Monday, August 27, 2012

Why Is My Daughter So Judgmental?

I had a conversation with a friend the other day. She recounted comments her daughter made to her about a recent moral tragedy that took place in our church. You can read our pastor's heartfelt post about it here: The Pastoral Practicality Of Law-Gospel Theology. What was disconcerting to my friend was the judgmental tone her daughter took; in essence asking the question "How could he?"

All at once I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I began to replay in my mind the way my husband and I have raised our own son. We home-schooled and the responsibility for choosing curriculum fell to me, I was the teacher. Each year I selected academic resources to accommodate my child's strengths and weaknesses. I then carefully chose bible studies and christian growth programs I thought would appropriately instruct him for his Christian walk.

I believe I was doing the best I could with what I knew, but now I understand why her daughter was reacting the way she did to the sad news of this family in our church. Could it be that her daughter received the same messages my son had?

All those years I was intent on raising a morally upright Christian. I believed teaching appropriate outward behavior was of supreme importance and would assure us of producing a godly young man.

I was more concerned with the appearance of Christianity.

This kind of moralistic parenting is frightening, crushing, and void of Jesus and the freedom and grace he died to bring us.

Please don't misunderstand me, I am not saying these virtues are of no value. And I'm not saying we stop training up our children to walk in the narrow path. But we run into problems when we concentrate solely on character. Their hearts are either crushed under the weight (knowing they can never attain to it so they give up), or their hearts are puffed up and self-righteous (they have kept the rules and feel good about themselves and look down on others that can't keep up).

What follows is an example of how we train our children. This particular list is specific to young men. It's often used as a tool to help young women discern potential husbands. Please bear with me. It was not necessary to include the entire list to make my point, but take the time to read it in it's entirety.

A man who will “Fight the Lord’s battles". 
A man who loves and is devoted to the cause and purpose of God.
A godly covenant man who takes that covenant seriously and walks in obedience.
A man with no desire for his own glory.
A man with uncommon courage and backbone who loves liberty.
A man on God’s mission.
A man on pursuit of righteousness.
A prayer warrior and Biblical scholar studious in the Word of God.
A man who diligently lives his life under Biblical authority and covering.
A man of godly character and integrity.
A man with a teachable heart and spirit.
A man who has God at the center of all things.
A man of faithfulness.
A man with a servant heart.
A man who loves God, life and loves you.
A man whose intentions are pure.
A man who recognizes the high office of womanhood and motherhood.
A man who will love you and cherish you as Christ loves the church.
A man who will honor you and who lives with you in an understanding way.
A family man who will be a leader and will lead you and your children sacrificially.
A man who is forgiving.
A man who commits his ways to the Lord.
A man who is self-controlled.

There is a part of me that wishes it were true, that all we as parents need to do is simply follow a carefully prescribed "Character Counts" program. The problem is this doesn't work.

Motivation for right behavior never comes from a striving toward moral "to do's."

When we raise children with the goal of producing upright Christians it will have one of two effects. It will either lead to despair or it will lead to pride.

The answer to all of our parental questions about raising godly children lies in one word, one Name.


Our parenting must become more about what Jesus has done for sinners like us and like our children, and less about the need to develop character traits in them.

Only then will they have the opportunity to experience real freedom. Freedom from crushing demands, unreal expectations, prideful feelings, judgmentalism and the ensuing guilt that racks their troubled conscience.

Take another look at the list of ideals for a godly young man. Consider this: your children are unable to keep this list of godly character traits and desires. 

There is only One God-Man who perfectly kept this list.

Only one Man who committed his ways to the Lord. Only One Man who rules His house well. Only One Man who is of lowly spirit and laid down His life. Only One Man who will honor you and live with you in an understanding way. There has ever only been One Man who will fight the Lord’s battles, who loves and is devoted to the cause and purpose of God, One Man who takes His Covenant seriously and walks in obedience. There has ever only been One Man with uncommon courage and backbone who loves liberty, only One Man on God’s mission, and One Man who pursues righteousness. There is only One Faithful Man, One who loves God and loves you and only One Man whose intentions are pure. Thank God for Jesus who alone has God at the center of all things!

Our children don't need another set of behaviors and character traits to learn, they need a Savior. 

One who died for them, lived perfectly for them and loves them perfectly. A Savior who knows their behavior and character is not and never could be perfect, yet runs to them with joy and delight and everlasting love!


  1. All that i have to say to that is amen and well said!

    Amazed by his Grace,

  2. Love this and wish more people would say it! Thank you for your boldness. Passing it along :)

  3. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!