|From focus on the family web site|
This has been on my heart lately. I have been realizing that I am not viewing sin as I should. As a Christian, I am not riding myself of sin as quickly as I should, and as a mom, I am not dealing with sin in my children's hearts the way I ought. My view of sin should be the same as God's view of it. And God HATES sin. I have realized that my own sin I am confessing and asking God to help me in areas I struggle, but I am not hating the sin as God does. And in some cases I continue to struggle because my view of sin is not God's view of it. In my children's life, I am realizing, that I categorize sin. Some sin is worse than other sin. For example, my son does not clean his room when I ask, verses my son lies about something. Both are sin. But I am quick to punish the lying, and slow to punish the disobedience. Yes, as parents I think we need to find a punishment that fits the crime. Not all "crimes" are worthy or spankings, but all "crimes" are worthy of a punishment.
Our children learn from us that sin is sin. That God hates sin. And that all sin comes with a penalty. When I overlook some sin that my child has done, in essence I am saying that this sin is not that big of a deal. It's okay. I am not saying that...but my actions are. I have been very convicted about addressing the heart of the matter more frequently. When my son (or daughter) doesn't obey when asked, they need to understand that it is a sin. That God hates it, and mommy hates it. Which means I need to start hating my own sin. Ouch.
I have been reading Deuteronomy for my daily Bible reading. Through it I get a glimpse as to how God views sin. In Deuteronomy 13:6, 8-9 The Bible says, "If thy bother, the son of they mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou nor thy fathers; 8. Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him; 9. But thou shalt surely kill him;" Uh, wow! God doesn't play around with having other God's before him. What I learned from this passage is that God doesn't play lightly with sin. He doesn't cover it up, ignore it, or excuse it. He calls it what it is...sin. I don't think that we, under grace, should stone our children for sinning. We should, however, teach them how God thinks of sin. When we sin, we are putting something else in place of God. Most of the time it is our self. We become selfish and forget our place. We desire our own needs above what God wants for us. It is the same in our children.
So, how do I, as a parent, teach my children to hate sin. First, I must learn how God views sin. I must hate it in my own life. I must recognize sin and confess it right away. I must flee from it. When myself gets in the way of God, I must realize that I am nothing without God. I must see it for what it is, sin. The same sin that put Jesus on the cross. Then, I must realize that every disobedience of my children, every disrespectful attitude, every lie is sin. And I must help them to understand what God says and thinks of it. I have started this by teaching my children verses about these issues. But if I love them, I will teach them to hate it as God does. I must understand that until my children learn what sin is, they can never understand what forgiveness is.
As I say these things, I don't want you to think that I never get after my children. I never correct them. That is far from the truth. I am just realizing that in my correction, I don't always point them to their heart. What they did is not just disobey mommy, but they disobeyed God. With the big offenses I always talk about what God says about it, and we pray. But the little offenses, that don't deserve a spanking, I often just brush off. We tell them what they did is wrong and give them their time-out or other deemed punishment, but forget to teach them to hate what they did. Taking the time to teach them now, while they are young, what God thinks of sin is better than realizing that it is too late for you to teach them.
Now that I have written this, I am challenged even more to do it. No more can I brush off the little selfishness that I see in me or my children. I need to make sure to deal with them quickly and with the right attitude. How else will we view sin as God does.
"It is impossible for a man to be freed from the habit of sin before he hates it, just as it is impossible to receive forgiveness before confessing his trespasses." –Ignatius