Sin. Yikes. We as adults still struggle with discovering and understanding our sin. How do we begin to teach our children about it?
I can’t imagine that pressure and that fear. BUT, I can imagine that kind of beautiful opportunity and discipleship. To cultivate a home that doesn’t run away from that word, but rather embraces it and lifts our savior high, that is something I pray for often. For God’s hand to give me patience, discernment, and obedience in those moments with my children as well as myself. The last few weeks we began talking about sin with the kiddos on Sunday mornings in the Kingdom Kids. How do we take that little bit of teaching, and foster it at home?
These are questions I know I would want answered, and I hope these few tips will meet that prayer for you: So, what can you be doing at home, as a family?
1. Confess your own sin.
We teach ourselves as a church body to bring those closest to us in to our sin. For accountability, support, and encouragement. We strive to open up, be vulnerable, and humble ourselves before our friends and family. We should do the same thing with our children. When we sin against them through frustration, exhaustion, or impatience, we confess to them and ask for their forgiveness. Why? Because this may be a beautiful and simple way to exemplify the truth that we need Jesus. If our children can see that in us, they will less likely feel attacked, weak, or angered at whatever they themselves have done or said wrong. By not admitting our sin and faults against our children when appropriate, we may be communicating to them that we are perfect rather than pointing them to the only one who was perfect. Modeling repentance for our kids may be the most powerful thing we could ever do to point them to the hope of the gospel
2. Talk about it.
I feel like I would struggle with this one. Because we (I) look at children as innocent and precious. But they are sinners in need of Jesus just like us, right? So, let’s talk about it. When they disobey, when they do something wrong or inappropriate, talk about the sin. Not shying away from that word will help them see it as something important. Which of course it is. This obviously does not mean degrading them, but doing so from a posture of love and gentleness, always reminding them that you forgive them and that you love them.
3. Avoid the gossip.
This is tough and something I often must check my heart for. We need to be careful not to use another person’s sin, whether an adult or a child, as a means for talking bad about them and lifting ourselves high. But instead, when we or they have been wronged or hurt, we address that person’s sin by talking about grace*, that we are no different then they are, can forgive them, confront them if need be, and pray for them. The same principles we desire to follow in our adult relationships, we can use to teach and show our children among theirs.
I think we can learn a lot more from our children than we sometimes credit.
Mark 10:13-16 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
Loving Jesus with the joyous, reckless, and mesmerizing kind of love we see in children, is a beautiful thing. In a lot of ways I believe we can use this to remind ourselves that they deserve to hear the truth from us. That means the reality of our sin, but even more so, that the grace and love we are given despite of the sin! Can you imagine a child’s natural joyous spirit founded on their identity in Christ? Powerful. Let’s start praying for this now!