Sunday, July 21, 2019

We Don’t Have to Know All the Words (Part II)


Here are the last three points.

4.We must teach our children that their acceptance is not based on being good.

In the same way that our children’s worth does not come from the things they achieve, children do not become acceptable because of their good behavior.

The most powerful way to teach your children that their value is not based on what they do, is to express your love and acceptance of them when they are bad. When we withhold love and acceptance from children when they misbehave, we are teaching them a works based righteousness. If our children think that if they sin, we will be disappointed in who they are, then they are not learning the gospel.

If the gospel is true, then we don’t lose God’s acceptance. Jesus is the propitiation for our sin. A payment that satisfies. If the payment is satisfied, then God cannot be dissatisfied in us. God is able to accept us, not because we are good, but because our debt of guilt has been fully paid, once and for all. So when we are afraid that He will not accept us because we have done something wrong, we are negating and minimizing what he has done for us. Rom. 8:1 says “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Rom. 8:39 says that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. There is nothing that we can do, that will cause God to not want us anymore. If we are dissatisfied in our children when they sin, we give them a picture that the enemy would want.

Satan wants our kids to believe that if they don’t get good grades, and stay away from the bad stuff, and don’t perform, then you’re not proud of them. And he wants them to believe that they can get good grades, never sin, and perform perfectly and that it is possible to earn their own value and attain their own righteousness. This is works based righteousness, and it’s the best strategy to keep children from becoming dependent upon God (Act like Men-Joby Martin). Children need to know they are accepted by God, and they can’t earn it.
5.We must face our own continued sin and need for Jesus.

The worst lie that we can teach our children, is that Christians no longer sin. Teach your children that you are in need of Jesus every day, just like they are. Adults are not beyond sin. Recognize that and live that, and you will inspire your children to live in dependency on God!!

If we want our children to have an accurate picture of who God is and who they are, then we have to know the truth and live out the truth in our own inner lives. The truth is that we as Christians still sin, we are not perfect, we struggle every single day with pride, judging others, looking down on others, comparing, competing, controlling, manipulating, misleading. We can sometimes deceive ourselves into thinking that we are “good” because we live a moral life, and we try really hard to follow all of God’s commands, and we don’t do any of the big sins. But even as Christians, sin is in our hearts, and we still need the healing grace of the gospel every-single-day.

God’s grace is not just an absence of condemnation, it is His unmerited favor, God is for us, not against us. He desires good for us not evil. Grace reverses the law. The law says we have to do it, but grace is God saying “I will help you do it”. Grace allows us to face our sinful hearts, and as we are received with acceptance and we are forgiven, our hearts are transformed into people who are less and less drawn toward sin, and more and more drawn toward Christlikeness.

When God reveals our sin, we can either respond with systems of self-justification to ease our conscience, or by admitting it, confessing to God and others, and receiving God’s grace and mercy. When we self-justify, we teach our children to hide sin, explain it away, deny its existence, or blame others. When we as parents, practice authenticity and vulnerability by confessing our sins, we model to our children the gospel, and how the power of the gospel works out in everyday life.

We need to ask for our children’s forgiveness when we have wronged them. When we say “I was prideful, I’m sorry I said that, will you forgive me?”, we live out the gospel.

We need to allow them to see us confess our sin to our spouses, and allow them witness the grace and healing that comes through living out the gospel. Our families should function as redemptive communities, where we regularly confess sin, repent, ask for forgiveness, and experience fully restored relationships.

Authenticity is the practice of being honest about who we are before God and others, and is the lack of posturing and pretending. This is who we want to be, and who we want to teach our children to be.

We need to work very hard to not perpetuate the delusion to our children that they can achieve perfection. We are not good; they are not good. That’s why we need Jesus. We need to live in truthfulness and humility. We don’t have to live a life of posturing and pretending, denying our sin, and fearing our failures. We need to receive God’s love every day for our sense of worth, and we need to confess, repent, and receive God’s grace every single day. We need to live in dependence on God.

James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” Confession should be a regular part of our lives, if we don’t think we have regular sin to confess, we are experiencing self-deception, and we’re not looking deep enough at our motives and thoughts.

6.We must provide a redemptive gospel community for our children.

When our children sin, we must not distance ourselves as if we can’t relate. We need to identify with them. We are sinners too. Sin is a human condition. It is a problem that’s a part of our very nature. There is no sin that our children will ever commit that we are not capable of as well. As we admit that we are alike, we convey our need and excitement for the gospel, because it is our only hope as well.

We don’t respond to sin with “How could you?” As if it’s such a shock that a Christian would sin, or so out of the ordinary. We are humbly aware of our own sin. We understand their inner struggle, because we have been there and we would be there, apart from the amazing grace of God. If we want to reflect the love and grace of God, then our children need to know that there is nothing that they can do to cause us to lose our love for them.

Both Galatians 6:1 and 2 Tim. 2:25-26 paint a picture of the one in sin, as being caught in a trap and in need of rescue, and both verses mention that this rescue must be done gently.

Home and church should be a space where it is safe for our children to be vulnerable and acknowledge failure. A space where we respond with calmness and grace, and the promise to walk with them through their struggles, rather than judging and condemning them.

We must not have a “life as a final exam relationship” with our children, where they are constantly evaluated and critiqued, where there is no room for making mistakes and being human. The belief that we must be perfect to be acceptable, drives us into denial of our sin, and keeps us from ever experiencing the grace of the gospel and transformation of our hearts. God does not expect us to “know all the words”, he does not expect us to get everything right, he does not expect perfection, he accepts us based on the work of Christ. God’s unconditional acceptance makes it safe to admit our sin, face it, confess it, repent of it, and grow from it.

Home and church can be a gospel community where we live out the themes of grace, forgiveness, deliverance of sin, reconciliation, new life, and hope. When we extend the grace of Christ that we have received, to our children, we train them to live honestly and in the open and fully dependent upon God.

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