Dear ICS Families,
Around 1PM yesterday afternoon (January 6, 2021) I started watching the live debates. I posted on social media, "this is history in the making." I then went upstairs to ask my children to join me, as I wanted them to see the process of Senators and Representatives working things out in real time. When I came back to my computer, everything was chaotic, as extremists had broken into the Capitol Building. The phrase I had posted about "history in the making" had taken a new turn. I paused and thought, This wasn't the idea of education I had planned for my kids when I went to get them. Yet, today I write to you as a parent and an educator because we have an opportunity and responsibility to educate our children well in response to yesterday’s events.
How do we do this in a Godly way? How do we give education to our children that is thought-provoking and sticks, rather than merely our emotional response? We all have emotions in response to violence that occurs, in response to the debates, in response to various political happenings, in response to the media, and more. These are all topics that warrant discussion. At Immanuel Christian School, we have a value for teaching our children to think critically about the world and to interpret the events of the world through a Biblical lens, so I propose three important points to frame the conversation:
Ephesians 6:12 says "the battle is not against flesh and blood…" When bad things happen, we can remind our children that we live in a spiritual world where there truly is good and evil. We can focus on people doing bad things, or we can focus on the truth that there is evil in the world and remember that Jesus has overcome it. This is not to excuse the ungodly behaviors of individuals yesterday. Yet, when we focus on fighting against evil instead of fighting against people, we can use the power and love of Christ, and we will have unity with our brothers and sisters in this world, even if we don't agree. I believe that one reason the enemy sows seeds of division is because it is his strategy to take us away from receiving the fullness of God's love for us. Our God is a relational God, and His love comes to us through His word, directly from Him, and through the relationships we have with each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. If the enemy can divide our relationships, he has succeeded in cutting us off from (at least a portion of) the love of God. Psalm 133:1-3 says, "How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! [...] For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore."
We are all "influencers" whether we want to be or not. We each have power, and we can use that power to influence toward unity or division. One of the roles of the President of the United States is to use his power to influence the people he leads toward peace and unity. Our ICS families represent different political parties, and it is important for our children to know that a president is expected to govern all the people, not just the party he represents. In the same way, those who are Christ-followers have a call to love all people, whether we agree with them or not. This can be difficult to do! At ICS, we read many great presidential speeches in our history courses, and this is an opportunity to talk with our children about the consequences of words. The words they use on the playground, in the classroom, with their siblings, all matter. One can test the "spirit" of how one is using their influence by Galatians 5:22-23, which says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."
Christians are Christ-followers in God's Kingdom, first, and patriotic Americans second. It is very important we get this in the right order. A Christ-follower’s identity is in Christ. So many in this world struggle with identity issues of all kinds, and the starting point matters. Every human being is made in the Image of God, and to fully step into who we are created to be, we need to align ourselves with the worldwide Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of our Creator, first. This decision will guide the worldview we have and that our children have. It will impact decisions we make to love God and love our neighbor. Matthew 6:24 says, "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other."
During our prayer time this morning, one of the teachers prayed that we would look forward to the Prince of Peace being on the throne and the Kingdom of God reigning in the world, and that until then, we would be Godly representatives of the Kingdom of God. May we trust in the Lord who is the ultimate peacemaker, and step into being fully loving and Godly representatives of the Kingdom of God.
"Lord, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us. Lord our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but your name alone do we honor. They are now dead, they live no more; their spirits do not rise. You punished them and brought them to ruin; you wiped out all memory of them. You have enlarged the nation, Lord; you have enlarged the nation. You have gained glory for yourself; you have extended all the borders of the land."
Susan Selby, CEO