I so often look at those happy smiling faces, and I long to keep them small. To keep them safe. To keep them unaware and protected from the brokenness and dysfunction in the world around them.
Ashley Madison. Extramarital affairs. Rampant pornography addiction. Abuse. Millions oppressed in sex slavery. Millions aborted before they even have a chance to experience life outside the womb. Millions orphaned. So much hurt and pain–with sexual brokenness at the root of much of it all.
The reality of the task before me looms large: How will I parent these precious ones? I am called to be faithful–to do all I can to raise my sons to love and serve the Lord (Eph 6:4), to help them develop into godly men who seek to image their Creator. But the task often seems daunting. When I see all that’s happening in the world around me, I feel fear and discouragement. Fear about realities they will encounter all too soon. Discouragement about how they could possibly process these realities truthfully. Fear about how they will respond. My first inclination is to hide them—to shelter and protect and then fill their minds full of truth and maintain my supposed “control” over their lives through boundaries and rules.
But the truth is, I’m not sovereign over their lives. I never have been.
Hiding never works. And rules just expose brokenness. They can’t fix it.
No matter how much I try to hide them, the brokenness of this world will find my children. And not just because it’s enveloping them from the outside-in. The problem is not only outside and around my boys. It’s inside them. It’s inside me. It’s inside you.
Brokenness doesn’t start with Ashley Madison, pornography, rape, or abortion. It starts with lust. With idolatry and misplaced desires. With pride. With hearts that are naturally bent to love and serve “self” above anyone else–even God Almighty. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jer 17:9). A sin sickness has corrupted the fundamental nature of every human heart, and none of us are immune, even those who appear perfectly polished on the outside.
No amount of hiding and no list of rules will protect our kids from sin because hiding doesn’t expose the depth of their need and rule-following can’t change their hearts or alter their affections. Only the power of Jesus can transform a self-centered, rebel heart. Only the beauty of Jesus is enough to captivate the mind with truth and the heart with holy desire and worship. Only the righteousness of Jesus is enough to cover our own supposed “righteousness”—a righteousness motivated by consuming self-love rather than God’s glory and deemed “filthy rags” by Him.
If I want to be faithful in the parenting task, I’ve got to give my boys Jesus. Nothing less. In the everyday, mundane moments of parenting. When I fall short. When they fall short. Even now, before they are really aware of all the brokenness within and without, I must be faithful to hold up the hope of the gospel before them and urge them to turn away from their sin and look only to Jesus for healing and salvation. And then, I rest. I seek to be faithful and then relinquish my desire to control, resting in His perfect wisdom, sovereignty, and plan for their lives. Regardless of the path my boys take, He is faithful. And He is enough.