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Parenting In The End Times: When The Culture Wants You To Compromise God’s Standards

Cissie Graham Lynch

Attending a moms’ conference, I was eager to hear the main speaker. He’s not someone I typically agree with, but nonetheless, I was looking forward to hearing what he would speak about that night. He asked moms, “What is your end goal with your kids? When you and your spouse are sitting on your back porch, your kids are grown; what would you think is the ‘we did it’ threshold?” He said that for him and his wife, their goal would be to have relationships with their children.

I didn’t believe that to be very biblical.

Yes, I pray for strong and wonderful relationships with my children, and that would be a blessing from the Lord, but our goal should be to raise our children to love the Lord their God with all their heart, their mind, and their soul. Of course, then the relationship would be a result, God willing.

Right before he got on stage, I had spoken on Deuteronomy six about how our primary responsibility as parents is the spiritual formation of our children.

Deuteronomy six teaches us, “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 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.”

What this pastor asserted didn’t align with what I had just read from God’s Word. I see parents so often compromise truth and God’s standards because they want to keep a relationship with their children, especially in the world and culture in which we presently live.

We begin laying that groundwork for those conversations with our adult children while our kids are still young. Our kids are going to have questions and be curious about what they see in our culture.

When my daughter Margaret was little, we were at a swimming pool, and it was the first time she saw a little boy with two dads. I could see the wheels in her head starting to spin. I knew the questions that were going to come. I can remember driving down a road with a rainbow flag flying outside a church near our house. My little girl, of course, didn’t understand and wanted to go to the church with a beautiful rainbow flag. 

It’s hard for us to have these conversations because, even inside the church, we may be around people who disagree about what’s right and wrong. We’re seeing a rapid change inside the church. Biblical illiteracy and not knowing God’s truth are becoming prevalent.

The sad reality is that although we do pray for our children and to have relationships with them one day, we’re not promised that. We will likely have times when we have to stand on the side of God and not with the opinions and positions that are brought to us by our children.

Jesus said, speaking of the end times, “The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law” (Luke 12:53).

That is a scripture that I have wrestled with over the last few months. I can’t even fathom that we would be divided like that one day. But our greatest goal is that they would love God with all their heart, mind, and soul.

It’s hard when we think that those relationships can be broken. I have friends with grown children who have walked away from the Lord, and they now have grandchildren identifying with the LGBT community. Their children were asking them to affirm this lifestyle. These grandparents had to make a decision: Are we going to keep the relationship with our children so we can be with our grandchildren and compromise our standards? And although they loved them, they were never going to affirm what they knew was not right. Their children and grandchildren want nothing to do with them.

On the opposite side, the other set of grandparents were terrified about losing that relationship with their family, and they chose to compromise God’s standards.

That’s a hard reality for a lot of us parents to think about.

I pray that one day, if I am faced with that decision when my kids are adults, I would never compromise God’s standards, and I will stand for His truth in a loving way. We can’t lose our focus on the ultimate goal. Our goal cannot be the relationship.

We, as parents, are helping guide and navigate them through this difficult world. We are also modeling for them how to handle situations with compassion, grace, and love while also holding God’s standards in place and holding those standards high. The world likes to make us think that we can’t do both. But we can, just like Jesus did. 100% Truth and 100% Grace.

With the current cultural climate, how do we steer our children’s questions and curiosity when life is so intense around us, and when even we as parents sometimes don’t know how to navigate? The rapid pace that our culture is changing leaves many of us ill-equipped and unprepared to have these conversations.

There are a few things parents should know.

#1 — Don’t Panic 

During these times, do not panic. A word I’ve been clinging to is “assurance.” Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence [assurance] of things not seen.”

We, as parents, don’t operate in fear. We are to parent in assurance. Assurance of who God is, what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross, His love for us, and His Word. That helps us navigate through every situation in life.

#2 — Have A Foundation

A major part of the moral decline that we have is because the church has undermined its foundation.

We, as individual families, have to have a true foundation of God’s Word and His design. If we don’t have a foundation, we don’t have that assurance.

Christians who say they read the Bible at least once a week, apart from church, is at a historic low of 24%. For us to be able to stand in strength and take action in our communities, schools, and businesses, we have to know God’s word.

One of my favorite Bible verses is Daniel 11:32, “The people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits [take action].”

Those who have that foundation of the knowledge of God will be able to stand in strength when culture comes; they will be able to stand in strength when those relationships with their adult children might be threatened. They also will be able to take action with love for their families and communities. 

#3 — Dialogue and Communication

I’m early on in these stages with my children. My little girl is ten years old, and I’m very intent on having these conversations with her, asking her some tough questions so that she feels comfortable coming to me.

Since she was four years old, she has seen the culture around her behave differently than what we teach in our home. I want her to be able to come to me when her Biblical worldview is being questioned in school, or she is having challenges, including when she becomes an adult.

#4 — Model Humility And Admit Wrongdoings

I have memories of my mother coming to me and saying, “Hey, Cissie, I was wrong, or I got that wrong.” I’ve had to model that with my children as well. It is so important that, as parents, we teach our kids that just because we’re Christians doesn’t mean we’re perfect. Otherwise, adult children grow up and view their families as hypocritical.

I do a podcast, I speak at churches, and I tell people about Jesus, but that doesn’t mean I always get it right as a parent. I know that I’m a sinner and that I failed. We, as Christians, recognize that we need Jesus. We need Jesus to help us as a family, to love one another, to serve one another, and to be quick forgivers of mistakes.

It’s crucial as parents to admit wrongdoings and show that humility to our children.

#5 — It’s Okay Not To Have All The Answers

We, as parents, think we have to have all the answers, but it’s okay to tell our kids, “I don’t have the answer to that. But let’s find it out together. Let’s look at God’s word and what He has to say here.”

Don’t forget that God gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will give us the words that we need, when we need it. However, the Holy Spirit is going to work in your child’s life, just like he’s working in yours, and you might not have the answers.

What Is Our End Goal?

So, as parents, what is our end goal? Yes, we want relationships with our children; I pray for that with my own children. But that shouldn’t be our goal.

Our goal is that they would grow up having their own relationship and trust in Jesus Christ. This can be especially difficult in the culture that we are in.

We are in a cultural storm, but we have to be assured that we have a God who controls the waves and who promises, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee…” (Isaiah 43:2). That’s a reminder that when we’re in those difficult times, when our relationships might be rough with our kids in different stages, that those rivers will not sweep over you if you stay faithful to the Lord.

To those of you who did not grow up in a Christian home, you can make sure your children have one. Even if you feel like it’s too late, commit the wasted years and the lost opportunities to God. For these years to come, commit to having a godly heritage in your home. Remember, God provides us with grace, patience, and wisdom.

My grandmother taught me that parents were not miracle workers. Salvation is a miracle of the heart, and that’s something only God can do.

As parents, our job is to teach them Scripture, read Scripture with them, help them navigate, and give them a healthy home, but it’s God’s job to bring them to Salvation. That’s something we can’t do.

Our end goal is that one day, our children will have a relationship with God, which will prayerfully result in having a relationship with us.

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