8.12.2016

A Few Ideas on How to Produce a Rebel

Several weeks ago, some members from our family were handing out tracts and talking to a group of at least 20 young people, (ages 14-25??) downtown in Moncton, New Brunswick.  It was a truly sad experience.  Can you imagine-no smiles, wild hair, tattoos, and numerous body piercings.  But really the most striking phenomenon these unhappy people had in common was that each of them had a cell phone in their hand.  These youth in groups of 2-6 seemed totally oblivious to the spectacular beauty of the river that was just beside them.  Nor did they seem aware that the full moon was about to rise above the horizon of beautiful white clouds.  They appeared to be absolutely incapable of any conversation longer than 30 seconds that was uninterrupted by yet another glance at their cell phone.  That desperately melancholy scene was the seed for this post.  As we  (Marlin & Becky) discussed what we saw on the boardwalk beside God's nature at it's best, we decided to write the following as a warning for parents with young children. This is not an article announcing that we have done/are doing this perfectly and that each of our children will always be living for God.  We have simply observed  that parents who do any or all of the following tend to have rebellious children.  We are giving this as a warning.

                 A Few Ideas on How to Produce a Rebel

  1. Hypocrisy:  Look and act like a Christian, go to church, read your Bible, etc. etc. but don't have your "walk" match your "talk".  Teach your children verses about honesty but cheat on your taxes.  Sing songs about God's love but don't express love to your children. When you do fail (we are all imperfect and will do that many times!!), do NOT ask for forgiveness.  Make it appear that you are always right!  
  2. Bad marriage:   Don't pray with each other.  Don't enjoy each other.  Put time with each other at a low priority.  Speak unkindly/disrespectfully to and about each other.  Keep divorce as an option in case things don't work out as planned.
  3. Bad relationships with children:  This one is easy.  It will happen if you do nothing. It will be even easier if the mother works outside the home. As soon as possible put them in daycare.  Give them unlimited time with their peers.   Don't include them in your daily life.  Forget encouraging words or kindness.  
  4. Lots of media:  Use the tv or videos as a babysitter for your toddlers.  Let them play video games even if it is only one "good" one per day.  Teach them by example that it is more relaxing to watch a video than to have conversation or read a book.  Another important aspect of media is to be sure you spend at least an hour a day on Facebook, texting on your phone, or surfing websites.  More is caught than taught!!  If possible, give them their personal cell phone, IPad, tablet, etc. before the age of 16.  Having a personal tv in their room is helpful, too.
  5. No responsibility:  Don't assign them chores, and if you do, don't check up on them.  Let them know that you will always provide their favorite foods, toys, media, and clothes without any responsibility on their part.  No dying to self here!!! If they do any work around the house, be sure to pay them or at least give them an allowance.  "Protect" them from any work that could be dangerous in any way or could cause them pain or discomfort. If they complain, just do the work for them.
  6. If all else fails, put them in public school. There they will learn that there is no God, that the world evolved, and that there are no absolutes.  They will be taught "politically correct" history, religion which will include EVERY religion you can imagine except Christianity, and a distorted and unBiblical sex education.  A few side benefits will be lessons in disrespect of authority and property and using God's name in vain.  
In conclusion, let me say that this is written prayerfully in hopes that families will be encouraged.   (It is also written by imperfect parents who have failed many, many times. )  Our desire is that God will use it to speak to families across our land.  God needs faithful mothers and fathers who will love God with all their heart, soul, and mind; who will bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; who will sacrificially give up their personal plans and desires to serve the Lord.  We MUST spend time loving, training, teaching, and enjoying our children.  If we live out II Chronicles 7:14 " If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."; then our country can again experience revival, there will once again be strong families, and we can experience God's blessing.


{written by Marlin + Becky}


***Added 8/15:  Because of some misunderstanding, we wanted to reiterate that "we have simply observed that parents who do any or all of the following tend to have rebellious children."   We did NOT say that doing any or all of these WILL DEFINITELY produce a rebel.  We have only stated that in many cases, it can produce a rebel. 

We also want to clarify what we mean when we say "a rebel".  We are talking about young people who have no desire for the things of God; young people who care very little about their eternal security.

