How Christian parents set up their children to display fake faith.

Because of course if we look good we are good.

A man at my church just can’t seem to get over the fact that my youngest son isn’t going to church with me. This man doesn’t know me, my history, story, or anything about my family. He learned a month ago that I have older children. He is fixated with the fact that my son doesn’t come. So your son, he says, he just doesn’t come?

He tells me how his son went through a time like that and for a moment I think that I have found someone who understands until he says, “Well I made him go to church once a month”. It reminds me of another man in our church who asked me where my son was. I gave a brief explanation of why he wasn’t coming and he said, “Well I make my adult boys come”. It hits me what the problem is. They don’t understand why I am not making my 18 year old son come to church.

Because of course if he looks good he is good.

Teaching our children how to display fake faith.

Young people live in our home and they are not Christians. We take these non-Christians to church for 18 years and evangelize them. Right? Because yes they need to hear God’s Word to be saved and that is what we want for them more than anything, but what else do we teach them.

We teach them that our faith includes being cute, smiling and clapping at the nice songs.

We teach them that right religion is about coloring pictures of Joseph, listening quietly to stories about Abraham, and putting on a garment so that they can be a part of the Nativity scene.

We teach them that the right thing to do is to go to church at the prescribed times. That you show up and smile, eat good food, fellowship with the people there, study and read while drinking coffee and eating doughnuts, and then go home smiling and acting as if that all really made a difference in our lives.  Of course whether it did or not is never discussed.

We teach them that if you continue to follow the rules all is okay. If you really want to score some points with your parents and fellow Christians then when you hit those terrible 20’s then just keep posting on Face book about how great Jesus is, how wonderful your church is, and how great it is to be a Christian. This is just a new step we have taught them to take to ensure they look good, because if you look good you are good.

Reality.

And what about reality?

The reality is that my youngest son has heard the gospel his entire life. He went to church all the times that I asked/told him to. I have three older adult children and I decided a long time ago to let them decide if they wanted to go to church their senior year of high school. I do this so that I can see where they are.

One child kept going, but now as a married woman she is not going. She is in a discovery stage. I have no worries. She is figuring things out.

One child kept going, but decided to go to a different church. When he left home he quit going altogether and now is on a spiritual journey. I am not sure he is saved at all.

One child kept going until a year after high school graduation when she decided to get very real and admit that she didn’t want to go at all. I believe she will go back one day and until then she is like a 70’s free child going where the wind takes her. Her recent F off tattoo proves that. God can use anything.

And the youngest that the men at church are worried about? Well he has never been baptized like his siblings, never went forward, hasn’t said the words, and when given the freedom to decide he stopped going to church.

I could make him go. He would go if I told him to, but why? What does that prove? That I have control. Does it make things look good and ease our consciences. Should I make him go so that we can do what we are supposed to do? Smile, clap at the cute songs, and act as if following God is the simplest thing ever.

“So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” Isaiah 55:11

Do we believe this or not?

I would rather have children who are honest about their faith, or lack of, than children who post good feeling posts that make us believe that they are right with God.

I would rather have a daughter who has a F off tattoo then a daughter who posts on social media about how great God is, but then lives like the devil.

Fake faith is dangerous. Real faith is hard, and even on my best days walking with God I rarely feel like a Mrs. Brady life is perfect Christian. I feel like this is the hardest thing I have ever done and often wonder if it would just be easier to take a drink of Jack Daniels then to trust God for ANOTHER big thing in my life.

That’s real faith. That’s real Christianity. That’s what I want my children to have. I don’t make my son go because while I still have the opportunity to speak into his life I want to see what he will do and now I have his senior year where I can speak into the reality of his life not the fakeness that I taught him to display.

Just because things look good doesn’t mean they are good. We know that from our own lives. Let’s teach our children what real faith looks like. When they have it they will be more concerned about impacting other peoples lives for Christ then posting feel good fakeness on Face book.

Follow Enroute on Facebook for inspiration and articles.

Marcy Pedersen

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