Shun Child Idolatry

Posted by on Sep 10, 2016 in Theology

SHUN CHILD IDOLATRY                              Philip Ney   29/6/2016
Idolatry: “Excessive admiration and devotion”, Webster’s New English Dictionary
It is very dumb and dangerous although it seems quite innocent.
“ Hey, look at my son run. This is his 2nd touch-down this ½. I am so proud of him.”
“She is as beautiful as her lovely mother. It runs in the family. Let’s take another picture.”
“He is going thru college on full scholarship.  Just like I did when I was his age.”
“ All our children are really musical, but she wins all the competitions.”
“Aw man, you get so many likes on face book. I sure wish the girls liked me that much.”
“ When she rides, she and the horse are one. Here comes another rosette, but we haven’t any more room to hang them.”
“ Sure he has to practice every day but this doesn’t keep him from going to church very often.”
“Common son. I know it’s only 4:30 but if you want to make the NHL, and the coach thinks you really can, you’ve got to make sacrifices. And don’t think it’s easy for your mum and me.”
You can detect when a child is being idolized by the amount of attention, praise, time and money he/she gets. You can see it in the expressions on the faces of their parents. Yet see how careful they are not to give the child “a swollen head” but they are good at humbly boasting about him.  Christian parents like to add, “and of course we give God all the credit. Mind you we have had to sacrifice too”
Most parents will acknowledge that the fame and fortune could harm their child and that God might be somewhat upset but.  “We shouldn’t hide his/her God given talents, should we? Just think of all the people he can witness to, just like what’s his name the famous fast bowler, (Cricket that is) who is an outspoken Christian.
4. Hazards to you parents
a) It takes a lot of your time, attention and money that should be should be used in serving the Lord. You quickly become less blessed, less mature, less joyful, less of a leader and more
insecure so that you are less courageous  and take fewer risks in standing up for about to be aborted babies. With your son’s golden future always preeminent you want to maintain a good social image in your community.
b) Idolizing your child infuriates God.  Sensing His anger and rebuke, you start avoiding Him in your devotions and church fellowship.
c) With his/her future as the MVP next season, instead of helping the old folks across the street and showing you child the joy of doing that, you are up early training together.
d) Instead of your attention on the needs of your wife and other children, you spend an inordinate amount of time with one child. The others grow resentful and you loss of influence in their lives easily results in their becoming entrapped in drugs, sex, anti-social gangs etc. You sense this family disruption but you can’t take them all camping because every weekend is filled with another game you feel you can’t afford to miss lest your idol won’t remember all you taught him.
e) When your resentful, less talented children complain, you are wont to turn on them. “Stop being so selfish!” Don’t you want to be proud of your brother? Where is your family spirit?”
God doesn’t like idolatry one bit. He is a jealous God. He destroyed Israel for their idolatry. “Oh” but you might say, “that was way back then when they worshipped carved idols”. Not so they idolized their images of kings, (Eze. 43:7) and heroes, Saul and David, giants etc.  much like now days.
It isn’t because God is insecure and wants all the credit, glory, praise and thanks. It is for your sanity and your child’s protection that He wants all forms of worship directed toward Him.
5.  Likely harms to children.  I can’t think of any benefits.
i) Being well liked on face-book, becomes more important than approved by God. Soon the child cannot tell when God is approving or not so the child doesn’t bother to find out.
ii) With an inner sense they are losing contact take with reality because of growing narcissism, the IC tries self-medicating with pot. “It sure helps me relax after the game and most of the other kids do it. It doesn’t hurt their game or their marks so what are you so uptight about mum?”
iii) Counting their likes on face book gives them, they think, an accurate measure of their peer standing. Soon they have to check the count hourly to gloat or grieve. The rapid ups and downs of their status becomes so distracting and destructive, they can’t concentrate on studies etc.
iv) The roar of crowd applause easily drowns out God’s still small voice of caution so He may have to shout at your child to bring him to his senses. God’s shouts are often painful. If interpreted as bad luck or wrong team etc. God may have to shout even more loudly, “Look out, can’t you see where you are headed little lady. Don’t you realize that at every sexual encounter you become mated for life? Yes of course you know in your subconscious mind that you can’t go back to being the virgin you once wanted to share only with your husband.”
v) Having sexual fun is so easy when your child is so popular and a pregnancy is hard to prevent when his/her sexual impulses are so powerful that at the moment nothing else matters but the extreme high of an orgasm. In spite of being prolife, you find yourself shouting at your beloved little girl,
“How could you do this to us? After all the time and effort we put into getting you the best tennis teachers in the county. Just get rid of it and get back into shape for the big state tournament next month. This is what we were all dreaming of, isn’t it?”
