Have you ever received mixed messages? In high school a friend included me during youth group but at school… not so much. Our social groups were far too different. Many of us have had bosses that told us how great we were only to say something completely different during our annual review in order to justify crappy raises. Of course, politicians do this all the time. It’s hard to know what we should do when the folks who preach about “reducing our carbon footprint” live in gigantic mansions and fly on private jets.
Mixed messages are confusing and undermine credibility.
So why do we send mixed messages to our children about church?
We take our children to church, we make sure they get to Sunday school and Vacation Bible School, we take them to youth meetings, Christian concerts, missionary programs, to church camp in the summer. We tell them that their decisions about church and Jesus Christ are the most important decisions that they will make in their lives. We tell them that it is important to live our lives like Jesus.
And then we act as if none of that matters.
You don’t think so?
What about all the times that we complain about being overcharged and stand in line for 20 minutes to get a dollar back from customer service, but when we get undercharged we simply rejoice and go home?
What about all the times we do questionable math or take sketchy deductions on our taxes?
Or react in anger instead of “turning the other cheek?”
Or insist that the poor are just lazy so that we don’t have a reason to help them.
Or say that church attendance is important… unless we have a sporting event, or a cultural event, or a work conflict, or voluntary overtime, or a family event, or a thousand other things that we have shown our children are more important by our actions, if not by our words.
We can’t teach that abortion is evil and then condemn single moms who decided not to have one.
What about the political candidates (and parties) that we support despite their obviously unbiblical positions, character, morals and actions?
We teach our children that pornography is bad, but half of all Christian men and one in five Christian women view porn on a regular basis.
We proclaim that our church welcomes everyone but turn away people who don’t fit in because they aren’t like us.
Which is it?
We can’t teach our children one thing and do something else.
They’re smarter than that.
Worse, we run the risk receiving the same condemnation as the church in Laodicea to whom Jesus said, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
Are we hot? Or are we cold?
We need to quit giving our kids mixed messages. They hate it as much as we do and it undermines our credibility.
We need to live like we believe.