Gospel Parenting: How the Gospel Applies to Tattle-Telling

Monday, June 26, 2006

Gospel Parenting:
How the Gospel Applies to Tattle-Telling

About a month ago my oldest son and I were reviewing some basics about handling sin properly. One of the ways we don't follow in handling sin is blameshifting. It is the oldest mishandling of sin in history. What was it Adam answered to God's question? "The woman You gave me made me eat the fruit!" (see Genesis 3). Blameshifting diverts the attention on our sin to what someone else did, in an attempt to give a rational defense of why we sinned. I explained to my son this past week that the one of the dumbest attempts at blameshifting makes us look very foolish: "He told me to do it!" This excuse has recently been outlawed in our house.

Another explanation has also recently been outlawed. It is another clever attempt at blameshifting by pointing out that he got in trouble because his brother "tattled" on him. We've taught that "tattle-telling" is ungodly. Proverbs teaches us not to be a tale-bearer, repeating stories, often in attempt to stir up trouble or get someone in hot water. We explained to our children that when their heart's motivation is to see their brother or sister "get it," then telling on them is sinful. The motivation is selfish and edifying. It's all about an inward, secret, selfish, sinful desire to see someone else get in trouble and sit back and enjoy it...while trying very hard not to appear like you are enjoying it. Walking around bearing tales about what others have done is disgraceful.

When my son pointed this out about his younger brother, he hoped to divert my correction to his brother. A sly move, eh? But not for the ear of a trained dad who formerly used that sly method himself so often, so many years ago. Instead, we sat down on the bed and worked through a rather difficult theological situation for a ten year old. See if you can get your mental arms around this truth puzzle.

God can and will use the sin of others to bring us into account for our own sin, and we should see this as the mercy of God that He would do this rather than leave us in our sin.

This blew his mind! It seems like a backward way of thinking about things, doesn' it? Nevertheless, if we believe God is sovereign, and that He orchestrates everything for our good and His glory (Rom. 8:28), then God can and does also use the sins of others to accomplish those purposes. God loves my ten year old so much that He will even use the sinful actions of my seven year old to bring the sin of my ten year old to light. Otherwise God leaves him in his sin! How horrible! If God were to do this then my son would be left with hidden sin which could could not be exposed to the light of God's grace for forgiveness and healing. Think about how terrible that would be! The Bible calls that reprobation and we see a whole assortment of people left in this situation in Romans 1:18-32.

Yet how merciful and kind God was to expose my son's sin to grace so that he could identify the sin, be filled with forgiveness, and bring a biblical work of repentance to that area of his life, and thereby enjoy the gospel of grace and the person of the Lord Jesus so much more!

Now to hit the ball into your own field. How do you respond to the sins of others which end up bringing your own sin to light?

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