Dr. Tim Kimmel is the founder of Family Matters and the author of this great book, Why Christian Kids Rebel. We've spent six weeks discussing how we can live authentic lives with the goal of giving our children the best example of grace and truth in action. Our hearts as parents yearn to keep them enveloped in the family of faithful believers. I think we have learned some fabulous lessons, both for our children and for us as their parents.
I began the journey through this book with all of you because I have a 20 year old daughter who has walked away from her faith and I desperately wanted an answer as to why that has happened. I also have two younger girls, ages 11 and 9, who I want to protect from the same fate. There is nothing I want more than for them to find their own faith, and to remain in their faith.
Our last chapter discussion this week is Chapter 9, Compromised Christianity. To be honest, I think we all have to admit that our faith has been compromised at some point in our life. There are always those times that Satan sneaks in and we don't behave as well as we could. Little white lies slip out before we realize what words have escaped us. Young eyes are watching us when our behavior isn't stellar. These are the moments that prove bad examples to our children, that make them doubt the faith we profess because we aren't living it out.
Granted, this is going to happen to us all. We can't be perfect. Our children would be the first to admit that WE make mistakes. The part that makes it detrimental to their faith is when we don't own up to our failures.
Last week a schoolmate of K. called at 9:20 pm. First of all, we felt it was too late to be calling. Secondly, we had already discussed between us that this was a friend that we were going to "dial out" of K's life because of some difficult situations that had arisen in school between the two of them. We feel this is not a good example for K to be around. Unfortunately, like many times when we are caught off guard, our response on the phone was that she had gone to bed and wasn't able to talk. In reality, she was sitting on the couch listening to us lie about where she was. HORRIBLE EXAMPLE!
Correcting this mistake requires us to admit to our 11 year old that we just lied to her friend and that we had made a bad choice. We need to take responsibility, just like they do. We need to admit that we make mistakes, especially when it involves something so crucial to our faith.
I want to end our book discussion with Dr. Kimmel's list of the Top Ten Things to Remember When Dealing with Rebellious Children:
- Never underestimate the power of PRAYER.
- Remember to ask forgiveness for any ways you've failed them.
- Let consequences do their job.
- When in doubt, turn to the Bible.
- Don't add bitterness to their rebellion. Keep lines of communication open.
- Don't let your rebellious child ruin your other relationships.
- Make sure they know that they always have a place to repent.
- Be willing to be used of God to help others in the same situation.
- Make your life more attractive than theirs. Give them a reason to want to turn around.
- Don't give up. You never know when someone's heart is about to turn around.