With all the dangers in the world, it’s amazing how many parents fail to protect their children from the single-most potentially dangerous influence in their lives. Join AMBrewster today to learn what that influence is and how you can protect your children from it.
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It’s wonderful to have you back with us today.
As of today, we’re half way through our current study on Parenting Tools and how to use them.
In episode 37 we discussed two tools for Anti-Terrorism in the home.
The next show featured The Communication House – a tool for addressing family talk.
Episode 39 introduced Revolving Priorities. This tool helps us keep the main the thing the main thing and is an integral part of the Communication House.
In episode 40 we took a small break remind ourselves that the only way we can have peace in our parenting is using the ultimate tool of God’s perfect Word.
Then last time we discussed five tools for applying Truth to our family member’s lives.
Today, we’re shifting our study a little bit. The previous five shows dealt primarily with positive action steps to grow in our intentional, premeditated parenting.
Today and next time, however, are going to focus on two negative things we need to protect our families against.
But more on that in a minute.
Nomusa Mutseriwa said of TLP,
“Amazing info. It is so very good. [TLP] will make you see with new eyes.”
I love the expression “see with new eyes.” Praise God He’s the one who makes blind eyes see!
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And now back to the most potentially destructive influence in the life of a child.
Picture for me, if you will, all the things in the world that may be dangerous to your children. Some things are only a danger to children of certain ages, like bathtubs. Other things are a danger to everyone – like drug dealers and rapists and Satan. And still other items may be beneficial or dangerous – like cars and fire.
The reality is that – humanly speaking – the world is full of destructive influences, devices, ideas, cities, machines, and governments. But we mustn’t dwell on them because to do so would take our eyes off Christ – His sovereignty and His love.
Still, there’s one element that has the potential to hurt our children in ways we almost can’t imagine. But despite the fact that our kids interact with this object every day, multiple times of day, and despite the fact there’s only one thing in this world more destructive . . . most parents aren’t even aware of it’s dangerous potential.
Let me introduce this influence to you by way of a story.
I can say that the day my son was born, I didn’t know anything more about parenting than I did the day before, but staring into his face I was overwhelmed with a sense of reality. The realization that I would be responsible to teach him his colors and numbers, to protect him physically and spiritually, to introduce him to the milieu of experiences God had for his young life bore down on me with an almost physical weight.
Over the next few years my wife and I our understood that our son was like me in so many ways and yet like her in so many others. We joked that he was 50% me and and 50% Johanna.
Silly though that observation may be, it dawned on me that he got a double-whammy. He struggled with sin in areas I had too long been addicted to, but he also rolled around in the sinful mire my wife grew up battling. As I tried to look into his future, I saw him having to wage war with a frightening mix of temptations. Like you, my wife and I made far more wicked choices than we care to publish. Both of our teen years were unfortunate displays of self-worship and relational carnage.
And then my daughter was born.
It didn’t take too long to realize that she was 100% me . . . and 100% my wife!
And the wave of dread that slammed over me left me a little light-headed.
Of course, my children aren’t me or my wife. They’re them, and though they may struggle with many of the same temptations, they don’t have to give in the way my wife and I so often did.
But the story’s not done yet.
As our children grew I realized just how much they took after us in the way they looked, talked, gestured, ate, thought, argued, complained, yelled, disobeyed, and rebelled. And it wasn’t because of who my wife and I were in our past. Our children were just copying the only people in the house they had to observe. My kids started judging like me. They started arguing like my wife. Our kids started being dictating like me, and they started getting drunk like my wife.
Okay, that last part was a joke. Everything was getting a little too heavy and depressing!
Seriously, though, I don’t know about you, but if I forgot how awesome my God was and really thought about the possibility of my kids growing up to be just like me . . . I’d be petrified!
I’m pretty sure you can see where I’m going here. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve interacted with a child and thought to myself, “What kind of a parent would allow their child to be like this?” But when I meet their parents I think, “Oh, that kind.” Now, I know that might sound harsh, but we’ve all thought it, and no doubt many people have thought that about my kids!
Ladies and gentlemen, second only to indwelling sin, we parents are the most potentially destructive influence in the lives of our children.
And this is true for three stark reasons:
Who we were affects our children.
- Knowing what sins we struggled with can help us see what our children may fall into and be able to prepare them better.
- We can use this point to encourage our children and young members of the Body of Christ to be ever vigilant lest they somehow develop sin patterns that they may pass to their kids.
- Four of the books in the Pentateuch discuss the concept of “the iniquity of the fathers.” Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy all use the same phrase: “visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.”
- Now, I don’t want to spent too much time on this, but since it’s a difficult doctrine, I want to discuss it for a moment.
- Have you ever thought of the unique nature of sin – how it affects the spirit and the physical? What is personality and why do our children so often mirror ours? Why is one person tempted to one kind of sin more than someone else?
- We can’t answer these questions conclusively because the Bible doesn’t address them directly.
