Friday, April 18, 2008

This World of Ours

It seems like there have been so many disheartening things that I have read lately about homosexuality teaching in schools, neglect and abuse of children, and other evils in our world. It is so easy when all of this is right in my face to want to buy a secluded piece of land somewhere and hole up - protecting my children from the world. But I cannot really do this. Not only would my husband absolutely not support it, it is not practical for us and may also defeat the purpose God has for us here in this world. I have been taught that we are to be in the world, but not of the world. The is very hard at times, since the desires of the world are strong at times - but it is possible.

I started reading the book Escape by Carolyn Jessop. (I know, I know...I still haven't finished Mansfield Park. I got totally bogged down in the "should we allow this play, father would/wouldn't approve of this play..." section. Boring... I will finish it though.) It tells of her escape from the polygamist cult FLDS. It is particularly interesting to me in light of the 400 children who were recently removed from a FLDS sect here in Texas. It is constantly in the news. Anyway, she said something in the acknowledgments section that really sticks out to me. (Yes, I'm a dork. I even read dedications and introductions to books!) Anyway, one of the groups of people she acknowledges is the people who made it possible for her children to have Christmas the four years since she left FLDS. She says,

"The FLDS is constructed on a scaffolding of lies. We were all brainwashed into believing that everyone in the outside world was evil. Every Christmas, when I see the delight in my children as they unwrap presents from people they never met, I realize what a monstrous lie we were taught to believe."

Later, as she is describing the night she left, she talks about how she couldn't tell her children that they were actually leaving. They were so frightened. Once they figured it out, one of her daughters actually said she was taking them to hell.

Although I realize that this is an extreme situation in which these children were completely brainwashed, I see a warning here too. Am I making statements in which I am teaching my children to fear the world and all of the people who do not believe as I do? Or am I teaching them by example how to be in the world but not of it? Fear cannot be the answer. I know that fear is not from God, rather he is perfect love, and perfect love casts out fear. (I John 4:18) The Bible also has so much to say about being in this world. There is lots to say about not being drawn in by the world and not becoming like the world, but remaining pure and holy in the midst of the world. James 1:27 actually says not to become polluted by the world. I really like that wording. Even though we have to guard our hearts and minds and be responsible with our children, we still don't have to fear the world. The Bible also says that though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. (2 Cor. 10:3) The biggest reason I don't have to fear is that God is mighty! He goes before me and fights the battle for me, giving me the victory! (Deut. 20:4) It reminds me of one of my all time favorite verses, "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." I John 4:4 I so badly wanted to end that verse with an exclamation point!!

I don't know if this will speak to anyone else the way it is speaking to me, but with all the yucky stuff I have heard lately, I needed to think on these things. I cannot fear. I cannot withdraw and teach my children (even if by default) that everyone in our world is evil and to be feared. Afterall, God loved this fallen world so much that he gave his own son to save it - which is far more than I would have done.

11 comments:

Joanna said...

Thank you for posting this so I wouldn't have to. I think about these things a lot. Especially since I'm sort of a isolationist. I know the people I've known and trusted for years and I'm hyper-wary of letting anyone else in, lest they get to my kids. I read the article that Jess put up on Making Home and I just wanted to run away. I actually told Del a couple of nights ago that sometimes I just wanted to die and I can't understand why Jesus doesn't come back and fix all this.

I'm not really sure what I'm getting at here. It's funny because I feel like I am in so much despair over all this...hmmm...

Johanna said...

I also read the post on Jess's blog. It brings me to tears. Having grieved the loss of my own babies, I cannot even imagine someone intentionally creating a baby, just to intentionally kill that baby for "art." The idea sickens and grieves me to my core.

Stacey said...

great post Johanna. We can trust our Almighty God with our kids! He is a Warrior King and will protect those that belong to Him!

Lawanda said...

It can be depressing and make you want to run and hide under the covers, so to speak. But we aren't to hide, we are to "preach the gospel to every creature" KJV, just cuz I like the way it flows... ;)

I wanna read Carolyn Jessop's book about escaping the cult. Definitely looks more interesting than Mansfield Park. (The most boring book Jane Austen wrote! haha)

Joanna said...

BORING?! ah...i'm...oh.... BORING?!

here's a book i'm trying to read (i left it at my parents house so it's a bit hard to read at the moment) - the shack by william p. young. i got through chapter three before we had to go home and i left it there. grrr...

Johanna said...

Jo, we did not say that YOU are boring, only this book. I have started reading it again. It is somewhat better now that I am passed the whole play thing, but I can tell you now this is not going to go on my re-read list.

Lawanda, looks like we cross commented! What are the chances that I was commenting on your blog at the same time as you were commenting on mine? Get the book. It is so good. I found my copy at the library.

Joanna said...

hahahaha, yer so funny. it's not boring, it's ironic and funny. but, ok, the play part is a bit tedious. but the rest of it is really good. i'm at the part where sir thomas has a ball for fanny (what an awful name) and they go through the whole necklace debacle. sometimes i just want to smack edmund betram; he's so dense about miss crawford. have you guys seen this website? i haven't joined yet, because i'm not sure that conversations about jane austens characters can be fit nicely into four kids, a husband, breakfast, lunch, dinner, sewing, reading, and...well you get the picture. but sometimes i like to go and explore. i don't do it very often though.

Lawanda said...

It really is not boring, but it is the worst of all her books! LOL

I have been to pemberley to look around, but I don't think I ever joined...

I love talking about Jane Austen and her books! :-p

Joanna said...

i know, isn't it fun. what's your favorite book? i go back and forth between p&p (of course) and persuasion. i think that maybe northanger abby is my least favorite. my mom read emma and she said it was the most boring book she'd ever read, or some such nonsense, and i almost had her flogged as a heretic. mr. knightley has got to be the best male character ever written,imho. next comes mr. darcy.

i think maybe i should start using capital letters. i go back and forth on that issue.

Johanna said...

I've never read Northanger Abbey or Persuasion. Apparently when deciding to fill in my Jane Austen gaps, I chose the wrong book to start with! My favorite has got to be Pride and Predjudice. Although, Mansfield Park is the first one I actually have not enjoyed. But I caught up to you, Jo! I am at the "plan the ball for Fanny" section too!

I think you should start to use capitals. I think that when Ella starts to notice that you don't use them and decides to follow suit, you will be frustrated with her! That teacher side in you will come out and cry, "No! That's not how it's done!" It's like I tell Jerry, "You better learn to eat veggies because the first time one of our kids looks at me and says, 'But Daddy doesn't eat it!' you are so dead!" :)

Joanna said...

ROTFL!!! That's a good one, and a good point. OK, I will begin to use capitals, now. You know what, Ella has *already* asked why I don't use capitals when I'm typing. Shame on me!