One of the most difficult jobs a parent has is to teach their children the difference between choosing the wrong friends and being kind and considerate to everyone-as Jesus calls us to do. Am I right? While we don't want our children to think they are better than someone else or too good to be someone's friend, we have the responsibility to teach them to be discerning in who they spend their time with.
The Bible provides numerous warnings and instructions in this area. The one I'll focus on here, however, is Jesus' time spent eating with the tax collectors and other reprobates of the time. The Pharisees were quick to admonish him, to which he replied that sick people needed a doctor-not those who were well.
I cannot tell you how many times I've heard my kids and kids who I love as if they were my own, try to use this as an excuse for spending time with people and in places they shouldn't. You know what I mean...
"I'll be there to make sure so-and-so doesn't do anything."
"I can go but not drink."
"Just because I hang out with them doesn't mean I am like them."
WRONG! Sure they might be able to pull this off a time or two (or maybe three), but if you spend enough time in the sun you are going to get burned. You are what you eat. Or whatever other saying you wish to insert here....
Jesus didn't hang out with the tax collectors and other sinners to make change for them or to be their sober chauffer. He went to them, told them what he had to offer and why it was so much better than what they had and then told them to follow him. Oh, and then he left. In other words...His terms...His turf.
SO....if your children are forming friendships with children who are lacking in discipline, parental guidance and strong moral and ethical teaching, don't push them out of your child's life. Instead, welcome them into YOURS, as well. Give them a safe place to play. Let them see what a loving, Godly home and life is like. Bring them onto your child's turf and teach them to set the terms of friendship in such a way that your home's expectations and rules will not be compromised. In doing so, you will be teaching your children to be salt and light for Jesus.