Evil has never been as encroaching as it is today. If you wanted to find evil twenty-years ago you had to make a trip to a magazine shop or convenience store. Today you can accomplish the same task in five seconds. Amazing!
Not only are naked bodies and fornicating people easily accessible for inquiring minds, but it is being foisted upon us in manifold ways. Television is the most devious and celebrated culprit. Children are learning about evil earlier than ever before.
While parents are fully enamored in the cares of this life, the influence of the Word of God and the Spirit of God are being choked out of their lives.
And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. – Mark 4:18-19 (ESV)
Perhaps you are a parent who is proactive in your parenting. Perhaps you are aware of the evil influences in our world, the need to guard little minds, and your God-ordained role in the process.
If you do care, you’re also aware everybody is not on your side. You know there are other parents who abdicate their roles as spiritual guides, by not being intentionally interested in their children.
You’re also aware no matter what you do you cannot fully protect your child from the evil influences in our world, especially other children who are not practically discipled to follow Christ.
This is what happened to Martin and Kate. They have a seven-year old son, Tyler, who came home asking about pornography. He actually said, “por-no-graph-fee” because he had never heard the word.
Martin and Kate knew exactly what he meant. They called, asking what to do in response to their son who was being introduced to porn at his Christian school.
They were shocked to know other Christian parents were not as vigilant as they were and even aghast to know it was in their Christ-exalting school. This article is a response to Martin and Kate and others in similar straits.
Realign yourself to the Gospel
The most important thing to remember is God’s grace and power is greater than the evil in our world. It does not matter how old you are or what you have been introduced to, you must remember and apply this truth.
If you lose focus on God’s favor and strength, then your mind can go into hopeless places. You could easily be tempted to sin in two big ways: anger and fear. These are the two areas I wanted to address with Martin and Kate.
- I am angry at my idiot friends whose son introduced my child to porn. I’m going to let them have it.
- I’m afraid my child is going to be ruined for life. There is no hope for him now. His little innocent mind is polluted.
Both of these reactions are out-of-line with the Gospel. The Gospel would inform us that Martin’s friends need to experience the redemptive power of Jesus Christ. They are no different than Martin, Kate, or Tyler. They need Jesus too (Romans 3:23).
Becoming sinfully angry at their friends, even in the name of righteousness, is wrong. An angry response does not deliver the purposes of the Gospel. Sinful anger will create division rather than reconciliation.
Believing there is no hope for this situation will also adulterate the Gospel. The sin Tyler experienced is one of the reasons we have a Gospel. Christ came, died, and rose for hopeless people and for evil situations.
This problem Martin and Kate are going through is custom-made for the Gospel. What they are experiencing is not outside the bounds of the Gospel’s power, whether it is reconciling a fractured relationship or cleansing a polluted heart.
It is imperative they refocus their minds back to the Gospel. The Gospel has to be their launching point and the sustaining trajectory as they work through this problem which was foisted upon them.
Maybe their friends will not respond to their redemptive and restorative efforts. That’s okay. That’s God’s business, not theirs. They can’t change people, but they must have a Gospel-centered understanding of their responsibility toward people.
What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. – 1 Corinthians 3:5-6 (ESV)
If Martin and Kate have their hearts aligned by the Gospel, they will be in the right place to serve their friends by watering and planting. They can then pray God will be merciful to their friends by granting illumination and possible repentance (2 Timothy 2:24-25).
Wouldn’t it be nice if God used this sinful situation sinlessly? Wouldn’t it be nice if this couple was convicted of areas where they have failed and repented to God, their son, and to Martin, Kate, and Tyler?
If Martin and Kate are thinking rightly, they will not be responding in sinful ways, but redemptive ways. It’s important for them to know God allows sin in order for Him to accomplish His purposes. A brief study of many Old Testament characters will reveal this, e.g. Joseph and Job.
My main points thus far are twofold:
- Get their minds realigned by the Gospel so hope can be in place–God’s grace and power is greater than the evil in the world.
- Get their minds realigned by the Gospel so perspective can be gained–God could be multitasking. He uses sin broadly and sinlessly.
Give your child a practical Savior
The present evil in this world takes no prisoners. This means the Devil, demonic beings, children of the Devil, and carnal Christians are collectively participating in evil and that evil is meant to kill you and your children.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. – 1 Peter 5:8 (ESV)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. – John 10:10 (ESV)
Do not be amazed or surprised at the tactics of the enemy. They are clear. The Devil wants you and yours dead. Period. Any person who is standing for Christ is an enemy of the evil ones. Martin and Kate are enemies.
