I received a question recently from a thoughtful family who were wondering about the idea of "sheltering."
What impressed me about the question was, although the husband and wife were not sure where to fall on the issue- their search is for a Biblical response to the question. I respect that type of inquiry a great deal.
HOW FAR DO WE GO?
"Clearly there is an appropriate kind of sheltering.When those who are opposed to homeschoolingaccuse me of sheltering my children, my replyis always, 'What are you going to accuseme of next, feeding and clothing them?"~R.C. Sproul Jr
Certainly sheltering our children to some degree is universally accepted. Basic protections in the areas in which the church and the world agree are rarely in question. For example, any parent would defend the need to dress children warmly in cold weather, to teach them to be careful around cars and strangers and so on. These are not just acceptable forms of sheltering- they are the difference between being a responsible parent or not.
The real question that is being asked is how far do we go beyond these socially accepted norms? How much should we "shelter" or protect? It's a great question- one every family must answer.
The word "sheltering" can invoke a lot of images before we even get talking- which is why you don't find that term discussed much here. Instead of battling pre-conceived ideas, why not stand for being a parent who navigates by Biblical principles?
Our goal should be to tie each of our decisions and rules tothe unchanging Word of God rather than to our feelings. Thisrequires us often to 'check' our own past experiences and desiresat the door to follow God.
We should continue to see a growing in holiness and a conforming to God's Word in our lives and the overflow of this growth should be evident in our families.
Whenever we guide these little hearts in the daily issues of life we should do our diligence to tie these issues to Scripture. More is taught as they see us conforming our will to God's Word than any other method.
PRINCIPLE BASED PARENTING
To share an example of what I am talking about I wanted to share a story from a few weeks ago. This example isn't to give the impression that we've got it all nailed down, but to share what principle based parenting means to us.
One of our daughters saw a framed movie poster. She knows a lot of people see this movie- there are always posters, toys, product packages- you name it everywhere we go. Anyway, as she was processing our family's views she said:
"We aren't going to watch that movie- even though everyone else does- because it's evil, huh?"
I thought about it and said, "What does Psalm 1 say?"
"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful... but his delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law he meditates day and night... he shall be like a tree planted by rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in season, whose leaf also shall not wither..."
"Right. I am not going to tell you that movie is completely evil. Satan is usually trickier than that- mixing "good" with evil so we will swallow it all down.
What I am going to say is that it was not made by godly men or championing godly principles. That is why we aren't going to watch that movie. We want to apply Psalm 1 in which God teaches us how to be strong trees. What movies fit this criteria?" Which of course had the girls naming movies by the Kendrick brothers, and others.
Do you see the difference? This could be called sheltering because it could be seen as "keeping our children from seeing" a popular movie, but it isn't that. It's principle based parenting- or Christian living. Conforming our lives to the Word.
We don't want to give our children a list of man made rules to follow from any "movement." We want them to be wise and discerning. We want them to learn how to apply God's Word to various issues. And we want them to know that
God isn't keeping them from something good-
He's offering something MUCH BETTER!
Strength, health, fruit, and life (Psalm 1:6)!
We want to feed their spirits with good teaching that encourages them to be sold out for Jesus. And teach them to keep their eyes on Him, not on what others are doing around them. There will be folks- sometimes even in the church that will cloak sin and call it liberty. Do not follow them.
1 Peter 2:16 says: "Act as free men, and do not
use your freedom as a covering for evil, but
use it as bond-slave of God."
We were once slaves of sin and couldn't follow Christ.
Now we are free! But we are to use our freedom
to be a bond-slave to Him, not to feed the flesh.
SCRIPTURE IS KEY
I wanted to share a few areas with you that we had to carefully consider early on- and the verses that have guided us. This isn't exhaustive and I certainly would be blessed to hear areas in which you are seeking a verse or areas in which you've found a verse that is guiding you. Iron sharpens iron friends.
"The righteous should chose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray." Proverbs 12:26
"Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits. Awake to righteousness and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame." 1 Corinthians 15:33-34
Close parental guidance/ not leaving children to play alone-
"He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed." Proverbs 13:20
"The rod and sharp words give wisdom: but a child who is not guided is a cause of shame to his mother." Proverbs 19:15
What we watch and listen
Psalm 1 (used in example above)
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Philipians 4:8
...as it applies to Witchcraft (a popular topic to watch or read about)
"Let no one be found among you... who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omen, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD." Deuteronomy 18:10-12
"A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads." Leviticus 20:27
God's feeling about the influence of witchcraft among His people is clear.
"Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you. Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or to the left; remove your foot from evil." ~Proverbs 4:24-27
Photos: The girls enjoying the pleasant Spring weather. Hailey receiving a birthday present from Grammie- sweet bath toys and stainless pots and pans were perfect treats to usher in a new year of toddler fun. A rare treat- the opportunity to lunch at a charming little Italian spot with hand painted murals, cloth napkins, fresh foccasia bread and simple entrees- so refreshing.