A Slip of the Tongue & A Clued-In Seven-Year-Old

A Slip of the Tongue & A Clued-In Seven-Year-Old

“Daddy, you said a bad word when you were preaching,” he whispered to me. Immediately, I stopped what I was doing and turned to face him to give my full attention. “What did I say, son?” He turned away from me and said, “you said the word, ‘gee’.” It is true that sometimes I’m given to filler words that creep unaware into my speech. I have no excuse for saying it and I certainly didn’t try to justify it to the little boy standing before me. I simply said, “Daddies make mistakes too. I shouldn’t have said that word… will you forgive me?” He accepted.

Parents, we think our words and actions escape the notice of our children, or that they are not paying attention to us and to our choices, our words, or our priorities (if you think that, try to open the Blue Bell after supper without them noticing). I think about Isaac following his dad, Abraham up that mountain and carefully perceiving that they had forgotten the most important part of the day’s activities: “where is the lamb?” (Gen. 22:7). Did Abraham think Isaac wouldn’t notice? He noticed.

Children are exactly what the Bible says they are: a blessing from God and treasures that can absolutely help us refine our faith (Ps. 127:1-5). Yet, sometimes we as parents routinely ignore the training, wisdom, and correction needed to emphasize our life’s mission to glorify the God of heaven (Prov. 22:6; 1 Cor. 10:31; Eph. 6:1-4). Our children see right through us and can point out inconsistencies in our lives and character far better than we can observe them ourselves! What a humbling and seemingly terrifying thought (2 Cor. 13:5)!

When I as an adult don’t take seriously the observation of my child about my character, words, or actions and how they are or are not in line with a Christian, I am telling my child, “what I say we believe is not important…here’s what I truly believe.” Or, to quote the old adage, “actions speak louder than words.” Inspired James said, “be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (Jas. 1:22).

To illustrate: “Dad, you said worship is the most important thing… so why are we going to this ballgame instead of worship?” Why, indeed? “Mom, you said we shouldn’t gossip… what you said sounded a lot like it.” Will you justify it, mom? “Mom, dad…how can we say we love the Bible when we don’t ever open it up during the week?” Here’s a chance to repent and grow the way God wants (2 Cor. 7:10-11). What’s terrifying about this is that they will get the message that godliness doesn’t matter, often WITHOUT ever asking us questions like the ones listed above! God help us to gain a heart of wisdom and discernment! To illustrate: “Dad, you said worship is the most important thing…so why are we going to this ballgame instead of worship?” Why, indeed? “Mom, you said we shouldn’t gossip… what you said sounded a lot like it.” Will you justify it, mom? “Mom, dad…how can we say we love the Bible when we don’t ever open it up during the week?” Here’s a chance to repent and grow the way God wants (2 Cor. 7:10-11). What’s terrifying about this is that they will get the message that godliness doesn’t matter, often WITHOUT ever asking us questions like the ones listed above! God help us to gain a heart of wisdom and discernment!

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