“She let us down.” That’s what one ten-year-old said about Miley Cyrus’ more-than-suggestive performance at the MTV Awards. And that little girl nailed it.
Miley’s romp – looking all “little girl” – actually became an obscene public display of stripper moves and sexual suggestion. Unfortunately, it popped up on many newscasts. She was once the innocent Disney girl, Hannah Montana. Somehow I guess she felt that shedding clothes would shed that image.
She was important to a lot of young girls, who she really did let down. Twitter and social networks erupted in a tsunami of comments – most fairly outraged. “She crossed a line” was a prevailing sentiment. Apparently, our jaded culture still believes there’s a line.
You know, I’m most concerned about what that incident represented in terms of what this culture can do to any of our kids or grandkids; starting out innocent. Quickly poisoned and corrupted by a bombardment of sexual images. Flesh everywhere. Worth that comes from romance. Love and sex portrayed almost as synonyms. Little girls pushed to be big girls way too soon. Music that makes kids know about what they don’t need to know about and want what they shouldn’t be wanting.
And standing between this onrushing, innocence-robbing culture and our kids? A mom. A dad. Maybe a grandma or grandpa who will need courage to say “no” to what other parents are letting in. To the deafening drumbeat that seems to say, “Come on, everybody’s doing it.” Yes, that requires playing big-time defense against influences that are poison wrapped in beautiful packages.
God has no greater trust He can give a human than a life to shape. And, yes, you’ve got to play defense against the lies our culture buys. But, in the modern parent playbook, playing offense is at least as important as playing defense, which means teaching and showing our children what’s really important. Like childhood. Let them be eight when they’re eight, 10 when they’re 10, 14 when they’re 14. Have a childhood. You’ll never be a kid again. You’ll have the rest of your life to be grown up. Don’t waste the years when you don’t have to worry about mascara and image and who-likes-who.
Playing offense means showing them sex is created to be the special language of a love that lasts a lifetime. That your body is not bait. That clean is cool, not dirty. We prepare them for the minefield when we let them know that it matters what you watch, what you listen to, what you laugh at. As the Bible says, “Guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23 ).
And we fortify them by loving them so obviously and unconditionally they don’t have to go looking for love in all the wrong places. Letting them know that they are, as the Bible says, “God’s workmanship” (Ephesians 2:10 ). That they get their worth from their Creator, not from a guy or girl. That – like collectibles – they’re the most valuable when they keep themselves in “mint condition.” They need to feel free to tell us anything without fear of shock or condemnation. So they can debrief the experiences – and honestly sometimes the garbage – of their day.
My wife and I have been so thankful that our kids have never left home alone. Because they left with Somebody who loves them more than we ever could. The One the little children sing about in church – “Jesus loves me, this I know.”
He died for them. And for us. So we know He’ll keep His promise as it tells us in our word for today from the Word of God, Isaiah 40:11 : “He tends His flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.”
If I hadn’t put my life in Jesus’ hands before, having kids in this kind of world would have driven me to Jesus. Yes, for my sake. But – maybe even more – for their sake. He’s the Great Shepherd who never takes His eyes off His sheep.
Have a “Wonderful Day in Christ.”