THE DIFFICULTY OF BAD CHARACTER

THE DIFFICULTY OF BAD CHARACTER

The Word says in 2 Timothy 3:1-5: “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”

If this is what our children are up against, how can we stand against this force of reckless rebellion? By intentionally teaching and training character at an early age! What is good character? How can we teach our young children? How do we go after character without introducing legalism? How can we empower them through connection? How can we expect more out of our children?

I invite you to check out our CHARACTER COUNTS Magazine – Character Training SOAR Magazine – Let the Children Fly

DADS ALIVE

Moms, do you want your husbands to come alive in the home? Then teach your children to HONOR and OBEY his instruction. Picture a general in an army making a big decision, seeing the bigger picture, and having soldiers who are constantly resisting and denying his authority. It creates chaos, frustration, and hinders his ability to lead the army where it needs to go. Children need to be TAUGHT about honor, respect, and authority. Their selfish nature and ‘me, me, me’ flesh need to be trained to acknowledge that Mom and Dad are the generals in the family and are accountable to God for their job. Your husband will naturally soar higher as the leader of the family when those in his care learn to honor and respect his leadership.

Need some help learning how to teach your children? Check out our CHARACTER MATTERS resource: Character Training SOAR Magazine – Let the Children Fly

REMEMBER WHEN…

I want to invite you to encounter Him as a family as we just did. It was powerful and shifted our focus and peace back to Him.

There are so many things screaming at us in this hour, and it is hard not to feel uneasy at times. I called a family meeting and asked them who God is. Yes, there is the God of the Bible and what we learn about Him, but I wanted to hear the testimonies of who He has BEEN for us. The ways we have personally seen, heard, and experienced for ourselves. I started with a testimony of “Remember when…” and someone followed, and then another and another. It took us 45 minutes to get through the stories. GO gather the kids and tell bedtime stories of who your God is. Stir up the memories of what He has already done.

TECHNOLOGY

I realize we are all first-generation parents stewarding the world of technology with our children. We will hit some home runs, and we will make some mistakes along the way. One day my son asked if he could take his phone with him on our family outing. I usually have them leave them at home because it is our time to connect, but I allowed it. He was playing a Spanish app and engrossed in it and barely said a word. I had to run to Walmart, and he asked if he could keep playing on it while I was shopping. I agreed to make an exception. The trip was chaotic. He was always a few feet behind us and not paying attention as he bumped into others due to looking down on his phone. I was in a bit of a hurry and was trying to find something for Ellie. I asked him to stay by the cart while I ran down the other aisle, and he absent-mindedly walked away, leaving my cart and purse unattended. I asked him to go back to the cart. A few moments later, Ellie came to me upset because Hudson was snapping at her. He was attempting to push the cart but ran into something because his eyes were on his phone. A few minutes later, I asked him to help me with something, and he had an attitude with me for ‘interrupting’ him. It was so chaotic and stressful. I went to him and held out my hand, asking for his phone. We finished and when we got into the car, I reminded him that I had raised him to be a helper, to see others, to be kind, to jump in where needed, to be a gentleman, to serve, be aware of his surroundings and to be a blessing. I did not raise a son whose eyes were locked looking down on a screen, walking around aimlessly without seeing a single person or contributing to the task. Every parent needs to make their own choice about technology, but for me, when they were younger, going to the store was our training ground for character, and I was not going to let a phone undo all that work. I care more about his development than his entertainment. I care more about the man he is becoming than his comfort. I care more about him seeing others than what he is watching for himself. The phone is not your friend if it is breaking connection with those around you.

RECEIVING THE GOOD

Of all the things I have endured in life, the hardest part has been the healing process of receiving the good. More often than not, things like joy, play, silliness, trust, lavishing, loyalty, and laughter have been taught to me through my children. They are made in His image, not mine, and God knit them with gifts, talents, and personalities to redeem and restore what was lost in my childhood. God continues to parent us through our children. It’s like He first gives us one set of parents to raise and train us. Then He addresses the neglected or shut down areas by using our children to parent us (our kids don’t parent us, but He parents us through them). This is why family is so important to Him. He is building something in us, and the generations are interconnected.

LANGUAGE OF LOVE

Once you know a child’s love language, you learn how to fill their hearts easily. I could spend my last dollar on a child, but if their love language is quality time, it won’t hit their heart as much as the child with the love language of gifts. I could spend every waking moment with a child, but if their love language is words of affirmation, they will still feel empty/low after spending all that time together. I could smear my child with endless praises, kisses, and words, but if their love language is acts of service, they will wonder why I don’t love them enough to help them. If you want to hit a bullseye into their heart, LEARN your child’s love language and go after it daily.

HONORING YOU

It is very difficult for a child to release the Kingdom at the store if they are on the floor pitching a fit because you did not buy them a toy. They will have a harder time hearing God’s voice if they haven’t been taught to listen to yours first. You will have a greater challenge getting them to be ‘others’ focused if they have been taught that they are the only ones that matter. Character matters!

GODHEAD PARENTING

LET’S BREAK IT DOWN – Take a sheet of paper and write “Dad” on the left side. Under that write “Mom” and under that write “Siblings/Friends.” In the column next to each of these, write out three to five strong beliefs you have about them. We aren’t looking for obituary tributes; we are looking for YOUR truth. I am not asking what you know to be true as in, “Well, they did the best they could.” Use words that feel true to your little girl/boy heart. Maybe it will be things like, “They loved me, but were too busy,” or “kind”, “would yell a lot,” “unpredictable.”

