After the dedication of his baby brother in church, little Johnny sobbed all the way home in the back seat of the car. His father asked him three times what was wrong. Finally the boy replied, “That pastor said he wanted us brought up in a Christian home, but I want to stay with you guys!”
We might laugh at such a cute story, but the harsh reality is that there are many “Christian” families who mirror that in their daily lives. And the sad truth is that most of them can fool everyone… except for their own children.
Kids Lose Interest in Playing Fake Games
Kids may be gullible, but they’re not easily fooled when it comes to recognizing a fake. Mom and dad can put on a great show at church. They can wear all the right clothes, say all the right words, and even serve in all the right places, but if what happens on Sunday never carries over into the practical world of family life on Monday-Saturday, kids are going to take notice.
And as a result, the pattern of “playing church” begins at a very early age, because it’s been exemplified all too well.
There are too many Christian moms and dads who are “do as I say, not as I do” parents. They say one thing, yet often live something else.
- They say church is a primary priority, yet they choose not to go at the drop of a hat when something else comes up.
- They say they love the preacher and the staff, but then have them for dinner on Sunday afternoon.
- They say they support the ministries and activities of the church and student departments, yet justify why they always seem to take a back seat to other secular activities.
- They easily say on Sunday how good God is, but are quickly back to griping about how bad life is the rest of the week.
The problem lies in the fact of what our children hear the loudest. We can put on the show once or twice a week, but if the other 5-6 days of the week tell a different story, our kids will hear the true message loud and clear.
We’ve seen it played out too many times, that regardless of what happens at church, most often what happens at home trumps all.
And unknowingly, we are producing 2nd generation hypocrites:
- Young people who know all the right answers, but have missed developing the right heart.
- Young people who can faithfully attend church, yet comfortably still live in the world.
- Young people who are “cookie-cutter” Christians, yet whose inner lives are crumbling.
And we have only a couple of people to blame – the ones who set such an example in the first place – mom and dad.
Why is it that statistically, more than 70% of Christian young people are leaving the church within two years of graduating high school never to return? Why is it that a majority of church members never get past the “lukewarm” stage of their Christian life and walk? And the most commonly asked question of all, “Why is it that there are so many hypocrites in the church?”
The answer in part is this – they’re just being what we’ve taught them to become – 2nd generation hypocrites.
Putting Our Feet Where Our Mouth Is
Just as the best way to start a fire is with fire, the best way to ensure my children are passionate about the things of God is to be genuinely passionate about the things of God myself.
Mom and Dad, let’s have lips that speak the truth and lives that speak it even louder.
Let’s have hearts that are full of faith, and be examples that give proof of what faith looks like.
Let’s just be the real deal, so that one day we’ll produce more of the same.
We would do well for the sake of our children to take heed to James 1:22 that says, “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” Because not only do we deceive our selves, we deceive our children into believing a lie about the Christian life – that God is okay with us living on both sides of the fence, when nothing could be further from the truth.
God will gladly take a 2nd generation authentic Christian over a 2nd generation hypocrite any day. And why wouldn’t He? Those who are the real deal are those who make the real difference.
What do you need to change about yourself and your parenting today to ensure that your kids become the real deal tomorrow? I’d love to hear your feedback by you leaving a comment.