Last weekend I went with my family to see The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. It's a really fun story about an unchurched family - The Herdman's - who shows up at Sunday School for the free food, takes over the annual Christmas play (which everyone is sure will be ruined), and ends up learning the true meaning of Christmas and making the play the best one ever.
The play really helped me think through some of the feelings I have about the division between Christian and secular homeschoolers. There is a reason we Christians have somewhat of a poor reputation. Some of us are just plain judgmental!
Instead of focusing on ways we can share Christ's love with others, we focus on condemning lifestyles we've deemed ungodly. Instead of spending our time ministering to those in need, we spend our time debating subjects like modest clothing, sheltering, Halloween, Santa, Harry Potter, Twilight, and the list goes on and on.
Now I am not saying it's wrong to have opinions about those things, but are these debates the best use of our time? Could that hour you spent crafting a blog post about biblical discipline have been spent praying for or mentoring a struggling homeschool mom?
Although I love even the most conservative among my fellow Christian homeschoolers, I've had to pull myself back from the brink. In the name of sheltering my children from ungodliness, I was beginning to find a reason not to fellowship with nearly every family we encountered.
Yes, every family we encountered was sinning. My family is also full of sinners. In fact, it is a sin for me to spend time looking for the splinter in my brother's eye while neglecting the log in my own.
My neighbors went through a messy divorce over the past year, and when my neighbor called and asked me to babysit her kids for a few months, it was honestly the last thing I wanted to do. But I prayed about it and sought wise counsel, and although my flesh wanted nothing more than to send her away with a little cash and a promise that I would pray, I knew this woman badly needed a safe haven for her children that I was in a position to provide. Instead of simply praying for her, I could be an answer to her prayer.
So instead of continuing to shelter my children from the messiness of life, we brought the mess right into our shelter. We had some difficult, yet honest conversations about the realities of marriage and divorce, and the ways divorce hurts children. We had some difficult, yet honest conversations about the consequences of sin. And we had the difficult, yet humbling experience of walking through tough times with a family who needed us, realizing that one day we may also be in need.
During the process, my children lost some of their innocence, but they learned a tangible lesson about sharing the love of Christ.
Are you teaching your children to simply pray for others or showing them how to be an answer to prayer? Are you teaching your children to avoid the lost or minister to the lost? Are you teaching your children that others are unworthy to be in their presence or that they are worthy of being loved?
Consider Mark 2:15-17:
While Jesus was having dinner at Levi's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the "sinners" and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: "Why does he eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"
On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."As we enter the Christmas season, let us remember to love on, not avoid and condemn, The Herdman's in our lives.
Don't miss my post next week about judgmental secular homeschoolers.
Yes, my curriculum contains Bible verses and I like it that way, thankyouverymuch. And by the way, Merry Christmas! Yes, I said Christmas. That's the actual name of the holiday! (smile)