TRAIN YOUR CHILDREN GOD’S WAY
as a result. How different from today. Most simply cannot any longer say from the heart, “I was wrong. I hurt you and I was wrong.”
Be sure your children understand that it is “human to err.” But be sure they also understand that they must learn and grow from their mistakes. They must recognize that it is not where they are now that is important, but rather where they are going—what they are becoming.
Consider the parable of the Pharisee and the publican (Luke 18:9-14). In this parable, the Pharisee boasted of all the things he had done or thought he was doing right. But the publican (tax collector) admitted his wrongs. Jesus said that “this man [the publican] went down to his house justified rather than the other” (vs. 14).
Be sure your children understand that the conduct and attitude of their peers will be constantly pummeling them, trying to reduce the seriousness with which they view WRONG CONDUCT. Explain that this bombardment to desensitize them to the difference between plain right and wrong, and their willingness to admit when they are wrong, will be unrelenting.
Instruct your children that admitting when they are wrong will cause them to stand out from all others, and some may copy their good example. Other people will tend to more easily trust your child’s present or future leadership, because they will see the impor- tance that he or she attaches to doing the RIGHT thing!
Educate Your Children to See There Is a Cause for Every Effect
For every CAUSE there is an EFFECT. While “time and chance” happens to everyone (Ecc. 9:11), instill in your children that most things hap- pen for a reason: credit card debt—foolishly marrying the wrong person—problems stemming from associating with the wrong peo- ple—wrecking the car because of drinking, speeding or careless- ness—an unwanted pregnancy, etc.
For example, we discussed how King Saul eventually refused to obey God. His sins cut him off from God’s protection, guidance and blessings, ultimately leading him to ask another man to assist him in ending his life.
By contrast, King David obeyed God. He hungered and thirsted for God’s commandments—His righteousness (Matt. 5:6; Psa. 119:172). And though he suffered many trials, God rescued him from them all (Psa. 34:19). At the conclusion of a long, abundant life,
Teaching About God, His Word and Christianity
David died in peace. In the end, God called him a man after His own heart (Acts 13:22). In the World to Come, David will rule over all of the twelve tribes of Israel (Ezek. 37:21-25).
Teach your children to “connect the dots” in life—that “what goes around, comes around.” I repeat: Teach them that there is a cause for every effect. Remember God’s admonition: “Be not de- ceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7).
Guide Your Children to Hate Sin, But Love the Sinner
In Matthew 5, Christ taught, “You have heard that it has been said, You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (vs. 43-44).
Teach your children to know how to separate the sin from the sinner. God will eventually give everyone the opportunity to learn His truth and to enter the kingdom of God (II Pet. 3:9). Be sure to emphasize that He does not take pleasure in the downfall of others (Ezek. 18:23, 31-32).
Carefully instruct about and then remind your children of God’s great mercy, forgiveness, grace and patience. And be sure that they truly understand this: “And I [Paul] thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injuri- ous: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all accepta- tion, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting” (I Tim. 1:12-16).
Teach your children to hate SIN—“The fear of the LORD is to hate evil” (Prov. 8:13)—but to love the SINNER.
Successful, balanced, well-adjusted people understand that life is too short to waste time being bitter, angry and resentful toward those who offend them. “Rolling with the punches” always produces happier lives. Teach your children to separate what was done to them from who did it.