Oh no… not my child!
Never my child… they would never…
They know better…
I have taught them better.
Surely I can trust them…
Let me ask you… how well can you trust your own heart?
Train Up A Child Day Fifteen
15. Train them. remembering continually the power of sin.
I name this shortly, in order to guard you against unscriptural expectations. You must not expect to find your children’s minds a sheet of pure white paper, and to have no trouble if you only use right means. I warn you plainly you will find no such thing.
It is painful to see how much corruption and evil there is in a young child’s heart, and how soon it begins to bear fruit. Violent tempers, self- will, pride, envy, sullenness, passion, idleness, selfishness, deceit, cunning, falsehood, hypocrisy, a terrible aptness to learn what is bad, a painful slowness to learn what is good, a readiness to pretend anything in order to gain their own ends, — all these things, or some of them, you must be prepared to see, even in your own flesh and blood. In little ways they will creep out at a very early age; it is almost startling to observe how naturally they seem to spring up.
Children require no schooling to learn to sin.
But you must not be discouraged and cast down by what you see. You must not think it a strange and unusual thing, that little hearts can be so full of sin. It is the only portion which our father Adam left us; it is that fallen nature with which we come into the world; it is that inheritance which belongs to us all.
Let it rather make you more diligent in using every means which seem most likely, by God’s blessing, to counteract the mischief. Let it make you more and more careful, so far as in you lies, to keep your children out of the way of temptation.
Never listen to those who tell you your children are good, and well brought up, and can be trusted. Think rather that their hearts are always inflammable as tinder. At their very best, they only want a spark to set their corruptions alight. Parents are seldom too cautious. Remember the natural depravity of your children, and take care.
My parents will tell you this day that the worst thing they ever did was trust us girls.
And it’s true.
You see I was raised right.
In a wonderful loving home.
However I found trouble… then I went looking for it.
My parents were fairly strict compared to the parents of many of my friends. I thought they were ridiculously strict. So strict that I would lie and twist and omit information in order to get to do what I wanted. I was able to do this because my parents trusted me. You see I had learned to use their trust in me against them.
I can honestly tell you today that I wish my parents had not trusted me so much. I would rather have the stricter, less trusting parents, than the regrets I carry today. It wasn’t that I was a “bad person” I simply just did not understand the power of my sinful heart. I had not the knowledge or spiritual maturity to discern good and evil. I didn’t understand the evil until I was neck deep in the consequences.
What I have come to learn is that it’s not about whether or not I trust my children… it’s about being always fully aware of the pull of their sin nature and being fully aware that their hearts will lie to them just as quickly as my heart will lie to me.
I do not put myself in certain situations for the simple reason of guarding my heart, my mind, and my integrity… I have to teach my children to do that by my own example first and then while doing it for them until they understand how to do it themselves.
When I was first wholly surrendered I really thought that if I poured enough Scripture into them and then if I surrounded them with all the right friends, all would be great and wonderful… but here’s what I learned… I can’t trust the hearts of their friends either.
Having worked in the youth ministry… I heart-wrenchingly have come to learn that things are not always as they appear. I learned that the same church kids that gossiped and ridiculed me about my sin and yet never invited me to know Christ nor even invited me to church… were still alive and well in the church today.
I learned that the kids who had strong believing parents and were leaders in their youth group on Sunday’s and Wednesday’s were also still the leaders on Friday and Saturday night’s parties and the ones having sex outside of wedlock… even though I had myself poured my own brokenness from these actions into their ears.
I had an eye opening experience that I could not control them nor my own children through controlling their environment and by using the “just say no” campaign.
I thought that keeping my children in church would be enough… but I learned that it’s not. Because it’s not about today’s idea of ‘church’… it’s about their hearts. I have to teach my children to recognize the power of their sin nature and I have to teach my children that their hearts will deceive them. I have to teach them how to recognize the liar, the deceiver, the murderer of their souls. I have to teach them how to walk through the valley of the shadow of death… not live trying to keep them away from that valley… because I can’t. I have to teach my children not from the “if” but from the “when”.
So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you…
I can’t just put a set a blinders on them and say keep to the path.
I can’t just place them in a shark cage and say now you will not be attacked.
I can’t just strap on a safety harness and say now you will never fall.
I have to prepare them for what to do when the blinders come off and they stray to the left or the right and get lost in this life. I have to teach them the tools they will need to get back on the path. When the cage breaks and the sharks attack, I have to teach them how to defend themselves and how and where to go to find new shelter. I have to teach them how to get up when that safety harness malfunctions and they fall. If they are broken… they must know that forgiveness and healing is available.
I solemnly charge you
in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus,
who is to judge the living and the dead,
and by His appearing
and His kingdom:
preach the word;
be ready in season and out of season;
reprove, rebuke, exhort,
with great patience and instruction.
For the time will come
when they will not endure sound doctrine;
but wanting to have their ears tickled,
they will accumulate for themselves
teachers in accordance to their own desires,
2 Timothy 4:1-3
The time will come in most of our children’s lives that they will not endure your teaching any longer. They will seek out friends that tell them what they want to hear and will desire to go that way and not the way they have been taught… be ready.
For we do not want you to be unaware,
brethren, of our affliction
which came to us in Asia,
that we were burdened excessively,
beyond our strength,
so that we despaired even of life;
2 Corinthians 1:8
Be ready in season, when they hang on your every word and trust you completely, teach them truth.
Be ready out of season, when they think you are the most stupid people on the face of the earth who have no clue about their life or the world of today, teach them truth… “reprove, rebuke, exhort“… and do it with “great patience and instruction”. Yet do not yield to their sinful desires out of fear of losing them forever… obey God and trust Him with your children… remembering always that He loves them even more than you do.