DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I had to go to church when I was young, but I always resented it and quit once I got older. Now I’m married with two small children, and my wife thinks we ought to start going to church for their sakes. But what’s to keep them from resenting it like I did? — M.M.
DEAR M.M.: Have you ever asked yourself exactly why you resented having to go to church? Was it because you found it boring and wished you could be doing something else? Or was it because you simply didn’t like being told what to do? And if you start going to church again, will you have the same feelings?
I ask this because your attitude (whatever it is) will inevitably influence your children. In other words, if you resent going to church, they’ll probably resent it also. Never forget, our children learn from our example, for better or worse.
But perhaps God is trying to get your attention, and he’s using this situation to do it. Right now God means little to you. Your disinterest in church is a sign of this. But God doesn’t want you to remain a stranger, and I pray you won’t. Instead, face honestly your need for Christ, and humbly open your life to him, both for your sake and that of your family. The greatest tragedy any father can ever commit is to turn his children away from God.
Then ask God to lead you to a church where you’ll not only grow in your faith, but your children will look forward to going. Many churches have special programs for children that they’ll not only enjoy but that will teach them about Jesus. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them” (Mark 10:14).
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, NC 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.
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