If your kids are exposed to any kind of media- social or otherwise – eventually they will read about a “famous” Christian who has sinned. They will read articles or tweets implying Christians should never sin, or when they do, they become hypocrites and have no right to try and share their faith. They will be exposed to people who accuse any Christian who shares God’s Words about any topic of being judgmental, while also reminding readers the Bible says not to “judge”. No wonder our kids are becoming so supportive of the “You can do whatever you want as long as you don’t hurt anybody, because who am I to judge” mentality so popular today.
The problem is that all of the above are misunderstandings and frankly false representations of God and what is in the Bible. So what are the godly principles you need to reinforce with your kids when the next “famous” Christian is vilified in the press?
- Everyone sins, even Christians. As much as the Holy Spirit is in Christians to help them and encourage them to make godly choices, we all still sin. Becoming a Christian does not erase sin from our lives. It just means our sins are forgiven and we are hopefully committed to making godly choices – even though we don’t always succeed.
- A sin is a sin. As a human on earth, it is almost impossible for us to really understand this principle. Surely, a serial killer is in more trouble with God than a serial liar? The problem is, there are only two paths – God’s and Satan’s. We are on one or the other. There is no middle path for the “not so bad” people. Rejecting God and any of His commands, puts you on the path of Satan not God. Help them understand though, that Christians on God’s path will still sin and can ask for and receive God’s forgiveness – keeping them on God’s path.
- The idea that some Christians are more responsible for godly behavior than others, is a myth. Just because a Christian has gotten the attention of other people or the media does not mean they should be held any more or less accountable for their behavior than any other Christian. While the person should indeed “know better”, it doesn’t mean they are any less susceptible to temptation than any other Christian.
- Hypocrisy is calling someone else out for sin and then saying you do not sin yourself. I don’t know of any Christian who would claim they do not sin. Calling someone else a hypocrite is usually someone trying to make excuses for why they can ignore the message being spoken by the supposed hypocrite.
- There is a difference between judging and discernment. Judging means you decide whether someone is “acceptable” enough to become a Christian based on their behavior, appearance, race, nationality or some other outward factor. That is wrong. We have no right to deny the Gospel message to anyone. Discernment, on the other hand, is practiced and promoted throughout the New Testament. Discernment is calling a sin a sin, lovingly encouraging non-Christians to leave their sinful lives behind and become Christians, encouraging Christians to turn aside from sins in which they are becoming entrenched, using the scriptures to identify and reject false teachers and their teachings. Stating that God has called a certain activity or attitude sinful is not judging – it is stating a fact.
- While we are to preach God’s Word to everyone, it is not realistic to expect non-Christians to accept and obey God’s commands. Yes, the world would be a much better place, but someone who is actively rejecting following God and becoming a Christian cannot be realistically expected to follow God’s Laws unless they agree with their own personal value system. Mind you, I am not advocating holding our tongues and not encouraging godly behavior, just pointing out that the Bible tells us to expect those in the world to reject what we say and hate us since they did that to God’s Son.
- Satan will use our desire to be loved, liked and popular to convince us to reject parts or all of God’s commands as unnecessary. Satan is tricky. Sometimes preachers are the most susceptible to this little trick. They are so concerned with growing their congregation, they begin to throw out, ignore or minimize the importance of God’s commands. Your kids need to stay in the Bible for themselves regularly to make sure they aren’t getting slowly led astray by a preacher with good intentions, but who has fallen for the devil’s oldest tricks.
The next time you see a Christian vilified in the press or on social media, don’t try and hide it from your children. Instead use the experience to teach your kids some crucial godly principles.