As Christian parents, raising godly children and protecting them from evil influences is a laudable objective. However, what begins with a well-intentioned goal to raise children in righteousness and honor God may often alienate our children from us. The problem originates with the decision to trust Father God in faith for wisdom and guidance or to try to form them out of our own understanding in fear.
When anyone lives in fear, the end result is control and micromanagement. In this case, so Christian parents will spend their time attempting to form their children by forcing godliness upon them and becoming overbearing and stifling without being aware of it. Their intent may be to raise Godly children; however, the fruit of their drivenness may have destructive consequences and even propel their children into rebellion.
The problem is not in Godly parenting principles, but may be in what is motivating us
The problem is not in caring about what your children read, watch, and say, but in attempting to form children into a certain image of religious ‘goodness’ to protect them from worldly evil.
The truth is that no one knows the conclusion of who God is forming us to be in the future. As a parent, I have also had to confront this same temptation. God convicted me not to form one of my children in my own image because their personality was similar to mine.
If we want to stay connected to our children, we need to be a safe place for them to be real
To understand the problems we face with raising godly children, we may need to recall our own childhood experiences. I believe my parents wanted me to turn out to be a “good man,” but oftentimes, all I needed was someone who would listen and who I felt safe to talk to about life.
The problem is that our children can sense when we are afraid for them. I sanitized many of my experiences as a young man to avoid stressing my parents out or getting lectured. The result of fearfully controlling our children is that they may reflect back to you what you want them to say and do. However, their personal life is almost entirely hidden from you as they move into their teenage years.
The need to be heard can make your children more vulnerable to outside influence
I do not believe the problem with authority figures such as college professors begins with their political beliefs and college influence. I suspect the greatest threat to our children is the willingness of these authority figures to listen to our children without fearing for them or attempting to control them.
These people may then give a child honest feedback with their personal beliefs. This may fulfill your child’s need to be heard, however, it may then lead them down a road that may seem like wisdom but is in essence designed to draw them away from God.
God’s Word is good but not helpful when force-fed
When we are afraid and thereby attempting to control our children, we are not listening to them. It is easy to go into “fix it” mode when we find problems with them. We may try to give them a study with insights from God’s Word, to quote Bible verses, give them a good book to read, or instruction on how to live the Christian life. None of that stuff is bad when provided in season, yet perhaps we’re overcomplicating the issue.
You may be surprised how much your children simply want to talk to you and to be truly heard. We don’t need to be God’s salesmen pitching our children on the gospel with our own agenda. Sometimes you may have a scripture to share and sometimes it may be important to shut your mouth and just listen. Perhaps fear has prevented you from just enjoying their company and being at peace with them where they are at.
The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, [is] from the LORD. Proverbs 16:1 KJV
If your manner of life is consistent with the Word of God they will take notice. You do not have to be afraid they will miss God if you don’t bring godly principles up all the time.
10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, 11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. 2 Timothy 3:10-11 KJV
God can help us raise godly children when we lead by example and manner of living
We need to trust Father God that our children know what we believe and do not need us to beat them over the head with the Bible, hoping they will submit to it. It’s okay to present His truth in season, but truly your actions will speak far louder than your words.
One of the riskiest propositions of faith to embark upon is to listen to your children and talk to them without fear. Many of your children and teenagers have weird thoughts and ‘bad’ thoughts. It is not a reflection of your failure as a parent.
These thoughts are from another kingdom, and you may need to repent to Father God and them if these have manifested through you. However, often, they simply need a safe place to be honest and real without judgment or an attempt to solve a problem.
Children learn correct communication from their parent’s example
Part of the reason many people struggle in their marriages lies in the problems they had with communication as younger children with their parents. Where else do you learn how to talk through problems, work together, and care for one another than in your own home?
Why don’t people do this? Because it is messy. We don’t like messy situations without clear solutions. When it comes to raising children, it may feel easier to mimic an image of an idyllic family unit from television or other media. Or we may try to fabricate a perfect image based on what we perceive are Christian values. However, this may cause us to avoid actually addressing with all the problems and serious internal conflicts that may come up. I
God wants to help you establish a balanced approach in humility
For this same reason, the church is in such a mess. Many people pretend everything is okay when they go to church to not be judged by others. For the church and our homes to be saved, we need to confess our faults one for another. How often do you ask your own children to pray for you? When we represent openness and vulnerability to our children, they will feel more safe to be open and vulnerable with us.
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16 KJV
We can only model godliness by coming to terms with our own need for the Savior
It may be time to let your children open up about their problems and hold your tongue. It is better for them to tell you what you don’t want to hear than for them to tell someone else. You may need to trust Father God with their problems, and you may ultimately not have a simple, clean solution.
It is okay for you to admit to your children, “I don’t know.” I am not suggesting that this will fix the problem, but perhaps we have been searching for solutions rather than allowing honesty and the messiness of sin to come to the light. The difference between condemnation and salvation is not based upon being perfect but on allowing ourselves to be ‘wrought’ or reformed by God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. John 3:19-21 KJV
Raising godly children is only possible by representing God’s love, grace, and mercy
Condemnation is found in hiding the true problems. Sanctification and salvation come from bringing them into the light. It is time to stop comparing ourselves and our children to one another. This is sin and not of God. We need to stop judging one another and our own families by unrealistic images. It is destructive.
Aren’t you tired of all these superficially perfect Christian families? I am. Maybe it’s time to admit our families’ struggle with sin and real iniquity issues and trust Father God to be our salvation. It’s time to recognize that God loves and accepts you and your children right where you are at and He will faithfully lead you in His ways of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Perhaps then the world will be able to reconsider its position on Christianity and the Bible as a result of our honesty rather than dwell on our hypocrisy.
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Would you like to read more articles related to this topic?
The Biblical Order of the Family Unit – By Scott Iwahashi – Is God the head of your home? Find out how your family dynamic can function the way God intended it to when He is placed as the center of your home. Godly parenting is only possible when God leads.
How to Listen to God – by Pastor Scott Harper – A key element in godly parenting is learning how to listen to God. However, especially in busy households, it can be difficult to filter out the noise. Find out how you can grow in your relationship with God, filter out the noise, and find clearer direction for your life and your family.
Ending the Blame Game – by Scott Iwahashi – Our world is full of division and blame. However the problem originates in the home. How do we deal with negative circumstances? Are we able to take responsibility for our own stuff or do we deflect and blame. Raising Godly children requires openness, honesty, and taking personal responsibility. Only then will they have a solid foundation for growing up in God.
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