What Would You Have Done?

Proverbs 4:23, Psalm 101:3
Before our daughter Nicole started babysitting, we set some rules: she couldn't sit in homes where there were occult practices, pornography, or drunkenness. 

We loved her and didn't want her exposed to these things.

When a neighbor asked 12-year-old Nicole to watch her toddler once a week, it seemed perfect. 

But Nicole returned from her first job discouraged.

"Mom, they have pornography. Please tell them I can't sit again."

My immediate reaction:
Was that rule necessary? Yes. 
Could we simply make excuses and not explain our reasons to the family? No.

It was 30 years ago, but I vividly remember how nervous I was before I met with my neighbor, told her we were Christians and told her about the rules we'd made before Nicole began babysitting. I tried to be as kind and gentle as possible, and I made it clear I wasn't telling her and her husband what to read.

She didn't deny the pornography, but neither did she understand. 

She wouldn't even say "hi" to me after that. 

I look back and wonder if I could have done it better.

What would you have done in this situation?
Please leave your answers in a comment below so everyone can benefit. Thanks!  Gail

25 comments:

  1. Good morning,

    I would have done the same irrespective of that person ever talking to me or not. Your child was taught to distinct between right and wrong in God's eyes, and not in people's eyes, and to stand up for your beliefs.

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  2. When my 40 year old was 7 years old,I was staying with my parents while my husband served overseas. My husband and I had already agreed that we would not allow our sons to participate in worldly celebrations like Halloween. However, my father pressured me to allow my 7 yr old to go trick or treating. I was not happy. And the memory of it always saddens me because I compromised my values. My son is now an athiest and I struggle with my walk with God. This is not because of this one incident. But, one compromise leads to another, and another, and another.....

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  3. I would have done the same thing. You have no idea what impact it will have on your young daughter and you don't want to look back in years to come with regrets. Not all children make the right choices as adults and as parents we do enough wondering over what we could have done differently.

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  4. I think your daughter should have been the one to politely explain why she could no longer babysit for your neighbor. Since your daughter is old enough to babysit, she is old enough to take a stand on her own. Also, the neighbor might have accepted the change better if it had come from your daughter rather than having you intercede.

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    1. "Since your daughter is old enough to babysit, she is old enough to take a stand on her own." I wonder how often this is actually true. I can remember a time in my life when I was definitely old enough to babysit, but I wouldn't have known how to take a stand if I had been asked to. I think this is making a lot of assumptions about how much the daughter could cope with. Maybe Gayle was the kind of person who could do this - she probably was since she made the suggestion. I just know I wouldn't have been able to do it... Antony (Jilly & I share)

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  5. Your daughter came home and told you which is so admirable :)
    Because she was so honest I would of let her babysit again as she would choose not to watch anything thats inappropriate and be accountable to you. There could of been a friendship built between you and them and an opportunity to share Gods love along the way. :)

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  6. I would be hurt,but yet knowing in my heart that I had done the right thing ,then if it bothered me that my neighbor wouldn't even say hi I would give it all over to the LORD who knows all things and answers prayers.

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  7. If it was an educational sexual reference book explaining things in educational terms about sex and love, I would be fine with that. But if it was porn mags, videos, I would totally agree, no way would I expect any child to be put in that situation. When their is an adult it is up to them to make the right choices, but before that it is my duty as a parent to guard and protect my child from influences I do not like or I think would hurt them. Mind you if the said things were in a cupboard away from sight, my child should not be going into other peoples cupboards whilst babysitting and i would be annoyed with her if she had and I would not pull her out of that situation, as the people took necessary precautions from children not see them. So if I did not feel my child was safe in that environment then I would have pulled her away from that situation for sure.

