The Dangers of Raising Children to Be Pharisees

John Loftness over at the Married Life blog writes:

Pharisees find their righteousness coming from their own works—what they do and what they avoid doing. They prefer to measure themselves by the standards of other people, either living in guilt that they have not attained self-righteousness or condemning those who do not measure up to their level of goodness.

We can feed this to our children. They need to know that based on God’s standards, we are all failures: that no one attains to righteousness by his own works; that the only remedy for our mounting sins is Jesus’ payment on the cross.

We train a child to be a Pharisee by:

* Calling her a “good girl”—despite her whining, or referring to him as a “basically good kid”—despite his recent rascally behavior.

* Accepting his grudging compliance to end correction rather than a willing heart.

* Allowing him to think that mouthing the words, “Please forgive me,” reflects a contrite heart that recognizes the need for forgiveness.

* Comparing him favorably to other children: “Don’t be like that nasty boy…”

This is a great article on parenting. Please read it. For our own hearts and those of our children, church, and neighbors, we would do well to examine our views and applications of Biblical, Christ-centered, heart-focused grace over against our own rampant self-righteousness and Phariseeism.


About B Treece
loved by God before I ever loved Him, saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone by the authority of the Bible alone to the glory of God alone, made to enjoy Him forever, happily married with wonder-filled children.

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