Shaming our children is hypocrisy. That, of course, is where I will always end up when I am trying to manipulate behavior. If, however, I deal with the heart, I will no longer be hypocritically distanced from my son. I can stand in solidarity with him and his struggles with selfishness. I can put my arm around him and say, “I understand what you are experiencing. I understand selfishness. Dad has his own struggles with being selfish.”
I am not excusing selfishness as okay since I am selfish too. Rather, I am simply identifying with this common struggle with sin. Not only do I understand the struggle, I know where I must go with my struggles with selfishness. I must take these struggles to Jesus Christ where I can find forgiveness and grace to help in my time of need.
Jesus Christ has experienced the same kind of temptations that I experience (Heb. 4:14–16). Though he never failed, I often fail in these temptations and must continually seek grace and strength from Jesus Christ. He is able to forgive and to cleanse me (1 Jn. 1:9). He is full of mercy for past failure and grace for present and future need.
As I help my children with this issue of selfishness, I am like a seasoned veteran on the battlefield. I have been in the battle for a longer time. I have a better knowledge of how to do this spiritual warfare. My young children may just be beginning this battle with sin. I can get into the trenches with them and show them where there is hope and strength for this battle.
Tedd & Margy Tripp
Instructing a Child’s Heart