I know, unfortunately, because I have struggled through the years, praying, confessing and desiring to overcome. In all these things, I sought the Lord and His Word, and He has given me any wisdom and any victory I have experienced.
The primary reason I got frustrated and reacted wrongly in anger when the children were younger, was because I didn’t understand the sin nature of children. Yes, I was completely convinced of the Biblical position that all children were born into sin, but I didn’t understand the daily practice of that sin nature.
Somehow, I had this twisted idea that the better Christians my husband and I were, the better our children would be. I was not understanding that their very nature would entice them to lie, bite, steal, cheat, fuss, whine, beg, disobey, just like every other child in the world. My children didn’t have any different nature, the difference would be in how I handled their sin.
After one particularily exasperating day, I was between boiling in anger and melting in tears when my husband came home from work. He is an emotionally calm man, and doesn’t ride the mountains and valleys as I do. He listened to my tales of all the horrible things his kids did and my disbelief over their naughtiness. (Aren’t they always his when they’re naughty?)
He looked at me, smiling with a nonchalant attitude, and said, “They’re just doing their job. They’re sinners. Sinners sin.”
It was a life-changing moment. I had expected my kids to be good instead of expecting them to be sinners.
We train them to “good” and obey until the Holy Spirit takes over that work in their lives when they trust Jesus as their Savior. We can expect them to learn to obey and submit, but we must understand their very nature causes them to sin. We aren’t teaching them to be “good” for our sake, we must teach them what behaviors please the Lord, careful not to make them think their behavior earns favor with God. We offer our lives to Him, because He offered His Son for us.
Later, parenting saved children, we need to understand the nature of the old man, and teach them to walk in the power of the spirit of the new man. We cannot expect them to be perfect Christians just because they are saved and have been raised in the church. Our teaching/discipling is a lifetime committment to our children.
If their job is to sin, our job is to teach them how NOT to sin.
My ability to overcome my own sin became the primary focus, concentrating on my testimony before them and my example to them. My purpose in reading the Bible and praying became even clearer and stronger, as this was a spiritual battle for their souls I did not want to lose.