What if we could guarantee that our children’s friends would never teach them bad words, show them bad pictures, or hurt their feelings? What if they were always respectful to adults and obedient to authority? What if the things we wish for in those friends came true? Would it make a difference spiritually in our children’s lives?
If I’m honest, the friends I consider “acceptable” or “desirable,” aren’t necessarily godly. Maybe their parents are. Maybe the children are respectful or obedient when I’m around. Maybe our children get along, and their parents don’t let them watch bad movies on television. Am I too quickly satisfied with the appearance of “safe” friends? If I’m not careful, I can accidentally teach my children that moral friends are godly friends. That’s dangerous!
Part of this kind of thinking carries over from when my children were preschoolers. Back then, none of the preschoolers were regenerate, and the main difference in the preschoolers was due more to parenting styles of the mothers, not the children’s innate goodness. Furthermore, my children were just as likely to corrupt my friends’ kids as the other way around. As children grow older, their salvation and how they respond to God’s truth play a much bigger role. Not all children of godly parents are saved, and there is a wide range of spiritual maturity in children.
Is it possible that parents spend more time passively worrying about whether their children’s friends are a good influence, and not enough time teaching them how to be a godly friend? If we parents are not teaching children how to be wise friends, then even the good kids end up with generic secular friendships. How can I teach and encourage my children to be deliberate and proactively Christian in their friendships? To pray for each other, and share what they’re reading about in Scripture?
I’m reading these thoughts to my children today, and asking for their feedback. Tomorrow I’ll write what they say. In the meantime, I’m asking myself if MY friendships reflect godliness. Are my closest friendships based on our identity in Christ, or simply what we have in common?
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Proverbs 13:30
Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul. Psalm 66:16
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