RING OF HONOR
One of the greatest challenges we face as fathers and parents is instilling in our children upright, moral values in a culture that is so disgustingly immoral!
It is difficult to even watch a TV show, sporting event, or a movie without being ambushed by the sexually immoral behavior or the overt sensuality of someone on the show or commercial. This immorality is deeply embedded in the culture, the music, the media, and the vast majority of people’s behavior living around us every day. The media deliberately makes immorality appear very attractive, alluring, beautiful, and so normal that it becomes very difficult for anyone to see how wrong it really is.
As our children grow a little older, and especially as they hit their teen years, they become very aware of the pervasive nature of the sexuality surrounding us. They also become increasingly aware of their human nature, passions, and impulses. They begin to experience their own temptations and the struggle of the enticement and allurement of the opposite sex. They may even have peers or friends who are living immoral lives and talk about it in such a way that makes it all seem so exciting, wonderful, and completely normal.
As Christian fathers and parents, we must confront this subject honestly, courageously, Biblically, and with wisdom. We must be willing to help our children understand the destructive consequences of being immoral and sexually active before marriage. We must prepare our children to handle their temptations regarding the opposite sex. We must help them understand that sex is a great gift from God, created by God, for a husband and his wife, for a wife and her husband. We must help them embrace the truth that this gift is worth waiting for until they are married, that being virtuous and honorable are of tremendous value in the sight of God, and the best and most fulfilling way to live our lives.
Some may not even think that this is possible or even attainable in today’s world. I would like to assure you that it is possible, but it will take intentional effort on your part to instill this godly truth, value, and perspective in your children’s hearts and minds.
With that purpose in mind, here are some specific, practical steps you can take to instill these moral values and truths in your children’s hearts, character, and decisions. These are some of the specific things the Lord helped us do with our children and they had a wonderful impact on their lives.
1. Start them reading the Book of Proverbs from the Living Bible at a young age. The Living Proverbs is fantastic. Super easy to understand, very direct, pulls no punches, and my kids read them for years, starting very early, around 6 or 7 years of age. There are 31 chapters to Proverbs and they would read the chapter that corresponded with the day of each month. The first 7 chapters of Proverbs often warns of the immoral woman and man, of the terrible consequences of sex outside of marriage. It also speaks boldly and clearly in Proverbs 5 of the joy man is to experience with the wife of his youth and her body! This habit and practice of reading these Biblical Proverbs helped shape my children’s views, perspectives, attitudes and actions as they grew into adulthood. It directly gave them God’s perspective, and God’s truth.
Many great stories in the Bible, such as Samson’s, illustrate the terrible, destructive nature of being immoral and controlled by your passions. I have 37 copies of The Living Proverbs if any of you want me to send you one, email me with your address and let me know.
2. Let them see healthy affection between you and your wife. It is very helpful for your children to see dad and mom be lovingly affectionate with each other.
3. At the appropriate age, share your own story with your children, being honest and forthright about mistakes you may have made and the consequences of those mistakes. God can use them as a warning in your young teen’s life and help them grasp in a real, tangible way how you, the parent they love, wish you would have followed God’s ways. They can learn vital lessons from your mistakes and your humility. My children had the advantage of being in the audience during many of my sermons when I preached on this topic. They heard me share about my own mistakes, and the great lessons I learned.
4. Talk with them about the great joy, meaning, and enjoyment that has come into your life with your spouse as you followed God’s ways in this vitally important area of your life. Our children are not going to get this message anywhere else. The culture will make immorality look so wonderful, so exciting, and so fulfilling. We need to help our children understand that the culture’s view of sexual immorality is a big, fat, disgusting, destructive lie and that we as a Christian couple are enjoying the wonderful fruit and experience of God’s great gift as a married couple.
I was once doing a message series called How Should a Man Really Love His Wife. It was for a large group of college students and 20-30 somethings. In part of the series, I described the joy I have in Kathy, the love I have for her, and with her. I was also explaining that I am intoxicated with her love. At the end of the services, more than once, several women came up to speak to me and said, “I have never, ever heard a man talk about his wife like that. I long to have my future husband speak about me like that someday.” One young lady, who was the homecoming queen of her school, told me in tears how she had had many boyfriends, found it so empty and hurtful, and decided that night to accept Christ and follow His ways because she wanted what I described. About 3 years later, she married a wonderful Christian young man. After 12 months of marriage, he called me and asked to meet for coffee. He said, “Mark, I wanted to personally thank you for the best first year of marriage I could have ever had. I listened to your series How Should a Man Really Love His Wife every week, and it has changed my life. I grew up in a Christian home, but never wanted my parent’s marriage.”
5. I have used the anonymous stories of others I have known who have ruined their lives by the immoral decisions they made to serve as a warning to my kids by sitting them down and sharing with them, often in tears, the horrible consequences of a person’s terrible choice to dishonor God.
6.The Ring of Honor: I made a personal decision that when each of my children was approx. 16, I would get them each a special distinct ring to wear on their wedding ring finger which would symbolize their honor, their virtue, and the commitment to live an upright, moral life concerning the opposite sex. It was a ring that symbolized a life of honor and virtue. I usually wrote them an accompanying letter to explain it just for them.
Here is the poem I wrote for my youngest son when he was 16. I gave him the Ring of Aragorn, as he was really into the Lord of the Rings books and the movie series. I knew it would have great meaning for him. It did!
This is my Ring of Honor
Of truth and right, it stands
A symbol worn to all the world
Before my God, I stand
That in no way I’ll compromise
My virtue living lies!
But standing strong
Against the tide
Upright and true I’ll be
And only give my virtue
To the wife, God gives to me!
I believe this message series will help you understand how I instilled this value into my children’s lives. Please listen to all 4 messages.