The #1 Kids’ Excuse of All Time and How to Beat it!

Blog He Made Me Do It“He made me do it!” Is perhaps the number one kid excuse of all time! I mean is there a better excuse? Is there a better way to deflect responsibility for our sin than blaming our actions on someone else? “I got mad because my teacher didn’t recognize me.” I snatched a cookie because you wouldn’t let me have a snack.” I.e. I sinned because of you!

Why It Doesn’t Work

The only problem with this thinking is that it is not biblical. God never holds other people responsible for our sin. Not even parents are judged for the sins of their kids (Ezk. 18:20). God holds us responsible for our actions. Regardless of the circumstances, our actions are always just that, our actions. We don’t sin because of someone else. We don’t sin because someone triggered all our defense mechanisms with one rude comment.  As Pastor Brad Bigney said, “That button was already there – the pressure only revealed it.” (p.151). We sin because we want to, because we love something more than God! Notice what James 1:14 says, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.”

Understanding The Real Problem

The very first of God’s ten commandments says, “You shall have no other God’s before me (Ex. 20:3).  To really understand how to only worship one God, we need to take a look at the very last commandment: “You shall not covet.”  These two commandments bookend the other 8 because the first one shows us what God requires of us and the last shows us how to achieve it. To worship God and God alone, we have to treasure him above all else. We can’t have idols in our heart. We can’t covet.

fall-651020_1920The reason we sin, the reason we snap when we don’t get our way is that we are coveting. We are worshiping something more than God. According to Colossians 3:5, covetousness is idolatry. Covetousness creates idols in our heart that replace God.  We look at the nude girl on the screen, we scream at our kids when they get too loud, and we rant on Facebook about our job because we are worshiping something other than God. We lust because we covet human companionship more than God. We scream because we covet a quiet house more than God. And, we rant because we love our success more than God.  Spiritual idols are not just limited to the generic category of sports, money, and fame. They are the daily things we want more than God. They are the things we sin to get or sin when we don’t get them. As Bigney says, “An idol is anything or anyone that captures our hearts, minds, and affections more than God.”(p.41).

The Covetousness Cure

To not covet, we have to love God. And to love God, we have to avoid coveting. This is how we overcome sin. We daily focus upon worshiping God. And, we daily do battle in our hearts. We daily worship God and we daily abandon our idols. This is how we find the strength through the power of the Holy Spirit to obey God and our parents. This is how we avoid lying, stealing, and murder. To grow in Christ, we must actively pursue the things of God. We must actively uproot out our idols

The next time your child tells you that they sinned because of what some teacher, some (crazy) children’s pastor, or some little kid did, challenge them on it. Remind them that they are in trouble not because of what the other person did but because of what they thought, said, and did. They are in trouble because their actions revealed that they loved something more than God.  Help your kids to start asking themselves why they sin. For example, show them that cheating to get a good grade means they love the approval of men more than God.  Expose their hearts to the reality of sin, Then, point them towards the God of the universe!

The Forgotten Culture War

When you hear the term “Culture War” what pops into your mind? Gay activists yelling on the steps of the Supreme Court, Christians praying in front of abortion clinics, or perhaps politicians arguing for the removal of a nativity set? Typically, we don’t think about little Johnny lying to his mom. But, we should.

A World of Lies

Every cultural and spiritual battle is ultimately a battle of truth. Think back to Genesis 3. The snake deceived Adam and Eve. Lying blogSin arrives via the snake’s lie that God is not good. And sin continues to spread via the lie.

We get angry when we pick up another loss in fantasy Football or when our spouse forgets to empty the dishwasher, because we think victory or an empty dishwasher will bring true happiness. For that moment, we believe a lie.

And we spread lies because we don’t want to insult grandma’s cooking or because we don’t want to suffer the penalties that come with embezzling from our boss. We believe that lying will helps us avoid consequences. But it doesn’t because the perfect Judge sees everything and will hold us accountable when he returns.

Not too surprisingly our world which is ruled by the father of lies, Satan, is dominate by liars. Some researchers estimate that 1 in 5 adults are habitual liars. And this is not a new trend for these grownups.  Around 90% of people master the art of deception by the time they turn 4. It turns out that the little white lie is not so little after all. It’s a plague that infests our culture.

