“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” I John 1:8
I remember not long after our first child was born, a new mother in our young adult Sunday School class declared in the middle of a discussion about original sin, “I believe children are born good. Children learn about sin from other adults.” Have you ever heard a parent say something like this about their children? This mother was adamant about her feelings. She would not accept the idea of original sin. By her way of thinking, children were too innocent to have a sinful nature. We adults are responsible for children’s sinfulness.
Chuck Colson once described this kind of thinking as “whistling past our children’s graveyard”.
William Golding didn’t believe in original sin either, at least until World War II changed his thinking. In 1954 he published his first novel, Lord of The Flies, a powerful and disturbing parable about the sin nature in every man, including children. The story powerfully portrays what happens when kids stranded on an island lack any moral guidance by adults.
Reasonable men and women don’t need Golding’s Lord Of The Flies to convince them of what happens when adult moral guidance is missing in any family and society. Kids raised in a moral vacuum where they are expected to figure things out for themselves, will likely find life meaningless and hopeless. Without intentional conversations and training about moral implications and the consequences of our choices, we relinquish the authority for such “training” to the Enemy, who will gladly assume the responsibility.
Parents and grandparents who take a hands-off approach to training children how to walk in the truth, open the door wide for those we don’t want training them to fill the void. Moral guidance is the responsibility and command God has assigned to godly parents and grandparents. It is the hallmark of a Gospel-shaped family.
Grandparents, even if your grandkids are blessed with excellent moral instruction at home, your responsibility to also teach and model righteousness is not removed (See Deut. 4 and 6). And if moral guidance is missing at home, then your responsibility becomes even more critical and necessary. Don’t fall for the lie that they will figure it out on their own, even though, by God’s grace, some will figure it out. Such foolishness is akin to whistling past your grandchildren’s graveyard.
What are you doing to provide a godly moral compass for your grandchildren? May suggest three things you can do to make sure your grandchildren are hearing from you how to walk in the truth?
- Pray for them regularly. Obviously, entering our own personal prayer closet to seek God’s wisdom and grace for the task is a good starting place. However, I also believe there is great value in getting together with other grandparents to pray, study God’s Word, and share ideas for teaching the truth to our grandkids. Grandparent’s Day of Prayer on the second Sunday of each September is a great way to engage with other grandprents.
- Get a copy of A Practical Guide to Culture by John Stonestreet and Brett Kunkle. This excellent resources will help you understand the culture of our time, how to identify the lies that bombard us every day, and how to engage with your grandchildren in conversations about these things. Click here to order your copy.
- If the parents of your grandchildren are receptive and on the same page in their worldview, sit down together and ask them how you can come alongside and help them teach your grandchildren well. There are two chapters in my book, Courageous Grandparenting, that will help you do that.
Remember, there’s just too much at stake eternally if we don’t take this seriously. Wouldn’t you agree?