Recently our family took a very special trip to Europe. We had been planning this trip for years. It was designed to introduce our daughter to Europe before her senior year of high school. What I saw while there both broke my heart and frightened me.
We saw a boy about eight years old, a fellow tourist from another country, walking down the street with his parents. A dog walked peacefully by him and suddenly the boy kicked the dog as hard as he could. His parents looked on and didn’t say a word to him.
We watched as men from various countries treated the women and children in their lives as if they were mere chattel. Any needs the women and children had were obviously of no concern to the men whom God designed to love, protect and cherish them.
One of my favorite parts of any new year is listening to people talk about all of the crazy new diets they are trying. I especially enjoy the ones where people eat like “____”. I think I have heard everything from a Hollywood star to a “Paleo” to someone in the Bible. My guess is that each of these people represents people who were thin because they ate less and moved more in some fashion or another (personally I would hate to be the one who lived off of kale soup forever!).
What if, instead of focusing on what we eat (although, I could use a few more veggies in my diet) or what our children ate, we focused on really teaching our children to live like Jesus lived? Would it change the way the world views Christians? Would we and our children need to make drastic changes in our lifestyles? What would it even look like?
I don’t like to brag, but I throw a pretty awesome pity party. When things aren’t going my way, I can feel sorry for myself with the best of them. Frankly, I am an awesome martyr except for the minor detail of never actually having been martyred. Maybe you can identify?
Life can be really tough sometimes. Christian life brings its own set of challenges. We are called to behave better when bad things happen to us and at the same time are sometimes mocked and scorned for our beliefs. Often it seems like we are the only person on earth still trying to please God and we aren’t so sure how great we are doing.
Maybe I am just in a blue mood lately, but it seems Christians around the world are being persecuted more than they have in years. Our lives may not be in danger for practicing Christianity in the U.S., but we are routinely mocked as stupid, uneducated or hateful. The pressure is sometimes overwhelming to veto God and say His commands are no longer valid in today’s world. Our children will to have to be strong to withstand the peer pressure or persecution they may suffer for obeying God.
Even if our children grow up in a world where God is valued and worshipped, life itself can bring pain. God does not cause pain, but the fallen world means we are surrounded by illness, heartbreak and evil deeds. Even our DNA is no longer perfect, resulting in disabilities and inherited illnesses. Our children will need to be strong to have their faith remain unshaken by the stresses of living in a fallen world.
I have a secret about my Bible reading which I rarely share with anyone. Mainly, because it generally causes eye rolling and groaning. Since I can’t see or hear you, I am going to take the risk – I secretly enjoy reading the “begats” in the Bible. Partially, it is because I love the little nuggets God hid within some of those passages. Mainly though, I love reading the connections between the generations over thousands of years. It is comforting to think of God touching the lives of generation after generation of His people.
A legacy of faith is one of the most important gifts we can give our families. Even if you are the first generation of believers in your family, you are starting a legacy for any future generations after you. There is a creative way you can add to that legacy for your children, grandchildren and beyond.