**Preface: Everything I write on this topic is simply restating the information. I am still figuring out what I think about this topic and more specifically, I don’t have kids. Feel free to post your reactions/questions/ or personal experiences!
What makes our parenting distinctly “Christian?”
We are not perfect parents and we don’t have perfect kids. But to remedy our mutual imperfections isn’t more law, even if it seems to produce tidy or polite children. Kids will use the law the same way we do—ignore it, bend it, or obey it outwardly from a selfish heart. This is for certain: they won’t obey it from the heart. They can’t. This is why Jesus had to die. Christian children and their parents don’t need to learn to be “nice”. They need death and resurrection and a Savior who has done before them as a faithful high priest, who lived and died perfectly in their place. They need a savior who extends the offer of complete forgiveness, complete righteousness, and indissolvable adoption to all who believe.
The funny thing is, we all know the gospel and share it with girls we disciple or non-Christian co-workers. On our blogs or in triad, we share our war against trusting in our own goodness. But something happens when we begin training miniature unbelievers in our own home. We forget the deadliness of relying on our own righteousness and we teach that the Bible and Christianity is all about their behavior and how because of it, “God is happy” or “God is sad” on any given day. And we wonder why there are so many nominal Christians in the world who base their standing with God on their moral life choices and a prayer they prayed once at Sunday school when they asked Jesus into their heart. Or we wonder why so many good meaning parents raise children who end up denying the faith or rebelling as soon as they can. I mean, who would want to deny himself, lay down his life, or suffer for something as boring as “Say your sorry,” or “be nice,” or “don’t hang around them.” Is that the message that has both empowered and caused persecution to the church for the past 2000 years?
The grace that has been lavished on us through Christ ought to make our parenting or teaching radically different. At the deepest level of what we do, we should hear the heartbeat of a loving, grace-giving father who freely adopts rebels and transforms them into loving sons and daughters (and that includes us adults who don’t have it all together either). We can’t save ourselves any more than we can save our children. And that is why we need to share the gospel, the message of salvation. God will use us as we give grace to our children, but salvation is entirely from the faithful, soul-transforming, blood-covering, One.
Sounds like the pendulum is swinging in the opposite direction? You may be asking “So….what about my kid’s obedience?”Answer: I don’t know. TBA!