You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you don’t trust enough.
Over the years I have been told that I trust people to a fault.
It’s true! I am an optimist and assume, at least initially, entirely pure motives in others. I believe that people say what they mean and mean what they say; and that they will do what they say they will do. On occasion I am taken advantage of and wind up very disappointed. For the most part however, this mindset is freeing and life giving.
To think well of others and not focus on what’s wrong is both motivational and influential.
Teachers who believe in their student’s ability to produce good work tend to get better outcomes. Parents who believe their kids can reach a high standard, and hold them to it, are more likely to see their kid achieve. Employers enjoy greater productivity and contentment when they maintain a positive perspective toward their employees.
A positive focus is especially important for parents with regard to their children.
There is a catch however. While we can and should think positively about our kids, our perspective must be accompanied with the recognition that they (and we) grow virtuous only by way of the regenerative work of Christ. We should not assume goodness merely in their nature – nor excessively praise them about how good they are – because in doing so we declare the gospel message to be irrelevant in the process. Therefore, the positive words we speak over our kids must constantly be aligned with praise for the grace of God in their lives and gratitude that God loves them even as self centered little rebels.
If we think that our kids can be genuinely good apart from Christ, we may raise moralists who think highly of themselves while looking down on others, as well as performance driven individuals who rely solely on their own efforts in life. This is a recipe for disillusionment and burn out. No amount of self effort, or adherence to rules, will make them genuinely good. Only Christ can.
The gospel is Good News – that Christ is able to make them actually want to do the right things.
As you strive to maintain a “think no evil” mindset toward your kids, remind them regularly that only Jesus can grow in them hearts that sincerely want to obey. Teach them that God sent His son not only to love us but also to transform us from self seeking, prideful individuals into loving mothers and fathers, into faithful husbands and wives, into committed employees, and into compassionate friends and neighbors. So keep no record of wrong and believe the best in your kids but do so from a mindset that comprehends Who truly can make them good.
Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?
- Anchor your vision for your kids in who they are becoming in Christ. He is the only one who can renew unregenerate hearts. They can perform and do good things but a self reliant heart will also produce pride and despair.
- Don’t lavish them merely with messages like “you are such a good boy” or “you are such a kind girl.” Your praise for them should consistently be linked with praise to God for His goodness and His kindness toward them even when they are not acting good or kind.
- Keep in mind that your rules will not make your kids good. We don’t do good works to earn God’s blessing. (That’s a burnout message) We do good works out of gratitude because we already have His blessing.