I don’t want to raise “good kids.”
God has blessed my wife and I (so far) with three little gifts of grace- ages 5, 4, and 2- and if they grow up to be merely “good,” then we will have fallen short of our highest hopes and passionate prayers as parents- and our kids will have fallen short of God’s design and desire for them.
Why do I say this? Because I am firmly convinced that “good” isn’t good enough- not for our kids, or for anyone else.
Now maybe that statement surprises you, or even offends you. Perhaps you’re thinking, “I’d give anything to have ‘good kids’ right now, because mine aren’t anywhere close!” If that’s you, I understand where you’re coming from, and I want you to hear me well- I’m not arguing that we ought to aim for “bad kids,” or there’s no value in much of what we call “good” in our kids.
I’m simply saying that if “good” is your goal for your kids, you’ve aimed too low.
Here are four reasons why- especially as Christian parents- “good kids” aren’t good enough…
Because “good” isn’t distinctly Christian. Any parent with half a heart wants “good” for their kids- in school, in work, in relationships, even in morality (however they’ve defined it). If, as Christian parents, we want all the exact same things for our kids- perhaps with a little church attendance thrown in on top- then I believe we’ve missed something. We simply don’t need Jesus to raise straight A students with can hold a job and a few friends.
Because “good” isn’t what’s ultimately important. Again, let me emphasize that “good” isn’t bad, and can in many ways be better than the most common alternative. But biblical Christianity isn’t ultimately about being a “good person”; that’s moralism, and it has no need for Jesus. Biblical Christianity’s highest aim isn’t merely morality, but a vibrant relationship with God through Jesus Christ alone. Certainly that should lead to practical transformation, but that transformation is the result of our connection to Jesus- not the cause of it.
Because “good” divorced from God ends “bad.” Here we have to grapple with what the Bible actually says about human “goodness.” Romans 3:10-11 teaches clearly, “None is righteous; no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks God.” Some of us dress it up far prettier than others, but at the heart of it, all of us are sinners in active rebellion against God. And the Bible makes clear that apart from repentance from that sin and full faith in the person and work of Jesus, that sin earns us eternal death, separation from God and His love. That’s as true for the so called “good person” as it is for the clearly, unapologetically “bad.”
Because “good” has nothing on “grace.” As Christians, we believe there is a far better and more beautiful story than that of our own “goodness.” We hold fast to the words of 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For our sake (God) made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him (Jesus) we might become the righteousness of God.” At the end of the day, God’s amazing grace, expressed through Jesus, is far better than any “goodness” we could achieve on our own. To be lavishly, graciously forgiven and welcomed into a relationship with God that we could never deserve is the greatest motivator for “goodness” we could ever experience.
I say all that to say this- Don’t settle for giving your kids “good.” Give them Jesus, and allow Him to shape them for something far better. Don’t allow your kids to set their hopes in themselves and their own “righteousness”, but in Him and His alone. In the end, my conviction is that you’ll what you’re aiming for- and much more too.