"Children are not morally and ethically neutral. The Bible teaches that the heart is "deceitful and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9). The child's problem is not an information deficit. His problem is that he is a sinner."
-Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp, p.105
My neighbor lent me this book. I had been staring longingly at it online and on the book table at church, but I wasn't sure I wanted to shell out the money just yet. My neighbors have 4 kids who behave extremely well, so last time I was over I asked her if she had anything I could read about discipline, and lo and behold, she brought out this book! God works in funny ways :)
Anyway, this book has not only given me insight into a child's heart, but also into mine. I've not always been comfortable with the fact that I am a sinner. I used to be even more uncomfortable with calling children sinners. How could a sweet little baby be born with such self destructive desire?
Then I had a child. I made more friends who had young children...and I grew to understand how a child's heart is definitely not neutral. Why does my baby scream when I take a toy away? She is selfish. She wants what she wants and she wants it NOW! Sound familiar? I know I feel that way...when my plans go awry or when that leftover Easter candy is beckoning from the kitchen counter an hour before dinner. We are born sinners. Ultimately that destructive bent inside of us will bring forth death in the spiritual and physical sense.
Thankfully, God has supplied a solution in the death and resurrection of His Son...when we trust in Him to pay for our sins and follow His commands from the Bible, our hearts are transformed. By the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we can say 'no' to those natural, selfish desires and trust that God's way will bring life. I'm so excited to introduce God's ways to my daughter. I'm excited to finish this book and put to practice the techniques to not only help my daughter behave well, but to enable her to understand her heart, the human condition, and God's heart for her. I know that this parenting process will be sanctifying for me as well (please pray for us!) With God's help we don't have to be a morally or ethically 'neutral' family. We can bring God glory by living His way.