Below in 3 John 1:5-12 John writes Gaius about the abuse that is going on within the church. Can you pick out the things that are abusive or can easily lead to abuse?
5Dear friend, you are being faithful to God when you care for the traveling teachers who pass through, even though they are strangers to you. 6They have told the church here of your loving friendship. Please continue providing for such teachers in a manner that pleases God. 7For they are traveling for the Lord,c and they accept nothing from people who are not believers.d8So we ourselves should support them so that we can be their partners as they teach the truth.
9I wrote to the church about this, but Diotrephes, who loves to be the leader, refuses to have anything to do with us. 10When I come, I will report some of the things he is doing and the evil accusations he is making against us. Not only does he refuse to welcome the traveling teachers, he also tells others not to help them. And when they do help, he puts them out of the church.
11Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God.e12Everyone speaks highly of Demetrius, as does the truth itself. We ourselves can say the same for him, and you know we speak the truth.
As you standby watching your children safely play, I would guess that you think about all the things you want most for them. Along with this you probably think about the things you can do to ensure...well, at least to the best of your ability...that their future is bright.
As you think about that, I submit that the one thing they need most is to see and experience integrity in you. I am not talking about perfection. No. As integrity doesn't mean that. It is simply respecting your child's personhood and being honest in your dealings with them and in life. ~ Saying what you mean, and then backing it up...so your kids learn what integrity truly is.
Most of us retain a strong sense of integrity that tells us not to steal or kill or set out to deliberately hurt people. However, the integrity that is being discussed here is perhaps an expanded view, and comes from a little bit different perspective. It is the integrity that your children need to see so as to know where to place their trust...and subsequently their lives!
To be more specific, when many of us were kids, we were emphatically reminded that we could trust people with uniforms, all adults, doctors, nurses, teachers, grandparents and of course one's own parents. Additionally, we were taught never to say no to an adult. No matter how we felt, we were also taught to finish everything on our plates because there were people starving in China!
So, a child was not taught to listen to their inside feelings of fullness, or their discomfort from eating too much. They were instead taught to listen primarily to an outside source - their parents.
Additionally, it was expected that we would hug visiting relatives and to sit on their laps whether we wanted to or not. We were also lead to believe that a smile, or being given candy meant the person was friendly...no matter what we felt about it.
Many children were often potty-trained quickly, as who wanted to put up with those cloth diapers! Therefore, the only control (personal boundaries) a child had over their own bodies was taken away at a very early age. (I was potty trained at the age of one year. My Aunt told my mother that it was silly to have to put up with it, so she put me on the potty chair and would not let me get up till I went)
However, the times we live in today are different in many ways. Whereas children were taught essentially not to listen to their own bodies/tummies and not to have much control over their own lives, children now need to be taught the opposite. They need to be encouraged to be very aware of themselves and how they are feeling in any given situation - and to be given some control and say over their own bodies.
Subsequently, we need to train them to trust only those who have modeled integrity and have earned their trust. This is different then teaching them to be afraid...this is teaching them to trust and not ignore that something is going on inside. It is teaching them to be OK with expressing their discomforts and their God given personal boundaries...which also begins to prepare them for a life of being able to discern between good and evil.