Outside appearances have me as a good child, brought up in a Christian family, able to influence others to do good things. However, outside appearances cannot hide a wicked heart for long. And I was wicked when I was growing up.
I, to my shame, never remember thinking of God much when I was at school, despite coming from a Christian family. School was a slog I hated. Perhaps this is not everyone’s experience, but most children, whether they enjoy school or not forget God more than they would at home with Godly parents.
Sadly, were your children in my company when I was five, they would have been influenced to their harm. I found out how to steal Barbie dolls when I was six, so I could have the nice things other girls had that my poor parents couldn’t give me. I realize they may have had other reasons to avoid buying Barbie dolls with me, such as avoidance of the over-sexualisation happening in our culture.
One day, my parents saw me playing with the dolls I had stolen. They asked me where I got them from and I lied and told them someone had given them to me.
At six-years-old I was disobeying the eighth and ninth commandment flagrantly, unbeknown to my parents. They didn’t know about it and they couldn’t help me with my problems.
Those who know me now would, perhaps, be surprised I was this wicked so young (but, then again, perhaps some would not be surprised). Even though it happened when I was five, I still cringe and know that but for God’s grace, I would perish in the flames of hell for this.
When I was eight-years-old my parent homeschooled me. It was for my benefit, but getting me out of my peer's company probably benefitted them as I was a bad influence.
Under the tutelage of my parents, my character improved. I stopped stealing and begun to hate lying to my parents. My parents became my best friends and my siblings were my second best friends. However, I still harboured many dark thoughts (thoughts that I remember forming from the lonely hours at school, where I wanted to be alone, yet felt lonely).
In short, I improved dramatically at home. But, I was not perfect and even my homeschool friends were poisoned by my dark character at times. I would occasionally swear. Perhaps not 'bad' swearing by the world's standards, but they were outbreaks, like pimples on a forehead, against God. ‘Damn’ I would say. Then later I would say, ‘crap’ repeatedly. (Ironically this latter one I picked up from a homeschooling friend and made my own. So, no, sin is present among Christian homeschoolers too!)
I was a girl who loved God, but I was still immature and needed my parent’s time and attention so they could teach me maturity in Christ. Only lately, having nearly reached the age of 28, would I think I would be a fit peer to influence in the way of the Lord.
Ask yourself this question: If I, Rebbecca Devitt, who came from a Christian family, was a bad influence, what are non-Christian children likely to look like? How much worse is their influence going to be?