Wednesday, November 20, 2013

let's talk about your sins and your kid's sins.

someone posted this article on my Facebook page tho other day. what do you think about this?

so i read it. i was surprised that it was on one of my favorite resources, the gospel coalition blog. i will admit, i agree with a lot of what is on this blog and find it helpful in many ways.
but this article, i felt really missed the mark.

it's basically a woman explaining why she thinks we shouldn't discuss our kids sin's in public. Go read Don't Tell Me Your Kid's Sins by Megan Hill , before you read my response.

and here's why i disagree.

Isn't the bible one big blog post of God discussing his children's sin? even in detail? we even get knowledge of heart issues and thoughts. The bible is story after story of humans messing up and God rescuing them. if it had not been for his open and honest dialogue of his children's sin (yes, even hall of famers like david and moses! and noah and joseph!) how would we gain his perspective on sin? that we need a savior to rescue us. we are weaklings. and more than that we are helpless and lost in our sin.

paul says we can BOAST about our weakness.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
you may say, well that means your sin, not your kids.
not so. this is how we are called to live as believers.
we can all talk about sin openly and honestly, without shame, because Christ says we're covered in his blood and He has forgiven us.
when we are weak, he is strong.
so i will tell you that i'm a sinner and so are my kids. i will tell you what we're struggling with and sometimes i will give you details. (gasp!)
why?
you will find yourself in my details. 
Jesus is found in the details. 
he cares for the details. 
he died for the details!

the author says,
I may have authority over my children, but I don't own them or their stories."
so how do i talk about my story if i can't share their story? if i'm having parenting struggles and it's exposing my heart, how do i leave out the part where my child's sin exposed my sin?
you can't. all of our stories are intermingled.

well then who's story is it? neither.

those stories don't belong to you or them! 
they are God's.
all we are asked to do is GLORIFY HIM with whatever story we have. make us look small and him look big. 
us becoming small: that is glorious. and that can only happen when i say, we are a mess. we need a savior. don't look at me, look at Jesus.
in whatever venue he has asked you to share. who are we to judge if this person should remain quiet about their children's sin or not? for instance, parenting books. 
thankfully many authors discuss their kids sins in parenting books. phew! what a relief. practical help through details. 

more than practical help, we can live freely in the knowledge that our approval rests in christ alone.

i believe when we have that knowledge, we can create an honest environment. we can pass this truth of approval in christ to our children. 
do we do this by secrets? surely not! (show me this verse in the bible)

or do we do this by proclaiming our sin often to each other in confession? in front of each other and in front of our kids. in our home, we discuss sin. you will hear me telling my son that i am sinful and that i am just like him. we all need a saviour.

hell, i can do it on the interweb even.
because i don't need your approval. i am able to be bold and talk about my husband's affair because i am obedient to the call of God on my life and i know that what he has asked me to do will not turn void. i know that God has changed my husband and myself and i don't have to worry that you think he might do it again.

guess what, he might! that's not the point. Glorifying God in my life is. portraying Him as the reward is my goal, not a happy marriage or amazing children.

and i can talk about layne's ungratefulness because guess what? i don't need to know what you think about my son. i know what God thinks about my son and it has everything to do with HIS SON.
and have you followed the journey?
God is changing my son's heart. and my heart. and many people's. all because i let them in, through this community of blogging. i proclaim God's glory when i tell you that my family is sinful.

even more than that, we circle back to the environment we want to foster in our homes.  by talking about sin, i want layne to know that it is nothing to hide. it is, however, something to be brought to the light. however your family does that, however you personally feel called to do that, then so be it.
be obedient to the call of the spirit.
not all of us are meant to share internet-publicly and that's ok.

of course, if we are sharing sin just to share sin, that does no one any good. we should proclaim it to bring hope to others and share the gospel. it should always go back to the hope we have in Jesus.

but to shame parents for talking about their struggles in parenting to their bible study(!!) is destructive and harmful. these communities are meant for such honest sharing. in fact, if you're not going to be honest and deal with deep sin issues in your own life or destructive patterns in your family or children, why be in a small group?
what is the point?

to only talk about how your kids love baseball and love to play board games... cool. but where is Jesus in that?
i have lived in this type of community and it is harmful if that is the only depth you go.
same with social media. you'd prefer we post only the pretty things?
what a distortion of God's word. 
He does not share only pretty things. 
(i.e. psalms. job. lamentations. etc)

you call it "crass oversharing"
and i call it the Gospel.
to proclaim our sin freely and to let the shadow of the cross cover our sins. to discuss burdens and hardship, to bask in God's discipline of our sin is where i want to stay. publicly and privately.
to live in a community where we can openly share hardship and sin and to call each other to the grace that covers our sins.

God loves you. and you have nothing to hide.

