When you read the title I’m sure some of you thought something along the lines of, “Of course, my teen knows that everyone needs Jesus and that includes me!”
That’s not the question I’m posing here. I am asking, Do your children know that you need Jesus?
I know it sounds like the same question but it is not.
As I began to write this article, and as I asked myself this question, I didn’t mean cognitively know; no, I mean really know. John Newton said, “We can’t be told we are sinners, we have to be shown.” I think the same is true when we are telling others about our sin and our need for Jesus as Savior. We can’t just tell them we are sinners. We have to show them.
As a parent, and after a little over a year in youth ministry, I’m convinced this is especially true for communicating with kids and teenagers.
Here are three steps on “How to Show Your Kids & Teenager You Need Jesus”
1. Talk about your relationship with Jesus often
Talk about Jesus a lot with your kids. Talk about Him like He is a person and not just an idea. I believe as parents it is so important we don’t just tell our kids about Jesus. Yes we should evangelize our kids, but we want our kids to follow us as we follow Jesus, so we need to continually point our kids to Jesus as our Friend, our Lord, and our Savior. In leading them to Christ we need to show them our relationship with Jesus; show them how much we love Jesus, that we trust Him and His word. Your teen needs to know that Jesus is not only knowable, but lovable and trustworthy. When our kids have a personal and authentic love for God and trust in Him, they will be blessed!
Here are a couple great verses from Jeremiah that should encourage us as Christ followers and parents.
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”
2. Tell your teen the truth about his/her sin and your own
Your teen badly wants to know the truth. We are all sinners and all saved only by the grace of God. When I mess up and my kids see it I call it out as what it is. A sin is a sin, and if we see sin, whether it’s in our life or someone else’s, we have a duty to call it out. This is not about being judgmental; it’s about being loving. We must speak the truth in love as it is outlined in Ephesians 4:15-16. I have three boys under the age of six, and they sometimes do something to hurt one another. My wife or I will ask each child, “What happened?” And you guessed it; we usually get two very different stories. Once we sort it all out by asking a few questions we lead them to the truth and we make sure the kids understand their sin. We explain, guide, and explain to them how it hurts them, others, and God. When the kids fight or argue sometimes I can be quick to anger and raise my voice. I can be quick to point blame and that is the wrong approach. As their parent it is so important in that moment that I am open and authentic with the kids, and that I model Christ. I need to share with them what I have done is wrong, that my anger and frustration is sin.
3. Invite your teen into your repentance
So there you are admitting to your child that you just sinned. What’s next? Ask them to pray with you. Ask God together for forgiveness for your sin. Ask your child to pray for you, not even just then but moving forward. I like to tell my boys; “Daddy is struggling with X, could you pray for me? Pray that God would help me with this?” Something else I would encourage you to do is give them permission and even encourage them to ask how you are doing with that sin. The Psalmist in Psalm 32:5 tells us we must confess our transgressions to the Lord to be forgiven of the guilt of sin.
It is so important that we confess our sins not only to God but also to one another. In James 5:16 we are told that confessing to one another and praying with one another is powerful as it brings healing. “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”