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Maybe after reading this, you will think it was written by Captain Obvious. But for some reason, as I have been meditating on these thoughts, I am seeing the world a little differently. And I wonder if it will help you as you speak with your teen or young adult.
 
Ideas
We swim in an ocean of ideas. Our children also swim in an ocean of ideas. Some ideas are presented through teaching and conversation. Others come through the arts and media. For this method we might think of TV, documentaries, advertisements, movies, or  music. Ideas are everywhere!
 
As our children get older, they are exposed to more and more ideas, and they are able to grasp them more deeply. When they are small and in our home, we control many of the ideas that come their way. But gradually, over time that influence lessens.
 
Two Categories
Ideas fall into two categories. True ideas and false ideas. 

I find Webster’s 1828 definition of truth quite helpful: “Conformity to fact or reality; exact accordance with that which is, or has been, or shall be.” The reality of God, the reality of nature, the reality of history, and the reality of science are examples of reality where true statements can be made. Truth is a statement that conforms to reality. 
 
False ideas do not conform to reality. There may be false ideas of God, nature, history, or science. False ideas can be broken into: 1. untruths that are innocently thought of and 2. deliberate deceptions and lies; untruths presented as truths.

For example, a number on my tax return that conforms to reality is true. A number that does not is false – whether put there deliberately false or ignorantly false.
 
Truth
Jesus is the truth (John 14:6). The Scripture is truth (John 17:17). Jesus is ultimate reality and Scripture speaks ideas to us about reality that is without error. In addition, God has also hidden truth about his creation that man continues to discover (Proverbs 25:2). As Christians we are to grow in the truth and love the truth. 
 
We are also commanded to think true thoughts about God. One way you love a person is by thinking true thoughts about them. Part of getting to know a person is getting to know the truth about them. To remain deliberately ignorant about a person is not loving. We honor God by thinking true ideas about him and by learning new thoughts about him. “How precious to me are your thoughts O God, how vast is the sum of them!” (Psalm 139:17).
 
Maturity and Discernment
Part of maturity is learning to discern true ideas from false ideas .Falsehoods do not conform to reality – whether the reality of God, our inner selves, history, or science. We naturally interpret our circumstances through the ideas we have in our minds. 
 
There are false ideas that people might believe in innocence. We might think of a young child who does not see the world rightly because he is untaught or has been misled. Immaturity is gullible. However, false ideas even presented innocently, can lead to harm. Why?

Ideas have consequences. Truth sets free. Lies enslave (John 8:31-32). Bad ideas have victims.
 
However, we live in a world when many are deliberately presenting untruths. Satan is a deceiver. He purposefully presents untruths or half-truths as the whole truth. Others in our world deliberately present untruths. Paul says that some came in who wanted to poison the minds of the Christians (Acts 14:2).

Discernment
Christians are called to be discerning. Over and over again, Jesus told us to watch out for false prophets and false teachers. He assumed we could recognize falsehood if we were discerning. 

Webster again helps us by defining discernment as “the power or faculty of mind, by which it distinguishes one thing from another, as truth from falsehood, virtue from vice, acuteness of judgment; power of perceiving difference of things or ideas, and their relations and tendencies. The errors of youth often proceed from the want of discernment.”
 
Without becoming cynical, our children will need to grow in discernment. They will need to learn to sift bad ideas from good. 
 
Applications
I can see several applications for the parent.
1. We want to teach this concept of ideas, truth, and untruths to our children. We must grow in understanding greater truth about the world and God. However, we also want our children to realize that untruths can be presented to them. 

2. We want to make them aware of their increasing exposure to the world of ideas as they leave our homes. They will be exposed to more ideas – both true and untrue. 

3. We want to teach them about the concept of discernment. Understanding that there are true and false ideas, they need to grow in discernment. They need to be aware of those who would deliberately present half-truths.

4. We want to give them an education of true ideas as much as possible.  Our goal is to teach as much truth as possible as well as to warn about untruths they will hear. 
 
Truth and falsehoods are all around us. We really are in a battle for the truth. 

Let’s pray we raise educated and discerning children!