In our travels across Canada, the US, and Mexico, we have met many, many heartbroken mothers and fathers who are grieving for grown children who are not living for God.  Many times these parents wonder what went wrong.
Please know that we are NOT making a judgement on your parenting, on the state of anyone's heart, or on a rebellious teenager. 

This post was written to encourage parents with young children ("we decided to write the following as a warning for parents with young children") so that they will make changes as they prayerfully seek God. 

28 comments:

  1. Thanks for this is really helpful to an I makes think of when I have kids someday hopefully an it really speaks to me to even thou I kinda of don't know it all the way but ur right this post is so ture hugs lov u guys an God bless u guys😊☺️😉👌🏻

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  2. Wow! Thank-you for sharing this! Powerful and convicting! May the hearts of all parents turn toward God and to their children! I'm so thankful the Lord called our family to homeschool so that we can have the time to love and to train our children. I don't even want to imagine where our family would be today if we hadn't listened to His voice. God bless your family and your ministry!

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  3. It is very well said.

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  4. I don't agree with the public school one. My younger brother and I both attended public school, me for middle school and high school and him just for high school. We turned out just fine. If your children really have faith and you as a parent teach them what you believe to be right then there shouldn't be a problem. children are going to have to find there own way at some point and as a parent it is your job to guide them and train them the way they should go. Then you have to let them go and hope they believe in what you taught. If they don't then they never did. My brothers and I never got in much trouble. Most of the trouble I got in as a teen was because of how sheltered I was.

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    1. I completely agree that children have to make their own choice and find their own way. It is just a huge risk to let them do that at age five when you place them in kindergarden public school where the majority of their influences will be anti-Christian values. Many people argue that placing children in public school around high-school age is fine because by then they should know what they believe and be willing to stand. If parents want to take that risk they obviously can. But I will say that it is a risk to think that a fifteen year old will be able to stand successfully against a majority that is against Christian values. Its definitely a possibility, but it is a risk, nonetheless. We know many people who are amazing Christians who went through public school all the way. We aren't saying that public school will make you a rebel. We are saying that that point (along with the other five) will increase and assist your chances of producing a rebel. We are saying this after having traveled the USA, Canada, + Mexico for ten years and observing thousands of families who have educated their children various ways.

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  5. Virginie CornagliaAugust 14, 2016 at 9:38 AM

    Good afternoon from sunny France

    First I want to apologize for my approximative english language but I am a french lady from Paris.
    While I partly agree with you, I don t think all is that bad in state education and electronic devices. I taught to my 2 children how to make our own advice from what is said in papers, TV, internet, friends, general people.... And talking a lot with them is a good way to ensure bad informations don t cross theirs heads. I sincerely think that is is not good to overprotect them from otherS as soon as your are always present for them and theirs questions. They need to know how others people are living and not everybody outside theirs beliefs are bad people. I am a firm believer of sharing beliefs, ways of life to improve ourself. This is a main reason i read your blog. Life is not white or black, there are many greys we need to cope with. One of the best way to improve is education in my opinion.
    I am a working mom, nurse and daycare director ( I don t know the proper way to explain my work). With my crew (25 persons)I take care of babies from 3 months to 3 years. Everybody is very dedicated to their job. Every day I see the children with infectious smiles in the afternoon trying to talk about their day to theirs parents. Yes even small infants. The parents are so happy after long hours of hard work to meet and share with their babies. My crew is tender with the babies, help them to bake, to color, to play, they sing a lot. French daycare is heavily regulated which is normal. we don t jus fed and change the babies, we are with them. I use to say to young parents that I care of what is the most precious in their lives. So I feel hurt when you insinuate some bad things about daycare. I also feel bad if you think that by your standards I am not a good mother because i am educated and i am working. my children, both in university, are descent people and respectful to every culture. My husband is always present to listen them. As everybody we make mistakes but we try to learn from them.

