He who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. JAMES 5:20
When I was growing up in the small town of Ozark, Missouri, in the 1960s, I knew that if I was driving and I peeled out from a stop sign at 8 P.M. on any night of the week, I could expect my parents to know about it by 8:30. I also remember the only fight I was ever in, at the local Dairy Queen. Fifteen minutes later when I walked through the door, Mom and Dad already knew about it. This type of parent-to-parent “instant messaging” is rare today. In our age of “non-judgmental tolerance,” we reason that we don’t have any right to tell another parent about a concern we have with his or her child. And children suffer for our failure to help each other.
I’ve called parents about behavior we observed in one of their children, and I’ve been told (by the parent), “I don’t want to hear it.” But we’ve also had friends—true friends—who cared enough to courageously step up and express a concern about something one of our kids was doing. I think the dangers of the day demand that we drop our defensiveness and fear, and encourage others to offer observations to us about how our children are doing. Take the initiative by telling the parents of your children’s friends, “If you see my son or daughter doing anything questionable, you have the freedom to tell me. I want to know.” You might even want to call a meeting of the parents in your church—those with children between, say, fifth and twelfth grade—and challenge them to work together to look after one another’s kids. We’re all in this thing together. This is the kind of accountability and community that followers of Christ can employ.
Would you ever talk to another parent about your concern over his or her child? How would you respond if you got that call yourself?
Pray that your love and concern will always lead to godly, redemptive actions.