Keeping the Gospel Central

Posted on · Posted in Gospel, Parenting

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

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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.