I picked up a book entitled “When Good Kids Make Bad Choices”, and I was struck by one of the headings in the book that said, “Amazing Grace: Still Amazing”. Wow – what a thought! At the end of the day, it’s still the Lord who changes hearts and lives through His Spirit and His amazing grace…
Another heading that popped out to me in my quick scanning said, “Biblically Speaking, There Are No “Good” Kids”. I wanted to include a really good quote from this section: “We have to be very careful about saying, “My child may have made mistakes, but he really is a good boy.” As much as we might want to believe that, we need to realize that ultimately, the question of “goodness” doesn’t have to do with what we perceive or think, but whether our child truly has received Christ as his Savior. The Bible teaches that children are not good by nature; they are not a “blank slate” upon which we can write our values; they are not inherently innocent, nor are they genetically predisposed to be good. In fact, the Bible teaches that they are genetically predisposed to be bad because every child is born with original sin and a rebellious nature. This is the picture the Bible paints of our kids (and of us!):
…the intention of a man’s heart is evil from his youth (Genesis 8:21)
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me (Psalm 51:5)
…as it is written: None is righteous, no not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one (Romans 3: 10-12)
“These verses might seem hard for us to reconcile with our experience when we gaze upon our little darlings and see their halting attempts to obey us. Unbelieving children may be sweet and compliant on the surface because they’ve learned that compliance is in their best interest and they don’t want to face the consequences of disobedience….Our children need God’s sovereign grace for their nature to be changed. They’ll never become good unless He changes them and then, of course, their goodness is not innate but rather imputed, because they’ve received the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ and are being transformed by the Holy Spirit.”
This reading was both a challenge and encouragement to me – as a parent and as an educator. I can easily become frustrated or upset with a young person’s behavior, choices, and actions but with a biblical understanding of our inward and rebellious nature, it is easy to understand why our children struggle sometimes. Even though we really try to focus on their hearts and not their outward behavior, the fact is we don’t have the power to change their hearts. The fact is, that none of us “deserve” godly kids, because none of us have the power to change their hearts. None of us have been perfectly consistent in loving and disciplining them. And, like us, they are saved by God’s grace alone. This also reminds me to pray more diligently for our students and their parents, as well as my own family. It is so true that God’s grace is “still” AMAZING!
As we seek to parent and partner together – may God encourage us to love our children and seek to guide and direct them in their pursuit of becoming more like Christ.
I pray that the Lord will continue to shed His amazing grace on your family and parenting efforts. “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it”.
-Scott Grass, FCS Superintendent