Hello! I sincerely hope you all are enjoying this book as much as I am. I am getting so much out of it. In Chapter 4: Jesus Love All His Little Prodigals and Pharisees, the theme here is that no matter if your child is a “bad” child or “good” child, they need to know that the gospel is for them.
This chapter spoke of two children, Susan and David, one a rule breaker, and one, an adamant rule follower. Naturally, we’re more inclined to punish or correct the rule breaker while commending the rule follower for being (what society states) good. Both of these actions, as the author points out, are incorrect and can be harmful and damaging. Both types of children are in great need of the gospel. They need to know that they are both sinning in their actions. We come down on the rule breaker, praise the rule follower, but as the author reminds us on page 68, The law doesn’t transform the heart, it only hardens it in pride and despair.
When our children become the rule breaker, we must be careful not to condemn them in such a way as to say, “I can’t believe you did that!” We ourselves break rules all the time, because we are sinners. As such, we must also be careful not to give praise to our rule follower, causing them to believe that their good deeds rise above, thus making them “better”. It breeds self righteousness and removes the need for a savior. It allows them to think that they are perfect and couldn’t possibly need the atoning blood of Christ like the other child, because they are “good”. We, as believers, know this to be untrue. They need the gospel just as much as any other person.
In order for our children to fully understand this, the authors states we must continually confess to them our sins, explaining that we too break rules and try to justify what we did. Alternately, we need to also confess that we follow the rules and tend to feel superior to others for doing so. “Consistent, transparent, and specific confession of sin will help children see how their parents struggle with sin in the same ways they do.” (pg 71).
Ultimately, we need our children to realize that no matter their actions, good or bad, they are in need of God’s saving grace and that nothing they do can earn it or take it away. They can never be too bad to deserve it and they can never be too good to need it. This needs to be a reminder to them (and us) daily. Probably several times a day. If you feel like maybe you’ve missed the boat and have ruined your children, please know no one, not even you, can thwart His purpose to bless those who are His. (Eph. 1:11). Build your hope on the foundation of Jesus Christ, knowing He already accomplished it all. Give yourself grace, seek God, and “dazzle your children with the love of Jesus”.
Questions for discussion:
1. Have you ignored your little Pharisees’ need for a Savior? How can you help the Pharisees in your house see the greater law?
2. Is teaching you children about God’s generous love and mercy a new way of parenting for you? How? Have you been more concerned with teaching them about obedience?
3. How can we teach our children that the gospel is for sinners?
Please feel free to discuss the chapter and/or these questions in the comments. Can’t wait for next week!