I don’t think I ever lifted the cover, but it wasn’t hard to gather information on this popular book. The main characters were being tempted by and drawn to something they knew they shouldn’t have– a struggle that everybody faces. But I wanted my daughter to fill her mind with stories of people who don’t cave into their desires; people who stand on conviction and fight for the joy that comes from truth and light.
Plus, werewolves? Seriously? So we said no.
But lots of other parents–good Christian people–said yes. I know lots of moms who read the books themselves and thoroughly enjoyed them. The point of my post isn’t to decide who made the best decision. I want to talk about what happens when you say no to something and other parents say yes.
For my daughter, this was a tight spot to live. Everybody was talking about these books. Some of her friends were talking about little else. All conversations, day or night, seemed to end up at Twilight. It was a hard time to be a seventh grader.
Up until this point, our standard answer for arising controversies was: “I know everyone else is. And you aren’t.” End of discussion.
But this was right around the time that we began involving our daughter more in the decision making process. So we told her, “Yes, I know so-and-so is allowed. And yes, I know her parents are Christians. And no, I’m not saying we are better Christians than they are.” Then we talked about why we had come to a different conclusion.
It was tricky business. But good training for the Christian life. Christians are to live in unity, not uniformity. This means that we will decide differently on things–like whether we allow our kids to read Twilight. Or whether we take them trick-or-treating. Or whether we let them watch certain movies. Or download certain songs. We will decide differently than other Christian parents. And we need to be mindful and respectful of this.
But what about sending our daughter back out into the Twilight-crazed world she lived in? What would she say to her Christian friends who wondered why she was Twilight-illiterate? Would we be covert about our decision and have her slip another book inside a Twilight jacket to carry around?
No, hiding our convictions from each other isn’t helpful. Sometimes Christians catch their convictions from each other–and that can be a very good thing. But purposefully irritating or provoking other Christians with our personal convictions isn’t helpful either.
Here’s what the apostle Paul said to do. When he was discussing another issue which Christians differed on, he said, “Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind… in honor of the Lord.” (Romans 14:5-6) Paul didn’t draw a line in the sand and say everybody needed to hop on one side. (Just to clarify, there are many lines drawn in the Bible. This is a discussion about issues that have no explicit Biblical lines.) Rather, Paul said everybody should be fully convinced that they were honoring the Lord with their chosen side of the line.
What freedom there is in this! It means that when our daughter says, “But so-and-so is a Christian and she…” our cheerful response is, “Yes, but here’s why we are fully convinced that our decision is honoring to the Lord.” And then we go on living in unity (not uniformity) with other Christians.