Thread: SACH review
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Old 03-14-2008, 05:59 AM   #3
MarynMunchkins
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Default Re: SACH review

"Getting to the Heart of the Behavior"

The basic point of the chapter, and really the whole book, is that the state of the heart determines the behavior. This has lots of basis in Scripture (Jer. 17:9, Prov. 4:23, Mat. 12:34), and I don't have any issue with this point.

Mr. Tripp says, "[These passages] teach that behavior is not the basic issue. The basic issue is what is going on in the heart. Remember, the heart is the control center of life." (pg. 4) I was actually very encouraged to read his emphasis on the underlying issues that motivate our children, rather than simply their behavior. I agree with him that so many parents focus only on outward behavior and really ignore the "why" of the behavior.

When talking about two children squabbling over a toy, he says, "In terms of issues of the heart, you have two sinning children...The circumstances are different, but the heart issue is the same - 'I want my happiness, even at your expense'." (pg. 6) He tells us that our job as parents is to focus our children on their sin and how short they come from God's standards. "Your concern is to unmask your child's sin, helping him to understand how it reflects a heart that has strayed." (pg. 6)

I don't entirely disagree with him, but I think his point is wrongly focused. It's true that God gave us the law in order to show us how short we fall from His righteousness. But the law has never been the focal point of God's message. It has always been love and grace. The emphasis in this book is more about authority and laws, and submission of the heart - which, IMHO, is entirely impossible without first understanding love and grace.

In fact, the heart of the law, the one that Jesus summed up, can be found in Deut. 6, emphasizes love:

These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you.


Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

You see, it's not about the sin that flows out of the heart. Recognizing our sin only leaves us hopeless and despondent. The reason the Gospel is "good news!" is because it is about love, grace, and forgiveness. Those are the key messages I want my children to understand, and I want them to experience and grasp those before they understand the depths of their sin. I want them to have an answer for their sin when they are faced with it head on. I don't want them simply stuck with recognizing the condition of their heart, and depending on me to shepherd it towards the Savior. I want them to know who the Savior is and how He loves first.
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