Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Correcting the Errors of False Nostalgia in Godly Homes



After reading the newly released "Pioneer Girl," Jennifer Grant in an article in Christianity Today online concludes:
And, so as delicious as it’s been to bask in feelings of (false) nostalgia about Laura Ingalls’s childhood, Pioneer Girl oddly emboldens me to face the brokenness of the present and no longer to pine for a time that, in fact, never actually was.[1]
I am afraid many ultra-conservative Christians are guilty of living their lives in a separatist fashion striving to create a world for their children based on false assumptions about how good it used to be in America. I was one of those, and I can tell you from experience it is better to "face the brokenness of the present" than to "pine for a time that...never actually was.

There is a false assumption that America was somehow more holy than it is today. Yet, the truth is we have only "sought out many inventions" for acting out what has always been in the hearts of all of mankind. Furthermore, not only do we have fewer restraints and more opportunities than our forefathers, we also live in a time when the Gospel influence is at a very low ebb.

Consequently, when we were rearing our children, we did all we could to protect them from the influences of "the world." While that is a sober responsibility of Christian parents, there must be some point at which our children will see the world they live in. Our job is to not only establish standards of holy living in our homes, but to also instruct our children in the right way to view those who do not adopt those standards.

First of all, our own children need to see themselves as being in no wise "better than they." (Romans 3:9) This is the greatest danger to our children's souls when striving to establish a godly home. They begin to see themselves as being somewhat in better standing with God than their "worldly" counterparts. If they are ever to come to Christ in reality, they must first see the sinfulness of their own hearts and how justly God must condemn them outside of Christ as He does those who are not reared in Christ-honoring homes. They must be taught that self-righteousness is as filthy in God's eyes as any sin of debauchery.

Consequently, how we parents react to those who are immodestly dressed or who are indulging in fleshly lusts can unfortunately be the very planting of the seeds of self-righteousness in the hearts of our children. Thus, if we want our children to have a right view of the world in which they live and a right view of their own souls, we must first have that right view in our own hearts. Compassion rather than condemnation must be what they hear from us, and pity for their souls the predominant emotion.

For instance, when a child notices a person who is being immodest, their natural reaction might be one of condemnation. But, a wise parent will respond with compassion that perhaps the person was not taught by loving parents to keep their bodies covered. Some parents could even share with the child that they used to dress that way before they knew Jesus.

It is a huge mistake to take a posture of offense against that person. Directing ourselves and our children to how Christ Himself responded to people who were acting in an ungodly manner should help us get a better perspective. Only those who are without sin may cast stones. (John 8:7) Loving compassion is a more profitable response both for our children and the world in which they must live and with which they must interact. It is imperative, therefore, that parents continually remind their children of their own need of Christ as well as those who live in the world around them.

The answer, therefore, is not to hide, but to THRIVE! We must let our lights shine even brighter to our lost and dying world. And I don't mean by appearing at Walmart in our "modest apparel." How can we be effective in sharing Christ when we are hidden out somewhere trembling in fear of "the world?" This is something we must all seriously consider.

[1] Jennifer Grant, "'Pioneer Girl' Laura Ingalls Wilder's Real Memoir Overturns Our False Nostalgia," Christianity Today, March 9, 2015, accessed March 18, 2015, http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2015/march/pioneer-girl-our-false-nostalgia-over-laura-ingalls-wilder.html?start=1.