As parents, teachers and mentors there are two things we can teach our kids:
- To know right from wrong.
- How to choose right over wrong.
- To want to do right.
There may be some things that the Bible is not clear-cut about. For example, who a person should marry, where they should live or what career they should choose. The Bible doesn’t give a right or wrong for these things and each person needs to find God’s direction for themselves in these areas.
To teach our children to choose right over wrong, a child needs to learn not to follow every thought, feeling or whim that he has. Everyone will have unrighteous thoughts from time to time. Just because you have a thought or feeling doesn’t mean it’s right and you need to follow it. If your kids are playing cops and robbers do you encourage the one playing the robber to follow those feelings and become an armed thief? I hope not! If your child doesn’t feel like eating a healthy dinner but wants to eat chips and chocolate all day do you let him "explore" that behavior for a while? He will end up obese! If your child decides he doesn’t want to say please and thank you is that O.K. with you? The point is, we train our children to not only know what is right and wrong, but to choose right over wrong. Kids must learn to reject thoughts and feelings that are not healthy for them and that are not righteous. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
Ultimately, a person, child or otherwise, must want what’s right. He must hunger and thirst for righteousness himself. He can receive some of this hunger from a parent or mentor’s example and most definitely our prayers for him will open doors and remove obstacles for him to draw closer to God. But he needs a touch, a drawing, a relationship with God himself in order to have the passion for God’s ways that will be necessary to keep him from all the distractions in life that would lead him away from what’s right. When a person sees the goodness of God and falls in love with Him, he will want to live a life that pleases God and will see for himself that God’s ways are the best. (Matthew 5:6, John 6:44, John 7:37, Romans 2:4, 1 John 4:19).
Please don’t forget children, parents, teachers and families during your prayers for this year. We need strong families! The Lord said about Abraham: "For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him." (Genesis 18:19).