Do you force your child to go to church because you want them to conform to Christianity? Church going plays an important role. But Christianity is not just about going to church. It’s a lifestyle.
As a Christian mum it’s natural to want to bring your children up in the faith. You want them to grow spiritually and learn the important principles of living a holy life.
Teaching your children to fear God is not a scary thing. It will help keep them out of trouble and could save their lives. “Through the fear of the Lord man avoids evil.” ~ Proverbs 16:16.
It also gives them wisdom. It says in Psalm 111:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”
When you have the fear of God, you’ll think before you do something wrong. God sees everything you do. And He knows what you’re thinking. Children who have been taught that, value their lives and respect the lives of their peers.
If your child have the fear of God in them, they’re less likely:
- To commit murder.
- To depend on alcohol, drugs and tobacco.
- To think about committing suicide.
- To get involved in crime.
- To disobey their parents.
We live in a society where the value of life is not respected by some teenagers. So, we have a lot of killings. Where’s the love? Where’s the forgiveness? Where’s the compassion for each other?
A mother’s responsibility is to be a good role model for her children
It’s your responsibility to, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
I’m sure you agree that it’s good to raise your children to contribute positively to society. The bible is a guide that you and your child can live by. You need to set the example and be their role model.
Some mothers will go to church on Sunday, raise their holy hands during praise and worship, pray and give thanks to God. But during the week when their child upsets them, they’ll forget about patience and endurance. Instead they’ll get angry with their child and use fire to deal with fire.
If your child sees negative behaviour coming from you, why should they want to go to church?
Life as a single mother isn’t easy. When you have to be mum and dad together, you can easily lose the plot sometimes. I’ve done it. When I do that my daughter uses Christianity against me. She calls me a hypocrite. It makes her stay away from church even more.
I’ve had to pray to God to give me grace to be patient and show unconditional love. Sometimes I have had to bite my tongue and say sorry to my daughter. Humility is not easy but it’s a part of Christianity.
How do you make sure what you’re doing is right for your children and not just to suit you?
I admit that in the past I forced my daughter to go to church. I did it because I wanted her to grow spiritually and dedicate her life to serving God. Although it’s important to want her to live a life that’s pleasing to God, it’s also necessary to respect her views.
My daughter told me that in terms of Christianity I was too domineering. The result? She doesn’t go to church any more.
She started going to church with me when she was 5. Just over a year ago, she decided that she didn’t want to go any more. She said she only went because of me. That’s not totally true though. She enjoyed church when she was younger. I think her views on life and Christianity started changing when she turned 15.
So do you drag your children to church on Sundays because you think it’s what you should do? Have you asked your child if they’re happy with the church? Are they learning anything from church? These are questions you need to answer for yourself, especially if your child has started rebelling against going to church.
What do some other young people have to say about going to church?
- Jo hates is mother because she forces him to go to church. He keeps telling her that he hates going. But she makes him go. He doesn’t believe in all the stuff that Christians believe. Church makes him depressed. He doesn’t speak to anyone there. When he’s there all he thinks about is going home.
- Sally has the same problem. Her dad and his wife make her go to church. She feels that she’s an agnostic atheist and hates church. She thinks children should be able to choose whether they want to go or not.
- Katie doesn’t think it’s right for parents to force their kids to go to church. She feels uncomfortable worshipping God when she’s among people who don’t think the way she does. She also said it should be a choice. Katie also thinks that if you force your child to go to church, they will hate it when they get older.
- Mark disagrees. He said church is extremely enjoyable.
- John said his parents respects his wishes. After he decided to leave, they put no pressure on him to go back.
Is there a solution to the problem of your children not wanting to go to church?
The thing that’s at risk here is your children’s eternal future. So what do you do to encourage them to attend church?
- Show them unconditional love at all times and be willing to forgive them easily.
- Model your lifestyle on that of Jesus. Don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk as well. Let your children see you live the Christian life you claim to follow.
- If they want to go to another church, let them. They need to be in an environment where they will grow spiritually and have true fellowship with other children.
- Pray with your children. Get them involved and ask them to lead prayers sometimes. They may find it embarrassing sometimes. Maybe you can tell them to pray for their friends or for something they need. Eventually, it will become a habit.
- Find a church with a good youth service, with lots of activities that involves them doing fun things in the week, apart from Sundays.
- Keep encouraging them, in a loving way.
- Let them see the love of God in you. Don’t forget, you are their role model. So live by example.
Give the situation to God – He’s in control
When your child is young, they need to be guided. Having a Christian foundation will or should help them to know the difference between right and wrong. Attending Sunday school is an opportunity for God’s word or the seed to be planted in them.
When they reach that age of self-discovery where they want to explore life, we should let go and let God. Why? Because forcing them to attend church against their will, can actually do more harm than good.
Trust that God is always in control of your child’s life. If they wander away like the prodigal son, He’ll bring them back. It’s your job as a mother to keep them covered in prayer for protection, while they’re experimenting in the world. If you force Christianity down their throats, you’ll make them hate God and possibly turn them off from serving Him.
“Father God, I thank you for blessing me with children. They’re a gift from you. I surrender their lives, body, soul and spirit into your hands. I ask that you bring them to the centre of your will, plan and purpose for their lives. May your holy angels protect them at all times as they journey through life. I decree and declare that no evil shall come near them. Father, you’re the all-knowing, all-seeing God. I leave my children in your capable hands.
Thank you Lord because all things work together for good for those that loves you. In Jesus name. Amen.”