- But I’d like to present a sanctified hypothesis. Just as all men inherited their sin nature from Adam, so – more specifically – we inherited our sin nature from our fathers.
- And we, in turn, literally pass our sins down to our kids. Unfortunately, righteousness isn’t genetic the way sin is.
- What this doesn’t mean is that our kids will be held responsible for the sins I’ve committed. But my children will likely struggle with the same temptations, sinful habits, and self-worshipping addictions to which I’ve given in because they’ve inherited it from me just like they got my unattached earlobes and my wife’s stunning good looks.
- In fact, the first time this idea was present, was when Moses received the Law from God. The first words of the Father on this occasion were, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”
- Upon hearing this, Moses proclaimed, “If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us, for it is a stiff-necked people, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.”
- I know exactly how Moses felt!
- And at this point you may be feeling a little depressed because it seems like there’s nothing we can do about this point. The past is the past.
- But there are two things to keep in mind. It’s important to recognize that my children were conceived in sin, and that sin was mine.
Who we are now affects our children.
- As I’ve mentioned before, our kids were created by God to learn. The ability for a child to process, memorize, interpret, and utilize information is staggering! And they spend the bulk of their formative years observing us!
- In addition to that, they have a natural love and affection that causes them to imitate us over the other individuals in their lives.
- Whether it’s our poor diets, negative responses to hardship, cutting words, pride, our vanity, our excuses, or our hypocrisy . . . our children will likely learn it.
- Even if I do my best to teach my kids to be humble, my arrogant lifestyle will quickly and more efficiently educate them in pride. “Do what I say and not what I do has never worked.”
- If you don’t want to be a dangerous influence on your children, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
- Obviously, the affect we have on our children should not be our sole goal for spiritual growth, but I think it would behoove us to allow the reality to impact us: our children will find it easier to emulate our sinful behavior than they will our sanctified choices.
- And obviously this will continue to be the case.
Who we will be affects our children.
- If I don’t get a handle on my loose tongue or wanton video-gaming, if I don’t submit to God’s will for my eating, if I keep returning to my selfishness as a dog returns to its vomit, my children will likely continue excelling in my school of depravity.
- And, though my kids will be held responsible for their choices, I will be to blame for illustrating for them all the ways to deny God and worship self.
At this point, I don’t know if we could go any lower. I’ve done my best to paint a pretty horrific picture.
You know why? Because we parent need to stop lying to ourselves. We need to stop excusing our sin as we punish our children for the same things. We need to take responsibility for the fact that our daughter inherited her cutting tongue from me. We need to man up and acknowledge that our sons are so arrogant on the court because they spent too much time with us.
But . . . .
Yes, I said, “but.”
It was during episode 35 that our guest, Tim Challies noted even with all the negative influences in their lives, so many kids turn out so well. He said,
“God’s grace is so amazing that there’e great hope for us [in parenting]. God has amazing ways of working beyond our abilities – beyond what we actually think we know.”
God is gracious to our children, and one of the significant ways he shows that grace is through us. In the same way that parents are the most potentially destructive influence the lives of their children, they’re also the most potentially beneficial influence in the lives of their children.
To be honest, that’s why God gave them to you in the first place. Whether your kids are step, adopted, biological, or fostered, God has given them to you in this time of their lives because you are the one He wants to use to help them glorify Him.
You have been given your children because – with God’s Truth, love, and power – you are the ones he intends to teach your children to live in the reality of God. You are the ones He’s talking to when he says, “You shall teach [My words] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
It’s true that your kids will likely sin like you, but it’s also true that your children are blessed to be born into your homes. You’ve been called to be the Ambassadorial First-Follower to point them God. Who you are now for God and who you will be for God can influence your children more powerfully than your sinful choices can.
Why is that? Because Satan might be able to use your sinful choices to tempt your kids to the same, but God the Holy Spirit can actually fill your children and give them the grace and strength to follow your Christ-honoring example!
Isn’t being a parent a glorious blessing?!
Be diligent, mom and dad. Your influence is paramount. Make sure you’re a good influence and not a bad one.
If you’d like to learn how to not lose your positive influence, please check out episode 4, called “Don’t Lost Your Influence.”
And if the phrase “Ambassadorial First-Follower” confused you, please listen to episode 7 to learn about being a First-Follower, and episode 26 to study the concept of the Ambassador Parent.
We here at Evermind Ministries and Truth.Love.Parent. thrill to share God’s hope-giving Word. Please Subscribe to our podcast and Share this episode. And please Rate and Review. We want more and more people to learn to be intentional, premeditated parents.
Our next episode supplements today’s well. It has a unique title that I need to give my mom credit for. It’s called, “Training Your Children to Rebel.” We learned today that we have the potential of being a destructive influence. Our next show will investigate one of the most detrimental things parents can do in their parenting that encourages rebellious attitudes.
Remember, you can’t change your children. But you can change yourself into a better parent.