“But daddy, I thought you were prolife”
“I am but there are times when God doesn’t mind if we make exemptions”
“You are both hypocrites. I am going to stay with my boy -friend’s parents. They may smoke but at least they are consistent about preborn babies being real people”
vi) ( for adult) God may withdraw His angel’s protection, so that you will learn to rely on Him only. You will learn to your deep regret that idolizing your child exposes him/her to great danger.
vii) (for adult)   You are so enamored and confident in your remarkable child that you forget to pray hard for each regular game as well as the tours and tournaments and your team members and the opposition and their coaches and their families and the bus driver and the principal and…….All things being equal, the more people you pray for the more likely you child will win. Try it.
iv) The idolized child (IC) becomes increasingly selfish, vain, self centered, and eventually narcissistic. They can’t endure as well the gives and takes of most relationships. Their marriages don’t last as long.
v) The IC centers on peer approval, rather than God for approval and encouragement.  Parent approval is less important so that the impact of parent as model diminishes. IDs are harder to discipline and direct.
vi)  He/she loses a clear awareness of their blueprint which may have many hidden talents. Only too late in life, the IC says, “I spent so much time practicing track I didn’t have time for music which is my first love”.
vii) This child feels blue, lonely, abandoned with small slights and discouragement and quitting rather than sticking it out to build character. Research show the best indicator of college and career success is character, not good marks or popularity.
viii) This IC looks for peer approval for direction in critical decisions rather than parent or God for advice.
ix) ICs resent having to make hard decisions when so much of their life has been planned for them.
x) ICs tend to view success as God’s encouragement to keep pursing a life well planned for them.
xi) ICs tend to be only children which may mean they have aborted siblings. PASS children feel guilty for existing and are very dependent on approval. This is because they were chosen to be wanted while their siblings were terminated because they were unwanted. Since their existence depended on being wanted, they strive extra hard to stay wanted which means really pushing the limits at the sports, music and studies.
6, Where does it come from?
Most parents are sensible enough to realize the many hazards of making their child into an idol but they may not realize how subtly it begins or where they are vulnerable. Here is a partial list:
i) only children are naturally the focus of parents, especially those parents who don’t have a definite focus on serving their Lord.
ii) Children of older parents, especially if they were trying for a long time to have children. The child becomes precious well before birth. Even if not particularly well gifted, the child’s mediocre achievements are occasions for big celebrations. All the relatives and friends want to rejoice and so they should but things soon get out of hand.
iii) Children who have aborted siblings have impossibly high expectation placed upon them. They know their siblings died so they could have all the wonderful benefits of doting parents, lovely house and grounds, the best education, overseas trips etc. Some children rebel, others are disgusted but most struggle extra hard at whatever their parents choose for them because
they know their existence depended on being wanted so wanted they must remain and that their wantedness depends on living up to their parents expectations, no matter how high.
iv) The democratic tradition and the materialistic life style of Western Countries for all their benefits, practice idolatry by fostering the tendency to envy successful business people, revere leading politicians, applaud entertainers and emulate really big church pastors and priests. That tendency is seen in almost every house-hold that loudly cheers the home team, especially if they win. Far too much of the dinner table talk is about who is most popular now. Small wonder children soon learn that if they want that kind of adulation, they must perform extra well.
v) Any religion that has carvings of saint, statutes of heroes and artifacts of martyrs, invites religious idolatry. It is small wonder that some families think that if they do it at church we should be able to do the same at our home.
