BY COREY WADE
One of the things that I love most about my church is that all the young families are more than willing to take other people’s children into the “Big Service” for worship before the kids are dismissed for children’s church, while their parents are working in the nursery, worship team, etc. They do not need to worry about watching their children and trying to perform their duties.
It is in this context that the following conversation happened to one of my poor friends as he watched my daughter and she took the church-kid-abusing-the-system loophole up to 11:
*My 4 year old, Hadassah, lays down in the floor during worship.*
Other Dad helping out: “Hadassah, you shouldn’t lay down in church, especially during worship.”
Hadassah: “Sorry, laying down on the floor is how I worship God.”
Other Dad helping out: *stunned silence*
Hadassah 1 - Other Dad 0
When told this, all I could think of is where did this little girl learn to Jesus Juke at such a high level so early. But the truth is, every parent is confronted with this conundrum the first or hundredth time their child lies to them or is out right cruel to one of their siblings. Who taught them to act like this? I know my wife assumes that I teach them these skills when she is not looking, but our circumstance aside, the Bible sheds light on this in Romans.
“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
(Romans 3:10-12 ESV)
“For all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God”
Are these hard things to hear, especially when we visualize our cute little angels (cute little angels that won’t stop trying to ride the dog like a horse mind you)? Yes, they are, but the Bible is clear that we all have a bent towards sin, no matter how much Bubble Guppies we watch. And we know that this sin problem in our own lives cannot be beaten by trying harder or mustering more holiness.
Later on in Romans, Paul himself states that the Law cannot save. No, we need a new heart and that only comes through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
But do not be discouraged, this truth doesn’t mean that we are hopeless or that we are stuck. It just means that we cannot go about teaching our children the ways of the Lord or his teachings without first reaching their heart. Is this harder than just changing their behavior, absolutely it is. But this way of teaching our children mirrors the way that God teaches us.
He does not focus only on external behaviors but instead on external behaviors that mirror an inward reality. Now I don’t have 10 steps to do this because I believe that it will look different for every parent / child relationship but I do want to leave you with one question to ponder and meditate on as you think about what you want for your child:
Do you parent your child the way that God parents you?
Corey Wade decided to put his Biblical Studies degree to good use by becoming a PGA Golf Professional in Crossville, Tennessee. He and his beautiful wife Karyn are foster parents currently with three children that are apart of their forever family. His main hobbies include reading boring books, drinking coffee, and starting new hobbies only drop them weeks later. He secretly desires to be a reformed hipster and quote Augustine, but doesn't like the way his legs look in skinny jeans. You can contact him on twitter @cwadepga or his email firstname.lastname@example.org. Go Vols!!!