Is there a secret to raising good, godly kids who, as adults, serve the Lord?
Hi. Welcome to today’s Little Lesson. This is a continuation of the last two. We’re going to talk about Christian parenting and how to be successful at that. I talked about several principals. Hope that you were able to see those particular Little Lessons. And I want to elaborate just one more time today because there’s a couple of principles that I think are important. One of course is that, we need to teach our children by both precept and by example. Let’s start with example. Okay?
If every time you’re driving home from church, your kids hear you criticize the sermon or criticize the pastor, criticize the church, or criticized people in the church, their little ears are being enlightened, that this is all just a bunch of hypocrisy. And mom and dad go to this place where everyone is so nice and friendly. And mom and dad are so nice and friendly and happy when they’re there. But Mom and dad find all kinds of things wrong. And we hear about that on the way home. And not just on the ride home from church, but of course all the time.
Children learn what they live. And the example that they see set before them day in and day out influences their thinking and how they turn out. Okay? So if they never hear mom and dad talk about the things of the Lord, they never seen mom or dad reading the Bible, or praying, or talking to a neighbor about spiritual things, if they never hear their mom and dad talking about their concern for the poor, and the oppressed, and what they’re doing about it, they don’t see that Jesus is the center of your life, well, they’re not going to grow up to think that Jesus needs to be the center of their lives.
And maybe more important is the fact that if Jesus is not the center of your life, you’re really not a Christian. You’re a church goer. You might be a born again person, but you’re not really born again. You’re not really a Christian. If Jesus is not controlling your life, he’s not your Lord, well then you don’t have a relationship with him. So make sure that Jesus is your Lord and that you’re endeavoring to obey him. And when you mess up, ask his forgiveness. And if your kids see you mess up, ask their forgiveness and explain to them how you just blew it.
And when you mess up with your own kids and do something that you regret, show the humility that God expects of all of us and ask your kid to forgive you. Okay? So kids learn by what they see. And what we’re doing is even much more important than what we’re saying, what we’re teaching our kids. But that is the secondary part of raising our children in the nurture and in the admonition of the Lord. Got to teach them by precept. So you’ve got to be teaching them the Bible.
Now, I just tell people you don’t need a devotional. Even though I’ve written devotionals for families myself, but you just need the Bible and you just read a chapter, and you can avoid parts that you think would be a difficult for your children. Just focus on stuff that you think is within their capacity for comprehension and so forth. And if you read something you don’t understand, they ask you a question, and you don’t know the answer, the best thing to do is just say, “I don’t know the answer to that. There’s some things in the scripture that we just, we don’t understand so well. But we’re going to try to focus on what we do understand.”
Like Mark Twain said, “It’s not the parts of the Bible that I don’t understand that bother me. It’s the parts that I do understand that bothered me.” And there’s a honest statement for sure. Alright. Even though Mark Twain wasn’t a Christian. So, consistently every day, maybe first thing in the day, if that works out in your schedule or last thing, when you’re tucking them in at night, you read a, it doesn’t be a whole chapter of the Bible, you just read something. And you talk about it, so that your kids can see that this is the guiding book. This is important to mom and dad.
My mom and dad are people of the Bible. And they’re trying to do what God wants them to do and when they blow it, they don’t try to cover it up, they don’t make excuses. They’re real. They’re real. Okay. Now along those same lines … I don’t know how to say this, but the scripture does say, I’ll just use scripture. I think it’s in Ephesians where Paul talks about do not exasperate your children. That is kids are kids and you can’t expect them to act like adults. They’re kids. And so you have to have realistic expectations for your kids.
And I remember one time I was at a pastor’s house and we’re sitting at breakfast and things were a little bit quiet. I wondered why. And all of a sudden this pastor says very boldly and strongly to one of his daughters, he said, “Two spoons of sugar on your corn flakes?” I just kind of melt into the wall. And she just bowed her head and it was very tense. I thought, “Boy, this is not a loving Christian home.” You think about it. So many people’s Christianity isn’t attractive? It’s not attractive. It’s a turnoff. They’re not loving, and gentle, and merciful. They’re mean, and strict, and unforgiving, and ungracious, and a bunch of rule keepers.
Worse yet they got a bunch of weird rules. I was not surprised when that little girl grew up and she ran off with some guy. She got out of there as quick as she could get out of there. Let me tell you. And if I was her, I think I’d a done the same thing, if I had a dad like that who embarrassed me in front of guests, and the whole family and the cardinal sin was two spoonfuls of sugar. There’s better ways to teach your kids about healthy eating than to be a tyrant. Amen. Amen.
And so it’s a no wonder there are so many kids raised in quote unquote Christian homes who in the end run because the form of Christianity in some homes is so bizarre and weird. I mean, who can blame those kids? Their own conscience is telling them that their parents are nuts, because the parents have these nutty rules and these crazy ideas that they’ve derived from one or two scriptures at the expense of the whole rest of the Bible. You know, it’s like those snake handlers down in West Virginia.
I was reading an article about that not so long ago. Here’s a guy, had an article about him handling snakes, showing pictures of him handling these rattlesnakes. His dad died from a rattlesnake bite and church and his brother died from a rattlesnake bite in church, because they got a Bible verse, Mark 16, they got one Bible verse that says they’ll handle serpents and they’ve interpreted that literally, even though there’s not a single example of a snake handling service anywhere in the book of Acts. So there’s no way that’s what Jesus meant.
No apostle interpreted Jesus’s words like that. And those little kids sitting in church, they got more sense than their parents. Their thinking, “As soon as I’m old enough, I’m out of here. These people are nuts.” And I’m just giving you an extreme example. There is more sublime examples of the same nuttiness.
Alright, well that’s all from me today about Christian parenting. I hope you’re getting something out of this. Maybe one more Little Lesson on this subject. Thanks for joining me.