How Do Good Christian Kids Go Bad?

July 21, 2017 0 Comments

The month of July, if you are following my Daily Devotional book "STRENGTH FOR TODAY", contains Bible studies in Psalms about the Blessed Man. And in Psalm 1:1 we read:
"Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the Law of the Lord, and in His Law he does meditate day and night" (Psa. 1:1-2). This verse gives us the secret of the success and happiness of the "Blessed Man", both negatively and positively. Negatively, there is something this man DOES NOT DO. He is separated from the world and all its evil influences. He doesn't get his counsel from ungodly people around him, picking up their anti-Christian attitudes, and he doesn't associate with their sinful actions. Rather, he gets his counsel from the Word of God (called the Law of the Lord). It is what he DOES DO, day and night. No wonder he is a "Blessed" man: he rejects ungodly influences that would fill his mind with ungodly thoughts, and he meditates (fills his mind) daily with the good and godly principles of Scripture.

Did you notice the "downward" progression, the downhill "slide" into evil that is described in this verse?
FIRST, there is the casual exposure to wrong ideas: "who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly". How do our good Christian kids sometimes go bad? By going off to secular universities where liberal professors present anti-biblical philosophies. You see, it DOES make a difference where you get your "counsel" from! College kids are faced with a choice--either to stay true to the Christian values and principles of God's Word, or to adopt a secular humanist world view and the radical left wing ideas espoused in so many college classrooms.
SECOND, there is the total association stage of this downward slide. Now he is "standing in the way of sinners". He isn't just exposed to false teaching, he is now associating or "standing" with those who promote non-Christian lifestyles. After you listen to their ideas long enough, you begin to assimilate their immoral values.
THIRD, there is the outright mockery of all that is Christian. It is described as "sitting in the seat of the scornful". At this final stage, the once wholesome and good Christian teenager has moved way beyond wrong attitudes and wrong associations, he is now engaged in wrong actions, actually verbally repudiating all the good he has ever been taught, displaying a critical, mocking, anti-biblical heart.
How could this happen to our own kids, you say? Well, it happens because kids are vulnerable, and enticed to turn away from the counsel of God's Word, the Church, and their parents values. Perhaps they were never really grounded in those values to start with. This unfortunate rejection of Christian principles also occurs when good Christian kids marry an unbeliever who has a very worldly view of life.
This 3-fold progression from good to evil is also illustrated by Peter when he denied Christ. First, he "followed afar off". Then he "sat down among them", at the enemy's campfire. Then he began to curse and swear saying: "I never knew the man". (See Mark 14:54)
I am always saddened when I hear of a Christian young person who went off to some liberal university and consequently rejected all they were ever taught from the Bible and their parents. It takes strong courage and conviction today for our kids to stand up against the barrage of un-biblical ideas that are out there in the world.
Parents, make sure your kids have adopted and developed their own Christian values and convictions and principles--that they are not simply "going along with" yours! And remember to pray each day for them, even when they are adults, that their hearts would remain true to God. In John 17, Jesus prayed for all His disciples, that the Father would KEEP THEM from the world. That's how we need to pray for our kids, too.

Richard Seefried
Harrisonburg, VA
Richard Seefried has a Master’s Degree in Christian Ministry, and is licensed & certified by the NCCA as a clinical pastoral counselor.