7.  Where does idolatry go?
When-ever anyone sins it is felt by God. When David cried in abject horror at what he had done, (murdered a good and loyal mercenary soldier and seduced his wife) he said “against you and you alone (oh God) have I sinned” he was recognizing just how deeply hurt and insulted God must have felt.
God strictly forbade idolatry. The ancient prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel particularly condemned idolatry as affecting the church leaders Ez. 8:1) and associated with the violent murder of those most innocent Ez. 16:38. God told Jeremiah to stop praying for mercy for Judah because they were so polluted by idolatry (Jer. 7:16 and idolatry was the final straw which broke releasing God’s destruction of Jerusalem. Hoseah noted how idolatry went together with violence (Hos. 4:2) and Paul wrote that idolatry brought to an individual and darkened mind (Rom 1:21)
God insists that we worship Him alone and that no one attempt to make an idol of Him, for noone has seen his form and any time. Moses was one person who saw God face to face and he never attempted to describe what God looked like or make any image of Him, for he knew the people would soon start worshipping the idol and not their God.
When God punished people for idolatry, it was first by letting them experience the natural consequences of weakness, confusion and being muddle headed. When that was not sufficiently corrective, He became really angry and brought about the destruction of the nation and its people. That can happen again. Canada and the USA have led the world in the development and export of idols and images. The natural consequences are rampant sexual deviations, abortions and euthanasia that are ruining the economy, government and morality of
those nations.  The rapid rise of anxiety and confusion in these countries heralds the approach of industrial ruin and political anarchy.
8. Prevention
God has the awesome responsibility of running the universe. Thus when He orders humans about it is for their own good and the good of everything that they obey. On the other hand, because He wants a friendship with a person who has freely chosen Him, He does allow people to make mistakes.
Since He established the existence of everything on fundamental moral principles, these principles must be maintained or the universe collapses in on itself. One of these principles is the Law of Reciprocal Response or in common parlance, “what goes round comes round”. Everything a human thinks or does will not only bless or harm the person he does it to but will have the same effect on him.  God in His great mercy will forgive everyone for their foolishness, selfishness and pride, but He seldom withholds the natural consequences. Even His favorite Israeli king, David, felt the reciprocal impact of his murder and adultery. His beloved baby died.
Humans were given the choice between selfish knowledge of good and evil and the loving company of the most amazing creature that has been or will ever be. That bad choice has had bad consequences to every human ever since. When people worship idols they are worshiping man imagined and man- made gods. Literally they are worshipping themselves. Not only is that exceedingly stupid it is self and species destructive. God can no allow that.
People are inclined to admire then boast about themselves. Eventually they become narcissistic. Their self-preoccupation is incurable. Even when their God constructed instincts drive to mate and propagate, their narcissism will result only in fruitless fapping and pointless suicide. Narcissism is basically untreatable. For all these reasons and more, God says do not worship images, projected or carved. Why? Because you ninny, (can’t you see it) it will destroy you and you and all of you.  I would be without the pleasure of your company and all my efforts to create, love and enjoy chatting with you would be wasted.
So, never, never worship anything or anybody, especially not your own children. “
Worship only Me for I am the only being that warrants your worship. “Do not worship any other gods beside me. Do not make any idols of any kind” (Deuteronomy 5:7, 8). God is Spirit so those who worship him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (Jn. 4:24) Worship me in Spirit (yours and mine) and in Truth. “When the Spirit of truth comes He will guide you into all truth. (Jn. 16:12) And follow and serve Me first, all the time, every time even before those you hold most
dear. ‘You must seek and serve me first. Then and only then will everything of value be given to you’ paraphrased. (Luke 12:31)
Yes if you always put me first, I will put you first in my concerns. As paradoxical as it sounds when you love me best, you are best, loving yourself and those you hold most dear. It is the only safe and sane way to live.
Remember God has always destroyed idols. If you idolize your child you may be exposing him/her to God’s anger. If you want God to protect your children, do not idolize them.
