Thursday, August 20, 2015

Losing My Religion

Every normal/healthy family unit {religious and not religious alike} want to raise children that are moral citizens who make a positive contribution to society. We want them to turn out "right". So we set goals and rules for behavior. This is not wrong. After all, children should learn to be moral as children so they grow into moral adults. But are we teaching our kids to be good because it is the "right thing to do"? Because that's an easy message to pass along while we're in this hustle and bustle we call parenting.

If we're Christians, though, and this is all we do for our kids, we're completely missing the point. We're raising a generation that mixes up the American Dream and a conduct code with the Gospel so much that it's impossible to see the difference.

As Christians, we know we can never do "good enough" to keep ourselves on the right path alone. So why would we pass that message on to our kids? What we should be saying is that we'll never be good enough without God's grace. The first method leads to changes in behavior, the second leads to changes in hearts. One leads to a being so good that God rewards you by making your dreams come true, and one leads to a dependence to our Savior. One leads to self-righteousness, the other leads to selflessness. We're teaching them to love everything but God {being good, working hard, achieving, and acquiring what we want}, and then we question why they stray from Him later in life.

The gospel isn't about making bad people good, and it certainly isn't about what God can do for you if you just behave. God isn't the school principal. And he definitely isn't Ed McMahon. The gospel is about redeeming broken people. 

I want my son to behave. I don't want to get an embarrassing call from the teacher telling me what hellion I have. None of us do! I fear a son growing up ending up on a bad path. But what I'm starting to fear even worse is my son growing up ending up on a good path and feel like he has it all figured out. I don't want to raise a kid that pursues a good path just so Jesus will bless is moral and self-centered path.

American Dream + Jesus = self professing Christians who don't have any room for God to work on their very selfish selves. Typically, this ends up creating Christians living double lives or Christians who "trust God" to help them acquire that new, shiny truck. And those people are typically Christians that non-Christians point to as why Christians are so crazy & hypocritical. 

As Christian parents, we've got to shift our parenting goals. If your goal is raising kids that "stay out of trouble", there's a good chance you'll have a socially acceptable/well behaved person who doesn't know the first thing about how Jesus actually works. 

My new goal is to raise a kid who knows that he doesn't have it all figured out, and that he won't, but he does serve a God who does. I want to raise a son who sees a need for Jesus in his heart and a hunger to know Him. 

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