We are raising our children in a dangerous world. It doesn’t take long to realize that there are horrible things happening all around us, every single day. It’s really easy to become fearful, protective, angry or even hateful as we look at what is going on in our world.
In light of all of this, what should a Christian mom’s response to terrorism, racism, and a dangerous world be?
In just the past few weeks and months, there are have been multiple shootings in public places as well as terrorist attacks. There’s also the concerns about sexual abuse, natural disasters, not to mention the possibility that your sunscreen might be giving your kid cancer.
As I listen to moms around me and online, many of us are afraid.
We’re afraid to go out and live life. We can be fearful of taking our kids to certain places or do certain things.
We want to protect our children from the dangers around us. And often, I find myself getting angry about the world we live in, and find myself feeling paralyzed as a result of all of these feelings.
And this response is completely legitimate and understandable.
I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit, and I’m wondering if this is truly the Biblical response to these issues going on around us.
Is this truly what we, as Christian moms, should be doing?
As difficult as it is to say, I don’t think it is.
In this post, I’m going to share 3 natural responses to this dangerous world in which we live. Then I’m going to share what I believe a Christian mom’s response to terrorism, racism, and other evils surrounding us should be.
Our Natural Responses:
When we see things like the recent shootings across our nation, or terrorism, or young girls being sold into sexual slavery, the natural response is fear. We fear that something like this could happen to our child(ren).
The fear may be more intense for one person or another, based on your personal circumstances.
If you are a parent to a black child, you may have more fear about him experiencing racism or even violence based on his skin color.
If you are a family living in the Middle East, you may have more fear about your daily safety.
Or, if your child has a disability, you may fear that she may be taken advantage of because she is unable to speak up for herself.
There are literally hundreds of reasons why we as moms might be fearful about our children’s safety, or even our own.
But is this the Biblical response to the world around us? Is this what God calls us to?
The next natural response after fear is protection.
We ask: “How can I protect my child from all of these dangers? What can I do to shield my child from hate, anger, abuse, danger, racism, terrorism, etc?”
Because we are fearful that something may happen to our child, we then have the desire to protect them and shield them from all the dangers around them.
Part of this is, of course, normal and healthy.
God gave us mothers a protective instinct, and it helps keep our children alive.
Especially when our babies are tiny, we are responsible for keeping them alive. If we didn’t care about protecting them, they would certainly get hurt and injured far more often than they do.
However, this desire to protect becomes a problem when it interferes with God’s plans for their lives.
[bctt tweet= “The desire to protect our kids becomes a problem when it interferes with God’s plans.”]
One Mom’s Story:
Shelene Bryan shared an amazing story on the God Centered Mom Podcast about her 13 year old son. He wanted to skip his 13th birthday and instead go with her to Haiti. Her response was, naturally, to say no because she was going to an AIDS hospital. She was also going to be responsible for a team of people.
Her husband’s response, however was this:
“Shelene, if our son wants to skip his 13th birthday, and travel with the King of the Universe, to serve the least of these, he’s going…”
When she asked her husband if he was going on the trip to be his chaperone, he said, “No, God is. God can take our son at the mailbox if he wants to… You’re scared. Fear is making you make this decision.” (emphasis added)
Shelene was operating out of fear, with a desire to protect her child. By all accounts, most moms would have taken Shelene’s side.
- Anger & Hate
Finally, when faced with the evils of the world around us, we Christians can experience both anger and hate.
As moms, we can become angry that horrible atrocities are affecting innocent children. We can even express hate about particular people or groups of people and how they are taking advantage of children, women, or other groups.
Often we look at crimes that have been committed – murders, terrorism, abuse – and we respond with hate ourselves.
We say things like, “I can’t believe someone could ever do something like that” and “he deserves to treated that same way.”
These responses often seem justified. And, I have to admit, I’ve thought these things on many occasions myself. But are these feelings and thoughts the Biblical response?
In some cases, righteous anger is appropriate.
When we see injustice taking place, it is Biblical to experience anger. Ephesians 4:26 says:
“‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.”
So we can see that anger in and of itself is not a sin.
But it often goes beyond that. Our anger can turn into hatred. We can begin hating a particular person or group of people (ISIS, abusers, racists, murderers). And that’s when it is certainly dangerous.
So what IS the Christian mom’s response to terrorism and a world filled with danger?
If fear, protection, and anger are not the appropriate responses, how should we respond to the current events of terrorism, racism, shootings, and violence?
The first and foremost response, as Christians, should be love. Jesus left us with 2 commandments. He said these 2 summed up all of the law and prophets: Love God and love others (Matt. 22:37-40).
He also turned the natural response of hate on it’s head:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” – Matt. 5:43-45
So when we look at the situations around us, we must ask ourselves, am I showing love to this person – this person who looks differently than me? Who believes opposite of me? Who lives in a different culture? Who was born into a different socioeconomic status than me?
Instead of trying trying to prove that I am right, or trying to enforce my “rights” as a Christian, am I showing LOVE?
[bctt tweet= “Instead of trying to enforce my ‘rights’ as a Christian, am I showing LOVE?”]
This is especially important online. I think it’s easy for us to sometimes separate our daily lives from our online lives. Sure, we show love to the people we meet in our community, in the grocery store, and at church.
But when we get online, are we showing the same love? Are we speaking in ways that point people to Jesus or cause them to run the other way?
If we are truly showing love, then we won’t be posting things that are hateful, hurtful, or otherwise fueling the fire of anger.
When we show love, what happens?
Well, for one, love casts out fear.
1 John 4:18 tells us:
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
This reminds us that abiding in God’s love is the antidote to the natural response of fear. In fact, the Bible is full of commands about dealing with fear, most of which state “fear not”, “do not be afraid”, or “be courageous.”
