Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up your children in the way they should go,” but as parents we must go that way ourselves to avoid being hypocrites. We desire the best for our children. We want them to embrace the Gospel and follow the Lord at the earliest possible time in their lives. Our children face so many threats. Could one of those threats be from their own parents? As Christian parents what can we do to avoid hypocrisy in our parenting and ensure our children see the Gospel in us, through our lives, and through our parenting?
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Table of Contents
- Lessons for Train Up Your Children in the Way They Should Go
- Family Worship Guide for Train Up Your Children in the Way They Should Go
- Sermon notes for Train Up Your Children in the Way They Should Go
- Lesson 1: resist temptation so you don’t see your sins in your children.
- Lesson 2: don’t let past sins prevent you from disciplining your children.
- Avoid hypocrisy in parenting by (lesson 3) modeling what you want from your children.
- Avoid hypocrisy in parenting by (lesson 4) telling your children you’re a sinner.
Lessons for Train Up Your Children in the Way They Should Go
- Lesson 1: ____________ ____________________ so you don’t see your sins in your children (2 Sam 13:21, 38-39, 14:33, 18:5; 1 Kin 1:6). 16:24
- Lesson 2: Don’t let ________ ________ prevent you from disciplining your children (Pro 13:24, 19:18).
- Avoid hypocrisy in parenting by: 20:32
- Lesson 3: ________________ ________ you want from your children (Rom 2:1, 20-24; Matt 7:1-5). 38:54
- Lesson 4: Telling your children ____________ __ ____________.
Family Worship Guide for Train Up Your Children in the Way They Should Go
- Day 1—Read 2 Sam 13:21, 38-39, 14:33, 18:5, 1 Kin 1:6 and discuss: What sins did David see in the lives of his sons? In what ways did David’s sons’ sins reveal his sins? What are the dangers associated with viewing our children too sentimentally?
- Day 2—Read Pro 1:8-9, 3:12, 13:24, 19:18, 22:6 and discuss: Why didn’t David discipline his sons? Why would past sins prevent parents from disciplining their children? What can parents tell themselves when past sins prevent them from disciplining their children? When parents have sin-filled pasts what can they their children to avoid hypocrisy?
- Day 3—Read Rom 2:1, 20-24, Matt 7:1-5 and discuss: Do you have expectations for your children that you don’t have for yourself? What would your children say in answer to the previous question? Do your children see behaviors from you that you don’t want to see from them? Are you presenting a high view of God in your home, not just from what you profess, but the way you live?
- Day 4—Read Rom 3:9-23 and discuss: Why should parents share with their children that they’re sinners too? What are the dangers for parents if they don’t share with their children that they’re sinners too? Why is it important for parents to avoid making excuses to their children? What happens if children grow up with parents who regularly shift blame? In what ways can children see Christ through humble, loving parents?
Sermon notes for Train Up Your Children in the Way They Should Go
The NT is clear that one of the main purposes of the OT is to provide us w/ examples we can learn from:
- Romans 15:4 Whatever things were written before [referring to the Old Testament] were written for OUR LEARNING.
- 1 Corinthians 10:6 These things (referring to the OT) became OUR EXAMPLES…
- 1 Corinthians 10:11 These things happened to them (the Israelites) AS EXAMPLES, and were written for OUR ADMONITION (or instruction).
So I like to use the OT to provide examples when I’m teaching. We’re going to discuss avoiding hypocrisy in parenting, and the OT can lay a foundation for us by looking at David and his relationships w/ his sons. If you have a Bible, please turn to 2 Samuel 13…
We don’t have time to read all the verses, so let me briefly explain what took place…
David had a son named Amnon, and he lusted after his half-sister Tamar. She resisted him, but he overtook her and had his way w/ her. Look at verse 21 to see how David responded when he heard the news…
2 Samuel 13:21 But when King David heard of all these things, he was very angry.
David got very angry…but that’s it. He didn’t do anything. Consider this happened to his own daughter, but there’s no record of him punishing Amnon whatsoever.
According to God’s Law, David actually should’ve executed him.
Here’s what ended up happening…
Tamar felt violated and alone. You would expect her to go to her father, David, for help and consolation, but instead she went to live w/ her brother, Absalom. I suspect she knew David wouldn’t do anything.
