Guess what? My kids are sinners. Guess what else? So are yours. Now that the cats out of the bag, let’s think about this for a minute. I remember the days of thinking how my kids would be protected from all of the evil that’s out there.
They were different than everyone else! I would just teach them (and of course they would bow at my every word) and they would just beat the snot out of the devil and sin and temptation…and above all, those evil influences out there. Our schooling choices for our children would all but guarantee their innocence. Moreover, they would be leaders amongst their peers and great students, and they would excel in sports, and yatta, yatta, yatta.
That was 18 years ago. Well, actually, it wasn’t quite that long ago. But I’ve since realized that my kids are sinners. Not just any run-of-the-mill sinner, mind you. They are all in. They are committed sinners. I should’ve known that…because, truth be told, I am an all-in, committed sinner. I might even argue with the Apostle Paul about him being the chief of sinners; I think that is a trophy that would fit well on my mantel. Yet, it is the grace of God that abounds toward sinners (1 Tim. 1:14-15). In fact, its the very certainty of our utter sinfulness that makes us candidates for the grace of God in the gospel. So, the supposed moral strength of my kids combined with my wonderful parenting skills was actually a deficit for them; at least insofar as it ignored the reality of their sinful nature. Our schooling choices for them was not moral insulation. You can’t insulate them from what’s inside them! Thinking of them as something other than they were really put them on the wrong end of the gospel.
Listen…your kid is a sinner…a depraved sinner. Sure, you’re proud of him or her, but a moral Hercules he is not! You chose to homeschool her; that’s great. But it’s not a replacement for Christ. You’ve gone the public school route? Fine. But that doesn’t mean that they are Billy Graham.
Beware of exalting your kids in a way that sets them up to be something they are not. Because when you exalt them, you cannot exalt Christ. And that is gospel-robbing territory. They have struggles with sin that sometimes get the better of them. We all want the best for (and even from) our kids. But the best does not come apart from the gospel. So tell them often about their spiritual need. Talk to them often about the reality of their depravity. You don’t have to kowtow to every felt need of your kids. Your involvement in PTO or homeschool preparedness or obsession with the sports team isn’t going to save them from their greatest enemy. Jesus is.
Pray for them because they do not have the wisdom, understanding, moral strength, ability, or desire to be the godly person that they need to be! Teach them to make the gospel community a priority in their lives. It’s only in the local church that God has ordained to minister the gospel so as to foster spiritual growth. Talk to them about their sin-loving depravity. Not to “beat them up” but to lift them up to Christ, their ONLY Savior!