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Hypocrisy and Parenting


Becoming a hypocrite is very easy for parents. Do what I say, not what I do, because sometimes adults can do things children cannot, but it still makes adults look like hypocrites. I strive to set a good example for my children, and sometimes I actually succeed. One thing I have done is not teach my children there are bad words (aka swear words); there are adult words and children words. My children have no right, whatsoever, to correct an adult they hear swearing. No, no, if I hear my children correcting an adult, even a stranger, I will stop them. Adults can swear, children cannot. If you say swears are bad words you are setting a precedent and telling your kids, adults who swear are doing something wrong. Now, this isn’t to say swearing is right, but the point is to teach the children they cannot correct adults because children are under a different set of rule than adults.

This is the point, children are under a different set of standards than adults. The difference is in the home and in society. Teachers at school can use the microwave to heat up leftovers for lunch; students do not have access to microwaves. There is a different set of rules for teachers than for the students. Mom and dad can stay up late and play video games; children cannot because there is a different set of rules.

What I want to share with you today is a memory from a few years ago. First, I need to say Christians have a different set of rules than non-Christians. Read 1 Corinthians and see what Paul has to say about this topic. Right now, I am building up to something and need you to understand that the rules for my children and the rules for Christians is why I am bringing this story up.

When I was in college, studying the Old Testament, I was learning about the different ceremonies God commanded His people to celebrate. Now, I have no intention of following all of the Old Testament ceremonies and feasts, I am not under that covenant as a believer in Jesus, but the Sabbath is another story altogether. The Sabbath is mentioned in the second chapter of Genesis, “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day, he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on that day he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” The Sabbath’s holiness is mention before God has established a covenant with any man or group of people.

Not only is the Sabbath mentioned in the very first book of the Bible, but it is also referred to in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8). Now, the Ten Commandments do fall under the Old Covenant but are still the commandments by which we are governed (along with the new commandments to love God above all else and to love others as we love ourselves. Found in Matthew 22:36-40). The Ten Commandments still serve the purpose of recognizing sin and showing we all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), even under the new covenant.

When I realized the extent of the Sabbath, I found myself under conviction for not keeping the Sabbath Day holy. I prayed for understanding of what God expected of me about keeping the Sabbath Day holy and was shocked to get a very clear response. First, I should mention my prayer which went something like this, “God, I am kind of thickheaded and feel like you want me to keep the Sabbath Day holy. But because I am so thickheaded, I need you to give me a clear cut answer on whether you expect me to practice the Sabbath. Make the response blond proof, please, Amen.”

No Joke, that same week (maybe the next day, my memory fails me on the exact timeline) I took my daughter to dance class and once all the leotard wearing girls were in full swing in the classroom, one of the mothers stood up and said, “I am a Jew who follows Jesus, and I plan to teach a class for Christians who wish to learn how to celebrate some of the Old Testament practices such as the Sabbath Day and Hanukkah. If anyone is interested, please let me know.” Well, smack me! When you ask God to give you a clear cut answer that is blond proof, He is more than capable of responding for those with thickheads! Of course, I signed up right there on the spot and shared my testimony of answered prayer!

Now lets return to different sets of rules and why those sets of rules apply to my little story. I have told my children to follow the Ten Commandments, and yet I was not following the fifth commandment (to keep the Sabbath holy). I have told the world, both secular and Christians, I am a follower of Jesus and I keep His commandments, and yet I was not keeping the fifth commandment. I was a hypocrite, by my own judgment! This is not one of the situations where adults should and children shouldn’t, for my family. If I expect my children to follow the Ten Commandments, clearly outlined in the Bible, I should be setting the example. Those not under the law of Christ, in my opinion, had every right to judge me because I was not following what I said I was, I was picking and choosing. Sure, I will keep nine out of the ten commandments.

So now my family practices keeping the Sabbath Day holy. I would like to say, briefly on this topic; we do not go to the Jewish level of keeping the day holy. My family celebrates Saturday night to Sunday evening in keeping with what is our seventh day (reference Genesis 2). We include Jesus in our prayers, and we do not do work for that twenty-four hour period, but we do not go to the level of not picking grain off of a stalk of wheat (Matthew 12:1).

Now what I am not saying in this post is that every Christian has to keep the Sabbath holy. To do so is for each family to decide and in no way am I judging anyone who does not keep the Sabbath under the new covenant (Colossians 2:14-17). I am saying, I was convicted of this, and I am keeping that Sabbath holy (Romans 14:5). Christians under the New Testament do not have to maintain the Sabbath; this is a personal choice, not a mandate for all Christians.

For me, I want to try to make sure my children understand there are different sets of rules for different groups. You as a parent need to figure out what rules you want to present to your children and help them to understand what rules apply to them as opposed to the rules that would apply to a different group. Also, make sure you explain why rules apply to them and not to others, to not only set a good example but to avoid hypocrisy that could lead them away from the way you are raising them.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Adrina Palmer is a stay-at-home-mom to three wonderful children and a wife to an amazing husband. She has a bachelors degree in Religion from Liberty University and is currently writing her first novel. Adrina is a Christian hoping to help other stay-at-home moms find the joy and simplicity as a mother and wife. In her free time she enjoys many crafts, writing, spending time with family, and reading. She would love to hear from you!

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