As a homeschool mothers, wives, and believers in Christ we have many aspirations. We want to love the Lord with all our heart and be a godly wives according to Proverbs 31. We want to teach our children in the ways of the Lord and shield them from the evils of this world. We want to give them a Christian worldview so they can be world changers and carry on the message of the Gospel to the next generation.
Recently as I pondered these thoughts I wondered if how we attempt to do this is really an effective strategy. Am I teaching my kids to stand up for Jesus or stand apart?
Standing Up for Jesus
Standing up for Jesus means sharing my faith when it is not the popular thing to do. For me that means inviting people of different faiths into my home and sharing truth from God’s Word. It means not being afraid of those different from me and being willing to show the love of Jesus to those in need. It means letting go of the critical spirit that so easily besets those of the Christian faith and reaching out to the world in need.
I grew up completely surrounded by those of a faith just like mine. It wasn’t hard to stand up for Jesus in that environment. I learned to be comfortable and I spoke with all the Christian lingo of my friends. I was a good girl who followed in the faith of my fathers. There came a day, however, when I had to make my faith my own. I began to take ownership of my faith and realized the joy of my salvation. I wanted to share that with others. I spent time doing short-term missions. I was exposed to those in need in a great way by those trips.
When I came home, I saw the world through different eyes. I was no longer content to stay in my little circle and reach out to only those like me. I saw the sadness in the eyes of those I passed in the street. I was more aware of “divine appointments” or opportunities that God brought into my life to share his love with others.
My definition of standing apart in this context is to reject a spirit of pride and haughtiness and not convey to my kids that we have all the answers and those that are not living, doing or acting as we do are in the wrong. I teach my kids that there are moral standards that we should follow and I am purposing to take them to the Scriptures when we have questions about right and wrong: however, I want them to see others who are different from them through eyes of love rather than judgement. Can we see the victims of abuse through the eyes of Jesus? Can we see the homeless through the eyes of Jesus? Can we see the addict through the eyes of Jesus? Can we see the friend who is bitter and out of church through the eyes of Jesus? Jesus sought out sinners to dine with them.
On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. Mark 2:17 (NIV)
I found that the early years of child rearing were tough and some days I was living on flare prayers. “Jesus help me!”, I would cry as I went about wiping runny noses, cleaning up potty messes and mending scraped knees. I spent my time teaching the kids Christian values by sharing truth with them from the Bible.
Now as my eldest is entering middle school, I am starting to see the transfer of faith and how important it is for me to live out my faith by example. It is no longer enough for me to tell my kids we need to love like Jesus because the Bible says so. They need to see me loving like Jesus loved.
We need to serve in the soup kitchen together. We need to do missions as a family. They need to see us give as a family. They need to see mom and dad participate in missions. They need to be beside us on their knees crying out for the salvation of our loved ones.
Am I teaching my kids to stand apart in judgement or join in the work with a heart of love toward those that are different? I want to join with Fanny Crosby and make the lyrics of this old hymn Rescue the Perishing my heart’s cry:
- Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.
Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.
- Though they are slighting Him, still He is waiting,
Waiting the penitent child to receive;
Plead with them earnestly, plead with them gently;
He will forgive if they only believe.
- Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
Feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
Chords that were broken will vibrate once more.
- Rescue the perishing, duty demands it;
Strength for thy labor the Lord will provide;
Back to the narrow way patiently win them;
Tell the poor wand’rer a Savior has died.
1869 – Public Domain
Let’s teach our kids by example to put away pride and haughtiness and be about our Father’s business. Let’s not get so caught up in standing apart from sin that we neglect the sinner in need of a Savior. Let’s look for opportunities to teach our kids to stand up for the faith and reach out to a world in need with a heart of love and compassion, while holding firm to our convictions and beliefs.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)
Jennifer Allen is a homeschool graduate, wife to her soulmate David (who also contributes to the blog), homeschooling mom, registered nurse, AWANA teacher, pianist, reader and lifelong learner. She can be found on her little corner of the web at conversaving.com.
This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.
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