When one of my kids said, “Everybody’s doing it,” I said, “Wrong. You aren’t.” Sometimes children don’t want to be an exception.
Noah was. “The Lord saw…that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time…But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6: 5,8). Every inclination–but Noah’s. He was an exception. That made him exceptional.
Parents, teach your kids to be an exception, even when it hurts. If it doesn’t hurt, maybe it doesn’t help. The flow of humanity was toward evil. Noah stemmed the tide, and God used him to start all over. Talk about influence!
Imagine the derision when he spent one hundred years building a massive boat–in the desert. They had never heard of rain; mist came up from the earth. They laughed and scorned. They were not laughing when Noah finally went inside and it started to pour. They found out they were on the wrong side.
Dad and Mom, don’t cave in. They will thank you later. Some parents want to be the friend of their children. They want influence, so they step down from being an authority to being a friend. Big mistake. You are their guidance counselor, their teacher, their mentor for life. You know what is right; they are going to learn it from you. Then, hopefully, they won’t chuck it as teens when the pressure mounts, when sex looks too inviting to pass up, when they become an exception.
I was respected as an athlete, but I didn’t show at the after-game parties. They never asked me why. They knew. My parents had raised me to be different, and I accepted it. I never wished that I could join them. Credit gentle parents with living the life and making it more attractive. Everyone “important” went to the parties. I didn’t.
When it had rained for thirty days without stopping, I wonder if Noah’s three sons thanked their dad for not giving in under the overwhelming pressure of deriding neighbors. Non-stop mocking. It could have caused Ham, Shem and Japheth to change sides. But they made it on the boat. And they were still dry after forty days of a torrential downpour. Thank Papa Noah for not throwing in the towel.
Kids need to fit in. My sisters and I fit in with our parents. That was enough. We didn’t have to fit in with the crowd. We knew that we were different, and it didn’t matter. To find favor in the eyes of the Lord is worth whatever derision we might receive.
How about being an exception at work or at school? Never complain about the bosses or teachers. Choose gratitude rather than filling the air with the smog of resentment. Live a godly lifestyle rather than a compromising one. Be an exception. Go ahead–win the favor of heaven.