“Home schoolers are prideful and arrogant. They treat the rest of us like there is something wrong with us.”
Ouch! I overheard this conversation at a church function a few years ago, and it broke my heart. After all, we are supposed to be the Body of Christ, walking in unity with one another and fulfilling the commission that Jesus gave us, right? How could there possibly be such harsh feelings toward those of us who feel called to teach our children at home and raise them up? How could these feelings be coming from fellow Christians? I have come to believe that at least some of it is our own fault. Let me explain.
I spent several days praying about that unbelievable comment I had overheard. I asked the Lord to show me what was happening. I began to think over things that I had heard home schoolers say and was saddened by the realization that some of the words that were spoken were terribly dishonoring to others. Thankfully, those instances were very few, but even one act of dishonor can cause terrible damage. For some people, one negative experience has the power to dismantle the many positive aspects of home schooling, giving us a bad reputation. When this happens, how can we have the kind of impact on our society that would please God? I believe that we are being called to a higher standard, and that is to homeschool with honor.
What do I mean to homeschool with honor? It means to walk in the love of Christ, displaying His very heart to those around us. It means that we listen carefully to hear God’s voice. Walking in honor means to truly lay down our own agendas and ask Him, “What can I do for You, Lord? How can our family bless someone today?” We must have a revelation of God’s love for not only His people but also for the world around us. The scriptures tell us that it is His desire that none should perish. It is His desire that people know Him. Are we honoring God? Are we helping to give God His desires through our home schooling?
It may sound strange to hear that we should live to give God His desires. After all, we are used to praying for our own desires to be met. What about His? We have a part to play in history, and we have the position in which He has placed us. That position does not mean that we are to live for ourselves, making an ideal family to please our own needs. The position He has given us is one of changing entire nations, and that requires raising up godly, loving individuals who are well equipped to go out and do the will of the Father. We were meant to be a powerful force upon the earth. The key to accomplishing His will is love, and when we love, we walk in honor toward one another.
I am part of a congregation that is very mixed as far as educational choices are concerned. We have a group of children whose education is fairly balanced between home, private and public school. Personally, my husband and I are strong believers in home schooling, and we always will be. Since there are some in our congregation who choose different routes for their children, it is a great blessing that our church has been taught to walk in honor toward one another. We recognize that we may not all agree with one other’s philosophy of education, yet we also recognize that we are united as the Body of Christ and that we all have the responsibility to support each other in raising our families. We are not called to ridicule, look down upon, or be judgmental toward those who are not walking the way that we are. We are called to see and identify the “gold” within every person and to call forth the good things that God has placed within them. We get the glorious job of encouraging and exhorting others to become all that God desires for them.
Home schoolers have blessed the world in many ways, but we have not yet arrived. There is more for us to do, and there is more for us to be. We will accomplish all that God has set before us when we walk in honor and love. If we desire for others to be Christians, then we must be known by our love, even as Jesus said in John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” It was His great love for the world (John 3:16) that drove Jesus to the cross. He never came to curse us but to set us free. Luke 5:32 says, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” I mention these things because, as home schoolers, this is our commission from the Lord. One reason that we teach our children at home is so that they can learn to be a representation of Christ’s love to a lost world.
May we use our freedom to homeschool as a tool to love and draw others into relationship with the Lord. If we truly walk in love, then people will also be drawn to home schooling, which will strengthen our cause. Learning to speak and to exhort those in authority honorably, even when we disagree, will enhance and fortify the home schooling movement. Praying for and offering love to those who do differently than we do will draw them into a place in which they will encounter the Lord and be changed.
1 Peter 2:17 tells us to honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God and honor the king. Notice that this verse does not instruct us to honor only fellow believers or only those in agreement with us, but it says to honor all people, including the king. At the time this scripture was written, believers were being persecuted. Why would God’s Word instruct us to honor those in authority when they are not honoring God? What an amazing command. There is a key here to which we must pay attention. Imagine with me, home school families being the most honoring families in our society. What a change we could bring!
Whether we are dealing with people who are in places of authority or people who seem like your “average Joe” and whether we are dealing with home educators or public educators, we must make sure that their encounter with us is one of love and honor. I have a strong belief in home schooling, but I can choose to respect those who are doing otherwise. In fact, some of my closest Christian acquaintances are public school teachers, and they desperately need our prayers, love, and support to make a difference where they are. Never forget to pray for those who are walking into the dark places, giving of themselves to make a difference. Those teachers have the ability to bring love and truth to children whom we may never meet. Empower these teachers by honoring them! I pray that down the road those who are working in government education will be able to say, “Thank God for home schoolers. They are vital to our success.”
I leave you with this scripture regarding the tongue. You may have read it many times, but I pray that you would take several minutes to truly meditate on God’s instruction. Remember that your tongue contains the power of life and death. “With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh. Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.” (James 3:9-13 [(NKJV])
Let mercy and love lead.