There has been much discussion here and on Facebook (and in my house) about the recent graduation speech that we walked out of. I sent an email to the young man that made the speech, asking him to read my post. He did and he replied. I thought you all would be interested in what he said to me.
I want to warn you, this is long and some of it is specific. I tried to be discreet, but please read it before you let your children read.
I am not going to share his entire email here because it is long and somewhat repetitive. It is written in the same, dramatic verbiage he used in his speech. So I will just share parts, but I assure you I am not leaving out anything that changes the message of his reply. It is important to me that I not misrepresent him.
He begins by telling me again about his beliefs about the horrors of the sins of the world, which I already heard in his talk and did not take issue with his position on those facts. But he repeated it in the same style, as if I needed convincing that sin is sin.
Next he addresses the issue of one of the images he showed on the big screen at the graduation, “The picture was of two men kissing and two women kissing; both were fully clothed and there was no suggestion other than that their lips touched. Now, it’s possible that you don’t go to Wal-Mart, or grocery stores or book stores or get online and perhaps your children will never go to a mall or other public places and maybe they don’t plan on attending college or surfing the web, where they might see this; but that doesn’t change the fact that this sin is thriving in our culture…”
In fact I DO keep my children away from those places and I don’t let them “surf the web.” I believe it is my calling as a mother to preserve their naivety for the very reason that this speaker wants to expose them. So that sin will be seen as sin and not something that was normal to them their whole lives. When my children are old enough to learn of the evils that are happening in our world it will be so foreign to them that they will be anxious to do anything they can to help those that are wrapped up in these ungodly lifestyles. I have 2 adult children not much younger than the speaker and I can testify that this is exactly what has happened. My grown children are appalled and ready to stand up for righteousness without apology.
He goes on, “As Christians, we can try to remove ourselves from culture, bury our heads in the sand and remain ignorant to the sin that is claiming the lives and souls of those around us OR we can accept God’s calling of stewardship that He placed on mankind at the beginning of creation”
Romans 12:2 tells us not to be conformed to this world. James 1:27 says we are to keep ourselves unstained from the world. 2 Corinthians 6:18 tells us to go out from their midst and be separate from them.
I am not burying my head in the sand. I am living the will of God. I can fight for righteousness and also keep myself separate. God’s “calling of stewardship” doesn’t include looking at pictures of men kissing.
Further down in his email, “I’m not sorry that you were bothered by what the images represent because it bothers me too! That’s why we have to get involved and fight for God’s design and intention for marriage and the family! Much like Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil; God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” For this reason, I hope you will take the same energy and emotion that drove you to write us and write our legislators and national leaders;...”
What I actually said wasn’t about what the images represent, but that I didn’t want my young children to see them. Their hearts and minds are not ready to wrestle with such things (and there was more than one inappropriate image even though he only he mentions one in his email). Also, I think we can all agree that I am not silent. Nor do I think we should be silent. He seems to assume I have not already taken action, which is not true. We are extremely active. Just because I don’t think this needs to be discussed in the way he did it doesn’t mean I don’t want to discuss it at all.
In his last paragraph he says, “As I identified in the presentation, we are seeing attacks against the unborn, marriage, family, education, liberty, religious freedom, etc. Who is going to fight these battles? Who is responsible for the preservation of culture? Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth”. We are the preserving and culture changing agent that God put on this earth. We are responsible! For the sake of our children and grandchildren and the hope of our nation, Christians have to get involved.”
He and I simply have a different idea of how this is to be lived out. What we must do is be the example of Christ, fight for justice through hard work, political avenues and loving people with the love of Christ. One way I am fighting for the preservation of God’s work is by raising children that will be the future of our country. If they are so exposed to sin at an early age that they become immune to the grief of its effects on our world then we will have lost the battle. The sad irony is that in his efforts “for the sake of our children and grandchildren” he actually exposed them to the very sin that he is fighting against.
Surely it is obvious by the very fact that I removed my children from his speech that I am deeply concerned about the future of our country and the path we are on. I am far more involved than his email gives me credit for.
In our family we are not silent. We are not denying sin. I am clear about what I believe. I have never given anyone license to sin and in fact have lost friends because of my firm beliefs. I am ready to stand and face my duties as a Christian. I have no fear of fighting for God and I believe there are clear boundaries when it comes to sin.
I am also a sinner. Saved by grace. No better than the next person, even if they are walking in godlessness. It is through His grace that they will, hopefully, prayerfully, also be saved.
I hope this young man will someday realize that he doesn’t need to be explicit about sin for God to change hearts and turn people toward Him. God is right there, waiting, nudging, holding his arms wide open. God can turn people away from sin with a whisper. He doesn’t need us to do His work, we need Him. We stand for Christ because it draws us nearer to Him and to glorify Him, not because His message can’t get through without us. There are times when we are called to be gentle and one of those times would be when young children are present.
The speaker closes his email to me by saying, “God bless you to stand for truth and fight for righteousness!”
I can only say in reply that I stand for truth and righteousness everyday and will continue to do so. I will also stand for my children and their future by protecting them from hearing any more of these types of speeches. It is up to each parent to decide when to expose their children to the evils of the world.
Thank you for reading this long post. And thank you for standing with me!
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