“Jeff, in all that you write I would love for you to address this question. How then are you teaching your son to live. It would seem that Christianity and struggling with, “compulsive and sinful behaviors in secret,” sets our sons up for this kind of feeling of continual failure. How do we instruct and encourage our sons so they don’t have to endure what we did with the guilt and shame following us continually? I’ve never heard anyone address this from a guilt free stance of grace. How do you do this without making the addictions that we have seem not important?”
First, let me say that the best I can do with this is put some thoughts on the table. I’m far from being an expert at child-rearing, and as I said, I am a recovering self-righteous, legalistic blah blah blah, so there are still kinks being worked out. 🙂 Every parent makes mistakes with their kids, and we’ve made some doozies with The Director. That said…I’ll open a discussion here by putting some ideas down, and if anyone has any helpful thoughts to add, feel free to leave them in the comments.
I think the question Barb asked comes as a natural outflow from people who are in the process of being set free by the grace of Christ. As we begin to find freedom and healing from the past, we naturally want to help our kids walk in that, too. We want them to avoid the pitfalls that ensnared us. We want them, as it were, to get on the fast-track to freedom, to learn from our mistakes, to benefit from the truth we’ve received…to be that much more ahead of the game.
But here’s the thing. I think we can do that…but only to a point. And I think there’s a bit of Divine wisdom in that.
I look back at my own journey, and I realize that as a Christ-follower, every bit of healing, freedom, and recovery I’ve experienced has come as I have followed Christ. He has led me on the path of healing. Yes, that path has included wisdom imparted to me from others along the way…but ultimately, following Jesus for myself caused me to own the truth that has made me free. And although everything inside me wants my son to receive all the benefits I’ve received from that journey…he has a journey of his own to walk. He already has wounds in his soul, some of them inflicted by me in my own ignorance. But he has to choose Christ for himself, and his path of healing will come the same way mine did–as he follows Christ. The healing I’ve received, and the subsequent healing that has come into our relationship…all of that can equip him for the journey, and it certainly helps. But the journey itself is his to make. We impart all we can to our children, but as they mature, they must own that truth for themselves if it is going to make a difference in their lives.
So generally speaking, how we see it is…we follow Christ in front of our son, and encourage him to join us on that journey. And he is. We’ve “instructed him in the way he should go”, but never forced our faith down his throat, and we’ve given him the latitude to question, so that his relationship with Jesus is his own.
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Teaching Our Children to Live (or, "Barb Asks An Intelligent Question")
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