“My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.”
Peer pressure is nothing new. The wise man warns his son about the dangers of peer pressure in Proverbs 1:8-19. We must be very careful about the friends we choose. We must be very careful about the children we allow our children to be around. I have seen parents try valiantly to raise their children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” except they were not careful about their friends. Too often, all the other hard work goes up in smoke because “evil companions corrupt good morals!”
I have a 10, 7, and 4 year old. It is easy for me to be watchful over who they spend time with. But a day is coming when I will have little direct influence over who they spend their time with. So, it is imperative that I teach them this lesson now. “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.” I have to teach them – as Solomon did his children – that running with the wrong crowd only sets you up for failure.
I cannot help but think of the first Psalm: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners, not sits in the seat of scoffers.” But it is not enough just to rid ourselves of evil influence. We must fill ourselves up with that which is godly: “but his delight is in the law of the LORD and on his law he meditates day and night.”
We should consider what Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:29-30: “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that you whole body be thrown into hell. If you right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that you whole body go into hell.” Shouldn’t we apply this teaching to our friends? If your friend causes you to sin, cut them off. For it is better to lose a friend than to have hundreds of them and go to hell.
As school is about to start back, now is a good time to talk to your children about who they are spending their time with. Most kids spend 8 hours a day with other children and we have to make sure we teach them this old proverb: “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.”
I saw something at Chick-fil-a this morning that bothered me. It bothered me because I didn’t think it was right and because I am afraid I have done it before. This little boy was asking his mother for a kid’s meal. She responded, “No. I bought this. It is the same food. I’m not paying for a kid’s meal.” So far, no problem. My wife and I often do the same with our children. The little boy, however, was not happy with that answer and continued to ask (and whine) for a kid’s meal. For the next ten minutes he asked her repeatedly for a kid’s meal and she would not respond to him. She didn’t get him one, she didn’t tell him to stop, and, as he got louder, she did not discipline him. She simply ignored him. This sparked a couple thoughts.
First, don’t ignore your children. It is frustrating to be ignored. I don’t like being ignored as an adult. Why would a child, who is totally dependent on you, be okay with it? And yet, I know I have ignored my children. There is nothing wrong with them. They are asking for something inconsequential. My head hurts or I’m reading something. What kind of message am I sending to them? And what kind of message am I sending to others who may see this? Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger” and Colossians 3:21 says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” I can’t think of a quicker way to discourage a child than by ignoring them. I do not want to judge this mother too harshly. I don’t know everything going on in her life. But I did see how I don’t want to treat my children.
Second, and on a positive note, aren’t you glad we don’t have to beg our God to pay attention to us? A couple parables make this point – the friend at midnight and the unjust judge. If you bug the friend and the judge enough, they will eventually give in and give you what you want. The comparison is that God is not like that. We don’t have to bug Him. In fact, He wants us to come to Him. He encourages it. There were times that God said He didn’t want to hear about an issue anymore (i.e. Moses and the Promised Land; Paul and the thorn in the flesh). But God does not ignore His children. That’s the kind of father I want to be and it’s the kind of father I’m thankful we have.