Today’s culture says: “Man is good, how do we make him great?” Scripture says: “Man is sinful, how do we save him?” These two sentences are clearly contrasting in their worldview and approach to the nature of man. Rather than pondering how mankind may go from “good to great,” we need to understand that only God is good and that, apart from God, there is no one who does good (Ps. 14:1).
So then what? Are we lost and without hope? NO! Since alone we can do no good thing, God sent His only Son to earth to die for our sins and to restore the relationship that was cosmically broken (John 3:16-17). This is the “Good News” – the words related to God’s salvation plan for mankind.
The “Good News” or Gospel is also a rebuttal to the dominant way of thinking in American culture today. Just as the Apostle Paul opposed idolatry and debauchery and Luther reviled legalism and the “traditions of men,” today we need to counter the temptation to overvalue (or idolize) worldly accomplishments, whether success in business, academics, or even parenting, as the measure of a man.
It is far more desirable to be good rather than great. Greatness is what Satan valued most (ascending to God’s throne) and goodness is what Jesus valued most (obeying the Father perfectly). There are multitudes of people that do great things but only one who truly achieved goodness.
Tim Kimmel, contemporary Christian author and speaker, says that “greatness” today is often measured by beauty, possessions or power. As parents today, we face the risk of becoming preoccupied with raising “resume” and “pedigree” children. As early as preschool, many parents go to great pains to ensure that their child is highly talented and academically advantaged (i.e., qualifies for entry into a highly selective college like Harvard). It is my hope that Christian parents’ utmost desire will be to raise their children to be Heaven-bound before they are Harvard-bound. God-given talents and gifts will flourish in our lives, and the lives of our children, when we are surrendered to Him.
My commitment as a parent and as an encourager of parents is to move our discussion from great parenting to good parenting. Our goal as parents is to be good parents as God defines good. God’s definition of “good” is clearly defined in Micah 6:8, “He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.”
At CHA, good parenting is complemented with Living Curriculum Teachers using excellent pedagogy to teach a curriculum of eternal value. The bottom line of good parenting is the affirmation of III John 4, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
David L. Roth