Monday, January 19, 2015

Do What’s Right Because It’s Right

I once heard a Christian pastor explain how he tries to persuade young people who prefer the pleasures of the world over Christ. “When they tell me that they don’t want to become Christians because they would have to give up their fun sinful lifestyle, I tell them that my fellowship with Christ is sweeter and more fulfilling than anything else in life I’ve experienced,” he said. Good argument, right?

I also recently saw a discussion on Facebook between some homeschoolers and some government school proponents. The homeschoolers cited a recent study that indicates that homeschooled young people remain in the church as adults in a far higher percentage than their government-schooled counterparts. They believed this was an excellent reason to homeschool. Another good argument, right?

What do these two anecdotes and arguments have in common? In both cases, a key element was missing. Yes, it is valuable to compare the joy of fellowshipping with Christ to the pleasures of the world and to realize that Christianity does in fact provide satisfaction and delight. Yes, it is helpful to point out that homeschooled youth remain in the faith in higher numbers than public schooled youth. 

However, when trying to decide what to do, the key question to ask is, “What is RIGHT?”

Christianity is not a matter of comparing the joy of the world and the joy of Christ, weighing the pros and cons, and eventually opting for Christianity because it seems like the most satisfying choice to you personally. Becoming a Christian is about recognizing truth. If Christianity is true, then whether it is the most satisfying or not, we must believe it. If Christianity is true, then whether we feel like it or not, we must obey God’s command to turn to Him. Scripture says that God, “commands all people everywhere to repent.” (Acts 17:30, emphasis added). Following Christ is not optional. God commands us to follow Him and to do otherwise is simply disobedience. Becoming a Christian is the right thing to do, based on the truth revealed in Scripture.

Likewise, educating a child is not a matter of weighing pros and cons and deciding which option is most affordable, convenient, academically successful, fun, or likely to keep the child in church. It is a matter of doing what is right, whether it is easy or not, enjoyable or not, most likely to keep the child in church or not, or most likely to land the child a scholarship to an Ivy League university. It is the duty of all Christian parents to diligently search the Scriptures and see what Biblical principles apply to the education of children and then to act on those principles.

For instance, Scripture says to raise one’s children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4). That is a command, not a suggestion. Parents must weigh which schooling method allows this nurture and training in the Lord. Is it the one where a child is with his Christian parents during the day? Or the one where a child is sent to a secular, blatantly anti-God, government-run institution 7 hours a day, 180 days a year, for thirteen years of his life?

Scripture also warns us to not be deceived, that “bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Do we honestly believe that? We should—it is an unarguable Scriptural truth. That being the case, which schooling method puts a child with good company? Homeschooling, which places the child alongside mature Christian adults? Or institutional schooling, where children are placed with young, foolish, and often ungodly peers all day?

“But wait!” someone will say. “Scripture also commands us to be salt and light!” Actually, it does not. Scripture says we already ARE salt and light and then immediately warns us not to lose our saltiness. You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. (Matthew 5:13) 

 Christian families are already salt. It is every parent’s duty to make sure that they do not cause their children to lose their saltiness. When it comes to education, we must also remember there is no Scriptural command or precedent anywhere for impressionable and vulnerable children to be sent out alone as missionaries every day. None. Not only that, Christian families have more than ample opportunity to be godly witnesses to their friends, family, neighbors and community without having to send their children to a government school. “Being a missionary” is not limited to “being inside a school building.”

I could go on, but my point is simply this: We should not choose a path based on how we feel, or because it seems to best suit our goals, or because someone else says we should do it, or even because we like the outcome. Rather, we must seek the truth and then obey it because it is true and because obedience is required. Obeying truth is not optional. Interpreting truth to suit our preferences is not acceptable. Truth is truth and we are obligated to seek it out and follow it, period, stop. May God give each of us the grace to do so!

Written by Raquelle Sheen 

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