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  8. I am inspired by your courage and your confidence in your beliefs. You did the right thing. And your daughter showed great maturity in her actions as well.
    God bless you

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  9. I would have done the very same thing only I would have asked my daughter to pray with me right then for our neighbors. If the pornography was out in the open for your daughter to see then surely their toddler child would be exposed to it also! Your daughter is also to be highly commended for making a good choice. Choosing obedience over a babysitting job was right

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  10. I agree with what you did as well, you showed you were willing to train up your child in the way she should go and she did not depart from it. I know as she gets older she will remember the stand you made for Christ. My mother had a very strong faith in Jesus and strong belief's in right and wrong and though she died when I was 19 and now at 57 I have never forgotten what she taught me.

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  11. I would have done the same thing. Being obedient to God is far more important than what man thinks. Yes, we will lose friendship sometimes but if it doesn't align with the word then why question if it was right or wrong?

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  12. I would have done the same thing. Being obedient to God is far more important than what man thinks. We don't need to be exposed to things if it doesn't align with the Word of God.

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  13. I applaud you both. You set up guidelines and stuck to them. That speaks volumes to your child.

    About 10-12 years ago or so, my daughter and I approached a young woman (teenager) who came to our church fellowship by herself (with no parents) because she had announced she was marrying her boyfriend, who was an unbeliever. We told her that we were concerned for her, because God says not to be unequally yoked. We tried to be very gentle and kind, but she became very upset with us and wouldn't speak to us for quite a long time. She married him, had a child and is now divorced. She is not walking with the Lord, as far as I can tell. It was NOT something that we wanted to do, but felt that it was the right thing to do.

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  14. I would have done EXACTLY what you did. Your response was Biblical and taught your daughter a valuable lesson that you had her back. If the neighbor didn't understand your response, that's on her and between her and God.

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  15. You did well. The only other thing that might have been possible would be to offer for your dsughter to care for the child in your home. As for being ignored, you just keep on being cordial and caring and forgiving. What they do not accept is their problem, not yours.

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  16. Gail,
    Because you wrote, "I wonder if I could have done it better," I wonder if you believe you COULD have "done it better." Did you ask God for wisdom and a gentle spirit before you approached your neighbor? Was there anything in your words, tone or body language that could have (and should have) been different? If so, confess to God. If not, then continue to pray for your neighbors - and for restoration with them. We are called to speak the truth in love. In so doing we may anger or offend whose to whom we are speaking, but the end result - whatever that may be and however long it may take - will be as God will.

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  17. Gail,

    As a very protective mother of two children, who is struggling with my walk with GOD; I AM STILL a firm believer that we humans should do everything in our power to demonstrate GODS good grace. You did the RIGHT thing. Your neighbors as adults, should have been offended, not by YOUR approach, but by their intent to be disobedience to the lord. Their hearts are a bit removed from spiritual substance and their guilt has shut them down from speaking to you. They do NOT know what else to say to you. If and when they find their place with grace, it will be THEN that they can understand your grace, forgive themselves first and pray for brotherly love and ask forgiveness from you. Until then, their taste of the secular world cannot reason with the grace that GOD's path entails. Put it in GOD's hand and relish the fruit GOD has preserved for you and your family’s grace...:0)

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  18. I'm not sure I would have confronted them - it really just depends on how the LORD is leading but the right answer is not always to confront. Walk by faith, which is what you and your daughter did. Beyond that, do and say as the Lord leads. If the lady had a heart for truth, she would have asked you "Why?" Then explain.

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  19. I would have done the same. You needed to explain why your daughter could no longer babysit. She may have been offended but that is HER reaction. Since she was not a Christian there was no way for her to understand. I used to see nothing wrong with watching horror movies. Then when I became a Christian, God convicted me and so I stopped. I had friends who did not understand. Acts 9:18 is a good example of why non-Christians do not understand why we feel convicted on certain issues.

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  20. I believe you did the correct hing & I would like to acknowledge your strength - many would have not bothered to explain, making up excuses why their daughter could no longer babysit.
    The lady didn't understand, because she had not ears to hear.
    But pray for her & her family as you have planted a wonderful seed.