While Tamar was w/ Absalom you can guess how furious he became toward Amnon b/c of what he did to his sister. I’m not making any excuses for Absalom, but b/c David didn’t punish Amnon, Absalom decided to take matters into his own hands.
Let me ask you to remember what Absalom did: he got Amnon drunk and then he had him murdered.
David learned what happened, so Absalom ran away. Skip to verse 38…
38 So Absalom fled and went to Geshur, and was there three years. 39 And King David longed to go to Absalom. For he had been comforted concerning Amnon, because he was dead.
After 3 years the pain of Amnon’s murder subsided and David wanted to be reconciled w/ his son, Absalom. There’s only one problem: guess what David doesn’t want to do? Punish him! David’s indulgent attitude toward Amnon is now being repeated w/ Absalom.
Look at 2 Samuel 14:33 to see when David and Absalom are finally reunited…
33 So Joab went to the king (this is David) and told him. And when he (this is David) had called for Absalom, he came to the king and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king. Then the king kissed Absalom.
This signified David’s reconciliation w/ his son, but there’s no punishment. This failure caused terrible problems…
Absalom is back in David’s good graces. This is exactly what he wanted, b/c he had a plan he couldn’t fulfill while he was exiled from the land. So next…
- He steals the hearts of the people…
- He turns the nation against his father…
- David has to escape the land…
- Absalom takes David’s wives for himself…
Then in one of the lowest moments of David’s life, his men had to go out to battle against his own son.
This would’ve been unimaginably difficult, but here’s the thing…
- By this point, of course David knows the problems associated w/ not punishing Absalom.
- So he’s going to command his men to execute him after everything he’s done, so no more harm comes to the nation. Right?
Turn to 2 Samuel 18:5 to see what David tells his men right when they’re about to go out to battle against Absalom…
2 Samuel 18:5 Now the king had commanded Joab, Abishai, and Ittai, saying, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.” And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains orders concerning Absalom.
I read this and think, “Are you kidding me?” Consider for a moment about everything Absalom has done:
- He’s a murderer…
- He’s a rapist…
- He stole the throne from his father, and now he’s trying to kill him…
- He divided the nation…
And David says, “Go easy on him. He’s just a kid!”
There is a real danger associated w/ viewing our children too sentimentally, and David is probably the best example of this in Scripture.
Just to save some time, instead of having you turn someplace else I’m going to tell you about one more of David’s sons…
That son is Adonijah. He decided he was going to be king even though David – and more importantly God – had not chosen him to be king. The obvious question is, “How could this young man become so arrogant and selfish?” Here’s the answer…
1 Kings 1:6 [David] had [never] rebuked him at any time by saying, “Why have you done so?”
You can tell Adonijah must’ve been a complete brat growing up, but not only had David never disciplined him, it actually says David never even asked him why he was doing the things he was doing. This is why he ended up the way he did!
His life came to an end up when he manipulatively went to Solomon’s mother, Bathsheba, to ask if one of David’s concubines could be given to him as a wife. Solomon knew he was trying to steal the throne, so he had him killed.
With that, we’ve laid the foundation for our message. Here’s what I’d like to do…
I’m going to recount some situations from Scripture and I want you to give me the name of the man I’m discussing:
- A man saw a woman that didn’t belong to him. He took that woman anyway. Who am I talking about?
- I could be talking about David w/ Bathsheba.
- I could be talking about Amnon w/ Tamar.
- I could be talking about Absalom w/ David’s wives.
- Adonijah didn’t succeed, but he tried to do this with David’s concubine, Abishag.
- Here’s the second situation: a man gave another man an invitation. Then he got the man drunk. After that he had someone murder him. Who am I talking about?
- I could be talking about David w/ Uriah.
- I could be talking about Absalom w/ Amnon.
And this brings us to Lesson 1…
Lesson 1: resist temptation so you don’t see your sins in your children.
Think about this…
- David said, “I don’t care if that woman is married. If I want her, I’ll take her.”
- Amnon said, “I don’t care if that woman is my half-sister, if I want her, I’ll take her.”
- Absalom said, “I don’t care if those are my father’s wives, if I want them, I’ll take them.”
- Adonijah said, “I don’t care if Abishag is my father’s concubine, if I want her, I’ll take her.”
- David looked very cunning plotting his sexual sin w/ Bathsheba.
- Amnon looked very cunning plotting his sexual sin w/ Tamar.
- David looked very cunning plotting the murder of Uriah.
