Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Paradigm #2: Our view of mankind in general and children specifically

If we believe that people are basically good in themselves, there will be no need for ongoing, consistent, intensive training of our children. Why bother? If we believe that everybody really has a “good heart” and wants to “do right,” our children will turn out fine without character training.

If we, however, believe that man is born with a sin nature and is incapable of goodness outside of God, we will desire to seek God and help our children do the same. Scripture supports this belief, as evidenced in Romans 7:18—“For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”

Taking this “man is basically sinful” thinking a step further, we must also believe, that as wonderful, sweet, soft, cuddly, and incredible that children are, they, too, are born sinful. Obviously, children have some other qualities that adults do not have that make it easier for them to learn spiritual truths otherwise Scripture would not say that adults should “become like little children.” However, child-like faith aside, we must, if we are to embrace the importance of character training in the lives of our children, believe that Romans 7:18 applies to them, as demonstrated in Proverbs 22:15, among other places: “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, the rod of correction will drive it far from him” (ASV).

Nobody wants to think or talk about original sin, and yet, in parenting, not embracing this truth can lead us to extremely faulty child training (or lack thereof). I have the most incredible children in the world. Ask me about them for a few minutes, and you will get way more than you bargained for! However, they, just like their mom and dad, need the Savior for eternal salvation and the Holy Spirit to help them live the Christian life on this earth. They (and we) will not automatically be filled with good character. Because of our sinful nature, we must, through the Lord, learn about, practice, and press on to the fruit of the spirit, the mind of Christ—and everything else that is good.

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