Life. Death. Sin. Defeat. Grace. Freedom. Redemption. Hope.
So many thoughts, ideas, words come to mind during this week. The week we remember the great miracle of our faith. This Holy Week.
The resurrection is the pinnacle of our faith. Without it, Christmas is just another random person’s birthday. Good Friday is the remembrance of another family’s loss. And our faith is meaningless. But the resurrection changed everything.
It has brought us new life. Forever life.
So, what does the resurrection offer our children?
As followers of Christ, each of us has come to terms with the reality that we are natural-born sinners. The Fall had a tremendous impact on our lives. Yet it seems to me that we have a hard time imagining the effect the Fall, the entrance of sin into God’s perfect creation, has on our children. Friends, our children are also natural-born sinners. Not one of them will escape that curse here on Earth.
Now, please understand me. I don’t for one instance believe our children are sinners that we need to beat the sin out of. Or that they are evil. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we are all Image Bearers, yet the Bible also clearly tells us that ALL have sinned (Romans 3:23). Understanding that the same war I have with sin is the same internal war my son and daughter face is vital to my parenting. How can I truly help them grow if I deny what they are struggling with most?
Paul explains this battle so well in Romans 7:15, 17-20 & 24-25a
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do… As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Mom and Dad, our children desperately need Jesus. But most don’t understand their need on their own. As their parents, we need to help them recognize this spiritual struggle knowing that we all face it, and from there to teach them the beauty of Good Friday and the Resurrection. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are Good News for them too!
Our homes should be a safe place to fail and learn. A place where we patiently enable them to recognize their self-centered, self-serving ways surrounded by loved ones pointing them to God’s grace. They won’t naturally see their desperate need for God’s grace and forgiveness if we don’t help them see it. And as we help them recognize it, may they find space where they can meet Jesus and allow him to change their hearts (Because this is really about heart change, not behavior modification).
The beauty of this Rescue Story is that God doesn’t leave you and I or our children to be bound by our sinful ways, but to live freely and forgiven. That is the most beautiful gift we can teach our children.
For more great thoughts on this, I would encourage you to read “Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family” or check out “Connected Families.”
Mom and Dad, how do you feel when you consider your child as a sinner? What about your role as one who helps them recognize their struggle with sin? How does that idea feel? What is one way you can talk to your child about the sinful nature and God’s great rescue this week as we approach Easter Sunday?
Father God, there are no words to adequately express our thankfulness for your sacrifice… for our redemption. You made a way where there was no way. And you offer that same redemption and restoration to our children. Help us to become avenues through which our children can recognize their propensity toward sin and experience your amazing grace and forgiveness. Let our homes be safe places for our children to fail, learn, and become. And may each of our children find their way to you – to your love and sweet mercy. May it be so. Amen.