Sunday, September 17, 2006

"Free" from Religion

A few days ago, I wrote . . .

We did not teach our children about faith when they were little. I thought the most important values in life were family love and moral goodness. I took them to church pretty often, mostly because it seemed like the right thing to do. But through the years, God planted seeds of faith in them and got them through the hard adolescent years without any permanent damage. Family love and moral goodness are good . . . but they are not enough.

I began to realize that those foundations were crumbling during our three children’s upper high school years. I could see emptiness in their eyes—hunger for something more. Once I admitted what I was seeing, I recognized it in myself, too. It was a lack of fulfillment, direction, true meaning.

When our kids were in college, my oldest son began dating a girl who was a Christian; her life was full of peace and joy, and he wanted to know how. Soon after that, he came home singing about Jesus. He had a new sparkle in his eyes, and he was a different person. The other kids and I wanted to know how, and soon we fell in love with Jesus, too. Our lives have never been the same since.

Parents are supposed to give secure foundations to their children. I read an article, “Raised without Religion,” in a 1999 Focus on the Family Magazine by a young man whose parents did not teach him faith in God, and I knew as I read it that it was true. (I didn’t record his name; I’ll let you know if I can find it.) I wrote this in my journal:

He said he is part of the generation of teens and young adults now, many of whom have been raised without religion by parents who “wanted to let them decide for themselves later.” A non-decision like this, he said, is in fact a decision for them not to know God.

He said that his growing up free from the dogma of religion “caused imprisonment to a life without meaning.”

He said we must teach children these things:

  • that a personal, loving God created them for relationship with him
  • that he gives a sense of purpose and meaning that goes beyond suffering
  • and a knowledge of timeless truth for making choices and facing obstacles
  • and “a profound hope, found only in Jesus Christ that can overshadow the deepest despair.”

I thank God that he taught our children these things in spite of us.





7 comments:

ts said...

That's such an awesome story--thanks for sharing! It's so wonderful when faith is shared in the family. My own aunts and cousins in Thailand came to know Jesus a couple of years ago after many years of prayer. My father was not a believer for many years while my mother persevered in the faith, in spite of his opposition.

Thanks again!

Judy Callarman said...

TS,

Prayer is powerful! It is encouraging to hear about people coming to know Christ after many years of people praying for them.

Barbara said...

I had both my children in church most of their lives. They grew up around the word, but my husband didn't go to church. But, I've kept my mind focused on the verse that says to train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it. My son was saved, baptized, and joined his f/i/law's church (his f/i/law is the pastor). My daughter has taken her children to church off and on, but got hurt by a visiting pastor at one church. She's not in right now, although the children go time to time. BUT, I still hold on to the Word!

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