5 Tips on How to Demonstrate the Gospel as a Parent
by Lydia Kaiser
Do you want to help your child know Jesus and accept Christ as their Savior early in life? If so, you’ll need to learn how to demonstrate the gospel as a parent and raise children in a godly way. This may seem like a tall order, but it is doable. After all, the parent/child relationship is the pattern that God chose to exemplify our relationship with Him. Representing a good model of this relationship in your own home will bring your child closer to understanding God and their own, personal salvation as you help your child know Jesus.
Here are 5 tips on how to demonstrate the gospel as a parent and raise your children in a godly way.
1. Talk About How Much God Loves Them.
One of the great blessings of Christian parenting is the gift of demonstrating God’s love for us through your own love for your child. Whenever you hold your child close and speak tender words of comfort, you lay the foundation for them to accept the truth that God knows them and loves them personally.
Not only should you demonstrate this principle, but you should frequently talk about how much God loves your child with them. When you hug them, tell your child this truth that “God knows you and loves you — in fact, He knows you and loves you even more than I do!” Reminding your child that God loves them is the first step to help your child know Jesus and understand the most important principle of the gospel.
2. Teach the Concept of Right and Wrong.
The second way to demonstrate the gospel as a parent is by having consequences for bad behavior. Each time you patiently remind your child, “that was wrong, and these are the consequences,” you’re demonstrating that there’s a standard by which all behavior can be judged as right or wrong — the standard of God’s Word and His character. Loving, biblical discipline paves the way for the truths that “all have sinned” and “the wages of sin is death”, while true Christian parenting patiently encourages the desire for righteousness within a child. Without the awareness of personal sin and its consequences, a child will never see their need for a Savior.
3. Parent with Unconditional Love.
Third, help your child know Jesus by demonstrating unconditional love as a parent. One of the ways you can do this is by asking your child after disciplining them “do Mom & Dad love you more when you’re good or when you’re bad?” Over time, they should learn to answer “you love me the same”, and your attitude towards your child should confirm that fact.
When we love our children unconditionally, we’re demonstrating the truth of God’s unconditional love for us as described in Romans 5:8, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Christian parenting is about striving for that same, selfless kind of unconditional love that God, the Father, shows to us.
However, just as your child is not perfect, so too will you make mistakes as a parent, and it’s important to tell your children that. When (not if) you mess up, discipline in anger, or are too harsh or not consistent, apologize to your child and tell them that you want to do better, because that’s not how God our Father is with us. Point out that even though you love your child so much and will always try to be the best parent you can for them, God’s love is greater, and His wisdom and discipline is perfect. Remind them that He will always show your child unconditional love, no matter what they do.
4. Talk About How Sin Affects Relationships.
Fourth, as parents, we can demonstrate how a relationship with God works by talking about how sin affects our relationships. Whenever your child disobeys you or lies to you, and you talk to them about it, talk about how it affects your relationship with them. Open up about how, because of the sin, it makes it harder to trust that they are going to do the right thing or tell the truth next time. And while God’s love is unconditional, sin can put a strain on our relationship with Him too.
When trust is broken, it’s hard to have a good relationship. In fact, unconfessed sin hardens the sinner’s heart and makes it more likely we will continue in the same, damaging behavior — hurting us too, not just the relationships we care about. Confessing that the sin was wrong and asking for forgiveness helps your relationship to be better and grow stronger, and is a great example of the gospel in action.
5. Create a Culture of Forgiveness.
Lastly, while talking about how confessing sin and asking for forgiveness helps create good relationships with God and other people, demonstrating this principle yourself is even better. When you make a mistake and must ask your child for forgiveness, talk about how your offensive behavior hurt your relationship with them, how asking for forgiveness offers a chance to make it better, and how the confession also makes it less likely you’ll do the same thing again.
From there, it becomes very easy to explain that when we sin against God, He doesn’t throw us out of the family, but the sin does hurt our relationship with Him. Confessing our sin and asking for forgiveness activates the truth in 1 John 1:9 where, if we confess our sin, God not only forgives us, but He cleanses us from unrighteousness, causing the relationship to be restored and for us to sin less.
None of us can be perfect, but we’re thankful for the gospel, which shows us how to deal with our sin in a way that’s healthy — healthy for us, healthy for others, and healthy for our relationship with God. Let your household be one where forgiveness is celebrated!
Teaching the gospel in your home — both verbally and, more importantly, with demonstration as a parent — is the best way to help your child know Jesus at an early age and understand how a relationship with their Heavenly Father works. When you learn how to raise your children in a godly way and how to demonstrate the gospel as a parent, you’re teaching your child how to walk in good relationship with God before they ever leave your home — equipping them in the very best way possible for life ahead.
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