Today's At the Well topic deals with the issue of how we can stay spiritual (respond with a Christlike attitude) when we are surrounded by unspiritualness. As Christians it is easily evident that not everyone shares the beliefs that we have. The discussion questions bring up situations that occur in daily life that challenge our values and beliefs and how we respond to these.
Question 1: How can you react when someone tries to undermine you as a parent or encourages something with your children that you do not agree with? Do you get mad or angry like a momma bear? How can you better react and still stay in the Spirit?
As a parent, especially a young parent, wisdom comes through trial and error, situation by situation and mistake by mistake. It is easy for a young parent to be intimidated and question "Am I doing this right?" It is easy to get angry when our parenting skills are called in question. Many aspects of parenting change through the years and seasons of childhood. The one thing that should not change is our commitment to raising godly children. God's Word tells us to "Train up a child in the way he should go" Proverbs 22:6, and to "bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4. Our vision for our children should be for them to love the Lord with all their hearts and to always seek His paths for their lives. God's Word also says we are to teach our children at all times, in all places. If our hearts are focused to raise our children according to God's Word it is easier to let any comments slide off our back instead of reacting angrily. It is important to know God's Word and to know why we are training our children in His ways. We can share verse which impact our parenting and explain (if one is needed) this is the parenting path we are choosing.
Question 2: What ways can we rebuke un-Godliness and still be loving? Maybe it is a display of an un-Godly relationship or public drinking or something else that you have taught your children displeases the Lord?
There is a fine line between rebuke and condemnation. Condemnation kills the spirit, rebuke laced with grace looks beyond circumstances to see what God's grace can make of someone. Grace acknowledges the bad action but offers hope in Christ.
Question 3: How do you react when your small child asks a family member who is doing something wrong why they do that? Do you hush the child or make excuses? Is your reaction understandable to the child and in the Spirit?
I have messed this area up time and time again. I have hushed the child and made excuses. This has caused confusion to the child and lessened my Christian witness. It takes God's wisdom to address the tough issues with love. It take boldness to let family members know where we stand on issues and it takes words seasoned with grace to show love for the person, not the action. Living a consistent lifestyle filled with holiness and purity speaks volumes.
It is important to remember that those who have not accepted Christ will not think like Christians. They don't live Christlike because Christ is not in their hearts. Their actions and thoughts should not shock us, but should motivate us to share the hope of Christ with them. God's grace flowing through us should be a magnetic force that draws people to God who is the source of grace. Our response to tough situations can reflect that grace.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21