I Fully Trust the Truth – the Greater YES! (OYPO – Vol. 42)

One Youth Pastor’s Opinion – Vol. 42

Maybe the hardest question I’ve faced as a youth pastor is when a dad asks, “How do I get my kids to want to do right?”

Every parent struggles with the “How much is too much?” question. We parents feel the tension of: 

  1. I make the rules as the God-given authority in my home
  2. I want my kids to see those rules as good. 

So, how much do I force obedience on my kid? Here are three real-life examples: 

Bible reading. Do I force my child to do it? If I do, will he rebel? If it’s forced, will she get anything out of it? 

Church. I want my kids to love the house of God, the fellowship of the brethren, the worship of God, praying together, serving, reaching out to the lost (all biblical functions of the church family)… but if they don’t want to go, do I force them? 

Dating. I want my son to be happy, and this girl makes him light up… is it okay? I don’t want my son to think I’m holding anything back from him, and him to grow up resenting me for all the restrictions. My daughter’s heart is SO wrapped up in this guy, I’m concerned about what would happen if I make them break up now. 

I never have the right answer, except that I can look through eyes of faith at the future and trust that God’s way is going to be best. And, I can look at the past and get a pretty good look at what works and what doesn’t. Premarital sex? Statistics show[1]the highest rates of divorce and unhappiness among those who had multiple partners or premarital sex. 

I don’t get my theology from Justin Beiber, but even he realized that “the way of the transgressor is hard,” and decided to make a commitment to celibacy until marriage. He seems to have found the value in testing out God’s way. 

If the people who do WELL are doing it God’s way (even if they are not godly people), there’s something to think about. If the people who are HURTING the most are going against God’s way, there’s something to think about. 

I’m just sayin… I can’t predict the future, but I can trust God with my future!

How? Easy. 

First, the Word of God. I so fully trust God’s Word that I’m willing to do whatever it says and leave the results to God. I can’t force my kids to love Bible reading, but that doesn’t mean I’ll let them disrespect the Bible while they’re under my care. I can’t force them to love church, but there’s nothing—no game, no practice, no job, no nothing—that will keep them out of the most crucial part of their lives (no, that’s not hyperbole). I can’t force the flutters of lovein my children—there are already flames a burnin’ inside—but I will not fan that flame into a forest fire. I’ll keep it in the fireplace where it belongs until marriage—which means, at least for my kids, there’s no teenage dating. 

Second, it’s about what works.Scientists borrow from God’s logic for their scientific reasoning by predicting the future based on what’s happened in the past. Gravity pulls down, the sun warms and grows things, and energy wears down over time. The laws work because there’s an order to life that God instituted. If anger hurts relationships, lust kills the heart, and lies break trust, we parents need to guide our children through our experience—away from what hurts and toward what works. 

Dave Ramsey says it’s like teaching kids to brush their teeth. We “force” them until they “get it” for themselves. Nasty teeth=nasty life. 

Is it about the “NO” of the rules? 

Of course not. It’s about the “YES!” on the other side of the restrictions. 

I fully trust the truth, and by faith I see my kid as an adult who loves God, loves the Word, loves church, loves his spouse… 

So I’ll form my life around what’s best for their future. Not what’s best for their feelings.  

That’s not “tough love.” That’s just love. -Bro. Ryan

[1]See this article for commentary on three cited studies: