4 Deadly Mistakes of Effective Christian Parents
By Sylvia Cochran – Christian Parenting
Are you an effective Christian? In simplest terms, this refers to a disciple of Christ who is actively walking the walk of a Christian lifestyle. There is little hypocrisy in your life and your faith is a lifestyle rather than a Sunday morning value only. If this holds true, the odds are good that there are four mistakes you are making in your parenting (right now) that might just cause junior to go AWOL from Sunday school and a future as a Christian. Adding insult to injury, you probably think that these mistakes are virtues! Ready for a reality check?
- Teaching with words rather than actions. A busy Christian lifestyle sometimes invites to cut corners. For example, in your family devotional (and as an effective Christian parent, you are bound to have those) you talk about sharing the Gospel of Christ with those you come into contact with. Yet when you are pumping gas, running into the store for a last-minute item or simply interacting with a person on the street, you do not make the time to share your faith. Thus, you have now opened a chasm between that which you verbally espouse and that which you do. It matters little that your child sees you share your faith on all other occasions; she will pick up on the one time that you did not. As a result, she learns how to cut corners and rationalize the behavior.
- Putting too much trust in the children’s ministry. The church’s volunteer army of Sunday school teachers cannot raise your child any more than his Monday through Friday public school classroom teachers can. It is tempting to place the lion’s share of a child’s spiritual education on the shoulders of this volunteer army. Unfortunately, they are the least likely to train up the child in the way he needs. God entrusted the parent with the task of spiritually educating the child living in her or his home. This task cannot (and should not) be delegated.
- Putting the ministry before the child’s needs. Ever wonder why the minister’s kids seem to be the most out of control bunch you have seen? Borderline rude and occasionally even obnoxious, they sometimes seem worse than the children of those who do not yet know Christ. The problem is simple: the minister – and by extension also the layperson active in evangelism – has crafted a Christian lifestyle that places God first, the mission second and the family third. This situation is untenable in the long run. What value is there in saving the lost when it is not possible to help one’s own child to be saved? Remember that God must always come first, followed by the spouse and then the children. Everything else lines up after these three in order of importance.
- Using the Bible as a whip. Granted, the Scriptures teach that they are to be used for rebukes and corrections, but overdoing the discipline and not following with a heaping helping of grace will not go down the right way. Colossians 3:21 warns parents not to frustrate or exasperate their children; using the Bible as a whip to force a child to toe a line does just that.
How do you stack up? Be honest! Your child’s eternal destiny depends on it.
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