Islamic terrorists bound 21 Christians, marched them onto a beach and paired them with executioners, where they were shoved face-down into the sand with their heads peeled upward. Knees pressed in their backs held them. Knives pressed into their necks killed them. Seconds later, the oceanic waters turned blood red.
I’m not sure if it’s to my shame or not, but I don’t keep up with current events. I simply lack the time. So I usually hear them from my pastor, which is to my advantage. Not only do I hear the reports, but God’s view of them.
Just today, Nathan Lino, pastor of Northeast Houston Baptist Church, allowed us a seat next to him at the dinner table. Here, he called the attention of his four young children to the iPad where photos of the Libyan massacre were displayed (with parental discernment, of course). Was it a strange way of doing family time? Not at all. It was an opportunity seized to disciple his children.
Acknowledging this is the reality in which our children are reared, he asked his readers, “How should Christian parents disciple their children in light of this?” Should we shelter our kids from such atrocities? Should we hide the evils of sin and hate? Or, should we carefully walk with our kids in a way that develops a godly perspective?
Nathan and his wife Nicole believe it is a “detriment to the development of [our] children to grow up oblivious to the reality of the world.” After carefully considering this in prayer, they sat together as a family, explained to their children what happened with ISIS, and spoke to these seven points:
- The Lord told us it would be this way, so do not panic (Matt. 10:16-25).
- The Lord told us not to fear those who can kill the body but not the soul (Matt. 10:26-33).
- The Lord gave these these men strength to be loyal to Him, no matter the cost, and so they loved Him more than life itself, and they are heroes to be admired (Lk. 14:26; Heb. 11:38; Rev. 6:9-11).
- We should pray that ISIS be brought to justice for these ongoing murders (Rom. 13:1-7).
- We do not hate the members of ISIS, for that would be hypocritical. Instead, we pray for their salvation (Matt. 5:43-48). You see, Daddy and Mommy are redeemed by Christ and are still learning by God’s grace not to be people of hate (Matt. 5:21-22).
- We must remember most of the disciples of Christ were killed for their faith like Stephen (Acts 6:8 – 7:60).
- We should also remember the greatest martyr is Jesus, who was crucified for the Christian faith, and we should not expect anything less as His followers (Matt. 10:24-25).
“It is an extreme luxury that my small children have never heard a bomb explode, seen or heard a real gunfight, or seen a house in our neighborhood burned down as an act of vengeance,” Pastor Nathan said. He added, “In many countries around the world, my ten-year-old son would already have to be an expert rifleman in order to protect our family and home.”
Does that put things in perspective for you? It certainly did for me.
As he put it, our children “need to understand the world they are charged to reach” as the next generation of gospel proclaimers. So, we must train them to have the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5).
Sit on that. Then, gather your children and disciple. Don’t superficialize your children at the altar of protection. Teach them to see the world as God sees it.