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From the Confessions: The Small Catechism
Although we cannot and should not force anyone to believe, we should nonetheless insist that the people know what is right and wrong according to those among whom they live and desire to make their living. For whoever desires to reside in a town must know and observe the town laws whose protection he wishes to enjoy, no matter whether he is a believer or, at heart and in private, a troublemaker or crook.
Pulling It Together
Too often, we hear something along this line: We have decided to let our children make up their own minds. All the while, the rest of the world has free access to the minds of these same children. Then parents wonder why their children grow up to be unproductive or worse. They wonder if they had raised these now adult children, or say things like, We didn’t raise them to be like this. Well, yes, you did.
You are not forcing anyone to believe by teaching the catechism, or for that matter spelling or science. You are providing adequate tools for the future. One cannot make up a mind, if that part of the mind is deficient. Having never taught them to spell, we would be quite foolish to imagine our children could get along in society by choosing to spell words with whatever combination of letters they decided should be used. Having never allowed them to be taught any science, we would be poor parents indeed, who allowed our children to go up a ladder and learn about gravity the hard way.
You cannot force anyone to believe, but you can supply the tools and information necessary to, at very least, live a moral life—if not one that is godly.
Prayer: Give me the courage to be a responsible Christian, Lord. Amen.
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