Why Kids Lie

As parents, pastors, and lay leaders, we should not be surprised to see kids lie. It happens all the time because most kids are living a lie. Many kids live for good grades, for softball championships, or for having tons of friends. They believe that something other than God can will make them happy. As the apostle Paul wrote, they as are all unrepentant sinners controlled by “deceitful desires” (Eph. 22).

Kids living for a lie will quite naturally be liars. They will lie about report cards and about breaking the lamp. Out of the heart the mouth speaks. When kids have corrupt deceptive hearts, lies will pour out of their mouths. That’s all they know to do.

The solution is truth. First, we have to begin telling the truth. Many kids keep lying long after 4 because their parents lie. “Honey, tell Grandma I’m in the shower.” We have to be faithful truth tellers in our everyday life. Jesus is, “the way the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). To follow him we must proclaim the truth. We must tell others that Jesus is the only way to heaven, and we must take grandma’s phone call.

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. – Eph. 4:25

Next, we have to confront our kid’s lies. Their lies are not cute or insignificant. They may be bizarre. I had a young family member once tell numerous people that Shamu ate him. Please don’t start punishing kids for being fanciful, but do help them understand that such stories are not true. Even at an early age, kids can learn that truth resides in God and cannot be made up. Reality cannot be remade on a preschooler’s whim.  And that which is unnatural cannot be made natural by the Supreme Court. We need to help our kids understand the limits of imagination when confronted with God’s reality.

And lastly, we must discipline our kids for deliberate lies. I lied all the time as a kid, including doctoring my 6th grade math report card for an entire semester. Needless to say my parents were surprised to see that my standardize test ranking was in the 60th percentile. Yeah, turns out all those A’s were not so real after all. I spent the next several summers doing summer school. And as I wrestled with my punishment, I was acutely aware that I was sinner. By punishing me for my lies, my parents took on the lies that were controlling my heart. They showed me that true life and happiness is not found in escaping school work. It’s found in Christ.

By confronting a child’s lie, we can reach past their verbal message to the core of their heart. By championing truth in our homes, we show our kids that they need the savior of truth.

If we want our kids to embrace what the scriptures say about sex, abortion, and money management, we have to affirm truth in our lives and homes. Only truth of Christ can overcome lies of the snake.

You’re The Key To Great Parenting

blog keysMost everyday my son loves to grab my keys, stretch as far he little toes will allow him, and touch a door knob. And I think he’s attempt at being a night watchman can be traced back to yours truly. For the past year or so, my son has regularly walked the halls of FBCE with me locking and unlocking doors. And now he wants a turn.

I mention the story because it illustrates just how much influence we parents have on our kids. Whether we realize or not, we are shaping our kids.

Now there are great coaches, inspiriting teachers, and godly pastors, but none of them can compete with a parent’s influence over their kid. Teachers and the like get our kids for a few hours. We have our kids for a lifetime.We are hold the key to our kids success.

God designed us as parents to lead our families. We read in the Deuteronomy 6 that we are supposed to teach our kids about God from the time they time we flip on junior’s bedroom light till the time we flip it off. And we are commanded to teach our kids about God because God knows that we are always teaching. We are either teaching our kids to trust in the power of the flesh and to love the world or we are encouraging them to obey God. Class is always in. And God wants us to make it about him.

To succeed as Parents, we must love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, and strength. We must be growing in our faith, changing our attitudes, actions, and loves to align with scripture. To be good parents, we must have hearts ruled by God’s word.

Admittedly, becoming more like Jesus is a serious and at times arduous endeavor. We daily fight against selfish impulses, pride, arrogance, and laziness. We top spiritual mountains full of joy and we fall into valley of death filled with sorrow. We need help at times. And even if we are doing well, we can always benefit from godly encouragement and teaching. We can never be so blessed that we don’t need God’s word. Thankfully, God’s gives parents an awesome resource that does all these things. It’s called the church.

The church exists to encourage and to help everyone (adults included) grow in their understanding of God. Through the preaching of the word, the fellowship of other believers, and the admonishment of friends, we can have hearts ruled by God’s word.

Parening Conference FacebookThis weekend (August 29 and 30) FBCE will be hosting its bi-annual Biblical Parenting Conference. We realize as a church staff that the best way to reach your kids is to encourage and build up parents. If you are able, we greatly encourage you to be a part of the conference. And if you can’t be a part of it or other conferences, make your spiritual growth a priority. Study the word, commit to a local church, and study a book or two on parenting (see the must reads page for some great suggestions).

Just by watching me, my son came to love keys and door knobs. What else are our kids picking up?