Quick……. what do the above three things have in common? Answer: They are all figments of our imagination; myths perpetuated in various cultures. I don’t intend to write on Irish lore, or cryptozoology (go ahead, look it up!), but I do want to talk about the “myth” of “good kids” or more specifically, the common notion that the primary aim of Christian parenting is to make good kids. So let’s start with some scripture:
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.” (Mk. 10:17-18)
In context, this is part of Jesus’ revealing of his divine identity, but it’s important to hear Jesus say, “No one is good–except God alone.” The Apostle Paul also writes of human goodness: “…there is no one who does good.” (Rm 3:12b) But isn’t this going too far, shouldn’t we as Christians do good, and also desire to have our children do good and “be good”? Now this is where it gets interesting, because we know that in the fullest sense, only God is good. Our good deeds, in and of themselves don’t amount up to much when we’re up against an all mighty, all righteous, all holy God. Instead, I would argue that striving toward goodness, or acting in a consistently good way, isn’t the point of the Christian life and it certainly isn’t the end goal of our Christian parenting (Plenty of Mormon kids are probably way better at being good than mine will ever be). Instead, God desires righteousness and holiness to be found among his children, but how do we become righteous and holy? Does it happen by trying our best at goodness!?!? NO. Fortunately for us and our children, our being made right before God and set apart for his purpose happens because of the gospel. It’s that simple, it’s that profound…it’s just plain GOOD NEWS!
In the coming days I want to thoughtfully think through how the gospel of Jesus Christ actually speaks to how you and I parent our children, both now and in the years to come. I hope that you will join with me in conversation on this important topic as we journey with Jesus toward a more gospel-centered way of parenting. And for those of you who don’t have kids, there’s plenty of room for your consideration as well!