The gospel conflicts with the way I view myself and the way I want to parent my children. I want to think I am a nice person who gets along with people, I have some talents in a few areas and I am doing okay in life. I want my kids to get along with each other and their peers, I want my kids to behave at church and I want them to do their best at school. I want them to stay out of jail, out of serious debt and out of the hospital. I want my kids to have a good self-esteem, good friends and a good time. I want them to get into good relationships, a good church and a good job. All these things tell me I’m doing okay and my kids are doing okay too.
Unfortunately, all the desires for my kids that affect the way I parent have a cumulative counter-gospel effect, because if they are doing okay then they do not need Jesus. If they are doing all the right things and turn out to be nice men and women, I’ve neglected to show them their true selves – selfish, sinful, sinners. Only when a person sees themselves as they truly are can the Spirit of God reveal the wonder and love of Jesus who, while we were still sinners, died for us to bring us back to God.
These verses from the 18th century hymn ROCK OF AGES sums up what we (and our kids) bring to God in our cleverness, achievements and goodness:
Not the labour of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.
Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Saviour, or I die!
Let’s parent for Christ’s sake, not for the sake of ourselves or our children. Here’s some ideas to reinforce the gospel of Jesus as we parent:
- Give kids pocket money, not because they’ve earned it, but because you love them. Still expect help with the running of the household, but do not tie them together.
- Encourage your kids to love each other because Jesus loved them first – remind them constantly of what love really looks like! I often struggle with this because my motives are usually selfish (so I don’t have to listen to and deal with the conflicts).
- Make Christmas and Easter celebrations a CELEBRATION! These are two HUGE events to Christians that western society has hi-jacked for commercial gain and diluted their meaning. How will your kids look back at Easter and Christmas?
- Model repentance and forgiveness. If our kids see us as always being right, how will they ever admit they are wrong before God. Apologise when you have wronged someone, especially them, and ask for forgiveness.
What other ideas do you have/practise to address the conflict of good kids and the gospel?
Do you find these posts helpful in parenting to the Glory of God?
If you do, then I’m sure others would too.
Please SHARE these posts, and in doing so pray for a generation of kids who have had the gospel of Jesus taught & modelled to them by their parents.