- Absalom looked very cunning plotting the murder of Amnon.
David was a godly, obedient man in most areas of his life, but this is where he sinned and he found the elements of his sins coming back to haunt him. His sons look just like him.
David suffered a lot in his lifetime:
- Think of the rebellion of his sons…
- Think of the number of sons that were murdered…
- Think of the betrayal he experienced from friends…
But I wonder if anything was worse for him than having to see his sins in his children:
- It’s one thing when our children sin.
- It’s another thing when our children sin…but we feel like they learned it from us.
Here’s a quote I hope I don’t forget: “A man never sees the worst of himself until it reappears in his child.”
There are lots of great reasons to pursue holiness as parents. One of the greatest is so we don’t have to see our sins passed along to our children.
Let me ask you an interesting question…
Why didn’t David punish his sons?
Along w/ Moses, David is arguably the greatest leader in the OT. No other men are like them in terms of sheer leadership. So the obvious question is:
- How could such a strong leader, be such a poor parent?
- How could a man that led other men in battle and ruled a kingdom so exceptionally have so much trouble leading his own home?
Because when you look at David:
- He lacks a willingness to take charge of his children.
- He lacks a willingness to demand obedience from them.
What I really see is he lacked a willingness to punish them for their sins.
But here’s the question…
David’s sons’ deserved the death penalty. How could David – who had himself committed crimes deserving the death penalty – carry out that punishment against his sons…who simply followed his example?
I think David couldn’t punish his sons b/c of his own sin-filled past:
- He sees what they’ve done, but he knows he’s done worse.
- He feels like he lacks the moral authority to punish them b/c of his own failings.
- When Absalom rapes Tamar, David is angry, but he takes no action b/c of his own sexual sin.
- When Absalom murders Amnon, David does nothing, b/c he too has committed murder!
And this teaches us one of the great lessons we can learn from David…
Lesson 2: don’t let past sins prevent you from disciplining your children.
David – understandably – felt plenty of guilt and shame regarding the sins he committed. But he dealt w/ this guilt and shame the wrong way. He let it make him soft and indulgent toward his children.
Here’s what David could’ve said to his sons – and if you sit here today and your past sins discourage you from disciplining your children – here’s what you can say to yours too…
- “I know the danger associated w/ not restraining yourself from sin. I don’t want you to make the same mistakes as me. I’ve paid a terrible price for my sins. I don’t want you to have to pay that price too.”
- Here’s what real love does. Real love looks our children in the eyes and says: “I want you to grow up to be a better man or woman than me. That’s why I’m disciplining you for this.”
There are numerous proverbs about disciplining our children. Here are just two of them:
- Proverbs 13:24 He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly. Failure to discipline our children shows a hatred for them, while disciplining them demonstrates our love.
- Proverbs 19:18 Chasten your son while there is hope, And do not set your heart on his destruction. If we don’t discipline our children we’re setting them up to be destroyed.
Here’s why I’m reading these verses to you…
Neither of them – and none of the other verses about disciplining your children – are conditional on our pasts. If you’re a parent, this is what God commands, regardless of what you have or haven’t done.
But here’s the thing…
I know what you’re saying. You’re saying:
- Isn’t it hypocrisy to punish our children for sins we’ve committed?
- Isn’t it hypocrisy to hold our children to a higher standard than we held ourselves?
- I thought this guy was going to tell us how to AVOID hypocrisy…not practice it!
Settle down! I’m getting there!
The only hypocrisy is when you hold your children to a standard you don’t CURRENTLY hold yourself to. There’s a world of difference between holding your children to a standard you DIDN’T KEEP IN THE PAST, versus holding them to a standard you don’t keep now.
- It is hypocrisy to hold your children to a standard you don’t keep.
- It is not hypocrisy to hold your children to a standard you didn’t keep in the past, but – through repentance, the power of the Gospel, and the victory it has given you over sin – you keep now!
One of the most important parenting lessons we can learn from David is our pasts are no excuse for not disciplining our children.
But here’s the other side of this…or here’s what makes us hypocrites…
- If we’re going to punish our children when they do something wrong, we need to make sure we aren’t doing those things ourselves.
- If we’re going to expect our children to do certain things, we need to make sure we’re doing those things.
- If we expect our children to see the seriousness of their sin, we need to make sure we see the seriousness of our own sin.
