Friday, February 6, 2009

Loving the Sinner...Hating the Sin

This past Wednesday night, we did our 3rd video in the series, Parenting is a Ministry--with Pastor Craig Caster.

The second video was basically about how, apart from an intimate relationship with Christ, we will be INEFFECTIVE as ministers to our children. We cannot run on "empty" and expect to fill anyone's cup.

The third video was the first session on Loving Communication. As Pastor Craig shared on the video, I was reminded of some teaching I'd heard a few years back from Ginger Plowman....

It's very important that we never discipline or correct our children in anger. We should use love, rather than ungodly fear, to motivate our kids to do the right thing. Our children should be able to understand, from our verbal communication and body language, that we are loving them and wanting God's best for them...that we don't want them bound by sin, because that will separate them from God...our correction should point them to their need for Christ's forgiveness, and the Holy Spirit's power to live victoriously.

We should never communicate to our children that we are irritated with them because of something they have done (love is not easily angered)...but rather, that we want to teach them to put off a sinful behavior because the sin displeases God.

So--when we speak with our children to give correction, it needs to involve Biblical reproof. Example:
(when getting into the car because we have to leave the Chick-fil-A playground early since "daughter" told her younger brother to kick a girl in the shin, and he followed orders)...

INSTEAD OF: "You guys cannot do this! It is ugly, and I am so embarassed! I can't believe you would do this to me in public!"

SAY: "Buddy, God tells us that we are to be kind to one another. Was it kind when you kicked that little girl?....Also, sissy told you to kick that little girl, and I know you were trying to follow her directions, but the Bible tells us we must obey God rather than men. If you know that sissy's telling you to do something that doesn't please God, then you should do the thing that DOES please God anyway."....................AND "Sissy, the Bible tells us to spur one another on to love and good deeds. (Explain how a spur is what a cowboy has on his heels when he kicks a horse to make it gallop we need to be like spurs that cause our friends and family to really want to be loving and do good deeds)...when you told Brother to kick that little girl, were you spurring him on to love and good deeds?"

Obvioulsy, it takes more time and more thought (and wisdom that comes from spending time in God's word)--and MUCH emotional self-control (but if we walk by the Spirit we won't satisfy our flesh) to correct children the right way...I'm not always perfect with it, but I am asking the Lord to help me give a Biblical reproof when my kids need correction...and by His grace, we are beginning to see a wee bit of fruit starting to come forth from this effort at our house!

I'll leave you with this last thing I learned from Ginger...Scripture teaches that we are all born sinners. We aren't sinners because we sin, so much as we sin because we are Sinners. So, until your child comes to know Christ, don't be shocked when the child sins. Just be prepared to point the child to his need for Christ through proper Biblical reproof.

The rod AND REPROOF give wisdom...don't leave out the reproof part. If you do, you'll just be exasperating your children (and shooting yourself in the foot).