Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth

Can you hear it? That high-pitched sound of remorse and terror is actually closer than any of us might expect, and it’s stalking the most vulnerable of our society and those we hold most dear: our children.

Such gloom and doom does not reflect the purpose of my blog, which is to encourage and uplift. There are times in life, however, when it is prudent to draw a line in the sand, reflecting: this far and no further will we travel. We will take back our children’s innocence. We will stand in faith against the powers of this dark world, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Have no doubt about it: those spiritual forces of evil are there. Those of us who belong to Jesus need to have no fear of them, but we are fools if we continue to turn away and do nothing.

Where is our sense of outrage?

What is this crazy woman writing about? I know you’re thinking it, so I’ll tell you what bee is buzzing in my bonnet today.

Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth, Take One:

Nine third graders in Waycross, Georgia — that’s nine kids ages 8 to 9 — plotted to kill their teacher; three have been arrested so far. They divided up the tasks in a surprisingly well-thought-out plan: one child was designated to cover the windows so no one could see. They would use a heavy crystal paperweight to knock out the teacher. They’d put handcuffs on her and then stab her with a knife. This at Center Elementary school for students in grade K-5, a school whose mission is:

to provide a safe, challenging learning environment, empowering all students to exceed local and state standards.

Granted, this surely was an isolated incident and is not indicative of the standard of safety of all the schools in Waycross, Georgia. But it does make me wonder: where were the parents? Why didn’t they know about this? I know some of what I write because I have a third grade student living in my home.

My homeschool mission is from Deuteronomy 6:

4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one![b] 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

I can’t help but think that if a school’s mission is to diligently teach loving the LORD with all our hearts, souls, and strength, we wouldn’t have third graders running around plotting to kill their teachers. The news article stated that several parents were upset and demanded that the nine children in question be removed from the school.

What happens to those children then? What of their souls? They are the ones who Jesus spoke of when he said in Matthew 18:

5 “And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf[a] is welcoming me. 6 But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.

7 “What sorrow awaits the world, because it tempts people to sin. Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting. 8 So if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand or one foot than to be thrown into eternal fire with both of your hands and feet. 9 And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.

Did you catch that? What sorrow awaits the world, because it tempts people to sin. Doesn’t that so accurately describe the state of our country today, a country in thirteen year old girls are persuaded to become prostitutes (see the Dallas Morning News for that story) for some easy money? Who tempted those children in Georgia to plot to kill their teacher? What is it in their background that even gave them the thought in the first place? Maybe they saw something on television, or in a video game, or maybe they just got the idea from watching the evening news with their parents. It seems like everybody is doing it! John Doe gets mad at James Doe at a bar and opens fire in a parking lot, killing him and wounding several others. Is it any wonder our third graders’ minds are able to conceive of such horrible acts?

It’s time to draw the line. If you are a Christian, and your children are getting violent ideas, then it’s time to find the source of those ideas and root it out. If it means throwing out the television and internet and the PlayStation 3, then so be it. If it means banning My Space pages and cell phones and limiting access to other kids who are not good influences, then do it. Our children are children. They are naturally UNWISE, and it is our job as their parents to guide them through the minefields in our culture.

Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth, Take Two

An art student at a Wisconsin high school received a grade of “zero” for his landscape drawing depicting a cross and the words “John 3:16.” The zero grade is outrageous enough, but other students in the class who drew satanic symbols were given an “A.” If that is not persecution, I don’t know what is! What is so ugly to the world about the image of God loving his people?

If the art student had drawn Islamic symbols and a quote from Islamic holy books, would he have been given a “zero” for a grade? Of course not! That would have been politically incorrect. Since when did it become correct to persecute Christians and Jews and elevate all other religions? In this country, recently. But in the world, that has always been so, and Jesus spoke of it as recorded in Matthew 5:

11“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

The art student who was persecuted is pursuing his grievance in court, peaceably. He is not calling for jihad or demanding that the teacher be put to death for daring to speak out against his faith. No…if he is following Christ, he is actively praying for his teacher. Therein lies the main difference between Christianity and other religions. When we are wronged and persecuted, we obey the law of the land, and the laws of our faith. Our own Lord set this example when he allowed himself to be hauled off and arrested. When the Roman guards were in the midst of flogging him, with blood and skin flying all over the place, Jesus was praying for them.

43“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[h] and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[i] and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

The art student changed his plans on other class assignments because he didn’t want to fail. I pray that he will be encouraged in his spirit as he remembers that he will be rewarded with something far greater than an “A” grade when he gets to heaven!

Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth, Take Three

A fourteen year old girl had a baby in a bathroom at a middle school in Baytown, Texas…and then tried to flush the full-term baby down the toilet. The baby drowned. Did this girl’s parents not notice that she was pregnant? Did they not realize that she was full term? And her teachers…did they not see her pregnant state?

My heart goes out to this girl who committed an unspeakable act of murder. Was it desperation? I have been through childbirth, and let me tell you, going through it in a middle school bathroom is not high up on there on my “want to do list.” It was hard enough doing it in a hospital, surrounded by nurses and doctors coaching me with my husband holding my hand. Surely it took more than five minutes! Why didn’t anyone go check on her?

The innocence of that poor girl is long gone. Somewhere along the way, someone snuck in and stole it from her. She learned about the facts of life through experience.

Where were her parents? I keep saying this because it is time to start holding ourselves accountable. Yes, our children are responsible for their own behavior, but we are the ones tasked with teaching them and guiding them through those minefields. What does our attitude towards the world teach them about life?

Let’s say that you have a family tradition of sitting down together to watch television. Tonight’s show to watch is Desperate Housewives. Our young girls see supposedly well-off women trading partners like they change their clothes, and we laugh. Our kids see us laugh. They get an idea about the sex act that is not holy and that is completely untrue.

Let’s go back to what Christ said about those who cause little ones sin, and what we should do if something causes us to sin – we should cut it out. Get rid of it. Paul wrote to the Hebrews in Chapter 12:

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Let us throw off the sin that so easily entangles, or else we might find ourselves wailing and gnashing our teeth because our children are walking down paths we had never expected them to take.

As I do my life these next few days, I will ask the Lord to open my eyes to those sins that so easily entangle. The ones that are lurking behind excuses.

I think Fox’s reality television show The Moment of Truth is the worst show to come to television to date, and I haven’t even seen it! The commercials for the show are so lurid that I make my daughter cover her ears whenever they come on. If I catch it in time, I mute the volume so she doesn’t hear questions like:

Do you regret marrying your husband? Have you ever wanted to cheat on your husband with his best friend?

Even the mention of such disrespectful things is sin that entangles, because it puts evil thoughts in minds where those thoughts hadn’t even been considered before. It’s time to make sure that if our kids inadvertantly hear things like that that we talk about WHY those things are wrong. If we just cruise along without paying attention to what they are watching or playing, then we run the risk of helping our kids slide down a very slippery slope that leads right to sin’s door.

3 thoughts on “Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth

  1. Oh how right you are. I’ve been following all three of these stories and I can’t even begin to express my heartache! This was a very well written, eye-opening, and informative post—and one that I’m sure wasn’t easy to write—but I’m glad you did. These things need to be shouted from the roof-tops! We need to wake up in this country and stop going about life just business as usual. Things desperately need to change. This country desperately needs God.

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