Yesterday I had one of those jaw-dropping parent moments.
The children and I had been doing some Bible study in the book of Daniel. We had been reflecting on how Daniel and his three friends courageously stood for righteousness in the midst of a hostile culture.
It was a great discussion that was leading us naturally toward our own need to stand for Jesus in the midst of our generation and society, which is arguably growing more and more hostile to orthodox Christian values. We began to look at two significant news stories this past week that illustrate the challenges of the hour.
One story entailed the Mozilla executive who was forced out of his job because he gave $1,000 of his own personal funds to support traditional marriage (an anti-gay-marriage-lobbying effort that took place four years ago. (See http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/04/04/mozilla-chief-learns-if-dont-support-gay-marriage-dont-deserve-job/.)
Another story concerned the federal-appeals-court ruling that New York City has the right to ban churches from renting meeting rooms in public-school buildings. (See http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/04/07/why-is-new-york-city-bullying-christians/?intcmp=obinsite.)
My seven-year-old son, Josiah, was engrossed in his drawing project, while the older children and I were talking. Then suddenly, as if on cue, Josiah looked up from his paper and inserted his own private reflection regarding the stories we shared.
"Mom, you know soon they will have to change the national anthem," he stated emphatically.
The rest of the kids and I looked at him quizzically. I was about to correct him, thinking he must have been referring to the Pledge of Allegiance, which says, "one nation under God," when he offered some clarification.
"You know, Mom, that part that says, 'the land of the free.' That's not true anymore."
We sat there in stunned silence.
How could he have possibly come up with such a profound revelation? We had not mentioned the word "freedom" and no one had said anything about the national anthem!
"Out of the mouth of babes.…" (See http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%208%3A2&version=KJV;NIV;NASB.) My seven-year-old stated what many adults just do not seem to be able to see: something is changing and something is terribly wrong.
That same morning, I saw a news story of another little boy who understood the change taking place in our world. Perhaps he didn't use the best wording to make his stand, but check out what he did when he was told by his after-school caregivers that he was not allowed to read his Bible: see http://www.charismanews.com/us/43444-boy-told-to-put-away-his-bible-starts-reciting-the-first-amendment. Someone must have prepared this young boy as he-like Daniel-was prepared to stand under pressure!
As a parent, I am distinctly aware of the challenges of raising my children to stay with the One who promises true freedom when the world is chasing an open-to-anything counterfeit freedom. My seven-year-old will need ongoing input and guidance from his father and me if he is to recognize the difference.
Will we as parents and leaders rise to the occasion that this challenge to our liberty presents? Freedom has always come at a price. Our soldiers on the front lines are a testimony to that fact. On a smaller scale in society today as Christians, we must recognize that there is also a price: Ridicule. Criticism. Conflict. Persecution. These may be the painful costs we have to pay today in order to secure true freedom for our children tomorrow.
Some might say we have already lost the culture war. But as for this mom, I know I cannot give up! If I stick my head in the sand and leave the job to someone else to fight to maintain our religious freedoms, my own apathy and timidity could permanently alter my children's lives. Sure, I may not be able to figure out how to win the whole invisible spiritual culture war alone, but I can do my part to win it in my home.
If we are to withstand the strong temptation to compromise, we are going to need the courage that Daniel possessed as he faced the lions. We are going to need the tenacity of Stephen in the book of Acts, who was willing to give up his life to defend truth. I am comforted to know that we serve the same God today as they did back then. And He is beckoning us to stand today in His power!