Many knowledgeable and seemingly faithful people have been swept away by religious deception. Can we possibly prepare our children to resist a great deception to come?
Teaching children good habits early will help them navigate the darkness and confusion in the world around them.
Paul gave us this stark warning: “For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14 2 Corinthians 11:14And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
American King James Version×).
How can our children learn to identify a false “angel of light”? The Bible is the one source we can count on to guide us. For those God has entrusted with children, there is a solemn obligation to provide them with a scripturally sound understanding of good and evil. Our world is so confused that children need to understand what is acceptable to God.
Entertainment is one area where we need to practice discernment frequently. Allowing our children to be part of the decision process helps them learn to use God’s standards when making decisions about what games they should play. When we pray and are willing to obey, God will provide insight and wisdom beyond what we or our children are capable of ourselves.
Contrary to renderings in many pop culture movies, games and books, good and evil are not easy to differentiate. That takes lots of practice and a close relationship with God. If you care to take the challenge, this could begin a family discussion on the topic, exploring how God says to discern good and evil.
Teaching children good habits early will help them navigate the darkness and confusion in the world around them. Using children’s entertainment that you already have in your home is a great place to begin some detective work. Below is a thought-provoking exercise for the whole family. Try it and you might be surprised what you learn!
4 Steps to Better Discernment of Good and Evil
1. Discuss as a family what makes a person (or fictional character) evil or good.
On paper, make one column for good and one for evil. Write down as many distinguishing features as possible for each. Depending on your children's ages and attention span the remaining steps in this exercise may be broken up into multiple days.
2. Have each person place several of their most memorable characters from movies, books or games into the good or evil column.
3. Turn to the scriptures to discuss God’s definition of good and evil.
Here are a few to get you started: Isaiah 5:20 Isaiah 5:20Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
American King James Version×, Proverbs 3:7 Proverbs 3:7Be not wise in your own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
American King James Version×, Deuteronomy 18:9-14 Deuteronomy 18:9-14  When you are come into the land which the LORD your God gives you, you shall not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.  There shall not be found among you any one that makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that uses divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch.  Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.  For all that do these things are an abomination to the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD your God does drive them out from before you.  You shall be perfect with the LORD your God.  For these nations, which you shall possess, listened to observers of times, and to diviners: but as for you, the LORD your God has not suffered you so to do.
American King James Version×, Galatians 5:19-23 Galatians 5:19-23  Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,  Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, jealousies, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,  Contentions, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
American King James Version×, Philippians 4:8 Philippians 4:8Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
American King James Version×, Revelation 21:8 Revelation 21:8But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
American King James Version×. Write down any points from the scriptures that show God’s definition of evil or good, and note if any differ from your definitions.
4. Evaluate characters in each column based on biblical guidelines.
Are there any that need to be switched to the opposite column? What do the children think about this? This is a good time to discuss how Satan can pose as an extremely appealing and seemingly harmless “angel of light” to deceive us.
Entertainment, though mostly fictional, can have a significant impact on the way a child learns to discern between good and evil. Children can exhibit a surprising level of motivation and sacrifice to please God when given scriptural understanding and the responsibility to help the family make right choices.
To learn more about avoiding end time deception please watch the Beyond Today episode How to Avoid End-Time Depception.