Your biggest fear as a Christian parent is probably that your children grow up to reject God. Or claim to be a Christian, but then refuse to obey God’s commands. You may wonder why some parents seem to raise children who are faithful as adults, while others who appear similar have children who reject God and His commands. There are some surprising reasons why this rejection or rebellion happens.
- Your parenting style. Authoritarian parents have lots of rules and strict consequences for disobeying them and aren’t very nurturing of their children. Permissive parents have basically no rules and don’t give consequences when the few rules they may have are violated. Authoritative parents have rules and boundaries that are consistently enforced and fair, logical consequences are given for disobedience. They are also nurturing, engaged, loving parents. Our children often grow up to believe God reflects the parenting style of their parents. Authoritarian parents raise children who reject God because He is harsh. Children raised in permissive homes may not reject God outright, but feel no need to obey His commands because they have been raised to believe rules are optional, nor do they fear any consequences, because they assume there won’t be any. Authoritative parents are more likely to raise children who have an accurate view of God and stay faithful.
- You disobey God’s commands with no signs of remorse or repentance. Do your children regularly hear you lie or commit some other sin without showing any remorse that you sinned? Do you rationalize disobeying one of God’s commands? Do they never hear you ask God or anyone else for forgiveness? If so, you are setting the example of a rebellious life they may very well copy.
- You haven’t taught them what it really means for God to be Lord of their lives. If your children don’t understand what it truly means to be servants of the King, it’s no wonder they think they can make their own rules for living life. As God’s humble servants, God makes the rules and our job is to obey His commands and ask for His forgiveness when we rebel against them. Your children don’t get to disobey the commands of God because they don’t like them.
- They don’t thoroughly understand the consequences of rebellion against God. Many Christian parents are afraid of teaching their children about Hell for fear of traumatizing them. Most churches rarely mention Hell. In fact, most young people raised in Christian homes don’t believe in Hell as a real place or possible consequence for rebelling against God. While you want to teach them about Hell in age appropriate ways, they need to have a clear understanding that Hell is real and it is a place in which they do not want to spend Eternity. As much as we want to believe obedience to God is only about love and gratitude, it is also built on an awareness of God’s power and knowledge that eternal consequences will be given for rebellion against Him.
- Most of what they think they know about God and His commands was learned from the secular world. The world has a very inaccurate idea of God and His commands. About Christianity in general. Even supposedly “religious” characters in movies and shows spout some of the most unChristian dialog or represent Christian beliefs inaccurately. Books are even worse at times because they have the leisure of pages to really make an anti-Christian point. If your children aren’t receiving a lot of teaching from the Bible at church and home, the bulk of what they believe they know about God, His commands and all things Christian will come from these secular, inaccurate sources – designed to pull them away from God.
The good news is that you have the power to counter all of these influences that can pull your children away from God. Don’t wait to make the changes you need to make so your children don’t fall prey to these faith killers.