What could be simpler? Don’t have anything to do with the wrong people, Don’t forget to do the right thing and Don’t respond to peer pressure. Simple. You can hear your Mum’s or Dad’s advice now.
The problem is that when good advice is mixed with some comments like these, it’s easy to ignore them - Don’t…
… sit too close to the television
… pull a face, it may stick like that
… pick your nose
… stick your tongue out
… put your shoes on the couch
… put your feet on the table
… don’t talk to strangers.
So how many did we remember that didn’t really qualify as important and how many did we ignore. A good friend of mine told me that he was about to go out and his mum told him to take his car as it was going to rain. Nothing particularly strange about that except his mum died 10 years or so before! Do we take advice well? even when it is well intended but sounds unnecessary?
Sadly, too many of us remember too late. The damage was done. It could have ended a healthy relationship, it may have been nothing painful took place or it could have been serious and resulted in a life changing downturn. Of the many inmates that I have ministered to, one of the most disappointing ones was a young man who had never drank alcohol. In his mid twenties, he moved a country and was building a career and taking some important exams at College. He passed and his friend suggested they celebrate… He wasn’t interested. He recalled the advice of his Father not to. After only 1 beer, his friend was incapable of driving, so he drove home. The result was a stay in intensive care for 6 weeks and the life of his friend was taken. He was arrested on a DUI charge and, subsequently, deported. What a waste.
The effects of a positive or negative culture are so strikingly obvious on the outside, you wonder how someone could miss the point. It is the pervasive nature and subtlety of the culture which is the most harmful. It can take the form of an aggressive nature - virtually, forcing you to get involved at the expense of a close friendship or suggestively prodding you into a support that you are not comfortable with.
A fine young man from a loving, Christian home was developing a career in Economics - one year into a 3 year University course. A ‘friend’ suggested an easy way to pay his tuition fees was to sell drugs on campus. He did but the first sale was an undercover Police Officer. What transpired devastated him and his family. The friend was a member of a gang of dealers who were being followed by the authorities for some time. They tried to suggest that he was the leader but he was able to convince the court that he was foolish not a member. He was given a provincial sentence, the 10 gang members heavy Federal sentences.
There are many more examples that would prove the importance of choosing the stay the course - be traditional, be faithful, be honourable, do the right thing etc, etc. Sadly, we don’t always consider the consequences BEFORE our actions. If we did, we wouldn’t enter in to doubtful situations.
The enemy - and we do have enemies - comes to steal and kill and destroy according to John chapter 10 verse 10. Wise words but too often ignored or ridiculed. Families are torn apart because of negative influences. The sign at the beginning is clear. Once we remove negative influences, negative people, negative culture they will be replaced with every positive aspect of life to take us out of those issues. The issues are those which have been tormenting us and dragging us away from a stable, positive environment.
It is a parent’s responsibility to raise the children in the way he or she should go - meaning in a Godly, righteous manner. It is the child’s responsibility to honour his or her Father and Mother. Sure, we sit too close to the TV, we do things that cause our parents to shake their heads but that is a better than seeing your parents shocked and saddened, tearful and terrified about their child’s current situation. “If only they had listened to me, why would they do that, I warned them about mixing with that crowd…” are all pretty regular comments heard in court rooms. Not everything ends up in a court room but they don’t start out good and only finish worse.