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Our grandchildren are facing a different culture or environment than many of us did when we were growing up or when we raised our children. People make culture and are molded by culture. It changes with the generations just as modernization, fashions, and ideas.
As grandparents, we feel the culture is trying to steal our grandchildren and their parents with their subtle and often dangerous enticements. J.B. Phillips writes in John 10:10 “The thief comes with the sole intention of stealing and killing and destroying.” We are experiencing the thieves’ subtle intention as we observe the culture/environment our grandchildren are navigating today.
A friend of mine was telling me about the weekend she spent with her grandchildren. She was amazed to hear the things they were talking about and their time on their cell phones texting their friends. They didn’t want to play games with her anymore, only their games on the cell phones. Spending time with our grandkids gives us ideas about how to pray for them.
It is hard for us to accept their behavior such as body piercing, tattoos, long hair, music, disrespect, dishonesty and more. However, it is crucial that we let them know that we love them, even when we do not accept their behavior; they are facing many subtle messages from their friends. It’s vital that we model a Biblical worldview to show them how to live in an immoral world by our example.
Cultural issues our grandchildren have to navigate
The Information Age: The digital revolution has changed our lives. Google has replaced the World Book encyclopedias. Our grandchildren don’t know that we had telephones with cords or black televisions with only a few channels when we were growing up. That was our norm, but it is not their norm. Today’s culture makes it difficult for our grandchildren to know which message to trust in their vast amount of information they receive on their cell phones. Grandparents can create an environment where the grandchildren will feel safe to ask questions about issues they are facing.
Identity: The Bible states we are made in the image of God, and we have to know God to know ourselves. We don’t know who we are if we don’t know God. Our grandchildren have to deal with transgender bathrooms. My granddaughter’s girlfriend suddenly decided she wanted to be a boy, wore boy's clothing, and acted like a boy. We are told that even kindergarteners are exposed to gender identity being told they can be either a boy or girl, whatever they decide.
John Stonestreet & Brett Kunkle, A Practical Guide to Culture, David C. Cook Publisher, 2017, p 153-155.
Pornography: The Covenant Eyes website offers the following statics. 90 percent of boys and 60 percent of girls said they were exposed to pornography before the age of eighteen. One out of every eight online searches and one out of every five mobile searches are for porn. Pornography makes up one-third of the Internet’s bandwidth. I know this is heavy, but this is what our grandchildren are facing. Porn produces many consequences. They are told many lies about porn, that it is harmless and no one else’s’ business. Pray that God will protect the eyes of our dear grandchildren and give them the strength to flee from the temptation of porn when they are enticed.
Addiction: Our grandchildren are filled with lies about legalized marijuana, alcohol, and drugs. It’s important they are taught the consequences of using these before they are exposed to them. The use of alcohol and drugs is high among high school students and higher among college students, and the numbers are rising. Addiction is a result of the emptiness of the soul; it doesn’t take care of the pain. Only their faith in Jesus Christ will give them fulfillment.
Entertainment: Entertainment vies for the souls of our grandchildren in the movies, television, music, and video games, Ask your grandchildren about the movies they are watching and talk about them. These types of entertainment aren’t all bad. However, it is vital that grandchildren are taught how to evaluate them.
Affluence & commercialism: Our grandchildren are exposed to and influenced by a world of affluence, commercialism, and entitlement by our media today. Our goal should be to not shower them with material wealth but teach them to work and earn the things they want. Expose them to children living in poverty to familiarize them with how others are surviving. The Samaritan’s Purse Christmas Shoebox project is an excellent way for them to participate in helping children less fortunate. Help them to discover that money isn’t going to bring them long-term happiness.
Sexual Orientation: The Gay and Lesbian Movement is an issue of our time. Our children are exposed to it at an early age in their families and in school. Homosexuality attempts to exchange their God-identity with self-identify. It’s important that we dialogue on this issue with our grandchildren to influence them with the Biblical view. We must teach the truth and engage with grace.
Racial Tension: Christians must be cautious not to get absorbed in the racial views of our culture. Our origin as God’s image-bearers outweighs our ethnic backgrounds. Don’t let the worldview control your conversations about racial issues. God has created all people in His image; we just have different colors of skin.
Witchcraft: Wicca is among the fast-growing religions. Wicca has effectively repackaged witchcraft for millennial consumption. Wicca’s website is one of the most visited religious sites on the Internet. All forms of witchcraft are strictly forbidden in the Bible as being tied to the occult and the work and the world of the evil one. “Let no one among you who practices sorcery engage in witchcraft or cast spells. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord.” (Deut. 18:10-12) Regretfully culture has made witchcraft mainstream. Talk with your grandchildren and their parents about this subject so they will be able to recognize the witchcraft often placed subtly in some movies and music. (This information was taken from Crosswalk.com, written by Dr. James Emery White, 02-19-2019)
Daniel was taken from his home country in Judah to captivity into Babylon, a very ungodly environment. Daniel was to be trained to serve in the king’s palace. He resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine. King Darius made a decree that no one could pray to anyone other than him for 30 days. Daniel went to his room and prayed three times a day facing Jerusalem, giving thanks and praying as he always did to his God. He did not allow the worldly king to transform him into the pattern of Babylon. As a result, Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den. God closed the mouths of the lions, and he was brought out without any wounds because Daniel trusted God. King Darius acknowledged that the God of Daniel was a living God.
Shortly before Jesus was arrested, He prays for his disciples asking God to protect them, and I believe it is for us, too. “I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one.” John 17:15 (NLT)
So, grandparents, there is an urgency to pray intentionally for the physical, emotional, and spiritual protection as our grandchildren and their parents navigate our world today. The greatest long-lasting gift we can give your children and your grandchildren is an intentional praying grandparent.
Study Guide for A Look at our Grandchildren’s Culture
For personal reflection or group discussion
Dear Heavenly Father, protect our grandchildren from:
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 New Living Translation (NLT)
Written by Lillian Penner, Co-Prayer Director for Christian Grandparenting Network, firstname.lastname@example.org