Recently I've heard and/or been part of various discussions that deal with bringing non-Christians (or people who do not live up to the ethical/moral standards that we hold to) into our churches and homes. Some of the concerns regard what happens to our families/marriages/children if we are all being around people who see no problem with divorce, sex outside of marriage, bad language, bad attitudes, etc...
What will happen with my children if we bring in people and their kids who are not living a Christian life and are bad examples?
We, along with our three children, have lived among kids who are considered "at risk" for the past two years (and previously for three years). The Finca kids come from many different situations and family dynamics. Some of these kids are products of incest or sexual abuse or have dealt with and seen abuse of various forms or have lived in harmful situations. All of these things can and do affect their development, their attitudes, their actions. Many people do not allow their children to play or interact with kids with such problems and attitudes because of the bad influence they would be on their own children. These Finca kids with their myriad of issues and attitudes are my children's friends. They have been their closest companions and playmates.
Do we like when our children show some of the bad attitudes or use language we don't like? No, of course not! But, do we tell them that they should reject these kids and not be friends with them anymore? No, of course not! We tell our children why that particular attitude/action/word/etc. is not acceptable to us and the consequences that it could cause. Then, we ask our children to choose to be a better example to those around them rather than just follow what everyone else is doing. That is something we all need to learn at some point or other. Isn't it better to learn it at age 7 rather than age 37?
If Jesus would have chosen to avoid people with bad attitudes, bad language, with obvious sin in their lives, because of the possibility that those people would corrupt or influence him, I would not know Jesus today.
I choose to love, accept and invite others because Jesus loves, accepts and invites me.