The Most Overlooked Thing Each Christmas Just Might Surprise You
As we approach Christmas I’d like to address a critically serious familial issue that seldom gets enough, if any, discussion. I am specifically directing my discourse to Christian families, albeit every family should consider what I’m about to say.
Proverbs 22:6 tells us to: “Train up a child in the way he should go and, when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (KJV). I like to add, that if our children do depart from the Christ centered path, they’ll know the way back again because they’ve been raised “in the way [they] should go.”
But the single most important area of raising children in a Christ centered home that I’m addressing concerns who our children choose to date and marry. More often than not, Christian families teach their children about abstinence, blah-blah, but we do not teach them how to say no to the wrong potential mate, even when the person they are enamored with has “warning and danger” signs written all over them.
Often one or the other or both parents close their eyes to the Godly parental responsibility of giving our input regarding whether the person is good for our child. It is my experience that most marriages do not go bad after the couple says, “I do.” The relationship has gone bad long before the day of the wedding but no one is willing to step and say, “that person is bad for you.”
I’m not talking about your child being a Baptist and the person they want to marry being a Pentecostal. I’m not talking about not wanting your child to marry someone because your son comes from a family of lawyers and the person he loves is a woman who drives tractor-trailers. I’m not talking about looks, schooling, color of skin or ethnicity. I’m talking about the values the person subscribes to are compatible and whether or not they are controlling and manipulative.
For instance, if we have raised Christian children, the last thing they should do is ever consider marrying a person who is pro-homosexuality and/or pro- abortion. If we observe and pray about the person with whom our children are becoming involved, we will see if the person is manipulative and controlling.
We can see if an individual is broken on any number of intersocial levels. Is the person a loner? Does the person have a healthy network of friends? Do they disingenuously ingratiate themselves in your child’s spheres of association? Do they have to be the center of attention at all times? Do you observe the person trying to come between your child and you the parents? Is there a demonstrable personality difference in your child when they are with the other person juxtaposed to when they are not? Does it appear that your child gives the emotional support and the other person takes but does not reciprocate? These are just a couple red flags to watch for.
I would be remiss not to say that today, if there’s pre-marital counseling at all, it’s more fluff than substance. If a minister properly understands their position before God, they must be prepared to recommend a couple not get married; which obviously places them at risk of upsetting both families but the alternative is hardly a worthy choice.
I’m venturing into this discussion because I am seeing first hand the damage done when a person marries the wrong person. In my church there are several families suffering the heart-wrenching pain of their child/children marrying the wrong person(s). Not least of which are the torturous machinations played using the grandchildren as pawns.
As Christian parents we can train up our children in the way that they become be models of young Christian men and women; but there is another verse in the bible that we tend to overlook when it comes to our children and marriage. It is found in 1 Peter 5:8, and reads: “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary, the devil, like a roaring lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (KJV) And nothing pleases the devil more than being able to destroy several lives at one time.
If the relationship is a burden; if you are constantly appeasing the other person, it’s a safe bet that you shouldn’t be involved with that person. Manipulative people are very good at manipulating; thus, the reason they are called manipulative. Emotionally broken people can be very adept at concealing their emotional illness until they have a person lured in their web. Trying to resolve such issues after a couple is married typically is defined as divorce. Add children into the mix and the alchemy is lethally toxic and a protracted torment.
I’m writing this because I can personally count over thirty families who are suffering from exactly what I am discussing. But, it isn’t all about the parents.
There are many times as parents we do the absolute best before God that we can do and our children determine that they are going to dismiss our cautions. It may have been Eve who was deceived but it was Adam who, with his eyes wide-open, disobeyed God in the garden. And that same scenario is played out countless times every day with only the roles being reversed.
Our children forget that when the Angel of the Lord appeared to Mary and then Joseph, they were obedient and God blessed them with the miraculous birth of Him through whom our salvation came. Through one couple’s disobedience came sin and through another’s came Salvation in the form of a Child laid in a manger.
Adam and Eve had every creature comfort plus they walked with God in the garden. And they sacrificed all of that because Adam valued his wife above obedience to God. Mary and Joseph had nothing but they were obedient and through the progeny of their obedience we have salvation.
Parenting isn’t easy; that’s why there are so many children wondering aimlessly through the fields of life. Helping our children navigate the treacherous waters of dating and marriage is not something everyone is comfortable with, nor is it something that every child seeks input from their family. But that does not make it any less our responsibility. I know; I’ve had that conversation.
This Christmas, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, let us also remember the obedience of a man and woman. Let us remind our children that obedience to God is paramount above all else. Even when in our human eyes obedience goes against what we want. When we pray the “Lord’s Prayer” we pray: “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (KJV) That means we have faith that God only wants the best for us and will reward us with same if we are obedient.
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About the Author
Mychal S. Massie is an ordained minister who spent 13 years in full-time Christian Ministry. Today he serves as founder and Chairman of the Racial Policy Center (RPC), a think tank he officially founded in September 2015. RPC advocates for a colorblind society. He was founder and president of the non-profit “In His Name Ministries.” He is the former National Chairman of a conservative Capitol Hill think tank; and a former member of the think tank National Center for Public Policy Research. Read entire bio here