I recently asked one of my children whether or not they had brushed their teeth. The near inconsequential fact that they had yet to do so would have remained only a slight irritation had he/she not made the foolish choice to lie to my face several times and dance around the truth until they were found out and disciplined heavily for the deception.
Later in the day, once the infraction had been dealt with and apologized for, I was looking through some possible memory verses for the week. (The children and I memorize a new verse every week or two… or three). The Child suggested we find a verse about the evilness of lying.
And a childhood memory flashed before my eyes…
I had a wonderful childhood. It was made rich with a strong faith-community of men and women who spoke God’s love to my growing heart and two parents who did their absolute best in sharing the Word of God with me.
DISCLAIMER: What I am about to write is written in the understanding that should my children ever become communicators of truth, they will inherently receive much “material” from their own parents as we are attempting to introduce them to a perfect God within the confines of our sinful nature. So it was with my parents and so it is with you.
When I was young I spoke my mind, often without invitation and often without thought. And dare I mention it was often in the form of a complaint or what one might label as “arguing”. In my youth I preferred to call it “sharing my opinion”. (Today I prefer not to think of these times at all, and instead complain about my own children’s’ uninvited opinions which I label “arguing”.)
My poor mother, often in frustration at never having a child humble enough to admit to wrong-doing, would start quoting the Book of Proverbs. I always heard about Proverbs within the context of foolishness being “bound up in the heart of a child” or how fools spoke too much. I never did learn to shut my mouth as a child, but rather that the Book of Proverbs was clearly written by a man who did not like children. It became to me a book of constant nagging, one that showed only my faults as a fool.
It was in the same heart of frustration that I was introduced to the Book of Job. I do not remember what I complained about, but I hit the limit and my father began reading Job to me. It was the first time I had heard the story and the lesson I received was Job had something to complain about; I did not.
Now back to current time.
In remembering those few negative experiences I had with the Word of God being thrown in my face by an exasperated parent (something I can strongly relate to), I did not agree that The Child needed to memorize a verse about lying. They knew that lying was not the correct choice hence the dancing they did to not get caught.
Instead we memorized a verse about the character of God.
We are called to memorize verses that correct and tell us “what not to do”.
The question is not whether to admonish our children with the Word of God. Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching admonishing one another in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” It says quite clearly that we are to admonish with the Word of God.
My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. Proverbs 7:1
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26
The question is are we also teaching our children the whole picture of God. While we admonish we can encourage the little sinners that God still loves them with a never-ending love that is not based on what they do. Are they learning the what-not verses along with the verses that speak to God’s character and role models how to praise a praise-worthy God? Are we?
And that’s from one saved sinner to another.