Has your child gotten into fights at school? Are you child’s friends bullies? Why are so many children so incredibly violent in the way the speak and act? Today AMBrewster unwraps this topic, answers the questions, and gives Christian parents hope for helping their children change.
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I always thought it would be cool to start the podcast like it were a TV show.
“Previously, on TLP.”
In a way, we could do that. Most of the time, the information from the previous show introduces the new topic quite nicely.
As TLP grows to become the hub for all things Christian parenting, we’re developing and expanding how we minister to you. This past fall we decided to organize our episodes into seasons. We did this for two reasons:
1. We encourage you to listen to all the episodes, and it wouldn’t hurt to start at the beginning.
2. The seasons make a good framework for choosing topics that compliment each other.
After starting the New Year with a hopeful and Godward trajectory, we’re taking the rest of Season 5 to discuss love and it’s implications.
We’ve spent a ton of time talking about Truth; especially in our Merest Christianity series. So I thought it was high time we talked about what love really is.
If we’re supposed to share the Truth in love, we’d better know what God means by that.
And — believe it or not — that’s why we talked about hate on the last show and plan to carry that theme into today.
Hate is the polar opposite of love, and — as we learned last time — is our fundamental predisposition.
I encourage you to listen to our last episode for a good foundation and context.
Today’s show looks at a unique consequence of hate, and one that is pervading the youth culture in America and around the world.
But before we dive in, I’d like to remind you the we are a listener-supported ministry, and though you can always become a Patron at patron.com, January 31st is the last day you can become a Patron and receive upgraded thank-you’s. Just click on the “5 Ways to Support TLP” link in the description.
Alright, so what is the fight culture, from where does it come, and what can Christian parents do to influence it for God?
In 1999 and Edward Norton and Brad Pitt starred in a gritty, totally unwholesome movie called Fight Club. In that movie, one man uses an underground fighting ring to create an army with the hopes of overthrowing the dictatorial corporate powers in the world.
After that movie came out, countless men and young people thought it would be cool to start their own fight clubs.
A little over a decade later the infamous Knockout Game went viral. The objective was simple: find an unsuspecting victim going about their day, and hit them hard enough with one punch that you knock them unconscious.
What I think was very interesting is that few people pointed any accusatory fingers at Andy Samberg and Saturday Night Live when in 2007 they aired a video that featured Samberg running around punching a bunch of random people before they could take a bite of their food.
My point is, from Cain until today man has been continually violent, but it’s only during the most decadent and sinful cultures that violence is celebrated.
Sure, the colosseum massacres make our Fight Clubs seem like patty-cake, but the point is, our society, and particularly our young people, are celebrating violence more and more.
A few years ago I had a student come to Victory who fought for money. And it wasn’t like he was hired to beat people up. He and his friends would place bets and who would win in a fight, and they’d they beat on each other.
It’s one thing to get into a fight after school, but it’s another to willfully beat up your friends for pocket change. It’s one thing for a society to have murderers and yet look down on them, and it’s another for a society to rush to the theater every time a new Purge is released.
Why does this happen?
From where does the Fight Culture originate?
Well, during our last episode we learned that hatred breeds self-worship which is the essence of sin and fighting and conflict is merely a necessary consequence of that hateful, idolatrous sin.
Today we’re going to look at two passages that illustrate this.
The first is one I’ve referenced from time to time. Please listen carefully as I read and comment on James 4:1-4.
“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you?”
This is the question we’re asking.
“Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?”
Now, this should sound a little strange. There is no one who comes off more certain about what they want in life than a contentious person. It seems very much like they want what they want and they’re not going to stop until they get it, but God says that our passions are warring within us.
He goes on to explain . . .
“2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.”
I believe the warring to which he’s referring is a picture of the tension between what we want and what we know is right.
As we discussed in episode 123, the Holy Spirit convicts men of sin and righteousness and judgment. Among other things, He even uses our own consciences in this process. Now, we can definitely desensitize our conscience, but even then, if I want something wicked, I know there will be many people to stand in my way.
This is one reason men love darkness rather than light. We feel like we have to hide our actions because we know they’re evil. And that is was accounts for this warring in our own spirits.
So, the consequence of that is we want something, we don’t get it, and we fight and argue and murder because we’re made we didn’t get what we wanted.
Now, what’s really interesting is what Paul says next:
“You do not have, because you do not ask.”
This phrase makes more sense when you look at it in context, but the whole idea here is that you don’t ask for the things you want — good or bad — because you refuse to humble yourself before God and ask for it.
Of course, we don’t ask for the wicked things because we know He’s not interested in granting those requests.
The next observation is tied to this concept as well, because sometimes we do ask, but we ask for the wrong reasons.
In verse three, God says . . .
“3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”
So, even when we do ask, our goal is not to please God but solely to please ourselves.
That means that we can ask for things that seem good, and yet ask for them for selfish reasons. And — obviously — if we’re asking for evil things, we’re asking for the wrong reasons.
So, what’s the problem?
Well, I want something, but I don’t want to ask God for it, or I ask God for it, but I ask for my own selfish pleasure. But then when I don’t get what I want, I lash out at everyone around me.
This is the case with every rapist and murderer and racist and screaming toddler.
My problem is simple. It’s huge, but it’s simple.
I’m trying to be God. I’m trying to do four things that only the true God of the universe is allowed to do.
1. Only God can demand that He receive exactly what He wants — the Bible is a perfect testament of that fact.
2. God is the only One Who doesn’t have to ask anyone for anything. Acts 17:25 says, “Nor is [God] served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.”