    I am a christian too, catholic (as most french people though). I hope not have been unrespectful in my words. You seem be a very nice and happy family.
    God may bless you

    Virginie

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    1. Hello Virginie,
      Thanks for your thoughts!
      I'm sure you do a wonderful job providing love for the children in your daycare. Our point when bringing up daycare was not to say that all daycares are bad places. We were simply reminding fathers and mothers that the best place for children has been, is, and will continue to be, with their parents. Obviously abusive situations are definitely an exception but we aren't discussing those in this article-we are discussing the average "Christian" American family. Mothers know their children better than anyone else and are the best equipped to care for them.
      I agree with what you said about children needing to think for themselves. This is a huge problem that we also see; many children are either left to completely fend for themselves (and decide from the youngest age what they watch, see, and read) or they are so sheltered and cloistered that they have no knowledge of current events and culture around them. In this article, we were specifically talking about parents who are currently raising their children.
      We personally are very careful about what we allow into the minds and hearts of our young children, but our older teens/twenties are all well-read and well-versed on current events, culture, and what is happening around them. They all love the Lord and know that they are responsible to Him, not their parents, for their decisions in life. They have iPhones and laptops and stay abreast quite well with what is happening around the world and in their generation. They write articles for magazines and websites, socialize with friends outside of their family, and travel individually. We are happy with all of this, but most of all we are so thankful that they love Jesus with their whole hearts.
      I would have to disagree with you when you say that there are many grey areas in life. Maybe for the average person this is true, but not for a child of God. God's Word is very black and white. While God does convict and lead people to live out His Word individually, sin is still sin, righteousness is still righteousness, and truth will ALWAYS be truth. We create grey areas when we choose to turn away from what the Bible says and try to make excuses for sin.

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  6. Well its good to know that my AUNT AND UNCLE think I am a rebel, maybe next I should get a tattoo or a piercing...

    Love Harrison Tyler Bontrager :)

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    1. Hey Tyler!
      You know we don't think you're a rebel, Ty. =)
      This post was not written to call anyone anything. Unfortunately it seems like a lot of people completely missed the point of the article. The purpose was actually to encourage young parents with a little advice of how to avoid some heartache with their children.
      Love ya!

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    2. This article was written as a "guide" for young parents to help them avoid raising rebels! For my parents who have already been raising kids for 19 years you point out 7 facts (listed below) that apply to our family that "tend" to create rebellious children! So as a young adult I can't help but read this and think that you are calling me a rebel and that you think my parents are raising rebellious children! If someone can possess 7 of these "tips" and not be a rebel, then I am wondering how you can validate these judgmental statements.

      1. I have had "wild" hair. (I dyed my entire head grey)
      2. My Mother has worked outside the home my entire life. (To help support her husband "as a good wife should always support her husband")
      3. I was raised with "lots of media" (video games, iPods, tablets, smartphones, and TV)
      4. I received a cell phone before the safe age of 16. (My parents gave me one at 14 because they thought I was responsible to have one)
      5. I have a TV in my room. (One that I paid for)
      6.I have received compensation in exchange for work I have done for my parents
      7. And last but not least I attended public school. (Because my parents thought it would be a good idea to send their children to one of the top rated schools in Iowa)


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    3. Also I would like to know your definition of a rebel because that is not clearly stated in this article! Webster's Dictionary defines a rebel as "a person who rises in opposition or armed resistance against an established government or ruler". I read this and think of someone who is strong enough to stand up for what they believe in and write their own path in life! If so then I would love to be called a rebel. Maybe a missionary is a rebel because they have such a strong belief that they are willing to rise in opposition to help teach someone about the Bible!

      I really find your opinion on public school very interesting as well! Considering nobody in your family has ever attended public school! "If all else fails put them in public school" That is quite the statement I think! meaning that if you are forced to send your kids to daycare, work outside the home, get a divorce, etc. The worst thing you could do is put your children in public school!! Well I will just let you know that my parents raised me teaching me that the world will be full of non-Christians and that I can use connections I make in public school as a platform to spread Gods love. In public school I was able to lead a prayer circle on national prayer day in front of our schools flag pole, I met many new people that didn’t know God and was able to show them kindness and love that they might not have ever seen if we hadn't met.

