Yep. It is true.
I am not raising my children to be Good Christians.
I don’t want my children to grow up trying to be “Good Christians”.
If there is such a thing as a Good Christian then there must be such a thing as a Bad Christian. What does it take to place you on the “good” or “bad” scale? Is it the number of times a week you attend church? How early you get up for “devotions”? How many missions you support?
I guess rather than ask what it takes to be a Good Christian, we should really ask what is a Christian?
A Christian is simply someone who trusts in Christ for their salvation.
The fact is, you simply cannot earn your salvation.
As such, furthering the idea of being a “Good” Christian is furthering the misconception that our piety, or attempts at, can increase how much our Savior loves us. And the very hurtful misbelief that our failings can decrease how much He loves us. In this day and age we rarely hear this aspect being outwardly preached, the idea that our failings decrease His love for us. But kids are smart. If we convey to them that our actions can increase His love, they will rapidly conclude that likewise our actions can decrease His love.
But His love is unfailing.
If our good deeds make Him love us more and our bad deeds make Him love us less, we could eventually earn our way into heaven. If that were the case, Jesus would never have needed to die for our sins.
But He did. He willingly died for our sins. He knows our failings. He knows our goodness. He isn’t some cosmic, angry overlord looking at us, weighing whether we have done enough good things to make Him happy and outweigh the bad things we’ve done.
I want to raise my children to know and love Jesus. I want them to love Him unconditionally. And I want them to know that He loves them unconditionally.
I don’t want them trying to be Good Enough to earn anyone’s love, let alone that of the Savior who already did the work.
As parents we don’t want to lead our kids to the idea that our love for them is contingent upon their behavior. So we must stop raising them to believe that Jesus’s love for them is contingent upon their behavior.
I think one of the best gifts I can give to my children is an understanding of God as a devout and heavenly father who loves them unconditionally. To understand that we choose to do good and make good decisions not because they increase our standing as a “Good Christian” but because we have a loving heavenly Father who wants to share His love with us and through us.
I want my kids to be good people. I want them to love Jesus and to love others. I want them to see what love looks like and to offer love. I want them never to make conditions on their love and to never feel that love toward them is conditional. I want them to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I want them to be a light to the cold, dark world. I want them to be salt.
But I don’t want them to be Good Christians.