Take a journey, back in time, to America a few generations. How easy would it be to offend a person thirty, forty, or fifty years ago? The older generation voices of an era when the majority of people would not only be offended to hear a crude word spoken but would not even tolerate it. Not too many years ago people would be offended to see open sin paraded around in public. At one time people would be offended to see children speaking disrespectfully to an elder. Our country and flag was greatly honored and to show disrespect to either was offensive. And the thought of someone openly condemning Christianity in America was unthinkable. The generations of the past were easily offended by insulting behaviors, filthy language, open immortality, anti-patriotism, and a blatant disregard for spiritual matters. Oh, how the times have changed! It seems as though this deliberate decay of our culture is not only tolerated but joyfully embraced. And yet, through the eyes of the world, there are still plenty of offenses which must not be tolerated. Today the offenses come in the form of Christianity, absolute truth, holy living, the name of Jesus Christ, submission to authority, and of course, the Christian homeschool movement.
I remember the first time I realized that there were people who were offended by our family’s lifestyle. It was the summer after our first year of homeschooling. I was sitting with a friend in a ladies Bible study class, who had introduced our family to home education. We were discussing the benefits and joys of the year. I had commented that I was so thankful the Lord opened our eyes to our responsibility as parents to educate our children. During the discussion, others joined in asking questions. After the class was over a lady approached me who had been very offended that we had so openly discussed homeschooling as a valid option for Christian parents. She had been a public school teacher for 20 years and in her own words, “had never seen anything taught to the detriment of Christians in public school.” She was adamant in that public schools were safe and unmistakably the best option for all Christians. Although I was new to homeschooling and could not clearly articulate my position, it had not been that long ago that I was in public schools myself. I distinctively remember all the evil that I was exposed to at an early age from teachers and peers alike, not to mention the anti-God philosophy.
That was 8 years ago. While it was the first time that I have viewed such opposition to home education, it certainly was not the last. There once was a lady in our church who showed apparent disdain toward our family. I remember asking my husband one day after services, “What have I done to her? She obviously does not like me. I’ve gone out of the way to be kind and friendly to her and her family.” My husband, who knew how hard I had been trying said, “Sweetheart, it is nothing you have done. Our lifestyle is offensive.” Over the years we have come to realize that the choices we have made regarding our family is contrary to the world. At its foundation we believe that Scripture teaches a very distinct way of living as a child of God. As a woman, I believe that part of my high calling is to be a help meet to my husband (Genesis 2:18), to live in subjection to him (I Peter 3:5), and to be a keeper at home (Titus 2:5). We believe that the husband, as the head of the family, will be responsible to God for the education and upbringing of the children (Ephesians 6:4, Proverbs 4:1-7). He is to oversee all their learning about God and His world. And daily, he is to teach God’s Word to his family (Deuteronomy 6:5-9). As his help meet, I play a major role in the daily teaching of our children. At the heart of all we do lies biblical truth. Therefore, we really should not be surprised when the world is offended. Jesus said in John 15:18-19, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”
While we expect this opposition from the world, it is disheartening when it comes from other Christians. One could argue that there are those who simply claim the title yet bear no fruit of righteousness. Many times it is these types of people who are antagonistic to those trying to live their life according to the Bible. However, that is not always the case. Many simply have never been taught the truth. For several generations, our society has believed that families should pursue the American dream at all cost. In this pursuit, the foundation of the biblical family has been cracked. Sadly, many churches have lacked in biblical teaching necessary to rebuild the family. So now, when a family pushes against the flow of society, by holding to their convictions from the Word of God, they often experience a backlash. Perhaps, you have experienced such criticism from family, friends, church members, or even pastors. It seems that a few months cannot pass without hearing a testimony from a family to this extent. They are homeschooling because of biblical conviction and due to the amount of criticism they receive one would think that they have purposely set out to destroy the lives of their children.
- “You shelter your children too much.”
- “Your children will rebel.”
- “Your children will not know how to deal with the ‘real’ world!”
I, and many others, have heard these comments before. Dear friend, do not let the world dictate to you lies from the enemy. It is a good thing to shelter your children. Gods shelters us and I am so glad He does! When the storms of life come, His children run into His arms of safety. As far as children rebelling, perhaps they will. But I know that children will often do exactly what they are trained to do. Parents have believed the lie that all children will always rebel against the teaching of their parents. When a parent believes this and expects his child to rebel he will not be disappointed. That child will rebel. Parents should be realistic enough to know that children might rebel but should never expect them to rebel. My husband and I will bring our children up in the way they should go and hold on to the promise that they will not depart from it. What about our children knowing how to deal with the “real” world? Let me be very clear. The objective in Christian homeschooling is not teaching children how to “deal with the real world.” I do not want to teach my children how to merely survive this life. As believers in Christ we are called to be overcomers! “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith,” (1John 5:4). As children of God, not only do we overcome this world but we overcome the wicked one (I John 2:13-14). We overcome his servants (I John 4:4). We overcome sin and death (I Corinthians 15:54-57). And we overcome evil (Romans 12:21). This is what we desire to teach our children. “You are an overcomer!”
Dear homeschooling family, do not be discouraged when you face opposition. Do not be surprised by the world’s criticism. As you probably have learned by now, one does not have to be on the front lines of the homeschool movement to be attacked. You do not have to be publicly declaring the truths found in Scripture from every mountain top to offend the world. All you have to do is live your life quietly and simply in holiness. Raising your family according to God’s standards is enough to have the world hate you. Your very lifestyle is condemning to those around you. Consider the story of Noah. “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith,” (Hebrews 11:7). I have heard this story my whole life. I have been taught that Noah, being a preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2:5), preached to the world the coming judgment of God. In my mind I always assumed that it was his preaching that condemned the world. But this passage in Hebrews does not tell us that the world was condemned by his preaching, but by his life. Noah moved with fear, prepared an ark to save his family and by that he condemned the world. It was his obedience to God that condemned the wicked.
Now, move forward a few thousand years. Consider a faithful father called of God to lead his family. He reads in the Bible of the coming judgment. He sees the warnings from his Heavenly Father. He is moved with fear and works hard to build an ark of safety for his family. He rejects this world and does that which is necessary to save his house. He toils and labors to teach and train his children the ways of the Lord. And in doing it all, he condemns the world around him. But unlike Noah, who knew only his family would be saved (Genesis 6:17-18), we are not alone. There are many other families who are striving to follow the Lord. There are many fathers who take their God-given responsibility seriously and seek to save their homes from worldly destruction. There are many mothers who are coming along side and fulfilling their God-given role. There are many children who are being brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. There are families who still stand strong. Do not give up. Do not be discouraged. Know that your work will not be in vain! “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain,” (Philippians 2:15-16).
(Clipart courtesy FCIT, http://etc.usf.edu/clipart)