It doesn't mean we lose all authority. But it does mean they become more independent, as they should. Whether through authority or influence, we need to be good stewards of the time we have with our children.
That's why it is especially important we not only teach them about the principles of God's Word but that we live it out for them as well. Don't get me wrong - we will fail at times. There may even be moments where our children need to see us fail so they can understand what it means to grow in dependency on the Lord. However, the quickest way for a child to leave the faith is for their parents to be biblically inconsistent behind closed doors. Pray that God would open your eyes to the things that need to change in how you parent and live your life.
2. Guard your children
There will be a wide variety of opinions on how to do this. There has to be some freedom and flexibility even with what this looks like from family to family. The point is still an important one, however. We should know what our children are up against, and we should not shy away from protecting them from it.
It is amazing how many children have unbridled access to the internet. Their minds and their bodies are still forming and growing. I want to say this as clearly as I can: Parents, if you don't protect your children no one else will. Sure, there are teachers and others who care about the well-being of your child, but it is your job to protect them.
3. Have the hard conversations
My children are much younger in age. I don't need to have conversations with them about gender identity or sexual orientation. That will do nothing but cause confusion and chaos in their little minds. However, my wife and I need to have these conversations to make sure we are on the same page. We need to be prepared when the day does come that we have to explain these things to our children. The website www.gotquestions.com is a simple resource to help answer many of these questions biblically. They provide lots of references to other books and passages of scripture.
If your children are older there needs to be a conversation about Christian teachings concerning these issues. We need to ask what their friends believe and what their teachers believe. In order to have the answers to these hard conversations, we need to root ourselves firmly in the Word of God. We should not go into these conversations blinded by our personal feelings or emotions. The Bible speaks clearly concerning sexual ethics and order in the home. Study it. Pray through it. God will bless your efforts.
4. Be willing to sacrifice in living out your faith
When Daniel and the nation of Israel went into Babylonian captivity, there were decisions that had to be made. Years before Daniel was faced with the den of lions, he was faced with whether or not he would eat the king's food. Daniel stood on principle, and he followed the diet that would have been pleasing to the Lord according to Old Testament teachings. This could have very easily cost him his life. It was just as dangerous as being thrown into a lions den. Some may have said, "It's just food, Daniel. Just eat it." Honestly, it sounds a lot like what is taking place today. In leading our lives as Christians today there will be a cost. It may be a relationship, a position on your child's baseball team, or even your job. Please hear me clearly. We should love others through this. We should be examples of grace by showing love to others as Jesus has shown love to us. However, there is nothing loving about abandoning the truth.
Some may wonder why we don't just go along with the changing tides of the culture.
It's because our Master has given us instructions on how we should live our lives. There should be no question. No matter the context - Babylon or America - we should remain obedient to God.