By WCS Headmaster Dr. Roger Erdvig
In his important new book Live Not By Lies, conservative writer Rod Dreher outlines a strategy for how Christians can flourish in a culture that has become overtly antagonistic to Biblical truth. His strategy is notable for what it doesn’t include as much as what it does.
Dreher does not urge big programs in big churches or massive campaigns to “reclaim culture.” Instead of going big, he counsels us to go small: Small groups. Spiritual friendships. Book clubs. Family resistance cells.
Central to Dreher’s strategy is the Christian family, and he offers six specific commitments that families can make as they stand against lies.
His advice to parents begins with modeling moral courage. Now there’s a term we don’t often hear or discuss much in our culture--moral courage. Think about what that means.
According to Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, the word moral pertains to understanding right and wrong. Courage means the strength and the inclination to withstand danger or difficulty, firmly and resolutely. As a phrase, then, moral courage means possessing the strength and firm commitment to do what is right in the face of danger or difficulty.
It's interesting that the first step to take in raising our children to stand against lies is not about our children at all. Our children’s moral formation starts with us. This reminds me of the title of one of my favorite parenting books: Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes in YOU and Your Children.
Did you catch that? This clever title suggests that the starting place for helping our kids to stop whining, complaining, and having bad attitudes begins with us. Unfortunately, we often tell our kids what to do, failing to show them first.
How can we raise our children to fearlessly live by the truth no matter the difficulty or the cost? Dreher’s answer is that it begins with us. We have opportunities to model moral courage all the time.
You and your son arrive home from Lowes to find that the cashier forgot to ring up one of the new yard tools you just bought. You buy a used car, and the former owner offers to certify that you paid less than you did so that you can save on the sales tax. A neighbor offers to give you their Netflix login to illegally share the streaming service. You are tight on cash flow, and you consider taking a break from contributing tithes at your church.
While none of these situations will likely have massive cultural impact, each one can have massive character impact on your children. If you want your children to possess moral courage, you have to demonstrate moral courage in front of them—doing what’s right, with no regard for the cost or difficulty.
Our children will one day become adults in a world that will have completely jettisoned moral absolutes and commitment to truth. Theirs will be a world in which truth is defined by clannish consensus, lies are represented as accurately reflecting reality, and any claim to knowing what is right earns charges of oppression. What we see in our culture today is only the infancy of postmodernism; the full-grown version is yet to come.
Dreher’s advice in standing for truth starts where it should: with us modeling moral courage for our kids. It is tempting to feel like one of my friends on Facebook, who just posted that “Parents feel like the culture is winning our children, and though we have access to resources, we don’t know where to begin, and/or if it will make a difference.”
Well, we do know where to begin, as did the Apostle Paul. In I Corinthians 11:1, he advised his disciples to be imitators of him as he was of Christ. Our children need living models of moral courage, and as we follow Christ’s lead in living by truth, we provide such an example to our children. And in so doing, day-by-day, we are equipping them to do the same.
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