Our kids don't have to be very old before they realize the gaps between what we are telling them to be and what we really are. They can see our inconsistencies and pick out the holes in our logic very early on. The pastor offered 3 main ideas of dealing with this gap.
1) Be co-combatants against sin and Satan with our children.
We must identify with them in their temptation. Their sin issues may manifest themselves in different ways, but we struggle with the same temptations they do. We've just learned to manage ours better. How have you been tempted to act out in selfishness or anger or frustration? How do you deal with Jesus when you are tempted? Which leads to the next point.
2) Apologize in front of your children and to your children.
Ask their forgiveness. They are aware of our sin and most certainly aware of our hypocrisy when we refuse to deal with our sin in front of them.
3) Finally, let your children see you fumbling toward Christ.
I loved the wording the pastor used--"fumbling toward Christ"--because that is EXACTLY how I feel sometimes. Like the guy who drops the football and then kicks it with his foot as he goes to pick it up. I'm running, tripping, falling down, and getting up in my walk with God. I try to hide my weakness from my children, but instead, I should model honestly my walk with God before them.
I have a good friend who shared with me how her mother struggled after coming to Christ out of a hard background. This mother felt a constant failure with her kids. My friend said she constantly preached the gospel to herself in front of her kids and what an impact that made on this friend. It wasn't that her mother had it all together. Instead, she had her fair share of failures. But she fumbled her way to Christ, preaching the good news of the cross to herself in each failure, IN FRONT OF HER CHILDREN. And that made the difference.
I have much more to learn on parenting, but I feel like I have a much stronger foundation after hearing this sermon.
If you'd like to listen to the sermon, here it is.