CQM Blog: Concepts That Build Christ-Likeness

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Relationship Help | How to Raise Children Without Parents Facing Grief and Guilt Part 3

Mom and Dad ask, “Where did we go wrong!?!”… continued by Ken Nair

It’s surprising to see how many Christian’s don’t seem to recognize or understand the difference between Christ as Savior and Christ as Lord.  Being unable to recognize Ben’s struggle resulted in alienation between him and his parents.

Too many parents themselves have been functioning as members-in-good-standing of their own “Christian Club.”  They have not been faced with the concept of Lordship…making a decision to let Christ be Lord of their lives.

The following factors lead me to believe what I’ve just communicated.  Let’s say a child has, indeed, accepted Christ as his/her personal Savior.  Then, he becomes a young adult and enters into a whole world of new things to consider.  This child’s world has expanded past the “Christian Club.”  Life brings him in contact with people who mock his life style.  This is something he is totally unprepared to deal with.  So this young believer is challenged…and the challenge is for him to decide… is he going to yield himself to remaining an acceptable member of the “Christian Club” world, or become acceptable to this new non-Christian world?

Because he yielded to the non-Christian world and not wanting to give up the pleasures of sin, this young adult soon discovers that that the people in his/her “Christian Club” world can be fooled.  But their conscience is bothered by the double standards he/she is living.  So, he/she find themselves struggling over maintaining the values of their “Christian Club.”  And, quite possibly, even though this young man or woman doesn’t know it, he/she is actually faced with the bottom line question, “In my life, who is God?  And how much will I let Him impact my life?

Then, because (as a young adult) he/she exhibits signs that are consistent with a non believer, their parents try to rationalize with him/her about his/her conduct.  The parents try to control their child’s direction through debates and arguments.  However, the problem is not this young man or woman’s friends or the direction in which he/she is headed.  The real problem is centered upon the young adult’s need to make a decision.  Will he/she let Christ become their Lord as well as their Savior?

Here is yet another insight.  Parents who become hostile, argumentative and controlling toward their young adult are demonstrating that they are not familiar with or are ill-equipped to deal with this type of situation.  Approaching this precarious situation with hostile attitudes is proof that the parents don’t know how to deal with it.  I believe the reason might be, that the parents, themselves, need to make the same decision their young adult is facing.

May I ask you to consider this… how does a parent who has decided to receive Christ as his/her Savior and yet has never faced the decision to also yield to Christ as Lord… recognize this as the same struggle going on in the heart of his/her child?  How would the parent know the proper response to this child?  How would this father or mother illustrate the kind of Christ-like example that would cause his/her child to be drawn to them and consequently to Christ instead of responding to that child in such a way that causes the child to be driven away?  I propose that this parent will not know how to help his/her child through this situation.

(I’ll cover the difference between Christ as Savior and Christ as Lord later)

This scenario introduces yet another consideration.  How does a parent know whether or not his/her child only “went through the motions” of accepting Christ as their Savior?  Did this son or daughter “accept” Christ because he/she knew that the parents had those expectations?  The child knew what his/her parents…the leaders of the only “Christian Club” they knew…expected of him/her.  Parents must be certain that their child is responding to Jesus because there is a longing in their child’s own heart.  It must be a child’s own quest for Salvation.  Again, a parent must be certain that their son or daughter is not simply yielding to his or her parent’s pressure.

Back to Ben, who, as a young person living in the adult world, is being faced with adult decisions… which caused me to bring First Corinthians 13: 11 to Ben’s dad’s attention.  This Scripture reads, “When I was a child I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child, but when I became a man (an adult) I put away those childish things.”  That verse causes me to ask this question, how does a child or young adult know the difference between childish and adult thoughts, adult understanding or words?  Isn’t that what a father, as the spiritual leader, is supposed to teach his children through example?  Having said that, it is extremely important to realize that a parent’s exampl, provides the power behind his words.  But neither Ben nor his dad had been taught how to re-evaluate the principles they learned and developed as children.

As if that weren’t enough, the whole system (the world) is against Christian parents.  Are you aware of the statistics that show 80% of Christian kids leave their faith as they become young adults and start associating with the world?  This is especially the case when they get in college (even Christian colleges).  Why does that happen… because they haven’t made Jesus Christ Lord of their lives.  Nor have they studied God’s Word.  They haven’t studied the manufacturer’s instruction manual for human being’s thoroughly enough to know precisely what are the true answers that God has for life’s challenges.

When Ben’s dad and mom heard me say that Ben stopped talking with them and didn’t want to be around them because he felt they were so hostile, controlling and intimidating, they were insulted. (I helped them realize that becoming insulted was a defensive response and if Ben was facing that response, he would find it intimidating.)  Ben’s dad wondered, “What, am I supposed to do, accept his rejection of everything we believe?”  Ben’s father also wanted me to know that although he was like that in the past he wasn’t that same way now … recently he had become especially careful to be attentive and non-intimidating.

In helping Ben’s father realize that if he wanted restoration, he would need to accept responsibility for whatever it was that caused Ben to feel he was controlled and intimidated.   I asked this father the following question, “Do you remember anyone in your past that was insensitive?  Someone who refused to listen to you and made you feel threatened, controlled and intimidated?” He recalled a former boss at work.