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    4. "There they will learn that there is no God" This is a really interesting point you make! Never was I taught this! not once! I studied biology, and math, there was no class related to the topic of there being “no God”! Actually I have attended church on Sunday mornings and have seen my teachers there! Yes, I was taught about the theory of evolution, I was taught what philosophers came up with this idea and was taught this as a way to learn about different cultures in the world. (“religion which will include EVERY religion you can imagine except Christianity”) I also learned about Judaism, Muslim and last but not least CHRISTIANITY! All these were taught to me to help me expand my knowledge on religions in the world. Learning about this actually only strengthened my belief in God and brought me closer to him. I think it is important to teach children about different cultures and religions! “They will be taught "politically correct" history” Yes I was taught about American wars, how the Egyptians made their pyramids and facts about 9/11. Is there anything wrong with this?

      “distorted and unBiblical sex education”, I was taught how to have safe sex, what to do if I am forced into sex, how to prevent and what to do if I get STD’s, etc.. I was never told that premarital sex is ok, I was told facts only.

      “A few side benefits will be lessons in disrespect of authority and property and using God's name in vain”. I was actually taught that if you aren’t responsible and don’t obey authority that you will get punished! I even learned this first hand by being late to class, and receiving detention. I was taught that if you break school property that you will have to pay for it. Also learning this first hand because I lost a textbook my freshman year. And yes I many times heard gods name in vain, BUT with the teachings of my parents was able to recognize that It was not acceptable.

      Now I just depicted one of the 6 bullet points because if I write any more I probably be spending more than an hour a day surfing websites!! And you know when you do that more is caught than taught!

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    5. Hi again Tyler!
      Thanks for all your thoughts!
      I know it is taking both you + us quite a bit of time to have this conversation back and forth on this forum! I think we could save a lot of time and definitely understand each other better if we could have this conversation in person. We'd love to discuss your questions and the points you brought out, but its going to take a long time if we keep going on here! =) Are you free any evenings this week? We'd love to have you drop by for coffee or dinner, whatever works in your schedule, and we could discuss your thoughts in person!
      Besides we've been gone all summer so we haven't seen you recently and would love to again. =)
      Just sent you a text, too, so you can let us know!

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  7. Marlin, I grew up with your siblings. Your dad was my dad's best friend before he passed away. I went home with Wanda one Sunday after church, which happened to be the day for a family dinner. Salina me warmly, even though I felt uncomfortable. At lunch,you began to speak about me in Pennsylvania Dutch, never realizing that I understood every word you said. I remember your mother scolded you, embarrassed, and you laughed. It happened 20 years ago. I've long since forgiven you, but I do think of it every time I see it. It makes me wonder if those poor rebels in new Brunswick felt that same arrogance and disdain from you that I've always felt. I wonder, too, if those hippy rebels would feel the love of Christ at all if they happened to read this article and know that you were actually judging you instead of loving? But I suspect truly that they knew that all along, and perhaps that's why they never gave you the time of day. The fact is, I don't believe this was written lovingly. There is much more that could be said, nonetheless, if I were those rebel kids, I'd have reacted to you the same way. I suppose I still do.

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    1. I am so sorry for the hurt I caused you back in our childhoods, over thirty years ago. It grieves me deeply that you are still carrying pain from this experience; I wish you could've talked to me about it in person. I regret so many things from my past, specifically my teenage years, and wish I could make those things right.
      Regarding our article...it was written from a deep heart of love. If I didn't care so much for these people we have met, we would never have written this, as we knew there would be many who would disagree with what we said. If we hadn't had a heart of love for these teenagers that we met, we would've done our own thing and ignored them. These young people we talked to all either mocked or cursed at us or completely ignored us as they were on their phones. We weren't judging these young people. Judgemental people make their judgement from a distance and try to inflict pain and disdain with their judgement.
      We only tried to share Jesus with these young people because we wanted to show them His love.
      May God heal your hurting heart.
      -Marlin