It’s pretty clear: God does not want us to live in fear as Christians.
Fear often results in an us vs. them mentality. But love provides room for dialogue. 1 Corinthians 13 reminds us that “love is not proud”.
When I let go of my pride, I am able to listen to others. I am able to hear another person’s point of view, even if we don’t agree. We can have a discussion because I am not focused on proving my point.
God wants us to abide in His love, and then show love towards Him and to others.
While the natural response for us moms is to want to protect our children, I believe God calls us to something even harder than protecting our kids: TRUST.
I believe God asks us as moms to entrust Him with our children’s lives.
This is exponentially harder than attempting to protect them ourselves. Why? Because we have to give up control. When you put your trust in someone else, you let go of control.
So essentially, telling God that we trust Him with our kids’ lives means that we are going to STOP trying to protect them from every potential evil and danger out there.
Of course, we still need to have common sense and recognize our responsibility to provide a safe environment for our children.
But there are times when we have to let go of the natural desire to protect our children. Remember how Shelene didn’t want to allow her 13 year old son to travel to Haiti with her?
Thankfully, she agreed to let him go on that trip. She recognized that God had bigger plans for her son. She said about the experience, “That trip completely changed my son’s lens and his life.”
Trusting God with our children’s lives is not easy.
In his book Unqualified, Steven Furtick quotes his wife, Holly, saying, “Yeah, I guess trusting God with the lives of your children is a lifelong process, and it only gets more challenging with time.”
[bctt tweet= “Trusting God with the lives of your children is a lifelong process. – @hollyfurtick”]
Entrusting my daughter’s life to God 100% is definitely something I struggle with. I often wonder: What if she was taken from me? Would I still love God? Would I still trust him? Could I still believe that He is good?
I recently read a story of a mom who walked through unspeakable tragedy and lost her husband and 2 children in an accident.
This is hard to imagine for me – truly, a mother’s worst nightmare – but I come back to Beth Moore’s Bible study “Esther: It’s Tough Being a Woman”, which I did with my Bible study group a couple years ago.
Part of the study talks about “If ______, then God.” Basically, the idea is that even if my worst nightmare happens, God is still trustworthy.
[bctt tweet= “We determine to trust Him no matter what. – @BethMooreLPM”]
Trusting God with my daughter’s life does not mean that I know what will happen or that I will always like what happens. But it means that I know and trust in the goodness the One to whom I am entrusting her.
The problems we are facing in the world seem insurmountable. The evil that exists appears to be unstoppable.
Jennie Allen reminds us that this is nothing new:
“The world seems more divided and unsafe than it has ever felt. But it isn’t. You read the Bible, and the division and chaos are nothing new.”
Regardless of whether the violence is new or old, the stories of black men and police officers being killed, vehicles driving into crowds of people, and children being trafficked or dying of hunger are almost too much to bear. It can cause us as moms to want to hide in our safe bubbles and avoid the dangerous world.
Whether we are experiencing fear, hatred, or anger – all of these things can paralyze us and cause us to do nothing.
But this is not what the Bible tells us to do. Much of the Scripture reminds us to be taking action based on our faith.
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12:21
But how do we do this, practically?
We are busy moms. We have a lot going on.
Perhaps you homeschool your kids. Maybe you work full time. Perhaps you volunteer at your church or local food pantry.
Maybe you have a hard enough time just keeping up with the dishes and laundry, and can’t possibly think about adding another “to do” on your list.
I get it, because I’ve felt the exact same way! But here’s what I’ve come to realize: overcoming evil with good doesn’t requires us to drop everything, sell our belongings, and move to an impoverished nation. Of course, if God calls you to that, then do it!
But we can make a difference each and every day by the small choices we make.
[bctt tweet= “We can make a difference each and every day by the small choices we make.”]
Here’s a few examples of practical ways to overcome evil with good:
- Sponsor a child through an organization like Compassion International. For many years, our family has been able to sponsor 2 children. We have seen them grow, written letters, and learned about their culture. It’s not much, but for those 2 kids, it’s meant a better education, consistent meals, and more opportunities for their future.
- Take a meal to a neighbor, friend, or church member. Know someone who just had a baby? Or an elderly person who is sick? Perhaps a church member who had a surgery? Taking a meal is a simple way to show you care, and to encourage them.
- Do a random act of kindness. I love hearing stories about someone’s meal being paid for at the drive thru. Or someone’s electric bill being covered by someone else. There are so many possibilities, really, to do a simple, small act of kindness. If you look for opportunities, you will find them.
- Pray. It doesn’t feel like action, but prayer is absolutely a key action step when dealing with all of the evil in the world.
The Bible tells us that we are not fighting against flesh and blood – this is a spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:12). If we want to be prepared to face the darkness of the world, we must spend time in prayer.
[bctt tweet= “If we want to be prepared to face the darkness of the world, we must spend time in prayer.”]
We must seek God’s face and ask Him for his strength and power. We, as moms, must pray for our children, our families, our communities, our nation, and our world.
Taking this action step will help us see opportunities, because when we spend time in God’s presence, it is easier for us to sense His leading in our lives.
I realize that this post is not a fun one to read. I’m pretty sure it won’t be my most popular.
But I believe that God has something different for us as Christian moms. I believe that we can live contrary to what the world tells us to.
I believe we can walk in love and not be overcome by fear, and we can entrust our children to God – not just in word, but in how we live each day.
If you want to take the next step, and explore how to trust God more fully even when the world seems out of control, I’d love for you to check out this study by Jennie Allen on the book of Daniel.
If you’re reading this before August 2016, you can still join in for the live study. I’ll be doing it, and I hope you do too!
What is ONE response you need to change as a mom as you face the world around you?
Tell me in the comments below!