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  21. I think you did fantastic. I wonder if I could have done the same when my sons were younger. You not only stood on God's principals, but you also planted a seed that God could use to someday hopefully make your neighbors' lives also a blessing to God.

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  22. I agree with the rest of the comments here. I would have done the same thing, because you can't afford to send your child into that environment, especially on a regular basis. The enemy is a liar and will use any tactic he can to snare our children.

    I disagree with one comment that said if your daughter is old enough to babysit, she is old enough to confront on her own.

    Having grown up babysitting as a teenager, I can definitely say in hindsight that teenagers often still lack the skills to confront an adult about something of this matter. There is a reason why children live with their parents until they are considered legal adults, because they still a parent's guidance, protection and intervention.

    It was entirely proper for Gail to intervene in this situation so as to not send her daughter into a confrontation that could have possibly been more than she could handle; or worse, put her child in a situation where she would have been manipulated and pressured to compromise (and given the fact that the woman KNEW of their standards ahead of time and failed to reveal the pornography, AND her manipulative behavior afterward, this would have been very likely).

    I agree with everything you did. If there were more parents as careful as you, pornography wouldn't be the epidemic among young people as it is today! Kudos!

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  23. A couple of thoughts here: 1) What was it? Was it something that an average person would consider pornography, or your twelve year-old's very innocent view of the world? I'm not sure at 12 I'd have even known what porn was. I ask because we had a clerk in our shop once that wanted to kick a customer off the rental computer because he was surfing porn. I had to look up his history and her version of porn and my version (I am an adult, but also a born-again Christian) were very different. I wouldn't have given his browsing history a second thought. 2) She felt you were judging her. You were judging her. How did you address it? Did you say "my daughter won't come here anymore because you have porn"? Or did you ask her about what your daughter saw without being accusatory? 3) What were these people doing with porn out where your 12 year old daughter could see it? Unless they were genuinely creepy people (e.g. pedophiles), most people would do their best to hide porn from prying eyes, especially children, but also other adults. Was it in their bedroom? On the dresser? In a drawer? If so, what was your daughter doing looking in those places? If she was snooping and tattling, I wouldn't have let Nicole come over to babysit again anyway.

    Sticking by your guns is one thing, but I'm not sure we are getting the whole story here. There are ways to deal with things of the world without turning people off of Christianity all together. There's a big difference between, "We're Christians and daughter can't come here anymore because you have porn!" and "Hey, Nicole mentioned that you leave Playboy sitting out in the bathroom and we're not comfortable with that. Unless you can assure me that those types of things will be put securely away, she won't be allowed to babysit anymore." The number one reason people don't become Christians is other Christians.

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    1. 1) Playboy - which I consider pornography whether others do or not.

      2) Non hypocritical judging is not only allowed in the Bible, it's commanded. Since we did not use pornography, we were in a position to judge another person's use of pornography as it affected our child. I encourage you to check out the Subject archive and click on the archive "Misunderstandings About Judgment." It will give you Scriptures that clearly command us to judge people, actions, and teachings.

      3) Regarding your previous point about inappropriate judging, I find it interesting that you assume that my daughter must have been snooping because only creepy pedophiles would leave pornography where she could see it. But despite your assumptions that think the worst of her without cause, the pornography was laying out. She didn't go snooping to find it.

      And speaking to your point that there are ways to deal with the world without turning people off, Jesus doesn't agree with you:

      Speaking to worldly, compromised people, Jesus said in John 7:7: "The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me, because I testify that its works are evil."

      And in the following passages, speaking to believers, Jesus said:

      John 15:18: "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first"

      Matthew 10:22: "You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved."

      And John echoes this truth:
      1 John 3:13: So do not be surprised, brothers, if the world hates you.

      You are also wrong about Christians being the main reason for people rejecting Christ. According to Scripture, the number one reason people don't become Christians is sin:
      "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil." John 3:19




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