God Gives Solid Ground: Encouragement for Parents at the Start of an Election Year 

“Yay, another presidential election year!” Said no one ever. Yes, in an election year the ads will be plentiful, the yard signs innumerable, and the talking heads shouting on T.V. insufferable. My temptation is to just ignore it all. But I know I have these precious souls in my  house for only so long. And there is truth and goodness to proclaim to them, especially in an election year. In the midst of a confusing moral climate, parents have an opportunity and responsibility to help their children examine the grounds on which Christians should base their beliefs.   

What is “Good”?

G.K. Chesterton once said, “We do not need to get good laws to restrain bad people. We need to get good people to restrain us from bad laws.” He was right, but he was assuming that people have a common foundation from which to discern good and evil. In our culture, we have reduced “good” and “bad” to matters of opinion. “Good” is allowing people to do what they feel to be true, and “bad” is stopping anyone from doing what they feel to be true. 

This election year, you can help your kids see that the only reason we can know good from bad is because the only one who is truly good, Jesus Christ, has spoken. Everyone wants to be thought of as “doing” good or “being” good. But when a man asked Jesus, “what good deed must I do to have eternal life?,” Jesus responded, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” (Matt. 19:16-17). 

The foundation for understanding true goodness is in the only one who is truly good. All estimations of good and bad will be mistaken if not founded on him.

False “Goods”

Today, the basis of the cultural belief system is man’s feelings: “You do you,” “Live your truth,” and “Be true to yourself.” These mantras of modern thinking contradictorily say, “It is not wrong for you to have your beliefs, but it is wrong for you to disagree with my beliefs.” While this bankrupt philosophy may make dinner conversations easier at Thanksgiving, it makes for moral anarchy the rest of the year. 

Imagine saying, “You do you” to a toddler, or “be true to yourself” to a freshman who just had their heart broken and is hungry for revenge. Pop culture catchphrases are branches on a plastic plant. They may sound good, but there is no life or growth in them.

Take for example the title of a recently passed amendment in Ohio: “The Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety.” On the surface, it reads as something everyone should want. Who could be against “protections for health and safety?” But because we live in a society where personal feelings and autonomy reign as absolute truth, things that sound good can be bad, and things that sound bad may be good according to the standard of God’s Word. 

The inevitable end of a society who roots their beliefs in personal feeling and popular opinion is mob rule. Decades ago, Francis Schaeffer could see that without some bedrock of truth, a false truths inherently must prevail: “Here is a simple but profound truth: If there are no absolutes by which to judge society, the society is absolute.”    

And so, we arrive at our present election year, a year that will certainly be filled with things that sound good but are really bad. And our kids are dependent on us to know the difference. 

The Gift of Truth

Election years are great times to teach and remind our kids that truth is a gift given to us by the Creator to discern good and evil. The question is not whether our beliefs are “good” or “bad.” The question is upon what grounds we will base our beliefs. Therefore, it is good to teach our children that they can know truth sufficiently enough for today’s issues. Not because of their personal feelings, not because of popular support, and not because of political hopes. But because God has not remained silent or left us to ourselves to determine good from bad and right from wrong.     

Our beliefs are to be grounded in what Scripture teaches about the value of human life and the purpose of the government (Ps. 139:14; Rom. 13). Jesus, the one whom all serious historians believe existed, viewed the Bible as God’s Word. He viewed the Scriptures as historically accurate, authoritative, infallible, verbally inspired, and the source of spiritual truth. Jesus believed that what Scripture says, God says. The Son of God shows us how we are to relate to the authoritative word of God.  

Christ himself should be the basis of our beliefs, not our feelings. We see in Christ someone who transcends our own reason and comprehension (Luke 24:45). Only by the grace of God and through the Holy Spirit are we able to discern ultimate good from bad. 

Therefore, if the ground on which we base our beliefs is Christ himself, we stand on solid ground. We can teach our children that we can say that things are good or bad according to his Word— regardless of opinions, feelings, or motives. 

Examine Your Basis 

As Christian parents, we ought also to examine ourselves during these times. Are we using the same ground our culture uses as the basis of other seemingly less “bad” choices in our lives? Are we allowing our feelings, or our friend’s opinions, to be the basis for truth rather than God’s Word? If so, we can joyfully confess this unbelief to the Lord and submit ourselves to the unchanging Word of God, knowing we are fully forgiven in Christ. 

Parents have an incredible opportunity in this cultural moment to proclaim to their children what every soul longs for: solid ground. Throughout Scripture, we see a God who has not remained silent (Gen. 1; Matt. 3:17). He has not left us to be the arbiters of truth on all matters. 

God has revealed that our need is reconciliation with the one who is the Truth, not to create and maintain our own truth. Jesus, the Truth, came and suffered so that we may be forgiven of living a life believing our own truth. By faith in Christ, we are saved from our sins and given new life in him who is the way, the truth, and the life. On this ground alone the Christian stands.

For more gospel-centered parenting resources, check out our current Rooted Parent Podcast season: Parenting, Technology, and the Truth

Joey is married to Jenny (his high school sweetheart) and is a father to four amazing kids. He serves as the Pastor of Missions and Adult Ministries at Patterson Park Church in Beavercreek, OH. Prior to his current role Joey was a Student Ministry Pastor for 9 years. He is a graduate of Cedarville University, has a Master of Arts in Theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and is currently working towards in M.Div. through Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, FL.

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