3. Only God can want something merely for His own pleasure and glory. Isaiah 48:9-11 says, “For my name's sake I defer my anger; for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. 10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.”
4. And only God can righteously consequence someone for not giving Him what He wants. Psalm 9:5 says of God, “You have rebuked the nations, You have destroyed the wicked; You have blotted out their name forever and ever.”
We love to take God’s jobs. Back in episode 22 I did a show called, “5 Ways You Take God’s Job.” And, you know, what? None of these four jobs were listed on that show!
Between this show and that one we can easily see almost ten ways we try to take God’s place in this world!
Now, you may be saying, “Listen, Aaron, I know my kid is selfish. I know he’s angry. I know he’s contentious. But I don’t really think he’s trying to take God’s job.”
If that’s what you’re thinking, please pay close attention to this next verse.
"4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
What is an adulterer? Formally, an adulterer is someone who gives to another what only their spouse deserves. However, all throughout Scripture God uses the picture of adultery to show us the wickedness of trying to give other people what only belongs to God.
Adulterer and idolater are synonymous terms. And it was in episode 114 that we discussed how idolatry is not ultimately worship of an intimate object, it’s worship of self. Please listen to “How to Know if Your Child is Addicted” if you haven’t already heard it.
Let me describe it another way. Picture the Roman false-god Zeus. He has demands. His people fail to meet those demands. Zeus is justified in throwing lightning bolts.
Now, picture your son or daughter. She has things she wants. You or her friend or her siblings or her teachers fail to give her what she wants. She feels justified in throwing lightning bolts.
Even though she’s not God, even though she has no right to demand anything of anyone, even though she has no right to punish anyone, she takes it upon herself to throw lightning bolts.
Because — ultimately — God isn’t important to her. She’s the one with the expectations and she’s the one who gets to yell at you or hit you or gossip about you in order to punish you for not living up to her expectations.
She’s made herself an enemy of God because she loves the Failure Philosophies of this world.
If you’re not certain what Failure Philosophies are, please listen to episode 61.
Alright, let’s look at one more passage and then put all of this together.
Psalm 2 is a depressing Psalm. It’s kind of like reading the Proverbs and seeing the terrible choices and ultimate destruction of the fool.
Listen as I read, Psalm 2:1-3 "Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, 3 ‘Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.’”
You see, why do people rage? We don’t want God ruling our lives. We want to be our own masters. We want to be our own god.
And so the nations of the world plot against God.
Of course, they do it in vain. The rest of the passage details the ruin of the nations that try to throw off God’s authority.
And there, my friends, we have the answer.
Your son is a bully, your daughter is rebellious, your child punches walls, your kid’s a terrorist for one reason and one reason only — it’s a worship problem.
Instead of worshipping God, they worship themselves.
Instead of submitting to His will, they fight for their own.
So, what’s the best way to help your child?
First, let me say — as I did last time — that no true child of God can be a racist. Sure, Christians can do hateful things, but last time we looked a slew of verses that made it very clear that consistent unloving behavior is impossible for a genuine child of God.
If your child is a consistent rebel. If they’re constantly violent in their actions and words, I would suggest your child needs to be born again.
You can listen to the following episodes for help and guidance.
First, "The Four Children” series that starts with episode 55 will be indispensable in your parenting. Then there’s episode, 9, “It Only Takes a Generation.” Episode 45, “The Second Most Important Question” helps you guide your child to an understanding of their relationship with God. Episode 63 is aptly entitled “Evangelism Parenting.” And episode 111 is called “Fragrant Parenting,” and helps us learn to make the gospel a delicious part of our parenting.
The second observation I want to make is if your child does show genuine fruits of repentance, but they still struggle with arguing and fighting, help them see their pride.
Just like Satan who thought he deserved to be like God, your child is infinitely proud to think they get to demand their desires and judge those who don’t comply.
And there are two ways to help your child with their pride. One way is to help them see their sinfulness and the consequences of that sin.
The other way is to help them see God’s majesty and the awesomeness of His Person.
In fact, I suggest you do what we talked about in episode 123, “Parenting Like the Holy Spirit,” and do all three.
Anyone who truly submits to the fact that they are a sinner, understands their sin deserves God’s judgment, accepts that God is the only righteous One in all the universe, and believes that only He can save and change us . . . that person will become a child of God.
That person will start the lifelong process of being conformed into the image of God, and instead of trying to break His bonds, will grow in submission to Him, and delight to lay down his arms in peace.
This world is broken.
Hate, violence, abortion, racism, terrorism, abuse, and murder all have one thing in common — they’re perpetrated by people trying to be God.
Let’s be the Ambassador Parents God’s called us to be by training our children to worship God as God.
If you’d like to peruse today’s episode notes, you can do so at Taking Back the Family, TLP’s blog.
And please join us next time as we start our newest series, “The Four Family Loves.”
And it’s with great sadness that I tell you that tomorrow (January 31st, 2018) is the very last day you can receive upgraded thank-you’s when you become a Patron of Truth.Love.Parent.
Of course, you can go to patreon.com or click the link “5 Ways to support TLP” and become a Patron any time, but tomorrow will be the last day to get special privileges. I hope you’ll check that out by clicking the links below.
And if you are living in fear because you have a hateful, violent child, please don’t hesitate a moment to email us at Counselor@TruthLoveParent.com. We want so badly to help you in your time of family distress and lead you to place of hope.
Because the only hope we have is in the saving grace and redemptive mercy of God.
See you next time.
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