Thursday, July 31, 2014
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Bart Simpson has been around now for 25 years. He still looks like a kid, but he's been around for 25 years on TV. Maybe you've managed to avoid the Simpson family. You've probably been doing more important things, and it's perfectly fine, maybe even good if you've avoided them. But just in case you've been occupied in other ways, the Simpsons are this cartoon family that soared to popularity through their primetime TV show. And their lovely son? Oh, man, as they came on, he was all over posters, shirts, and mugs. You can still find him all over the place.
Frankly, it's a little disturbing to think that our children might want to be like Bart Simpson when they grow up - defiant, devious, trouble-maker, irreverent. Otherwise he's a pretty good fellow. It might be interesting to watch a Bart Simpson; it is not much fun to have one in your house.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "How to Defuse a Rebel at Your House."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Deuteronomy 6, and I'll begin reading at verse 20. It has a really powerful principle of parenting. It's addressed to people like you and me. You say, "Really? That long ago?" Yeah! They're raising children in a pagan environment and, in this case, the tempting land of Canaan. Their children are growing up easy come, easy go. They've got some stuff they didn't have to work for that's just been handed to them. They just took over all the Canaanite things, and they're trying to raise godly children in the middle of all of that. Sound familiar?
Deuteronomy 6:20, "In the future, when your son asks you, 'What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees, and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?' Tell him, 'We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us up out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Before our eyes the Lord sent miraculous signs and wonders. He brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land that He promised. The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive. And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as He has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.'"
This describes a scene where the children come up and basically ask that time-honored question, "Why?" And God says, "Give your children reasons for your beliefs, and your standards, and your rules." As parents, I think we too often communicate the truth without explaining why it's true. What are the benefits of doing what's right? Why is not an unreasonable question. Children who seldom get a why can grow up to be rebels. Rules without reasons raise rebels.
For example we teach our children that sex should be saved for marriage. "Why?" "It's wrong to have sex outside of marriage." That's why. Well, that's true. But let's give them some reasons too. Sex is most exciting when it's done God's way; when it's most special. When it's not soiled and dirtied by the fact that you're being compared with someone else they had sex with. There's no using when you keep it special for marriage. You protect its specialness. See, God's rules have reasons.
So should ours as parents; even our family rules. You don't just say, "Because I'm your Father, that's why. Because I say so." You can say that. God has given fathers authority in the home. You'll get immediate compliance, but as soon as they get a little freedom, they'll break every rule and they'll break your heart. So, think through your beliefs. Think through your boundaries. Take time to explain why these rules and boundaries work, why everything that God is against is because of something beautiful that He's for. Why these things are worth sacrificing for, and explain why so many people aren't living that way and where those roads go.
Our children need to see the principles underneath our pronouncements, the penalties of not believing or not obeying, and the payoff they get for doing what's right. Start today to prevent the birth of a rebel at your house by volunteering to answer one of life's most important questions, "Why?"