Teach your kids the difference between condemnation and conviction

Posted on July 8, 2014 · Posted in Sanctification

Your children, like you, have a problem with sin. Sin has an immediate negative impact, but even more destructive is sin’s aftermath. Like radiation fallout after a nuclear blast, sin’s fallout can spread and last for years. 


Condemnation follows sin:


First, and most importantly, sin brings the condemnation of God. 


Then, as others become aware of our sins human condemnation occurs. 


Finally, a heart burdened by sin begins the ritual of self-condemnation. 


There is no person on the planet that can escape the consequences of defying God. No one can escape condemnation and the toll it extracts. Its impact may be felt in minutes or it may take years to play out.


Condemnation is often the unseen force behind the shocked proclamations of, “we never saw that coming.” Don’t be deceived. Without Christ, there is no escape from condemnation.


Apart from Christ, your children will be dominated by the three-fold fallout of condemnation. Just because you can’t see the immediate signs of condemnation at work does not mean it is absent.


Even for Christians, sin has fallout. The good news is that the devastation of condemnation is replaced by the hope of conviction.


Too often, conviction is confused with condemnation.  When there is sin, God is faithful to use his word working with his Spirit to bring conviction. This is a good thing. Unlike, condemnation, biblical conviction leads to godly sorrow which leaves no regrets (2 Corinthians 7:10). Condemnation flees from God. Conviction causes us to rush to God for restoration and peace. 


This is why the gospel must be something you constantly bring to your children. Only through the gospel can your children know the blessing of conviction that leads to repentance and restoration. 


The following conversation is the result of the investment in teaching the difference between condemnation and conviction. Justin’s parents have made it a priority to really know him and win his trust. This is not the first conversation that Justin has had like this with his parents.


“Justin,  you have been really down since yesterday. I thought you would be happy since you made the soccer team. What’s up?”


“Nothing, mom.”




“You are not going to let this go, are you?”


“What do you think?”


“I know. I was thinking maybe I should talk to you or dad.”


“That’s cool. Tell me what’s gong on.”


“Well, the reason I made the team was because Alex broke his ankle and that opened up a spot.”


“Okay, well that’s too bad for Alex, but it’s not your fault he broke it.”


“True. But, you see, I don’t really like Alex, he is a conceited show-off. So, when I heard he broke his ankle, I was happy. Then, when I heard I made the team I thought, finally there is some justice. I was happy that Alex got what was coming to him.”


“It seems that your happiness didn’t last long.”


“No, it didn’t. Now I feel like garbage. Alex is still conceited, but why was I so happy he got hurt?  It was a nasty break. I am feeling like I am worse than he is because I was so glad at what happened to him.”


“Have you talked with God about this?”


“No, mom. How can I talk to God when I am being such a jerk?”


“Okay, I get it. You remember the difference between condemnation and conviction….”

Jay Younts
Jay Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger. He is the author of Everyday Talk and other materials on parenting. He has been teaching and speaking on parenting issues for 30 years. Jay and his wife, Ruth, live in Fountain Inn, South Carolina. He serves as a ruling elder at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and Ruth have five adult children.