Does Biblical Truth Still Matter?
“Honey, when can we meet Tony?”
“We were thinking Christmas break, Mom. But don’t worry about fixing up the guest room. We’ll share my room.”
Terri’s eyes widened in shock. “Excuse me?”
“Mom,” huffed Renee, “We’ve been having sex for months. We’re in love! Just because Tony and I don’t believe like you and dad doesn’t make us bad.”
“Renee, no one is saying you’re bad,” Terri protested. “But help me make sense this. You go to college and toss your Christian values out the window?”
Renee crossed her arms, obviously annoyed. “You and dad taught me a lot, Mom. And I share a lot of your views. But it’s my life. Please respect my lifestyle choices. They’re as right for me, Mom, as yours are for you. Don’t be so intolerant!”
Perhaps you’ve had a similar conversation with your college student. If so, how did it go?
The Struggle is Real
Many Christian parents face the very real struggle of offering a loving response that doesn’t condone behavior obviously outside of biblical truth. Unfortunately, many are failing to communicate the former, because they focus so much on the latter.
It is startling to observe your child making life choices that run counter to your parental teachings. Where, you wonder, did you go wrong? Parenting is incredibly difficult, especially when cultural tolerance demands that Christians not only respect, but accept and affirm the rightness of every individual’s views and behavior—or be labeled “intolerant,” “bigoted,” and even “hateful.”
Our youth blanch at the humiliation of being called intolerant. As they have been influenced to believe that truth is subjective, judging another’s “truth” as right or wrong seems to them painfully close-minded, mean, and unloving.
Our young people don’t actually have a problem with God or the Bible. It’s just that they think they can bend and mold both to justify their life choices. Like all humans, they want to be validated for who they are and what they feel. Yet what they want, and in fact need, can never be attained by the kind of tolerance that today’s culture demands. It’s only possible by basing our moral code on God’s biblical truth.
The Good News: Your Kids Are Still Listening to You
It may seem to you that you can’t compete with the tolerance messages that your children are being bombarded with daily in the educational system, the government, the arts, the media, even possibly within your church. But please know that you do remain a powerful influence on your children. They might not act like it, but they are listening.
Consider this: a national online study shows that 45 percent of young people consider their parents to be their role models. Another study shows that 32 percent look to their friends and just 15 percent look to celebrities for guidance and inspiration. Yet another study shows that until a child reaches twenty-five years of age, the greatest influence on that child’s behavior will be the loving, close relationship with his or her parents.
So how might you respond to your daughter if she comes home from college with startling news of her own? Turn to the Bible, seek the Holy Spirit, and lovingly lead her to embrace the value system God put in place to protect her. God is at work, through you, to make his light of truth penetrate the cultural fog and reach your children. Perhaps start by asking yourself, “Do my kids see me regularly reading the Bible? Are our family activities helping them to form a God-centered value system? Are they seeing me live out God’s universal truths?”
Together, in the blog posts that follow, we will unpack our culture’s view on tolerance and the contrasting biblical truth. This blog series will help you to productively dialogue with your kids when they argue against God’s truth.
Thought to Ponder
“Can intolerance be beautiful?” Well…
Mother Theresa was intolerant of poverty.
Bono was intolerant of AIDS.
Martin Luther King was intolerant of racism.
Jesus was intolerant of bigotry.
This blog post has been adapted from the book The Beauty of Intolerance, by Josh and Sean McDowell. To purchase a copy of this helpful parental resource, please visit our Store page.