As we lead students and/or our children in a journey of discipleship, we have to consider how we lead them to think about interacting with culture. It’s an important aspect of leading people in spiritual development.
How do you talk to either of these groups about living as Kingdom citizens in a culture whose values are mostly in opposition to the moral ethic of God’s Kingdom?
In other words, what tools are you giving them to help them be a discerner of culture?
If one of your students is listening to a song that glorifies a sexual ethic that is not in line with their standing as a child of God, how would you normally respond?
If you’re watching TV or a movie with your child and you encounter a commercial or a scene that evokes a moral reaction from you, how do you normally react?
If we tell our students/children “that’s bad,” or “that’s wrong,” or “God doesn’t like that,” or “Jesus doesn’t want us to do or say or think that,” is it enough? Or is it even helpful?
More than that, is it harmful?
When we say “no” or “don’t,” and leave it at that, we are reinforcing legalism and a brand of morality grounded in nebulous feelings of right and wrong. And depending on the issue at hand, we could even bring shame into the equation, a particularly harmful tool for a leader or a parent to wield.
The better way, the only way, is to take culture and stand it next to the Person of God as He is revealed in the Bible, and to stand it next to the ethical expectations of God’s children, again, as espoused in the Bible.
When you do this, you use Scripture as a standard, which is one of the primary reasons God gave it to us in the first place.
When you teach young people to measure everything against God’s character and His Word, you equip them with true discernment.
You help them in crafting a God-shaped lens with which to look at the world. And you give them just a little bit of freedom from do-goodism and shame.