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    2. I can add to what Marlin said. He even shares about how he didn't like the way he was living before he committed his life to God in the family concerts. That doesn't strike me as someone who is prideful or arrogant.
      As someone who has come to know this family in the past year, I can attest that we are all imperfect. I'm ashamed of the way I treated people in the past. But, I'm not the man I was one year ago, 5 years ago or 15 years ago. I wouldn't have found my church(the same one that the Bontragers attend) if Marlin wouldn't have invited me.
      We all have sin built in. You don't have to teach a child how to misbehave or lie. It's built in. You do have to teach each one how to walk the narrow path. Do we slip off that path from time to time? Yes. It is helpful to have someone there to grab you by the hand and help you back on that path when you need a friend. For that, I'm thankful for Marlin, Becky, Chelsy, Mitchell, Allison, Carson, Josh, Denver, Taylor, Elizabeth, Hudson and Rebecca.
      Jesus changes lives.

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  8. I read you blog and I am wondering if this truly reflects what you are wanting to communicate? When I read the statement that "parents who do any or all of the following tend to have rebellious children", I look at our two fine children, our quality nieces and nephews who are fine young men and women and children, and they have experienced one or more of what you believe produces rebels. Is this really the statement you intended to make?
    Fern Bontrager

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    1. Hello Fern,
      Thanks for your comment!
      Yes, this is what we believe, and what we intended to say. No apologies. =) At some point in time over our parenting, our children have also experienced variations of several of those six points. You must've missed the word TEND. This doesn't mean everyone. We are thankful for God's grace!
      Yes, there are exceptions. We aren't saying that doing any or all of these things will, every time, produce a child who doesn't love the Lord. We are saying it will increase the chances greatly.
      Like I said in a previous comment above, we are writing this post after ten years of meeting, observing, and hearing from thousands of families. We don't write this article because of an opinion we have. I wish it wasn't true, but it is. Sadly, we write this post from cold, hard facts of our culture and what is happening in the lives of young people today.

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    2. "Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” John 7:24
      This verse contradicts this whole post! The reason you posted this in the first place is because you judged 20 some young adults by their appearances without getting to really know them! Assuming they are "rebels". Since I am your nephew and you are judging me with "right judgement" considering you have known me my whole life! and you dont consider me a rebel?! Maybe if you would gotten to know them and judged them by the way the bible says it's ok to judge someone then maybe you would be surprised!

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    3. It is really hard to get to know people who refuse to talk to you. We tried, honestly-we wanted to hang out with them and get to know them but it was literally impossible. They were so addicted to their media that they were unable to even respond in conversation.
      See the rest of our response above, in response to your other comment! =)

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  9. I see this outside our church with the current Pokemon Go video game craze. I find these games to be odd and useless.
    If I might add, social media can be used for good. I use Facebook and Twitter for political purposes in order to expand my platform. I also use them to share the Gospel with people I'll likely never meet in person.
    It's all about how we choose to interact with the world.
    I'm glad to know both of you and I'm glad I know your children.
    Taylor and I had an amazing conversation about faith and politics(imagine that) after our outdoor service last night. You are so right about the ability to hold a decent conversation. Your children aren't afraid to speak up for truth and I appreciate that so much.

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  10. Very good post! Anyone with conflicting ideas should comment with Scripture to back up what they might want to say. As you said, you (an no one else either) are not perfect but at least you are seeking Him first and endeavoring to do His will above all else. Thanks for being a good example to many of us. Marinda Ebersole

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  11. Dear Mr. and Mrs. Bontrager,
    Wow...thank you for taking the time and listening to God's voice to share this with us!! My Dad read this to us during our family devotion time on Saturday. I know that this is geared toward parents, but I was deeply convicted. As the oldest sister of 8, I understand that I have great influence in the lives of my siblings. This was very much a big check point for me to look at my own life, does my walk add up with my talk? Do I speak disrespectfully to my parents then expect my younger siblings to not do likewise? Are there areas in my life that I am harboring bitterness? Do I praise them and encourage them to intentionally seek that living relationship with Jesus? Am I humble?
    I have seen situations in homes where the parents are 100% sold out for God, but an older sibling who is not following Christ, tears apart an entire home. Yes, this is extreme, but it's terrifyingly true. Yes, this responsibility falls first on the parents as ordained by God, but as older siblings I feel we are called to also rise up and take that stand to take what we have been handed and rise and build. To whom much is given, much is required.
    I have seen this in your family...the example of the older children picking up the baton and passing it on to the younger ones!
    Thank you so much again for this!! Our world is rapidly falling apart, there is no time to be negligent. This life is will soon be past and eternity is real. Like you said, no one is perfect, but even in the most un-ideal home situations, we all have a choice to make. Will we take the truth we have been given and humble ourselves and seek Christ and beg God to channel His love through our hearts to our siblings, our family & the lost world all around us?
    May God bless you all so much on your journey of faith as you seek Him and make His name known!
    Lots of love to you!!
    In the light of His glory and grace,
    Jessica M.

