Raising My Children God’s Way

I teach my children that wrong is wrong, regardless of who is doing it.  In our home, we all hold each other accountable.  If my children see or hear my husband or me doing something that we teach is inappropriate, then they bring it to our attention without repercussion.    When I correct my daughter, she tells me, “Thank you, Mom”, because she means it!  We do correct in love.  We explain what makes an action inappropriate, not just “because I said so.”  We have a very open relationship with our children, while still maintaining parent/child boundaries.

I often have people who live a less rigid standard than I do tell me that they expect my children to rebel.  Do they not remember how they themselves rebelled, and they weren’t even brought up in a strong Christian household?  Rebelling is what some kids do.  It’s what our flesh nature does.

All I can do is pray that raising them in a loving and stable environment filled with happiness and Jesus is enough to make them want to have a life like mine. 

Yes, I teach my children that certain behaviors (drinking, cussing, smoking, crude behavior) are wrong for a Christian to do.  I also teach them that lying, stealing, sex outside of marriage, pride, vanity, abortion, homosexuality, and murder is wrong.

The Bible also teaches LOVE, and we never leave that out of the equation. We teach our children to hate the sin but love the sinner. We also teach them that everyone has different sins that they struggle with and that they will have their very own to deal with. However, we also teach them to REPENT, which means to turn away from their sin, not to dwell in it while making excuses for it.

It is easy for some to say that I am judgmental, because it is assumed that I am teaching my children with a negative attitude.  I pull my children alongside of me, and I show them pictures of how Mommy and Daddy used to be.  I share the pain and the hurt that living a certain lifestyle brings.  I teach them with love.  I don’t want them to fall prey to the devil’s tactics.  I don’t think Jesus would have taken his 5 year old daughter around certain behaviors, although He would have gone by Himself.  I don’t think Jesus looks down on me for keeping my children insulated but not isolated.  They know full well the dangers of the world.

I don’t have to immerse them in sin to teach them about it.

Several times a month we have homeless people knock on our door, because we live at the church.  We offer to feed them and give them direction.  My husband will take them where they need to go.  My children see us.  They hear us.  They learn from us, but they are not equipped to deal with this part of ministry yet.

My husband and I are dedicated to raising our children God’s way.  We follow the convictions that God as given us.  We follow the Holy Spirit’s nudging and His voice.  We study His word.  We pray.  We fast.  We are submissive to His will.  If we are doing something wrong, God will let us know.

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5 thoughts on “Raising My Children God’s Way

  1. Amen and amen!!! Can I just say that we must be related because your family sounds like my family, however, my family reported us to social services saying that we were mentally abusing our children!!! Needless to say the social workers rolled their eyes as they interviewed everyone of my children as well as my husband and myself. Like you said they are not in our homes and have no idea what goes on. The list of accusations just about had me rolling on the floor laughing especially since I can’t even remember the last time anyone has come to visit. Just a few of the accusations were, holes in the wall, exposed live wires, overly religious. I happen to think that I have a very nice house. Never had holes in the wall, no live wires exposed. It’s really sad how people will actually listen to the devil and come up with this stuff. And boy have we been accused of judging them but yet have never opened our mouths against them. Just because we chose not to participate in things we don’t feel are right for our family they take that as judging. I could go on and on. I’m glad that we are not the only ones, I was starting to think we were.

  2. I have some problems, on a smaller scale, with my husband’s family not accepting things that we do in ours. Some of it comes out in my blog others just personally. It has made for some awkward conversations and distancing. It is very hard when you faith and convictions meet harsh words from people you are so close to and do not necessarily want to offend but just inform (maybe convict if that is what the Lord means for it). My husband is also a pastor and since he took on the job a year ago now we have changed even more, not as a show, but the Lord has convicted us that we needed to shed some things from our life to be a better witness for Him. Thank you for your blog and your witness. I hope your family receives it better in the future.

  3. Melinda,

    I thought about responding privately but given the very public nature of your posts (FB statuses & blog) and given that you published your brother’s comment, presumably sent private, I feel like the best way to respond is publicly. I pray I’ve made a wise decision.

    From this post, it reads as if you and your brother are talking past each other and not hearing what each other is truly saying. If you want more on that, I will be happy to offer my perspective.

    Most importantly, what was the point your statement intended to convey? Could you have made your point without that statement about family? Can you conceive that the statement can read like a slam to your family knowing they would read it because you tagged them in your post or knowledge of it would spread? I am going to venture a guess here, that this is not the first time this has been an issue, so you were writing in to an already existing context that may have deserved a special handling. Knowing your family and loving them the way I do, I cringed, for their and your sake, when I read it. I gave the benefit of the doubt and thought maybe it is a reference to your husband’s family but that didn’t make me feel any better.

    What is the point of this blog post? Is what I am writing going to draw my brother/family in or is going to repel? It’s not that I think you shouldn’t necessarily write about your experiences but why not discuss how family relationships and conflict can be a source of your own personal refining? Why not discuss how family relationships and conflict expose the sin in your own heart? Why not discuss how relationships can be a matter of your sanctification? Or if you are convinced of your principle, why not write about how to explain or teach your family’s standards to your children without referencing your own family in such a public forum? Even with the purest of intentions, greater caution should be given because tone and word choice over the internet does not always read the way we hear them in our head and heart.

    I realize your calling card is that you are real; however, I hope that being authentic to yourself is not at the expense of others and primarily not at the expense of spreading the good reputation of Jesus Christ whom we represent. Our highest priority as Christ-followers is to love, which is not a mushy feeling, but a decision and an act of the will to treat others as image-bearers and ones for whom Christ died. Jesus gained a reputation as a gluttonous, winebibber who hangs out with sinners and publicans. I, too, am so far from being like Jesus because I admit my comfort level is compromised when I am around those who may not live exactly as I do. May we all be like Jesus and risk being called a friend to prostitutes, thieves, you-name-it. How much more should we be a friend to our family?

    My hope is that this is received in the spirit in which it is intended…lovingly with a call to reflection.

    • I have to agree with Angie, although I do not know the family. Being “real” does not excuse being harsh and rude. If the “real” you is that way, that just exposes a problem in your own heart. I am so very far from perfect, so please don’t read this as judging. I am sincerely concerned that this kind of venting will tear apart your family and encourage others to follow your lead.

      Sin is sin and should not be excused, but we are not ever told to belittle and embarrass people into changing. God clearly teaches that out of all thing (moral standards included) that the most important thing is love. To love God and to love others. Teaching our children that people live in sin because they don’t know how much Jesus loves them is vastly different from teaching them to act the way this post describes.

      God’s *kindness* leads us to repentance and our job is to shine the light of His love and let others see the joy and peace we have. I hope and pray that you are able to reconcile with your family and focus on God, rather than sin.

  4. This sounds like a huge issue in your family, and I understand where you are coming from. This sort of thing is always hard to comment on because, obviously, family has responded and even though I don’t agree 100% with what Angie said, I do think you guys are talking past each other.

    Beware of people who promise you that they are thinking the best for you and your family, and talk negitively about you behind your back. If your family doesn’t get it, then sometimes a clean break is needed. You can love them from a distance. It’s a decision that we have had to make in the past. Not an easy one, but one we’ve had to make.

    I hope and pray that you find guidance in this predicament. 🙂

    P.S. I think it’s so funny because my last name is Martin and my husband WORKS in a prison as well 😀

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