You Can Become a Family of Ambassadors for Christ
- Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Pop culture surrounds your kids. They’re constantly inundated with messages from the Internet, television, movies, music, sports, books, schools, and other places. And those messages often promote values that clash with their faith – disturbing values such as materialism, violence, and promiscuity.
As Christians, your kids are ultimately citizens of God’s kingdom. But, just like ambassadors to foreign nations, they must live in the midst of a culture that is often foreign and sometimes hostile. You can simply let that culture overtake them and damage their faith. Or you can become a family of ambassadors who stand strong together to help your kids transform the culture for the better.
Here’s how you can become a family of ambassadors for Christ in the midst of popular culture:
Don’t try to shield your kids from popular culture. Although it's sensible to filter out and monitor many harmful cultural influences, understand that there is no reasonable way you can completely protect your kids from experiencing the harsh side of popular culture. Realize that even if you could completely isolate them from the culture, doing so could cause them to rebel in protest and "immigrate" permanently from their homeland (their faith) to the foreign place (popular culture). Instead, make it your goal to walk through the culture with them as their guide, helping them develop the critical thinking skills and wisdom they’ll need to successfully confront it.
Get to know today’s popular culture well. Remember that today’s popular culture is vastly different from the culture in which you grew up. Invest the time and energy to venture boldly and purposely into the culture yourself, listening to its music, watching its shows, etc. Learn what types of messages your kids are receiving from the culture. As often as you can, experience the culture along with your kids (such as by watching a new movie together), and when you can’t be with them, discuss the culture with your kids (such as by talking about a current book together). Strive to be constantly engaged with your kids, both spiritually (by praying for them) and intellectually (by helping them think through issues the culture raises).
Encourage your kids to ask thoughtful questions. Emphasize that popular culture isn’t just about fun; it always presents messages that they should think and pray about carefully rather than blindly accepting them. Train your kids to evaluate how well various cultural offerings measure up to the biblical standards of truth, nobility, purity, loveliness, and excellence set out in Philippians 4:8-9.
Read reviews together. After experiencing a particular cultural message (such as watching a television show), help your kids consider such questions as how they reacted and why, what they found appealing or distasteful and why, and whether or not they agree with the message presented and why.
Be courageous. Don’t be afraid to confront messengers of popular culture whenever necessary. For example, if school authorities treat one of your kids unjustly because of his or her faith, be willing to meet with those authorities and express your concerns. Model courage for your kids by talking openly and honestly about your faith with coworkers, neighbors, and others with whom you interact regularly.
Recognize that the sacred can hide in the secular. Don’t assume that secular cultural offerings can’t say anything worthwhile about faith. Understand that sometimes secular music or books, for example, can actually be just as thoughtful and inspirational as those that are labeled "Christian." Be alert to what God may be saying to you and your kids through the secular world. Developing knowledge of the current culture will also help you in identifying the positives along with the negatives.
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