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  12. Thank you for this post. What you wrote is true and definitely agreed with. Love the stand you make for Jesus! Is it easy? Not always. But Jesus was a man acquainted with grief and sorry. Keep going for Christ, dear friends.

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  13. After reading this post on Saturday morning, August 13th, I was very encouraged and challenged in my role as father, husband, and spiritual leader of my home. I have known The Bontragers for years and know their hearts of wanting to share Christ with others. I believe we all are sinners and fall short of God's glory everyday...ever needing His mercy.
    I do believe as 1 Peter 2:11 says, "we are to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against our soul." It is our job as parents to stand firm on the principles found in the Word of God; Matthew 6:33 tells us, "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness...", while I do believe that we are not the judge, I also believe that we are to be fruit inspectors and that the fruit will show itself, good or bad, not needing a judge. These things mentioned in this post may very well produce rebels, maybe not in every case, but as a whole the things that were mentioned, have been detrimental in tearing our society, and most importantly taking away the family that God created in the beginning.
    Things of technology can be very useful, and also very harmful...I also feel as being a product of the public school system, that I was raised in as I think back after many years, has progressively walked away from moral absolutes that come from the Word of God; therefore producing "what's right for one, may not be for the other, but is good for whatever anyone believes." It teaches kids that they were evolved from apes and nowhere can the Creator be mentioned. It promotes immoral family lifestyles and provides an education of immorality outside of marriage. Needless to say, the influences that this setting provides is totally contrary to the Word of God. There may be some children who walk away from this setting and do okay, however as a whole, it is very detrimental to our society.
    "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom but fools despise wisdom and instruction." (Proverbs 1:7)
    I thank the Bontragers for being real in their post, not blaming, but trying to encourage. Marlin & I have had many heart to heart talks, and I love this man as a dear brother in Christ and friend. many throughout our land need to open their eyes, get back to the vision of our founding fathers! Speak truth with love, (as done in this post) fall on our knees and repent and serve our master boldly! "Abhorring that which is evil and cleaving to that which is good." (Romans 12:9)
    Joshua 24:15~
    Roger

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  14. I understand what you are trying to say and convey in your post here. As a Christian of many years, wife, mother, grandmother, pastor's wife, teacher in a public school, I suggest that next time you write, come into it from a positive angle; writing from a negative angle will most certainly always cause a stronger, more negative feedback, especially when sensitive topics as these are addressed. In a positive tone you can still state the same concerns, and guaranteed - more hearts will be touched and encouraged to follow God's ways, PLUS Christians elsewhere (who follow different practices but are still very influential in God's kingdom) will feel "as one" with you because of your love!

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    1. Hello Mrs. Em,
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
      It would definitely be MUCH easier to only speak "positively" and in a way that never stepped on others toes. But that wasn't Christ's example to us. He spoke the truth in love, but he still spoke the truth, and called out issues that needed to be addressed. I'm sure there were many who thought His approach should've been more "loving and positive" when He kicked all the merchants out of the temple.
      The reason that our posts like this receive lots of negative feedback is not because of how they are or aren't written; it is because of the MESSAGE. This message is one that hurts. It convicts me! Conviction isn't easy, but it is required to grow and continue fighting for Jesus.
      This is what we have found over years of blogging, campaigning, writing, and talking with people-it doesn't matter how you say it or put it, there will always be those who disagree. Our job is to keep pressing on and let the differing opinions "roll off our back", so to speak.
      We take heart! Whenever we get lots of opposition we know we are on the right track! =)
      Thanks for sharing!

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