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Sin Spotting

One of our great challenges as parents is to communicate to our kids both the seriousness of sin and graciousness toward sinners (like us!) that reflects God’s love and compassion. On the one hand, we’d like our children to clearly perceive obvious sin with black-and-white clarity; on the other hand, we’d like to help them to avoid becoming arrogant, judgmental legalists.

Younger kids, especially, tend to think in terms of “good guys” and “bad guys.” We can fall into the trap of portraying those who believe or behave differently from us—even sinfully—as “bad guys” in our children’s eyes. And kids eager to demonstrate their knowledge of the universe sometimes rush to judgement of everyone on the other side of the fence.

Jesus warned the legalists of his day not to become volunteer judges, especially when blind to their own sinfulness. He stated clearly that a consequence of taking up the judge’s gavel is to suddenly find yourself the one on trial in God’s eyes and/or the eyes of others. In the next breath, though, He taught that there is an appropriate time to try to help “remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Jesus also warned that it is sometimes just pointless to “cast the pearls” of God’s truth about right and wrong in front of those who have no interest or ability to hear that truth from His Word. At least, that’s one take on His teaching about pearls and pigs in Matthew 7:6.

As you may have guessed, we’re pulling this week’s conversation starters from part of Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew 7:1-13. We hope a few of the following questions might stir up a good conversation between you and your child about sin, judgement, and God’s grace.

Talking Points



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Daily Prayer

Ask God to help your child not to get the details of God’s commands wrong. (See Gen. 3:2-3.)

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