The Danger of Being a Fool

Posted on January 6, 2015 · Posted in Culture, Instructing, Parenting, Worldview

by Tedd Tripp

The alternative to teaching our children biblical hierarchy is to allow them to be autonomous self-directed people. The Bible has a term for such a person: the fool. “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Ps. 14:1). The fool says, “I will be my own self-directed person; no one will tell me what to do. I will do what I want to do, when I want to do it. I will be ruled by nothing other than my own whim.” This is not freedom; it is foolishness. To live in God’s world as though there is no God is the height of folly. A later chapter will be devoted to the contrast between wisdom and folly.

Our Lives Must Reflect the Truths We Teach

These truths must be reflected in our entertainment choices. The man in the action-adventure movie who does whatever he wants and breaks all the rules is not a hero. He is a fool. Regardless of the apparent good that results in the end, he is a fool and the world he represents is a lie. It wouldn’t be wise to make an evening’s entertainment of watching powerful dramas that teach our children to think about life in ways that are not true. If we are going to watch an action-adventure movie, we should have some vigorous discussion afterward about the fact that this hero is, according to the Bible’s reckoning, a fool.

These truths must be consistently reflected in our lives. We cannot teach kids to respect our authority and then call our boss disrespectful names. Our children will not respect the spiritual authority of the church if we have roasted preacher for lunch on the Lord’s Day. They will not be grateful for civil authority if we have no concern for civil servants or the traffic laws.

We can share our struggles with authority with our children. It is not hypocritical to ask our children to do things we struggle with doing. It is hypocritical to pretend that we do not struggle. We should show them grace and strength from God for their struggles by modeling humble dependence on God for our struggles.

From Chapter 7, Instructing a Child’s Heart.

Instructing a Child's Heart

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.