You can read the entire article here. It's about why we require children (who don't yet know Jesus' forgiveness personally) to obey rules that make them look/act good. I've struggled with this concept in parenting to some extent.
We read Shepherding a Child's Heart in 2008. Since then, we have aimed at teaching our children to obey us and the Lord, aiming at their hearts all the while. One of the tenets of this philosophy of parenting is to require obedience from your kids. I have struggled with it to some extent because I knew that their hearts weren't right. They were so young that I couldn't really explain the "why" of obeying and it's importance. They just needed to be taught that they must obey.
It's starting to make more sense to me now as I watch my children grow. They must obey. But, they will fail. That's when I point them emphatically to the cross.
I can't say I was parented with this goal. I won't make gross statements about my parents' goals because that's for them to say emphatically. However, I never perceived that there was a 'higher' goal than good behavior and moral choices. I would like the same for my children--that they be "good" adults (respectable, hard-working, kind to others) and make good moral choices--but I don't want it to end there. Because they will fail, just as I did. They will not be able to hit the mark all of the time. And, when they fail, I want them to know they have a Savior who already paid the price for their failure. I want them to know they will never be good apart from Jesus. They need the Gospel.
So, this article by Piper reminded me of why I should keep the rules in place, even if my kids can't yet understand the Gospel and their need for the Savior.
But, Piper ended with these words, encouraging parents to do a lot more than just hold hold the "rules" for them. This reminds me a lot of what I read in that book about grace.
- Let there be much spontaneous celebration verbally of every hopeful sign of life and goodness in our children.
- Let us forgive them often and be longsuffering.
- Let us serve them and not use them.
- Let us lavish them with joyful participation in their interests.
- Let us model for them the joy of knowing and submitting to the Lord Jesus.
- Let us apologize often when we fall short of our own Father’s requirements.
- Let us pray for them without ceasing.
- Let us saturate them with the word of God from the moment they are in the womb (the uterus is not sound proof).
- Let us involve them in happy ministry experiences and show them it is more blessed to give than to receive.
- Let them see us sing to the King.
- Let us teach them relentlessly the meaning of the gospel in the hope that God will open their eyes and make them alive. It happens through the gospel (1 Peter 1:22–25).