Born Sinful?

I believe the doctrine of original sin is man made like the doctrine of spanking is man made.

God created children to go through each developmental stage. Babies cry to communicate. Toddlers test boundaries and lack impulse control. Young children do not set out to sin until they are older.

God does not call children sinners. The way we view children is how they will behave. Many Christians seem to view children as “sinners” and “manipulative.” That’s Dobson’s view too as he calls them horrible degrading names in his books. This sets up an adversarial parent-child relationship.

Interestingly, God calls children blessings in Psalm 127:3. I view children as little people in need of help, guidance, and discipline (teaching).

When the focus is on cooperation instead of control, children cooperate. Children do better when we view them as God does. Young children are not capable of truly understanding sin. They even have a special knowledge of Who God is according to Matthew 25:11.

I do believe Jesus cried as a baby and screamed as a toddler because these are developmental behaviors. James 4:17 states, “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” This can only apply to older children and adults who truly understand sin. “Moreover, your little ones who you said would become a prey, and your sons, who this day have no knowledge of good or evil, shall enter there, and I will give it to them and they shall possess it” (Deuteronomy 1:39).

God clearly says young children do not know right from wrong. It’s up to us to gently teach and guide them through each developmental stage.

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Why Gentle Christian Parents Don’t Focus on Sin

I was asked why gentle Christian parents and advocates don’t talk about sin much when it comes to children. The answer is because what most Christians believe is sin in children usually isn’t. A toddler saying, “no!” when asked to do something isn’t sin, it’s the child exploring independence and boundaries. A preschooler crying over not having something they really wanted is the child just having a hard time. Even biting, hitting, kicking, and cussing in young children is NOT sin. Young children needing food, love, comfort, room to play is not sin.

Sin is when we truly understand something is wrong and goes against God and we have total control over ourselves and can tap into God’s strength to resist, yet choose wholeheartedly to go against God, THAT is sin!!  Every child is different. Every child will sin like us. But, before 12-years-old, I don’t believe children truly sin. We slowly teach children about sin by disciplining without punishment. By providing them with appropriate behaviors. And, by teaching them about God.

Also, when we look for sin in children, it makes us hypersensitive to all “inappropriate behavior.” It makes us want to punish for perceived sinfulness. We look at children as “little sinners” rather than blessings as the Bible says they are. Jesus loves children and told us to be like them. When sin is the focus, we become proud. We become judges. We think more highly of ourselves than we should so we can “beat that sin right out of that child.”

In reality, we are WORSE sinners than older children. Jesus said to get the plank out of our own eyes before removing the speck out of our brother’s eye. This applies to children too! Sin is sooooooooo much more than a child having a meltdown. Childish behavior is NOT sin. Rejecting God is!  Hurting children is!  Let’s focus on teaching and guiding children instead of worrying what childish behavior is sin. Give children the tools to choose good over bad so when real sin comes their way, they can tap into God and make more righteous decisions over sinful ones.

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Our Interconnectedness

We are so interconnected a higher plane than we can truly understand. After all, we don’t even use much of our God given brain power because it’d overload us. But in Heaven, we’ll finally understand so much more than we do now. Our perceptions will be gone from what the Church and society has taught us, and we’ll be childlike again.

That is why God gets so upset when people hurt children because they know so much spiritually, but we ruin it. That makes me sick. Children know God, but our doctrines and punishments plant sin in them. Then they believe whatever we teach because they are so trusting & humble. If we could/would just cultivate their knowledge of God and show them that He is their loving Daddy, this world would be better. But, satan knows this and wants to ruin it as quickly as possible to make children either reject God or believe that He’s this mean, angry God that so many Christians make Him out to be.

The best way we can preserve our connectiveness with our children and God is to discipline them.  Teach them how to act through modeling.  Help them learn to deal with their negative emotions by validating them and provide them appropriate ways of getting out their upsets. One way to do this is giving them a calm me jar.

To make a calm me jar, fill a plastic bottle with water. Then pour glitter in. Duct tape the cap on and give it to them when they are upset. They can manhandle it. As they calm down, they can watch the glitter settle. You can talk to them about their feelings.

Some other ways to stay connected to our children and God is to set realistic limits and use natural and consequences with our children  I will be posting more on limits and consequences in the future.  I go in depth about them and other positive discipline strategies in my book, Gentle Firmness.

We are so blessed to have a loving God Who values relationships over anything else!

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Beware of Distorting Scripture

2 Peter 3:14-18:

“Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”

I see the Church today distorting the Scriptures a lot in order to fit their beliefs.

Some Christians claim that drinking alcohol is unBiblical when the Bible says alcohol is just fine as long as we don’t get drunk. They also claim that some natural remedies are satanic despite research showing their amazing healing and preventive abilities.  Not to mention the fact that these remedies were used in the Bible.

Some Christians claim dancing is unBiblical, yet, David danced for joy in the Lord (2 Samuel 6:14).

Many Christians believe that babies are born “sinful,” yet, God calls them blessings (Psalm 127:3).  Infants and young children even have a special knowledge of Who God is according to Matthew 25:11. Also, James 4:17 states, “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” This can only apply to older children and adults who truly understand sin. “Moreover, your little ones who you said would become a prey, and your sons, who this day have no knowledge of good or evil, shall enter there, and I will give it to them and they shall possess it” (Deuteronomy 1:39). God clearly says children do not know right from wrong.  Still, Christians will fire off a few verses out of the Book of Romans to say we are born “evil.”  If that were true, young children, who lack impulse control due to immature brain development, would be horrible little people committing awful acts based on their fleshly impulses.  Yes, I believe that due to satan and sin being in the world that we will all eventually sin and will need to come to Jesus for His amazing grace and forgiveness, but babies and young children do nothing that is purposely malicious or against God.

And then there are the Christian pro-spankers who adamantly claim that spanking/hitting children is absolutely Biblical. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard them say, “Well, I read my Bible” as they cite all of the “rod verses” from Proverbs that seem to promote spanking/hitting children at me.  Yet a deeper look at the “rod verses” shows that they mean to discipline (teach, guide, correct) with authority and God’s Word instead of spank/hit.

And THAT’S the problem!  As the introductory verses of this post teach, it is the untaught and the unstable who tend to distort Scriptures. Some do it unintentionally (the untaught) while others do it intentionally because they’re unwilling to let go of their beliefs (the unstable). I’ve been guilty of blindly taking Church doctrine as Biblical Truth because of not knowing better.

The Bible, while alive and active, is not meant to be read without looking at the historical context, cultural context, and the meanings of the original languages in which the Scriptures were written. And some Bible versions such as the New American Standard Bible (NASB) and the English Standard Version (ESV) are more accurate than the modern watered down versions such as the The Message, the New Living Translation (NLT), and even the New International Version (NIV) because church doctrine has ended up getting in these modern versions. Some parts of the Bible are meant to be taken literally while others are not. We shouldn’t be satisfied with just going with whatever the Church says it means based on the particular denomination that fits with our beliefs.  As Samuel Martin often says, we must be very careful of “tip of the iceberg theology” as it distorts Scripture…The very thing 2 Peter 3:14-18 tells us not to do.

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