9. Cure
a) Recognition.  It shouldn’t be hard to recognize when you are idolizing a child. If you can’t rely on your subject evaluation, just count the number of minutes or thought or time you spend concentrating on him or her or where your money is being most lavishly spent. Check to see if the IC wants to spend time with you in the wilderness without his ipad. See what happens when you deprive the IC of computer, car, pocket money etc. How do they react when you plan a holiday, not in a resort but in some developing part of the world helping to construct a school?
b) Repentance. As a family confess to God your idolatry. Yes call it that in the presence of your idolized child. Promise God you will change, starting now by making plans to live differently.  Confess your desire to find the fulfillment and success that eluded you at that age by vicariously enjoying his great successes.
c) Renounce something. Give up something that is so important to your idols prominence like less time practicing and more time walking to nowhere in particular together and not talk about anything in particular.
d) A father’s task. Fathers it is most important that you discover your mission of serving in life and if you already know, reassert it. Your whole family needs to fall in line, not exclusively but they all need to support you in the way God is pushing you via your blueprint, upbringing, education and world neighbour’s needs to serve. Your job and family and dreams of your child’s success must not come first.
e) Serve Him always in every way and don’t expect it will be easy or that you can take extended holidays or retire early.  Paul made it very clear when writing his very last letter from the prison he did not come out alive. “Everyone who wants to live a godly life Christ Jesus will suffer persecuted” (no exceptions to this rule) Show your family the way thru the tough times and they will admire you and more easily follow you. “Sorry my girl, God not your competition comes first and this Sunday they need use down at the mission.” “But dad …………” Remember
Chariots of Fire? It always works but even if you don’t get the top ranking, your ranking in heaven is much higher”
f) Repudiate publically.  You and your family need to tell others about the traps, hazards and deep harms that come from child idolatry. Then you can help them recover by inviting them to family camps, camping and overseas missions. When you meet resistance and rationalizations, pray together. Write letters to the newspaper editor, to coaches you know, and to church leaders. It isn’t a sin that is easy to confess but don’t hesitate to stand up in church and tell your story. Idolatry is as hard to kick as a drug or alcohol addiction. The longer it goes on the harder it is too stop so don’t hesitate and don’t let procrastination trap you again.
g) Worship Him only.  There are many misconceptions about worship. One of the most prevalent is “praising God”. You wouldn’t stand in front of a good friend and repeat ad nauseam, “I praise you. I praise you John, I really, really praise you” He would think you lost your marbles. If you wanted to show your love and appreciation of John, you would turn to a person new to John and say “Peter, I want you to meet my old friend John. I hope you will get to know him. He is incredibly generous, bailed me out more than once, considerate, never late for a meeting, and loyal. He has defended me to my critical colleagues in the teeth of stiff opposition. I am proud to be his friend.   That is praising John like Jesus wants you to praise Him to others. He wants others to be impressed with what you say about Him so that they will seek Him too.
God repeatedly says thru scripture that He wants us to know Him. Isn’t that quite some complement? He must consider us to be sufficiently smart we could get to know Him and all He knows because that is part of Him. It will take a few eternities just to get started in knowing Him. So worshiping Him is standing dumb-struck by His amazing wisdom and creativity and then finally saying to no one, “Wow! I never even considered that. God you are incredible” So worship depends on discovering new aspects about God and being silently over-awed. Science can help you do that and wandering among the high peaks or storm ruffled seas can help you see more of God to admire and inquire.
10. Perpetual Thanks for Joy and Sanity.
When you are perpetually admiring and appreciating God, every human achievement pales in comparison. It is hard to become proud of yourself or your son when you think of all God has done for you. Of course you want to be impressed when a talented daughter or skilled son wins but you restrain yourself from feeling too proud and making him to self-impressed. Why because it is probably more dangerous being overly appreciative than it is to be too restrained.
If after a life-long well fought battle against evil, your Lord and Master says to you simply, “Well done, my good and faithful servant” that should be good enough for your son and daughter.  “Well done my good and faithful son and daughter. You played very well. Let’s thank the Lord for your talents and training. It all comes from your heavenly Father. Thank you my Lord for loaning these two remarkable children to me for a while. I commit them both to your care and guidance. Please show me how to do my part well.”
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