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Not a Failure
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Last week, I spent some time visiting three Jr. High classrooms. I asked them to write down candid answers to some questions, including this one: “What do you think God thinks of you?” I was happy to read positive answers like these:

“I think that He loves me even though I’ve done some very bad things.”

“He loves me and is trying to draw me closer to Him.”

“He thinks of me as His child, even if I do make mistakes.”

“I think He thinks I’m special and will do anything for me.”

“He thinks I’m awesome.”

“He sees me as a friend and someone who loves Him.”

And then I read a different response—the one I can’t get off my mind:

“He sees me as a failure.”

God Won't Forgive?

I wish I knew which teen had written this, but the answers were anonymous. Many questions filled my mind: Who taught him about God? Did someone tell him he was a failure? Has he done something he thinks God won’t forgive? Had he repeatedly failed at something?

Our kids find out what God is like from many different sources. As parents, we’re the first ones with the privilege to teach them. But it’s not just what we read to them from the Bible. It’s how we treat them. Ideally we should mirror what God is like.

If we are patient, loving, forgiving and accepting, then they will clearly see that God is this way. But if we criticize, name call, shame and hold grudges, it will be a struggle for them to know that God is love.

If your child ever thinks that he or she is a failure, why not take out your Bible and read this text from Psalm 145:8: “The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.” Wrap your arms around them and tell them that this is what God is like. Then ask them why they feel they’re a failure, and discuss as a family how to help them feel accomplished in life. Tell them that in God’s eyes they are just as you see them: a person of worth. A person worth loving.

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By Nancy Canwell. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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