16 comments:

  1. This is something I've really never thought about. I don't over share & I am careful about what I share online, bc of the nutties out there. :-) But, you brought up some good points....both of you did. I usually share the funny/naughty things my daughter does & how we handle her bx, b/c she is 3 & its a learning experience for all of us...she's our first born...we are still learning. But, that may change when she gets a bit older........ This was a really good post!

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  2. After reading your post and Megan's post, I have to say I can relate to some points in both posts. On one hand, it IS wrong for us to pretend that our children are perfect and constantly shelter their sin stories from others. God can use those details to glorify himself and further the cause of the gospel. I appreciate how you share candidly, and I believe your heart is to proclaim the good news as you talk about the sins of your family and the way God's grace is covering them. I think where Megan has an interesting point is that not all parents have a heart motivation like yours when they discuss the sins of their children. I'm around lots of toddler moms, and sometimes instead of hearing God glorified as they (okay, I will include myself in this category) talk about their children's disobedience, there is complaining "woe is me" type of talk. Parents (myself included) advertise their child's sin for the sake of attention, laughs, power, and like-ability. Instead of pointing to God, they are pointing to themselves and I think that is the type of sharing Megan was talking about. I also think Megan brings up a good point about being cautious to discern sharing sin for the sake of bringing the gospel to light versus public shaming of our children. This is all about the context and heart attitude of the parent...sometimes if our children hear us talk about their sin in the wrong setting they may perceive it as shameful punishment instead of grace (like...mom is talking about this AGAIN? I thought she forgave me).
    I love that you shared your heart on this issue because I think it's a great discussion! Thank you for being faithful to not base your identity on how put together your family looks. It is a great testimony to the good news of Jesus Christ, and is challenging to bloggers like me who always find it easier to talk about good works! You are a great example to other women seeking to bring gospel application to life! Such a blessing to read :-)

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    1. I was going to post my own thought, but Emily shared the same thing I was thinking! So I'll just say I agree with her. :)

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  3. I *love* some of the points that you made. We need to be real. We don't need to just share the good. We need to share the ugly. We can and should boast about our weakness because others can find themselves in our details. It creates community.

    But I have to say that I do agree with the premise of Megan's article. Here's why: When we were in ministry my husband and I always operated under the guideline that small groups/counseling/etc wasn't for the purpose of gossip. Too many people are doing this, whether intentionally or not. Too many people like to share unnecessary details. Too often we make our sins about the the behaviors instead of what its really about - the heart. When we are angry at our neighbor we tend to share what our neighbor did and how we reacted instead of just asking our friends and church family to pray for our hearts. Our anger. If I'm sharing, if I'm asking for help I don't need to share what someone else did, I need to share what *I* (specifically my heart) needs prayer for. I think the same goes for our kids. Yes, I'm sure the ladies in our small group can relate when we tell them the specific struggles with our kids. But lets be honest, when we share with our peers its because of how the situation made *us* feel. We get frustrated, angry, sad, hurt and we need to vent or ask for advice. I truly believe that we are capable of asking for those things and receiving support and prayer without giving all the details of our children's behavior every time they act up.

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  4. Amen, amen, amen.

    Love you, and your little sinners. ;)

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  5. I read the article and tended to agree with parts of it as well as yours! I think balance is needed. And I think you need to know what your personal tendency is (to over-share or hold back and be willing to grow). I grew up with a mom who would have NEVER shared her kids' weaknesses or failings. Not even to get another person's perception on an issue, and unfortunately, I think a lot of that had to do with pride and that wasn't good for our family culture because it nurtured pride in us kids. On the other hand, I have a lot of friends who want to be open and share and end up just complaining not just about their kids sins, but who their kids are. And often their kids can overhear. I think this can be disrespectful to your kids, especially as they grow older. So I think there's a balance. The heart motive behind sharing matters. And the age of the kids matters. Are you really sharing because you want input? Or you just want people to moan with you about how hard it is? So I can see both sides and think that it's an area (like so much of life) that you just have to walk by God's spirit.

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  7. i totally see both sides and agree with many points from both you and Megan and with so many of the comments above. i think sharing as an effort to not make our lives look perfect is not a convincing motive (for me, anyway). if anyone thinks my life is perfect or if i think anyone's life is perfect than i (or them) are discounting Christ's work on the Cross and everyone's need of a Savior. we know no one is perfect because only Christ was. i guess i suppose there's enough sin in me to talk about and cover for the rest of time before i can even begin to address my kids. : )

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  8. I read both articles and can see truth in both of them. I think there is a thin line you have to look out for with your child and the sharing of his/her sins. I agree with you that it is important to point out to your children that they are sinning and that we all are sinners and fall short of God's expectations and sometimes it is appropriate to share the sins of our children because it helps others see hope and Jesus but.... I have seen many children fall into hopelessness because their parent/caregivers are constantly sharing their weaknesses. At some point it makes them feel like they can do nothing right so why even bother. I think it becomes most appearant when they get to the preteen/teen years. I think before anyone shares the sins of their children with others they have to consider the reason for sharing. Are they building their child up or tearing them down? Are they sharing for selfish reasons or due to personal stress or do they really need to share.

