Proverbs 20:5 [NIV] – The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.
Parents, along with other caregivers, commonly focus on behavior for the simple reason that it is visible. Under the behavior is the heart we cannot see guiding the decision-making process. When a parent focuses only on behavior, they miss the problem and misdiagnose the solution. There are, in fact, four kinds of kids:
- Bad heart bad behavior. This is the kid who walks up to another kid, assaults them, and steals their toy for the simple reason that they are a tiny terrorist.
- Bad heart good behavior. This is the kid who pretends to be obedient and compliant not because they love God, but because it benefits them and is therefore a form of manipulation to get what they want.
- Good heart bad behavior. This is the kid who meant well but messed up. These kids get really discouraged when they are disciplined for something that was a mistake without malice, like spilling a drink they were trying to retain hold of.
- Good heart good behavior. Only Mary and Joseph had this kind of kid continually, but it is possible for little people to be godly people some of the time. This includes the kid who, when they do wrong, is sensitive to the Holy Spirit and confesses their bad behavior, which reveals their good heart.
Which of these four best explains you as a kid?