Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Life Lessons from Biblical Parents: Adam and Eve Part 3

Although, Adam and Eve are not mentioned in this particular passage concerning Cain and Abel, I have found so many lessons for myself on how I should approach the teaching of Addie and how to correct wrong behavior.

I love how God spoke to Cain in questions to help him get to the heart of the issue.  So many times as parents we tell our children what they did wrong.  When I began teaching, this is how I approached my students when they did misbehaved.  Then one day, in my father's Sunday school class (which was a mix of married couples and singles in their 20's and 30's), he told us that we needed to ask our children what it was that they did.  By asking them what they did, it caused them to think back to their actions.  From there, you can go into the heart issues as Kristi has talked about in her post.  Many times we ask why.  Why did you do that?  Why did you throw that?  Why did you say that?  And many times the answer is, "I don't know."  Children tend to deal in the concrete rather than the abstract.  "What" is concrete.  "Why" is abstract.  There is a path to get to the heart and asking the right questions can get us there faster.

God gives Cain two possible outcomes for his future actions and neither outcome is reward based.  God told Cain, "If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it." Gen. 4:7  Neither outcome is, "I will give you this if you do well or I will give you that."  Yet so many times, we hear (and sometimes do ourselves) parents say, "I'll get you an ice cream, book, toy, clothes, etc. if you are good."  However, by doing that, a child is not going to do what is right because their heart wants to, but because they are getting paid to do so.  And then what happens if no reward is offered?  Will they just behave the way they want to because they aren't working towards anything? 

I am not saying that rewarding a child is wrong, but I am saying that always rewarding a child with an item instead of praise is not Biblical.  When we do what is pleasing to God, our countenance is lifted.  This is something that we need to allow our children to experience. 

The Bible tells us that God has set before us life and death, a blessing and a curse.  We have our choice (I choose life and blessing).  Sometimes the blessing comes in the form of things and sometimes it is just the favor that we find when dealing with others. 

As parents, God has given us the responsibility of training and raising our children according to His Word.  He also allows us to have a great influence on the lives of our children.  However, when we allow them to do as they please without stepping in, God takes over to correct them.  God's consequences are severe if we do not intervene.  Look at Eli's sons (1 Samuel 2:12-36).  Eli never corrected their hideous and blasphemous behavior even after being confronted by the people, a man of God, and through a message that sent through Samuel.  Eventually, their actions could no longer be taken by God, and not only did the two sons die in battle, but Eli died that day as well.  We need to take care of our children's behavior before God has to step in and do it for us.

I also became curious as to where Adam and Eve are in this whole event.  We know they are not dead because they have another son after this occurs.  Why had they not taken things in hand before they escalated to the point where Cain killed his brother?  What kind of relationship had they fostered between the two brothers?  How did they feel about Cain after it was all over?  Did they ever forgive him?  All questions I will need to ask God one day...

The last thing I want to mention before closing out this study on Adam and Eve is that God speaks to our children. While they are young we need to teach them from His Word, but not feel surprised if they say what they feel God telling them. We cannot feel that God can only speak to us as parents.  I especially believe that God makes himself very real to young children since they have not allowed modern, critical thinking to lessen their faith.   We just need to make sure that help to build their faith.

We have reached the end of the study on Adam and Eve.  I certainly did not expect to learn as much as I did from them.  I'm sure that when I come back to them in the future, there will be many new lessons to learn.  That is the awesome thing about the Bible.  It is so alive that there is always some new application for us to learn at different stages in life.

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