Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

Teaching Your Kids to Look Down on Others

on July 15, 2014

photo credit: Celestine Chua via photopin cc

Being a parent is such a huge responsibility. I can say with confidence that teaching my daughter to love and follow the Lord are at the top of my priority list as a mother. Preserving her purity and training her up in the Word are of the utmost importance. I want to instill in her a love for the things that God finds beautiful in a woman – purity, meekness (power under control), prudence, patience, modesty, kindness, gentleness, forgiveness, grace and mercy. These are virtues that I long to see her grow into as a young woman someday.

In order to instill those virtues, I teach her God’s Word, pray over her and give her real life examples. Those examples may be good and bad examples….what TO do and what NOT to do. However, I think it’s very important that in giving her examples, I am not teaching her that it is in any way okay for her to look down upon, condescend, despise or judge those brothers and sisters who are not convicted in the same way that we are on these issues. In other words, I do not want to raise a snotty young woman who is quick to offer disapproval to anyone who isn’t like her.

When I use the dreaded word “Judge”, by the way, I understand that some will confuse what that means. The Word talks a lot about judging. The Bible doesn’t tell us not to “judge’ in terms of identifying sin. We judge all the time. We judge what is right and wrong. We are to judge rightly. However, we are not to judge in the sense of passing a judgement or sentence, and we are not to condemn or despise someone, looking down on them. That’s the judgement both I and God’s Word forbids.

Here’s an example. The Smith Family are great. They are Christians and seek to follow the Lord in all they do. In the Smith Family, the girls have decided that they led to wear skirts or dresses everyday because they truly feel that God is honored in it. There’s nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is how the 12 year-old Fanny Smith reacts when a new girl her age comes to church wearing jeans and a t-shirt. She wears a look of shock and distaste on her face. She refuses to make eye contact. She immediately sees herself as a “better” Christian and labels the other girl as being “carnal.”

Or maybe it’s the other way around. Maybe after years of wearing skirts the Smith Family suddenly feels the Lord put on their hearts that they don’t need to dress that way all of the time and they discover a new liberty in Christ. Will others who continue to wear dresses and skirts teach their children to look down on them? Will the Smiths judge the skirt-wearers for being stuck in “legalism”? Where will the judgement end????

There are plenty of other examples. Parents who emphasize healthy eating may inadvertently teach their children to look down on overweight brothers and sisters. Perhaps the parents look down on them too? Homeschoolers may teach their kids to look down upon public schoolers and vice versa. Sigh

You know, when I aim to raise my daughter in the Lord, my number one lesson to her is not whether or not the Bible teaches that women should wear skirts or headcoverings or eat only organic or homeschool. You see, those are secondary issues. They are dead end issues. I want my daughter to be used by the Lord for wonderful and awesome things. I want her to be a light in this world to a lost and dying population. I want her to shine forth the love and grace of the Lord Jesus to all who come in contact with her. I do not want her to be an uppity, antisocial child-young person-adult, who looks down her nose at anyone who isn’t just like her. Where’s the love of God in that? Where’s the graceful heart of the Lord in that?

So do we stop teaching our kids to walk in their convictions? Absolutely not! I know the standards I want to set for my daughter, and I pray that they are a blessing to her as they guide her into adulthood someday. However, I want to teach her at the same time that we are called to love one another and to accept one another the way Jesus does. We are called to friendship with other believers. We aren’t to stand in a corner or with a small group of like-minded friends and just watch as other young people stand alone or leave. We aren’t supposed to be so heavenly minded that we are no good to the people here on earth. We learn from Jesus, whose own disciples questioned Him for eating with and ministering to sinners. Jesus showed them a love and acceptance they couldn’t resist and they were changed.

Teach your young ones that, in order to minister to someone, we must first be willing to love them unconditionally. We must pray and work to empty our hearts of this type of judgement. We need to reach out with open arms, regardless of the way another looks, talks, dresses, eats, smells…haha…whatever! Teach our kids to be like Jesus, who didn’t sin but loved sinners. Amen?

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:12-14

3 responses to “Teaching Your Kids to Look Down on Others

  1. tlohuis says:

    I enjoyed this post. Thanks so much for sharing.

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