Big, mighty, great, all-knowing. We describe God in these ways when teaching our kids about the Lord. But what about his character? Is he good? Is he just?
Indeed, he is. Psalm 97:2 says that
Clouds and thick darkness are all around him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
This means that everything God does flows from his righteousness, and is righteousness. We know what is right because right is whatever God does. Unlike us, the Lord has a standard and keeps it in all he does.
One wonderful (and potentially intimidating!) part of our job is to introduce our children to the righteousness of God. But how can we show ourselves adequate for this great work, when we, ourselves, fall short in our own righteousness?
Here are a few encouragements:
Show them righteousness from God's own Word.
Since it comes from him, take them straight to the source. As you read Scripture together as a family, stop to explicitly notice the uprightness of God. Facilitate conversation about the human flourishing that results from keeping God's law.
One example from Leviticus 19:13-14:
You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him. The wages of a hired worker shall not remain with you all night until the morning. You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.
Notice: God's way is fair and not unkind. Ask: What do you think a city would look like if people disobeyed this law and robbed each other?
Teach them to love the standard.
There's no more iconic place to go in Scripture to hear of someone's love for God's rules than David's song in Psalm 119.
Oh how I love your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
This attitude is scarcely found around us. Let's impress upon our children that following the Lord's law is not a chore or a burden. It is a delight to see moral beauty and perfection on display. Before we get to the bad news of our failure to meet these standards, we should not neglect the art of recognizing God's beauty for what it is.
Model it in the strength of Christ.
After the talking, here comes the walking. Our actions are a shadow of God's to our children. So ours is the responsibility to model righteousness to them, in the power of God's indwelling Spirit.
In the life of your home, demonstrate loving the Lord your God, and having no other gods before him. Exemplify the tearing down of any other idol but God (be it a prized possession, TV/technology, or any other lesser love). Show fairness in judging a sibling squabble, showing no partiality. Model the integrity of keeping your word and keeping from lies.
When interacting with others in public, show your manner of life to be the same. Protect your children from the stench of an outwardly clean, but inwardly impure life.
Your example will show your kids that though imperfect, a righteous life is possible with God's help. There is a goodness in such living that starkly contrasts with the destruction that results living in rebellion against God.
Repent when you fail, and fall on Christ's righteousness.
Of course we will fail. Until glory, we are fighting sin alongside our children. So when you fall short of God's standard yourself, consider it your most golden opportunity to direct their gaze to Christ's righteousness.
Call out your own shortcoming, and confess your sin. Take it back to the cross of Christ, where your sin was atoned for. Remind your children that Jesus's perfect righteousness is imputed to you by faith. Savor together the kindness of Jesus to give us such a gift.
Where does righteousness show up in your home? With God's help, may it be in the reading of God's Word, in the life we model in and out of the home, and in the repentance that grants us Christ's true righteousness.
The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice.
A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.
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