I prayed a new prayer for my kiddos yesterday. I prayed that sin would always look like sin to them.
That’s a tough one. How is it that sin–something that can separate us forever from the Presence of God Almighty–can mirror godly qualities like compassion or kindness or justice or even love? As I’ve reflected on this prayer and the reason for it, I’ve become almost overwhelmed by the ways in which our society makes sin look desirable–and even admirable. Greed. Gluttony. Gossip. A variety of sexual sins. Immodesty. Holding grudges and keeping score. Divorce. All of these sins are so readily justified–and even glorified–in our culture that I am tempted to wonder how my kids will ever know the Truth.
As I feel the anxiety begin to creep into my spirit, God whispers to my heart: Teach them Me. Love with all your heart, soul and strength, because then I will be real to them. Talk about Me and My guidelines with your children. Explain to them how I’ve created these rules for their own well-being. While you go through your morning routine, share with them how sin creates distance between Myself and them. Choose to not say what comes to your mind in anger. Be patient with them as I have been patient with you. Lavish your love upon them as I have lavished My love upon you. Let your little ones know how desperately I long for a close relationship with them, and how I am standing by every single second of every single day to give them what they need to navigate the tricky places in this world. While you are working in the kitchen or playing outside, share with them the stories of how I have worked in your own life, giving Me the glory for your successes. Tell them how I have comforted you and loved you unconditionally in your failures. As you go about your daily responsibilities, read My Word together as a family, taking the time to explain the principles and to get to know the people in it. Make it your priority to know My Word in a way that it is always on your tongue and in your heart. Teach them to use this Truth as the filter which helps them determine what is right and what is sin. You are their greatest teacher in this regard; do not rely on anyone else to teach Me the way in which I need to be taught. When you go out in public to do business or to enjoy all of My good gifts, live My Word. When someone offends you, let it go. When someone cheats you, forgive them freely. When someone does not respect your rights, respect theirs. Use the hands I have given you to serve the people whose paths you cross. Use the feet I have given you to go where I send you. Use the tongue I have given you to bring life to others. Be generous. Show compassion. Model kindness. Be just. And, above all, love.
Your children will see the difference between righteousness and sin when you have trained them in these things. I will be the reality; the world will be a poor imitation. Trust Me on this. They will know because of your faithfulness. The choice will always be theirs, but they will know if you teach them Me.
“Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”