“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”
– Proverbs 4:23
Every drive for meaning and significance originates in the heart. For both us and our children, the heart, with its passions and desires, sets the course of life.
All the problems of living that plague family life have their origin in the heart.
Jesus says, “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’ “ – Mark 7:20-23
Understanding that all of our problems have their origin in the heart is foundational for family life. The things we give our hearts to drive our choices.
The temptation, when things have gone wrong, is to correct behavior. We instinctively see behavior as the problem. That’s because we see behavior. We hear behavior. Behavior requires a response. Once we have made behavior the focus in correction and discipline, we open ourselves up to all the tricks and tools parents use to manage behavior.
When we head down the behavior management road, two things happen:
We miss the heart. When we forget that the heart is the wellspring of behavior, we fail to help ourselves and our kids identify the heart issues behind our sinful responses.
We also miss the gospel, because behaviorism by-passes the heart. Behaviorism focuses on behavior rather than the desires, fears, idols or passions of the heart.
If we remember that behavior mirrors the heart, then the route to lasting change for both our children and ourselves is the grace and power of the gospel.
One of the promises of the gospel is removing our stony hearts and giving us hearts of flesh – hearts that love God and others.
Blessings to you and your family,
Dr. Tedd Tripp