TRAIN YOUR CHILDREN GOD’S WAY
Emphasize Affection, Compassion, Forgiveness and Mercy
Jesus Christ, who never sinned, was unjustly tried, beaten, reviled and crucified by people who completely misunderstood Him. Fur- ther, Roman soldiers even divided His garments and cast lots for them as He hung from the stake, awaiting death.
But how did Jesus react toward those who had done Him such ultimate injury? He asked God, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). The deacon Stephen, as he was be- ing stoned to death for pointing out the sins of the religious leaders of his day, immediately before he died, prayed, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge” (Acts 7:60).
Christ’s prayer reveals His compassion and mercy toward car- nal-minded mankind. His perfect example sets the ultimate standard for true Christian living.
Carefully read the following extraordinary passage, and then emphasize it throughout your children’s years at home: “For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suf- fering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when you be buffeted for your faults, you shall take it patiently? But if, when you do well, and suffer for it, you take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth: who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judges righteously: who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree…” (I Pet. 2:19-24).
God loves mercy. In fact, He “is rich in mercy” (Eph. 2:4). He expects the same from His servants.
When Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?” (Matt. 18:21), the answer was, “I say not unto you, until seven times: but, until seventy times seven” (vs. 22). In other words, Christians must forgive people as many times as necessary, as long as the person continues to ask for forgiveness. Teach your children that such forgiveness will not always be easy to extend.
Just as you must be compassionate and forgiving toward others, and not hold grudges, you must teach your children to do the same.
Teaching About God, His Word and Christianity
Teach and practice mercy and forgiveness in front of them. This is the Christian way of life.
The habit of extending mercy will take weight off your children’s shoulders. They will not go through life burdened with grudges and leaving enemies in their wake who can eventually become old ene- mies waiting for a time to retaliate.
Also teach them that people will occasionally wrong them, sometimes maliciously. But they should not be upset—and some are even destroyed by offense—when offenders do not apologize.
Instead, teach your children to feel for people (the way Christ did), and explain to them how to show affection. One way to do this is to encourage them to talk with the elderly and to be aware of and enjoy little children. This takes them outside their own world.
Of course, far and away the best manner of teaching affection, compassion, forgiveness and mercy is by YOUR EXAMPLE. When your children make mistakes, or sin, be as merciful to them as God is to- ward you.
Instill Into Your Children the Importance of Courage and Standing Alone
If you instruct your children in God’s Way, you are automatically giving them godly values that cannot help but separate them from the society around them. But your children will be in the tiny minority. They will probably face some degree of ridicule and derision, includ- ing some suffering, from their peers.
Be sure they understand that it takes courage to walk in God’s teachings—to keep the Sabbath and annual Holy Days; to always tell the truth; to not join the crowd in observing birthdays, Christ- mas and other pagan holidays and traditions. (To learn more, read our booklets God’s Holy Days or Pagan Holidays?, The True Ori- gin of Christmas and The True Origin of Easter, as well as our many articles on birthdays, Halloween and the origin of various other well-known holidays of men. They will help you understand all of the many customs related to these holidays of which you must make your children aware. Be sure that your children are thor- oughly educated to what they believe about God’s Holy Days and the world’s holidays—and why they believe what they do! This will help them explain to teachers and peers why they believe as they do.)