Are we raising our kids to be Witnesses or Judges? / by John Hailes

One of the most shameful periods of my life so far was when I was a student in High school. I grew up as a Pastor’s kid (PK) and prided myself on my ‘vast’ knowledge of the stories of the bible. Of course there was nothing really vast about it, but at the time I believed my own hype, mainly because I would do the best in the kid’s Sunday school quizzes.

By the time I reached high school I was definitely a bit full of myself; especially when it came to my faith. I had head knowledge, but it often hadn’t quite transformed my heart. Growing up in England, where there aren’t too many teenagers owning their faith, I quickly stuck out from the crowd.

It wasn’t uncommon for other teenagers to ask me questions about Christianity and religion. At one particular time in my high school career word spread around my year group that ‘John Hailes can tell you if you’re going to hell!’ Of course I took my new found role very seriously and so did those inquiring. Some would explain that they should be exempt from Hell because they were christened as a Child or grew up Catholic; then they would wait for my reasoned verdict.

After a while I refused to give answers, but for a time I did enjoy seeing people squirm thinking about life after death. As I have grown older I have become more disgusted with my younger self. I have begun to realize that you cannot antagonize and evangelize people at the same time.

I have also begun to realize that I had positioned myself as a JUDGE for Jesus instead of a WITNESS. We are called to be witnesses of Christ; that means we share our experiences and love of Christ with the World. Unfortunately many of us take on the role of prosecutor and judge; we are quick to condemn and steal Christ’s role.

Here are some ways we can steer clear of raising our kids to be judges:

1.       Value Heart Knowledge over Head Knowledge

When your kids have spiritual transformation it softens their heart towards others. Don’t just focus on teaching the 10 commandments, God’s judgement of Israel and the different sins. Emphasis the importance of Christ’s love.

2.       Teach and model Grace

Explain the God works different to people and he usually treats people different to how they may deserve. We don’t know how God will work in a situation unless he tells us.

3.       Involve your kids in Outreach

Let your kids see God’s love in Action. Walk through things with them while they learn to love others. Kids copy what they see; if all they see you do is sit by the TV and judge the World for their sin, don’t be surprised if they do the same!

4.       Share you testimony/story with your kids

You kids will never know how to be a ‘witness’ for Jesus if you don’t show them and teach them. Tell your kids the story of how you got saved and then help them to write down and go over their story so they can learn to share it with their friends.

How are you raising your kids to witnesses for Christ?