Purposed Parent/Connected Child Podcast Episode 035 - Should Your Child's Conscience Be the Guide?
Welcome to the Terri Hitt – Purposed Parent/Connected Child Podcast
Episode #035 – Should Your Child’s Conscience Be the Guide?
I did so many things I shouldn’t have done when I was a child. My goodness! I was very mature for my age and carried responsibilities I shouldn’t have had to shoulder, but when I look back at my largely unsupervised childhood, I see so many things I wish I had done differently. Yet I was just a child who didn’t know better. When I compare my childhood to the way I raised two sets of children, I see even more clearly how important it is for children to have supervision and direction as they grow up. Most importantly, godly instruction.
If you are a working mom listening to this episode, I ask you to prayerfully consider the type of care your children receive while you are away. I promise this is not intended to make you feel guilty or cause turmoil in your life. I worked outside the home when I raised my first set of children. However, I do want to caution you to be proactive and consider that children are just that – kids. They need godly adult guidance to show them the way to act and respond and to keep them protected. So many things happen when adults aren’t around to supervise and guide decisions children are faced with.
When I was growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, the world was considered a lot safer than it is now. The world wasn’t accessible through a keyboard or phone. We were able to play outside all day without parents worrying unless we didn’t come in by dark. There weren’t sexualized pressures like today and generally speaking, most children were free to be kids who followed imagination and adventure. Some of my best memories are highlighted by time spent outside riding my bicycle, playing in the woods, creating forts and clubs, and using creativity.
By the time I began raising my first two children, the world had changed some, but children could still play outside for hours without anyone thinking something had happened to them. The personal computer was introduced into homes during their lifetime, but it wasn’t as easily accessed as it is today. Their lives were affected by the internet, but not during younger years.
Now that I am raising my second set of children, everything has changed. My children didn’t grow up with the freedom to roam outdoors for hours. We’ve certainly discovered the dangers of internet accessibility. All children can be very easily influenced by many forms of media and advertisers. Even though my last two have been homeschooled, interactions through activities, events, jobs, and friends still allow the dangers of the 21stcentury to penetrate the walls of our home. It’s called life. We can’t keep the wolf from roaming the world, but as parents, we can work to keep it from harming our children. All this is to say that children are influenced by a multitude of means. Each time one of them penetrates their mind and heart, it shapes thoughts, actions, reactions, words, feelings, and emotions. Many people use these feelings or instincts formed by experiences and emotions to guide them through what they call their conscience.
The dictionary defines conscience as “an inward sensibility of wrongdoing.” I do believe that God places a special knowledge of Himself within us, and we will talk more about that, but without directly seeking Christ and following God to discover Him, His will and ways, and His desires for them, your children will freely choose to follow the world that directly affects them. The world, or culture, and the distractions, influences, deceit, and sins will be what shapes your child the most.
Romans 9:1 says, “I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit-.”
Human beings are created with an instinctive knowledge of right and wrong. That inner sense, however, might produce a sense of wrong at first, but if left ignored, becomes quieter until it is imperceptible. What people experience or feel in this world shapes and deceives. Even when one listens to the inner warning of guilt or conviction, our minds are bombarded with so much garbage, so many deceitful images and messages that we must always measure what we feel against Scripture, which is God’s truth. This is what you must teach your child to do.
Romans 1:18-21 says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
In this passage we see that God has sovereignly and mercifully ingrained proof of His existence in each human being. As the verse says, “what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.” Whether or not each person acknowledges what God has implanted is free will and choice, also given by God. Every person, which includes your children, have knowledge of God alive inside them. They may not recognize that what they hear or feel is from and of God, yet He is made manifest to them. Some call this inner sense their conscience, yet whoever does not acknowledge, accept, and act in obedience to God is addressed in the following passage of verses.
Romans 1:28-32 says, “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”
As this passage shows, those who “did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.” Although God places a sense of right and wrong within each person, they will not heed His warnings unless they submit to Him. Your child cannot make a lifetime of consistent choices to live in submission and obedience to God unless they decide to follow Christ in humble relationship. Then they will recognize Him because they know Him through His Word. In order for the conscience of your child to work as God has designed it to, you must intentionally mentor the heart and mind of your child to submit to Christ and follow God’s Holy Word.
The Bible is the only source of truth and contains godly wisdom that builds holy strength reliant on Christ. Wisdom derived from the mind of your child (or any earthly wisdom) will be self-centered, limited to the wisdom of man (which is poisoned by unsanctified hearts), and led by the devil’s devices.
What is the best way to ensure your child heeds the will of God and submits to His leadings? Relationship. With you and Christ. The time with your child is gifted by God with the purpose of making Him known to your child. Daily, loving instruction and mentorship as your child sees you live a life devoted and submitted to following the voice and Word of God, and Bible study and prayer with your child in the home are key. Your lifestyle and walk with Christ are what will impact your child the most. Your training and mentorship must be purposed and consistent. Do not simply rely on church or youth groups to build the foundation you are privileged to supervise as a blessing from God.
Romans 2:12-16 says, “For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.”
Don’t let the childhood of your children be wasted by following the world. View your time with them with a holy reverence. If your children are already older and you fear time is short because they aren’t walking with the Lord, do not give up. It’s never too late to influence your child for Christ. Your godly lifestyle may not be evident to them quickly, but you may still remain prayerful for them and continue to show them Christ at work within you.
Dear Heavenly Father, we are nothing without You. May you fill us more completely each day. Enable us to continue to submit to Your callings, Your truths, Your Words, and Your desires. Please allow our children to see You clearly through us and correct mistakes we have made so that our children see, trust, and pursue You with gladness and humility. Help them to listen to Your voice in this noisy world and never let a conscience altered by the deceit of this world to guide them. In the precious name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
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Remember, if we are not purposed in knowing Jesus ourselves and showing Him to the next generation, the world will sway them away from Christ. I pray that what you hear on this podcast draws you nearer to God and helps you cling to Him, despite any circumstances in your life. Until next week, keep looking Up while focusing on new ways to Parent and Connect With Eternal Perspective.