Suppose you lived in a third-world war zone

Posted on February 5, 2014 · Posted in Culture, Parenting

Imagine for a moment that you lived as many Christians do on this planet. Suppose you lived in an area that was in a constant state of warfare. This is would be where there is guerrilla warfare, or tribal disputes, or ethnic hatred or prolonged civil war. In these types of warfare, Christians are often acceptable targets.  For families living in one of these media-neglected war zones, going outside to play is an act of reckless endangerment.


You realize that the instructions you must give your children are instructions of life and death. If your kids fail to follow your directions to the letter they may pay with their life. An inviting, innocent looking object lying the ground may be a death trap. Failing to follow the exact path you give them to bring fresh water to your home may result in capture or death or worse.


As a Christian what sort of technique would you use to instruct your children? Would you cajole or settle for partial obedience? Would you yell and scream and tell them they better obey you or else?


In contrast you could begin each day with a tearful prayer for God to keep your children safe. You could go over in detail the tasks you have for them to do that day. You would take whatever time is needed to make sure your words are followed. You would prepare your children as much as possible for the dangers they would face. You would be gracious and engaged as you work with them. You would remind them that you have no guarantee you would all be together for dinner that night. You would remind them of the rule of God even in the midst of conflict. You would tenderly embrace each child not knowing whether it would be your last. You would speak constantly of the blessing of knowing and trusting Christ as your savior and encourage your children to do the same. For your children your instructions are literally life and death. 


What if you lived in a war zone?  What difference would it make?


The truth is you do live in a war zone. Your enemy, the master of deceit, has just disguised your environment so that you think you are safe and not at war. Your children’s world is littered inviting objects that can blow up or paths that lead to spiritual devastation or even death. Their enemy prowls as a roaring lion. Safety is an illusion in modern America.


You do live in a war zone. What difference will it make in the way you care for and protect your children?


Jay Younts
Jay Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger. He is the author of Everyday Talk and other materials on parenting. He has been teaching and speaking on parenting issues for 30 years. Jay and his wife, Ruth, live in Fountain Inn, South Carolina. He serves as a ruling elder at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and Ruth have five adult children.