“ Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, for John had been saying to him: ‘It is not lawful for you to have her,’ Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered him a prophet. On Herod’s birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced for them and pleased Herod so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. Prompted by her mother, she said, ‘Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.’ The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted and had John beheaded in the prison. His head was brought in on a platter and given to the g9irl, who carried it to her mother.” Matthew 11:3-11
I read these verses yesterday, and all throughout the day, my thoughts rolled back to the daughter of Herodias and I had so many questions I wanted to explore.
*Although clearly prompted by her mom to ask for John’s head, did she willingly obey or did she do it because she had to obey?
*Did she have the same hatred for John the Baptist as her mother?
*Did she have nightmares about seeing John the Baptist’s head on a platter?
*Did she ever experience regret?
*Was she traumatized for life?
*Didn’t she realize that her mom and dad were separated because her mom decided to leave her father Philip (Herod’s half-brother) to go be the Herod’s mistress?
*Did she realize the motives behind the request? (Herod and Herodias’ hatred for John was only because John condemned the sinful life they were living. )
I’ll never know the answers to these questions; I can only speculate.
I then started to think about the hatred that ISIS has for Christians. In actuality, they want to eradicate any religion other than their own. On today, the anniversary of September 11th, our nation is on high guard against attack. But a few days ago, my Hindu neighbor who is from India told me that India is actually on high guard against radical muslim attack as well. (I had no idea!).
This pure evil hatred that is being expressed in videos is something that they are teaching their children as well. I saw a video recently of 3 sons of radical muslims who have been trained to be just like their fathers. The video was a very well-articulated rant of hatred and a threat of eradication of Christians. When I watched the video, I just shook my head . These boys were 11 or 12, at best. And they’ve been taught to allow hatred to consume them. GOD IS LOVE. And this video was the complete antithesis of the God I serve.
In light of this passage and the current situation in the world, how much more do we need to instill in our children Godly principles? If God is LOVE, the antithesis of hatred, am I teaching my kids as much as ISIS is to the contrary? As much as I’ve tried to teach my children scripture and make daily applications, can I really say I’ve done it with the same passion that is being taught these kids in the Middle East?
That’s a question I don’t think I can answer in the affirmative, try as I might.
Let’s not just teach our children right from wrong. Let’s not just teach them Bible verses. Without the daily application for living, they so easily can be swayed to do things they one day will (perhaps like Herodias’ daughter) regret. Statistics show that after kids grow into adults, many leave the church, and the #1 reason is because although they may have made a commitment to God and started a relationship with Him as a child, they never really made it their own. It was their parent’s religion, not their personal relationship. They never questioned things when they were younger. They just accepted what their parents said as truth and then once they became adults, they started questioning. At that point, they’re in college and likely surrounded by the wrong sources of wisdom.
So let’s take some advice from Crosby, Stills, and Nash, “Teach Your Children Well”!
--- Beth Banfill