THREE IN ONE – God provides all that we need. God is our Father. We have His Son Jesus and His Spirit. They are ONE – we serve ONE God, but they are all different. For example, my son is one person, but he is a son, brother, and friend all rolled into one person. There are different sides of him, but all parts of one whole. We need to have a relationship with each of the godhead to walk in the fullness of who God intended us to be. If we love Jesus but have no relationship with Father God, we are out of balance. If we are cool with Father God but have no room for Holy Spirit, we are missing out!

He provided us an earthy family that mimics the godhead. Now, write “God” in the third column on the first row, then “Holy Spirit”, then “Jesus”. The dad represents God the Father who provides and protects us. The mom represents Holy Spirit who comforts, educates, and nurtures us. And our siblings or friends represent Jesus, who is our friend and companion. At least that was God’s design.

If there is trouble, who would a child want to handle it? Probably Dad. But if the child hurts themselves, most often they would want Mom. As a child gets older, who do they want to tell all their secrets to and giggle with? Their friends, right? We learn about the godhead through the relationships that God gives us on earth.

It would be a safe guess that whatever you wrote down in the “Dad”, “Mom”, “Siblings/Friends” column is also how you view the godhead (unless you have already had significant healing). The goal is NOT to focus on how bad your parents were but to realign yourself with the truth of God the Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. See the difference?

All parents have a natural desire to shield their children from harm. I remember when the bubble was broken for my children. I was crushed that their innocence and know-no-pain world had come to a crashing halt. For some reason I couldn’t get over it, and it was paralyzing to me. Then a wise woman in my church told me about a family who had done everything right – they raised amazing godly children who were loving, honoring, respectful and happy – until the day a bully showed up on the playground and made their life a living hell. I asked her, “You mean that even if I did everything right, the bubble would have probably popped some other way?” She replied sadly but honestly, “Yep!” I realized then the meaning of a fallen world. While we do not expect the bad, we come to realize that our enemy is real, and he is good at his job. That is why we need to be better at ours!

For any area that you have a weak spot with the godhead due to your experience with your earthly relationships, walk through the following steps:

  • Forgive your earthly parent/sibling/friend for whatever you wrote down.
  • Renounce that God/Jesus/Holy Spirit are that way.
  • Ask Him for His truth.
  • Receive His truth!

THIS is why we need to stop and take a little inventory of our lives so that we can see how our childhood has shaped us and perhaps altered our view of the godhead. Often what happens is we are so determined to do things differently from our parents that we end up in extremes and still out of balance. At times my mom was so against sugar and treats that I coveted them any time I was around them. I didn’t want to be like that with my kids, but I realized I said yes to sugar too much. Another good example is abuse. A child is abused and swears they will never do such a thing to their child but goes so far to the other side that their child has never known a day of consequences or learned self-control. There has to be a balance – the balance is Jesus. And the only way to come into proper alignment is to have our eyes fixed on Him.

GODHEAD PARENTING – Once you learn the incredible ways earthly relationships can impact or distort a child’s view of the godhead, it changes the way you parent. I am constantly looking for ways to reveal to them the fullness of the godhead. For example, being part of a single parent family can make it easy for my children to feel like orphans, but I am constantly calling out the way their dad still provides for them financially. When I bless them with something and they say thanks, I am quick to say, “Bless your dad for providing the funds.” It is hard for them to feel like an orphan when they are thanking God for how their earthly father is providing for them. This is not an attempt to ignore reality, but I take seriously not letting earthly relationships define their view of God, Jesus or Holy Spirit. There have been times when I have responded to them harshly or with anger and when I go back to make it right, I will say, “Holy Spirit is never harsh or mean with you and I am sorry that I treated you that way.”

DIVORCE – Can you see a bit more clearly how a child becomes a spiritual orphan? When parents are bitter towards each other and slander one another in front of the kids, it destroys not only their worth and value but also their view of the godhead. One of the most powerful things you can say to a child going through a divorce is simply, “God would never leave you!” What is happening in the natural is unpleasant, but how a child transfers these lies to their beliefs about the godhead is how lasting wounds are created.

PARENT FIRST

You cannot take the parent out of parenting any more than you can take the child out of childhood. Your journey, heart, and needs matter and shape your parenting more than anything. If you want to love your child to the fullest, you are going to have to allow God to love you. If you want to empower your child to the fullest, you are going to have to allow God to empower you. If you want to train your child to the fullest, you are going to have to allow God to train you. If you want to see/hear/value your child to the fullest, you are going to have to allow God to see/hear/value you. If you want to embrace your child to the fullest, you are going to have to allow God to embrace you.

What is most important to you in your parenting? Fill in your own blank. “I want to _______ my child to the fullest.” Now ask yourself how you are doing with allowing God to do that with you.

EASTER STORY

I was asked to put on an Easter event at our church long before I had my own children. We wrote out a little booklet telling the Easter story and had the kids find a colored egg that went with the page of the story. They had to open the egg and see how the object inside correlated with the story. We hosted over 1,000 families that day, which was a huge hit. I have since hosted many Easter parties telling children of the GOOD NEWS.

May your family enjoy this interactive story of our RISEN KING! Gather the following items, put them in a designated colored egg, and hide them around the house (I have added some additional suggestions that you may have on hand). The child has to find that colored egg, bring it to you to read the Scripture relating to that part of the Easter story.

EASTER STORY PIECES:

Light green – Palm branch (small leaf, pine tree branch).

Dark Pink – Communion cup (insert note inside that says ‘see table’ and put grape juice on the table). 

Dark orange – Nickel.

Light Blue – Crown (twig, rose thorn).

Light purple – Dice.

Dark blue – Nail. 

Light yellow – something black (felt, construction paper, or drawing with a black marker). 

Dark green – Gauze (cotton ball, cloth). 

Light Orange – Stone (rock). 

Dark Yellow – Empty.

Light pink – Keys (car/house key).

Dark purple – Cross.