“My child, if sinners entice you, turn your back on them! They may say, ‘Come and join us’ … don’t go along with them! Stay far away from their paths.” (Proverbs 1:10, 11a, and 15, NLT)
One responsibility we have as parents is to help our children choose good friends. We start when they are old enough to enjoy arranged play dates. As they get older, we continue to counsel them. My mom made the distinction between “good friends” and “spending-the-night friends.” But eventually, the choices become their own. It can get scary as they enter and live through the teenage years.
Sometimes, solid Christian friends are few and far between. Yet our kids (especially our teens) crave relationship. We should be friendly with most everyone, but it is critical our children understand the dangers of investing in unwholesome relationships.
But sometimes, they will go after those relationships anyway. And if they do, they will surely face more temptation than if they don’t.
What we, as believers, easily recognize as sin, unbelievers view as harmless. From telling white lies, to shoplifting, and underage drinking, our teenagers are assaulted with worldly enticements.
We must teach them the consequences of those choices. Although their friends will tell them that it’s cool and fun, that they’ll have the coolest stuff if they join in with them, we tell them the truth.
What IS cool is reading through the Book of Proverbs and seeing in black and white the very words their friends are saying—along side the truth. In reality, these “friends” are setting traps for themselves, ruining their lives, and experiencing disaster (Proverbs 1:18-19, 26-27).
But when our children choose the way of wisdom, they will build lives of peace, untroubled by fear and harm (Proverbs 1:33). When they follow a life of righteousness and integrity, they will receive God’s favor and blessing (Proverbs 2:21).