    I am struggling with this very issue right now. My son is struggling in school and we are personally having some conflicts that are frustrating to me. When someone asks me how my son is doing I want to be honest and open but I recently realized that by sharing this struggle with people I am tearing down his image in many peoples eyes. They don't know the sweet wonderful loving boy he is they only see him through the eyes of my frustration. It is not productive and if I was sharing these struggles about anyone else I would consider it gossip. I am contributing to the conflict by sharing it. I am not building him up but am tearing him down in the community. I know that is not what God wants in my parenting.

    Often when people write books about parenting they ask their grown childen if they can include stories and it is often important to do that. If you share struggles after they have resolved I think it may be more productive instead of sharing every thing that your child struggles with as they are growing up to be the men and women God is creating them to be. I understand that you do don't want to live your life worrying about what others think about you or your family because it is true that it only matters what God thinks about you but.... our children see things differently from us because they are less mature in their spiritual walk as well as their brain maturity and often they see us sharing and they translate that into us "complaining" about them and they want our unconditional love and what they see when we overshare is our constant frustration with them. At some point they give up trying to please us and give up trying to please God.

    I went a little long.. sorry... I actually have never written a post on any blog but I do feel very strongly that we need to use caution when sharing about our little ones because they are not spiritually mature and they see things from a much different vantage point then we do. We are the one's they look to to see glimpses of God and if we are constantly sharing all the things they do wrong then that is what they think the Lord is doing.

    Ephesians 6:4 says: “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Colossians 3:21: “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

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  9. Appreciated this, Jami. It all comes down to what's in our heart, eh? Whether we choose to share our stories or not, it should be for HIS GLORY. If we choose not to share our children's sin because we want to look good, that's sin. If we want to share our children's sin because we get value from other people sympathizing with us, that's sin. I have a family blog and have pondered this thought many times. So thankful we have a Counselor who gives us wisdom whenever we ask. I am also so thankful that God uses you at times to speak to me. He is so good to His children, isn't He?!?!

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  10. I read the article and i think maybe she is referring to flaunting our children's sins and broadcasting them to the world. I think, like you said, you can't really be vulnerable and have any kind of depth with other believers if you're not open about your current struggles. and when you're a mom, your current struggles 99% of the time will involve your kids. I think it's all about your inner motivations for talking about sin, who you trust when you talk about it, and handling anything that's not just about you with caution. I am in a women's bible study and there have been times when women will incessantly talk about their husbands with disrespect, and i think that is gossiping about them. there is definitely a way to talk about sin where the focus is on Jesus and not on us, and i think when we openly "flaunt" our children's downfalls or our spouses downfalls it can be sinful. So maybe that is what she is kinda talking about, being sensitive with the way you speak? i don't see how you can really live in fellowship with other believers if you're not open and vulnerable with people though. The gospel allows me to trust other Christian friends with the true depth of brokenness and sin in my family. And i am thankful that when i over share or under-share, God forgives me, and knows that my aim is to always walk in the light and be transparentt. 1 Johhn 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

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  11. "you will find yourself in my details" that's so true! We share because we want to glorify Jesus and because others can be pointed towards his grace, mercy, forgiveness, redemption through relating to others in their sin. good thoughts. thanks for writing to glorify God.

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  12. This is so good to think through. Reading both articles, I absolutely see how we can go over board with sharing things about our kids. There are parts of their story that we do need to protect. However, you are right, Israel's sins were discussed openly in God's word, for the purpose of teaching and restoring, and ultimately to point to Christ. We do need honesty and accountability with other believing women as well! So....I think maybe I agree with both of you?!?! Great to think through. Thanks for sharing!

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  13. Can I just say... I think you are the shiz. No, really, and I am thanking God for you. I'm so glad to be reconnected to you and this is fundamentally right on. I'm excited to go through these years with my kids. Ups, downs whatevs, and you are one of the reasons I can look forward to it. You know some people cannot learn unless they fall themselves. I have been this person, but now I love to learn from others and especially those I feel God is leading me to for wisdom. Not tooting your horn... if that is even possible, Just praising our Jesus for His grace shining through you sister. Blessed holidays!! PRAISE JESUS!!

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  14. Gosh, emailed you awhile back, but wanted to ask you to continue to pray. That I will have an open heart to know and confess my need for Jesus; to have faith and to be glad in living for his glory.

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  15. thank you. thank you. i just really needed to read these words tonight.
    God's timing is perfect, and you were His instrument to my heart, He is so good.

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