“Raising Kids in a Sexy Culture” is the final post in a four-part blog series on godly responses to kids and sexual sin. Read the other posts in this series: Stay Safe from Child Sexual Abuse, When Kids View Pornography, and Counseling Woman Abused as Kids. Today’s post is written by guest blogger Julie Ganschow of Reigning Grace Counseling Center.
I am thankful to be past the young mommy stage. My sons are all grown, and a couple are ready for children of their own.
I feel great empathy for those of you who are really trying to raising kids in the fear and admonition of the Lord! Ephesians 6:4 reads, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” You have an enormous task ahead of you, and our “sexy” culture is not helping you one bit!
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. 2 Timothy 3:1-4, ESV
Get to the Heart
The method for raising godly children comes from only one source, and that is the Bible. It is the only book that contains all we need for life and godliness. 2 Peter 1:3 reads, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.” If you want to raise godly children then parent and discipline them at the heart level.
Call Sin, Sin
When they sin, don’t be afraid to call it sin and then rebuke them at the heart level. Very often parents rebuke children because their behavior irritates them, or because they have displeased mom or dad in some way. In those incidences it is all about the parents, not about how the child has not given God glory or honored Him.
Sins in our “sexy” culture include not only fornication (sex before marriage) but also immodest dress, watching pornography, unwholesome speech and off-color jokes, listening to music with sexual lyrics, “sexting” (sending nude or partially nude photos via text is one example), date rape, and more.
A biblical rebuke involves accountability. Calling the child to account for their actions affects them on the heart level, beyond their emotions and is intended to bring conviction. One very effective way to hold the child accountable is through the use of questions. Questions prick the conscience and cause a person to think rather than emote. I recommend following the model God used in Genesis 3.
They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”
And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman,“What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Genesis 3:8-13 (NASB)
God knew exactly what had taken place between Eve, the serpent and Adam. He knew where they were hiding and why. But notice, God doesn’t make any accusations toward them but instead He asks them questions for the sake of accountability. You must hold your child accountable for their sin whether large or small. I don’t suggest asking “why” questions, but instead ask questions that will provoke thoughts rather than feelings.
Correct and Train
Once accountability has been established, then correction needs to be given to the child. Correction is a central part of discipleship as is the next point, training in righteousness. Too often parents issue edicts of “stop that” as correction without addressing the biblical principle or training their child in what to do. A biblical rebuke and the correction that follows looks like approaching the sin from a spiritual perspective and shows the child God’s message about their sin. It is intended to bring them to godly repentance, not worldly repentance. Usually the correction phase is where the child receives any consequence for their sinful action. It may be any number of actions set forth in the Bible, including swatting on the bottom (for younger children) and loss of privileges for older children and teens. I cannot stress enough that biblical correction or discipline is not “punishment” nor is it abusive. Sending your child to his or her room (“Until they are 21,” “Until you can say you are sorry,” “Until you know better”…) apart from teaching, rebuking, and training in righteousness is pointless. Correction and discipline are supposed to match the sin or violation of trust, not humiliate and embitter the child.
God Does Not Punish His Children
I inwardly cringe when I hear Christian parents talking to their children about getting their punishment. God does not punish His children, He disciplines us. Yes, some forms of discipline are painful for the child to endure, such as appropriate swats on the behind, restrictions such as not having friends over, or not going to activities. For the older child or teenager, nothing hits home like loss of the cell phone, tablet, computer time or driving privileges. These kinds of things are to assist in teaching them their actions have natural consequences, that sin brings consequences in the natural world and in the spiritual world.