This means every parent should be working overtime, envisioning, instilling, and building the mind of Christ in their children (Philippians 2:5). They must begin this work shortly after the child is born.
Fortunately, Martin and Kate have been doing this. They are not Christians in name only, but they practically and passionately live it out. It is most evident by their lifestyles. This is the most effective teaching tool a parent can give a child.
Though their son’s friend gave him pornographic images, they have been giving him something greater–an authentic vision for living the Christ life, as understood by their example.
If you are not exporting an authentic relationship with Christ to your children, then the first place to begin is godly repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10). Repent to God first and then to your child. Let both of them know where you have failed and what you plan to do in order to change.
Talk clearly and plainly
Spend time talking to your child, asking specific questions, drawing out what he saw. Don’t tell him what he saw in specific ways. You don’t want to teach him more than what he knows. Try to draw him out so you can discern what he saw and possibly did, or what was done to him.
Hopefully, by now you are using actual anatomical words with your children. We have always called body parts what they are to our children because we did not want them to be weirded out by going from silly words to real words at some point in their future.
Much of the church has a sex phobia as though sex and sexuality is something to be hidden and not discussed. The world is not weirded out by sex. They are plain, clear, and vulgar. Christians should be plain, clear, and pure in how they speak about sexuality.
If you’re sheepish and shy about talking about anatomical parts, then you’ve lost more ground with your child than you are aware. One of the most common problems in counseling adults are sexually messed up couples.
The most common reason they are messed up was because their parents did not have God’s perspective on sex and sexuality. Weirdness begets weirdness. Don’t do that to your child.
Explain good and evil to your child
I’ve written an article titled Incrementally Introducing Your Child to the World. I’ll not repeat that information here, but state two ideas from that article:
- You should always be incrementally introducing your child to the world.
- If you don’t, the world will introduce itself to your child.
The operative word here is incrementally. There is a time to introduce your child to the world. There are no set of rules that will lay this out for you. This is a Spirit-led, Spirit-illuminated process, based on how God made the child.
Each parent has to discern each child, as well as the Spirit’s desire in introducing the child to the world. It would be foolish to wait until your child is sixteen and then you begin to explain the world to him.
A child should be aware of good and evil from the time he is one-year old. The main reason for this is because he is committing evil from birth (Psalm 58:3). Children are sinners. They are also sinned against by their parents and siblings.
Good and evil is not something new for a 7-year old boy. He is fully aware there is evil in his world and the proponents of evil desire to take his soul to hell.
If this groundwork has been laid, then you can enter into a discussion about this new evil that has been introduced to him. Granted, this is too early to be talking about porn, but, sadly, the story of Martin and Kate is all-to-common.
Evil has come too early for this child, but if you’re mature enough to talk to him and to walk him through it, then you’ll be okay. Seven-year old boys are not usually interested in girls and this incident should slowly vaporize as an anomaly.
Fruit of the Spirit
It’s imperative you are processing and functioning under the Spirit’s control. I’m thinking here about the fruit of the Spirit. Work through the Spirit’s gifts to you, as evidenced by His fruit in your life and see where you need to adjust your mind.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)
This is the filter through which you must interact with this problem and your child. Your child needs to experience the fruit from the Spirit through you. You can’t go crazy here–self-control. Let him know it’s sin and deal with it like any other sin–like a mature Christian–faithfulness.
Then patiently, kindly, and gently talk to him about his relationship with the boy who showed him the porn. Let him know you’re going to talk to his parents. Let him feel the freedom to talk to you about this–peace.
Let him know you want him to come to you if it happens again–or if any other child does similarly–goodness. It’s not time to talk to him about sex and reproduction. You’re a couple of years away from beginning those talks.
Don’t give him too much information, but give him accurate information that is appropriate to his age and his specific intellectual, emotional, and biblical maturity–faithfulness. Remember, each child will be different. You cannot cookie-cutter this process–love.
Pray, relate, enjoy
Pray – Spend time praying with your son. Let it be a time of worship and gratitude. Don’t be sin-centered, but be God-centered. Also let your prayer be instructive. As you talk to God, be aware of your son’s listening ears. Let him learn from your praying.
Relate – Follow up with him later that evening, the next day, and as God leads you, in the succeeding weeks. Make sure your questions are motivated by faith, not fear. Show genuine and mature interest in your son.
Enjoy – Be sure part of how you relate to your son is through fun and laughter. Be appropriately serious, but make sure there is joy and laughter in your relationship. Let him see and experience your joy and faith in Christ. Have a full relationship with him.
If you don’t, you will create a relationship deficiency in him, which will tempt him toward other people–like the child who introduced him to porn. The enemy will be more than glad to take your job from you.