2020-02-26 to 28 Pictures: Charleston, South Carolina

One of the few upsides of having to cancel our Spring Break trip last March at the onset of the pandemic is that we are "stuck" with a rather large voucher from one of those discount airlines. Last autumn, Tricia and I spent a weekend in Savannah, Georgia and had a...

A John 3:16 Craft for Kids

John 3:16 is one of the most well known and reassuring verses in the Bible. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16 (NIV) The following is a little craft I threw...

2020-03-01 Pictures: Lyndsey’s College Signing Day

This afternoon Lyndsey made it official, signing her letter of intent to play college basketball for the Hiram College Terriers starting next year. While she made the decision and committed to Hiram before Christmas, she has been looking forward to this day since her...

2020-02-13 Pictures: Lyndsey’s 18th Birthday

I am little behind on posting photos. These are some of my favorites from a couple of weekends ago when we got a chance to celebrate Lyndsey's 18th birthday. It's hard to believe that my little girl is officially an adult. It was nice to have the family all back...


Introduction I love working with kids, and I love teaching them hard concepts in ways they can understand. To that end, for years I have been working on a dictionary of theological terms for kids and teens. In sharing those definitions, there seemed no better place to...

If You Want It Done Right

In all likelihood, you know how the phrase ends: If you want it done right, DO IT YOURSELF! This is a bit of a mantra for me, and frankly, something that I struggle with daily both in leadership and in my Christian walk.  In theory, this is easy to accept. ...

What Does God Hate?

This is the little and humble post that started it all. I happened to be reading through my Bible, and this passage impacted me so much that I posted a little blurb about it on Facebook. That was July 28, 2008, and I've been writing and sharing ever since. (Maybe...

Ch. 12 – Embracing Biblical Methods: Appeal to Conscience – Shepherding A Child’s Heart (A Synopsis)

Shepherding A Child's HeartIn this installment of our synopsis of Tedd Tripp’s book “Shepherding A Child’s Heart,” we will look at Chapter 12 – Embracing Biblical Methods: Appeal to Conscience.”

The issues of communication and the rod dealt with in the last several chapters imply two additional issues which are addressed in this chapter – appeal to the conscience and focusing on the redemptive work of God.

Appeal to the Conscience

As parents, in order for correction and discipline to be effective, they must be directed at our kids’ conscience.  Kids will either excuse themselves or accuse themselves because of their conscience.  As Tripp explains, “This God-given conscience is your ally in discipline and correction.  Your most powerful appeals will be those that smite the conscience.”  Tripp points to Proverbs 23 and  numerous examples of verses in that chapter (17, 19, 22, 23, and 26) which model appeal to the conscience.  Tripp explains, “the rod gets the attention, but the conscience must be plowed up and planted with the truth of God’s way.”

Tripp reminds us that in correction we must get beyond the outward issues of behavior and address the issues of the heart in order to have our kids deal with their ultimate issue of Godward orientation.  We do this, and expose the issues of the heart, by appealing to our children’s conscience which Tripp describes as “the God-given adjudicator of right and wrong.”  Tripp also notes the power of the gospel to smite the conscience.

Correction with a Central Focus on Redemption

The very first sentence of this section provides a good summary, “The central focus of childrearing is to bring children to a sober assessment of themselves as sinners.”  The cross of Christ must be central to our efforts as parents to raise our kids.  Discipline must be geared towards helping our kids to understand their total and complete inability to meet God’s standards and will absent the grace and mercy of God.  In order to do this, the standard we hold our kids to must be as high as God’s standard.  Tripp summarizes, “God’s standard is correct behavior flowing from a heart that loves God and has God’s glory as the sole purpose of life.”

The only other option is to lower the standard from God’s standard to something we think our kids can achieve.  In doing so, we move our kids away from the self-assessment that is necessary to bring them to the cross of Christ.  Ultimately, giving kids a standard they can keep results in hypocrisy and self-righteousness.

Personal Observation

It is easier as a parent to give our kids a standard they can achieve than to hold them to God’s standard.  After all, what parent doesn’t want his kid to succeed?  In the end though, we do our kids a disservice when we set a lower standard.  We teach them “self-esteem” and ignore the redeeming work of Jesus Christ.  What a travesty!

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Chapter 13 – Shepherding the Heart Summarized: NEXT TIME>>

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