- If there’s some spiritual fruit we want to see in our children’s lives, we better make sure our children see that fruit in our lives.
And this brings us to Lesson 3…
Avoid hypocrisy in parenting by (lesson 3) modeling what you want from your children.
I want to explain this lesson by looking at a passage in Romans 2 that can apply to parenting. Please turn there.
The first verse might sound a little confusing, so I’m going to try to explain it in two parts…
Romans 2:1a Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge,
Paul says we’re inexcusable – or w/o excuse – when we judge others b/c we’re showing that we know what they’re doing is wrong. Therefore, we have no excuse when we do the same thing.
If we apply this to parenting: if we know it’s wrong for our children to do it, we better know it’s wrong for us to do it.
This is what Jesus meant in Matthew 7:1-2 when He said, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”
These are probably the most misunderstood verses in the entire bible:
- People love to quote these words as though you can never say anything is wrong. But that’s not what Jesus was saying!
- He was saying if you judge something as wrong, make sure you’re not doing it yourself…because you’re going to be judged w/ the same standard you use in judging others.
To apply this to parenting:
- If you think it’s sin in your children’s life, you better think it’s sin in your life.
- If you think your children shouldn’t be doing something, you need to make sure you don’t do it.
You tell your child, “Hey, stop your whining!” Then you walk around the house all day complaining about:
- The weather…
- Your job…
- Your neighbors…
- Your friends…
- Your spouse…
If we do this, what are our children going to think when they get older and look back on the way we acted as parents? They’re going to think we’re hypocrites!
Now look at the rest of Romans 2:1…
Romans 2:1b for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.
Paul says you condemn yourself b/c you say others shouldn’t do things, but then you practice the same things.
Again, taking it back to parenting…
- Disciplining our children means punishing them for behaviors we’ve said are wrong.
- But if we discipline our children for something WE DO our children are going to think we’re hypocrites.
I read Matthew 7:1-2 earlier, and after that Jesus says 3 Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye (or you could say your child’s eye), but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother (or how can you say to your child), ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s (or child’s) eye.
Jesus isn’t telling us NOT to take the speck out of someone else’s – or our child’s – eye, in fact He tell us TO REMOVE it. But He says to first make sure the speck is removed from our own eye.
Let me share something that has taken place w/ my wife, Katie, and I…
There have been times we have been frustrated w/ our children only to sit back and have to honestly say, “They are acting a lot like us.”
There have been parents I’ve heard complain about their children, and in my mind I’m thinking, “This sounds just like you! This is how you act! This is what you’re like!”
If we go back to Romans 2, Paul provides a scathing critique of the kind of hypocrisy we want to make sure we avoid in our parenting. Skip to verse 20…
20 an instructor of the foolish (this is us: Proverbs 22:15 says foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child), a teacher of babes (we’re teachers), having the form of knowledge and truth in the law.
We’re always going to appear to our children that we’re wise and knowledgeable.
21 You, therefore, who teach another (or who teach your children), do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal?
Parenting is a lot of teaching and preaching, but we need to make sure we’re also teaching and preaching to ourselves!
Spurgeon said, “Train up a child in the way he should go – but be sure you go that way yourself.”
We tell our children not to steal, so we want to make sure there are no ways – even little ways – that we steal:
- Are you dishonest on your taxes?
- Do you take home supplies from your workplace?
- Do you think to yourself, “Oh, nobody will miss this.”
22 You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?
Let’s deal with abhorring idols and robbing temples first. This refers to dishonest activity. Again, do we punish our children for being dishonest, but then we’re dishonest?
Regarding adultery, Jesus said if we lust we’re committing adultery in our hearts…
Hopefully all the fathers in here are talking to their sons about purity. If you’re a father, that’s one of your responsibilities. But how hypocritical would it be as a married man if you were talking to your sons about purity, but then you’re looking at – or thinking about – things you shouldn’t? If we expect our children to be pure – and we should expect that – we need to make sure we’re pure too!
23 You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law?
The Jews boasted about God’s Law, but then they dishonored God by breaking it.
Do you see the application for parenting?
Do we present a very high view of God’s Word to our children, but then dishonor God’s Word by living out a very low view of it in our personal lives?
- Do we expect our children to pray, but then not model prayer for them?
- Do we expect our children to read God’s Word, but then not read God’s Word ourselves or w/ them?
- Do we expect our children to be committed to church and the body of Christ, but we don’t really make church or the body of Christ a priority ourselves?
It’s tragic when parents expect their children to live up to a higher standard when they’re older than the parents actually live up to themselves when the children are younger.
My wife, Katie, had a friend and her mother was very proud of being a Christian. She boasted about her Christianity like the verse says…but she didn’t live it out in her home. The girl said, “The Bible was under the seat in the car. It was taken out for church, then it was put back there the rest of the week.”
This girl ended up resenting her mother, b/c of her hypocrisy…but even worse, she ended up resenting Christianity. There aren’t many things – if anything – that push children away from the Lord faster than hypocritical parents who claim to love Christ, but don’t show it through their lives.
J.C. Ryle said, “Instruction, advice, and commands will profit little, unless they are backed up by the pattern of your life. Your children will never believe you are serious, so long as your actions contradict your words. To give children good instruction and a bad example is the same as pointing them to heaven, while taking them by the hand to hell.”
Children aren’t blind:
- They can tell very quickly if their parents have a committed relationship to Christ.
- They can tell very quickly if their parents practice what they preach.
- They can tell very quickly if their parents have expectations of them that they don’t have of themselves.
Basically, children can tell very quickly if their parents are hypocrites.
24 For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles (or it could say: the name of God is blasphemed in your home) because of you,” as it is written.
It’s very fitting for the passage to end w/ this verse, b/c it’s exactly what some parents do:
- This is referring to the Jews being hypocrites in their relationships w/ God, and as a result they made God look bad to the Gentiles.
- When parents are hypocrites in their relationships w/ God, it makes God look bad to their children.
Now if we don’t want our children to think we’re hypocrites, and if we don’t want to make God look bad to them, we need to model what we want from them!
We need to discipline our children, but first we need to make sure we’re disciplining ourselves. Let me give you a few practical examples:
- If we want our children to clean up after themselves, we need to make sure we clean up after ourselves.
- If we want our children to be on time, we need to make sure we’re punctual.
- If we want our children to respect authority, we need to show a healthy respect for authority.
- If we want our children to be servants, they need to see us serving.
- If we want our children to be joyful, we need to be joyful.
- If we don’t want our children to get angry and raise their voices, we need to make sure we control ourselves and speak calmly:
- It looks pretty bad when you’re telling your kids not to yell…while you’re yelling at them for yelling:
- “WOULD YOU ALL STOP YELLING AT EACH OTHER!!! WHERE DID YOU ALL LEARN TO ACT LIKE THAT?”
- If we want our children to treat each other – and others – lovingly, they need to see us treating others lovingly. How bad does it look when you criticize your children for the way they treat each other, but…that’s how you treat them…or that’s how you treat your spouse?
- We need to make sure we practice what we preach.
- We need to make sure we don’t tolerate behavior in ourselves that we don’t tolerate in our children.
If we do end up tolerating behavior in ourselves that we don’t tolerate in our children, our children are going to think we’re hypocrites…and they could possibly end up resenting us.
Cotton Mather said, “Parents, be exemplary. Your example may do much towards the salvation of your children; your works will more work upon your children than your words; your patterns will do more than your precepts, your copies more than your counsels.”
I think we’ve all heard stories about how pastors’ kids can turn out poorly. I don’t know the statistics. But if there really are a higher percentage of pastors’ kids that rebel I suspect this is probably the reason…
These children look at their father standing before the church each Sunday preaching about what people should or shouldn’t do, and perhaps:
- They don’t see their father doing the things he tells others to do…
- Or they see their father doing the things he tells others NOT to do…
As a result, they think their father is a hypocrite and it pushes them away from the Lord.
I’m a pastor, so I’ll share something with you candidly…
This is definitely a healthy fear of mine. I preach the Word week-after-week, and my children have sat through hundreds of hours of my sermons and family Bible studies.
And here’s what I know…
I will never obey God’s Word perfectly. As long as I’m a pastor – as long as I’m alive – I will always fall short of the standard set in God’s Word. Therefore, to some extent, I will always be a hypocrite in my children’s eyes.
I can really only foresee one possible way to prevent my children from resenting me and thinking I’m a hypocrite as they get older. I want to tell you what I’ve decided to do, and I want to encourage you to do the same, so your children don’t think you’re a hypocrite and so they don’t resent you…
This brings us to our last lesson…
Avoid hypocrisy in parenting by (lesson 4) telling your children you’re a sinner.
