by Jill Jackson
The Christian home, by God's design, should be a place that thrives with love—love for God, his ways, and one another. It should provide an environment that lends itself to learning and developing with a focus on spiritual things. It should be a place where actions accompany the words professed. It should be a place where Christ's presence is seen and felt by those who dwell there. The Christian home should be a safe haven—a shelter from the ways of the world.
My husband and I were reared in such homes. Sometimes when counting your blessings, you realize that not everyone experienced the same blessings you did, and your gratitude to God is magnified.
We all know people who did not grow up in a Christian home. Some were not nurtured in a Christian home because they came to the truth later in their life. Either they had an itch they could not scratch and began digging through the word, or someone who loved them began to teach them and opened their eyes to things they had not known. Because of their tender hearts, they obeyed the gospel when it became known to them.
Often we don't fully appreciate the challenges these individuals experience. How hard it can be to overcome and change years of habits and ways for the service of God! Yet these people desire to be the trailblazers for their family. They face the challenge of trying to lead and be an example, though they had no one to show them the way in their formative years. How blessed their families are! Through that one person, the church may be blessed with many generations of faithful Christians. These are truly precious people!
God’s family is composed of individuals with a variety of experiences: those who were reared in Christian homes, those who were not. Then there are those who grew up in “Christian” homes in which Christ clearly did not exist. Homes where spiritual truths may have been spoken but blatantly not applied.
I know you have heard of stories such as these: the preacher who teaches God's plan for marriage and the importance of following the Scriptures, but is unfaithful to his wife; the deacon who is benevolent and hospitable, but abuses his children; the mother who has it all together when others are watching, but behind closed doors drains the bottles of alcohol hidden throughout her house.
Parents such as these have failed to recognize the principle emphasized in Colossians 3:21. "Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged" (Colossians 3:21). The idea, which applies to both parents, is that our actions and attitudes should not create a rebellion within the hearts of our children. We should not give our children cause to reject the teaching we are striving to instill in their hearts.
Many children who have grown up in a "Christ-less Christian home" grow so sick of the hypocritical environment that they reject God all together. They find it impossible to value anything their parents taught them when they clearly see the teachings were reflected in lip service only. It may be difficult, even for adult children, to recognize there may have been truth and value in the principles, despite the imperfect (or downright abusive) parent. The sufferings of these children is like a shadow from which they can never completely get away. Just like one who comes to the truth as an adult, these people have challenges we can't fully comprehend. We should never pretend to empathize, but we can sympathize, encourage, and be the family for these brothers and sisters that they didn't have in their youth. They need our support.
Perhaps you are one who grew up in a "Christ-less Christian home." Maybe you are like me, and did have a Christian home, but you have friends and family who experienced a “Christ-less Christian home.” Whichever shoes fits, I hope you will take time to join me for this series of upcoming articles:
The Baggage – a look at the silent suffering, the problem of a tainted perspective and the temptation of rebellion.
The Balanced View – a look at the realities of sin.
The Better Way – a look at choices and the future.
It is my hope that this study of God’s word will help and encourage those who did not experience the ideal Christian home. I pray that it will help them create for their family what they lacked. It is my hope that this study will help those of us who did have the ideal Christian home become more aware of the struggles others may be facing and seek ways we can serve them for the building up of the Lord’s church.
Jackson, Jason. Parents Obey Your Father
Jackson, Jason. Will Our Children Trust in the Lord?
Jackson, Wayne.The Influence of Home Life.
Jackson, Wayne. The Destiny of Our Children: Nature of Nurture?