If you are a parent, it does not take long for sin to make itself known in the life of your child. You could probably tell stories of how your child disobeyed, talked back to you, hit their brother or sister, threw a fit, or just rebelled at what you have told them to do.
I believe as parents, our first response to the child’s misbehavior is to address the action of the child. We address the action because we want the action to stop. That is not necessarily wrong but I am not sure this is the best way. I mean, I have done the same thing. You pop their hand for taking what they are not supposed to take. You put them in time out because of something that they have done. You ground them from video games or TV because of something they did.
This is what I am learning. If your kid bites their brother or sister, time out does not stop them from biting. If they talk back or yell at you, taking away video games does not keep them from talking back or yelling at you. I am not saying that we should not use these methods when addressing the issue, I am saying that I believe when using these methods, we are only addressing one side of the issue.
Allow me to explain.
When I screw up, God does not address just the action. God doesn’t want my actions. God wants my heart. My actions are a result of what is already going on in my heart. Anytime that I decide to chase sin instead of Jesus, at that particular moment, I am telling Jesus that I find sin more enjoyable and pleasurable than Him.
God break me from ever being deceived that sin is more enjoyable than Jesus.
What I believe that God has wanted me to learn is not just talking to the behavior of my child when he acts out, but God wants me to talk to the heart of my child.
I believe that God can use my words to break through the hard heart of a sinful child and God can soften that heart and call that child to repentance and salvation. Jesus can fill that child with the Holy Spirit and then the parent can disciple the child and point them to Jesus.
I pray that we see our children as our disciples and that we speak to our children’s hearts and not just their actions. We want to see our children become passionate, devoted disciples of Jesus, not just morally good people.