Here’s the truth:
- None of us can live up to God’s Word perfectly…
- None of us can live up to our own teaching perfectly…
So to some extent all of us can look like hypocrites to our children.
One of the most common principles regarding Christian parenting is, “Make sure your children know they’re sinners. Then they’ll know they need a Savior.”
I agree with this completely.
But you don’t often hear how important it is to make sure your children know that YOU know you’re a sinner!
Here’s what I’ve decided to tell my children from the earliest possible age:
- Daddy fails and makes mistakes.
- Daddy has weaknesses and struggles.
- Daddy needs the forgiveness offered through Christ as much as each of you.
- Daddy is a sinner and he needs a Savior as much as you need a Savior.
Yes, I’m a pastor, so yes the danger is probably greater for me, but the reality is:
- If you’re a parent and you discipline your children – which you should be doing…
- If you’re a parent and you set any sort of standard for behavior in your home – which you should also be doing…
At different times you will inevitably fail to keep the standard you set.
That means there’s a real danger for all of us as parents that we need to be aware of:
- That’s the danger of becoming hypocrites in our children’s eyes.
- That’s the danger of having children that resent us b/c we don’t perfectly keep the standard that we set.
I’m going to ask you a question and I want to tell you ahead of time the answer to the question is, “Yes!”
Here’s the question: are our children going to find out that we – their parents – aren’t perfect? Yes!
When children are young they tend to think their parents do no wrong. But then they get older and they learn their parents are sinners too:
- So it’s not a question of IF our children are going to learn this about us.
- It’s simply a question of HOW our children are going to learn this about us.
And in my mind there seem to be two ways for them to learn this:
- They can learn it when they get older realizing it on their own, probably leading to frustration and disappointment, possibly even some hostility toward us, because we allowed them to think we were perfect…and they were the ones w/ all the problems.
- Or we can be honest w/ our children when they’re young: “Daddy and Mommy are sinners. We make mistakes. We need God’s forgiveness…and we need your forgiveness at times too.”
When you’re honest w/ your children like this, it accomplishes some wonderful things:
- First, it endears your children to you. They will have greater affection for you.
- Second, it makes them more comfortable sharing their own struggles w/ you…instead of hiding them b/c they think you think you’re perfect. Nobody wants to talk to someone like that.
The lesson says, “Tell your children you’re a sinner.”
One of the best ways to do this is simply by accepting responsibility for your actions…
As parents we want to see our children to do this – accept responsibility for their actions – but it’s tragic how many parents won’t do this themselves. So when you make a mistake, don’t justify yourself:
- Don’t make excuses…
- Don’t blame your kids…
- Don’t blame your spouse…
- Don’t blame your work…
- Don’t blame your neighbors…
- Don’t blame your friends…
Instead, look your children in the eyes and say:
- I am very sorry for what I did. Will you please forgive me?”
- I should not have talked to you like that. Will you please forgive me?
- I should not have talked to your mother like that – or I should not have disrespected your father like that. Will you please forgive me?
- When you promise your children something – you’re going to take them somewhere or get them something – and it doesn’t happen, don’t make excuses. Instead say, “I know I told you I would do that and I didn’t. I am very sorry. There is no excuse. Will you please forgive me?”
This is what godly parents do. This is how godly parents avoid being hypocrites in their children’s eyes.
If you don’t want to talk to your children like this – b/c you’re too prideful or you’re too immature – then you might have to look forward to two problems with your children as they grow up:
- First, they might not respect you. They might even resent you.
- Second, they might end up being like you:
- They’ll be prideful.
- They’ll be immature.
- They won’t say sorry.
- They won’t accept responsibility.
- They will make excuses.
- They won’t be humble…
- They’ll blame others…maybe you.
- If we will model humility for our children…
- If we will tell them we’re sinners…
- If we’ll tell them we need the Gospel as much as they do…
- We can hopefully prevent our children from being disappointed – or worse – resentful toward us…
- We can hopefully avoid having children who think we’re hypocrites…
And most importantly we can have children who see the work of the Gospel through us.
Because what is our main motivation for wanting to avoid hypocrisy?
- Is it because we want to look good to our children?
- Is it because we want them to be impressed w/ us?
No. It’s b/c we don’t want to put a stumbling block between them and Christ. What we really want is for them to see Christ through us.