Tedd Tripp

Sid: My guest by telephone is Dr. Tedd Tripp. I’m interviewing on his book “Shepherding a Child’s Heart.” I’m concerned about this generation of young people that we have, I’m concerned about parents that are really Christians but they’re working all… one job, two jobs even with tone job they’re so tired they come home they kick off their shoes; that both parents are working or it’s a single parent household.  And this generation of kids that are going to hell literally and so one of the things that we’re talking about is authority and I asked the question about the rod. Then on yesterday’s broadcast and we went off the air and you didn’t have a chance to answer is “What if the child after you spanked them and you’ve done all of these loving approaches that you outlined in your book and they are angry, bitter, want to just be away from your presence what would you do?”

Tedd: Well I think that there are 2 things that you want to check. The first thing that you want to check is your own spirit was your spirit wrong in the discipline; maybe you came at the child with your teeth bared.

Sid: What if it was?

Tedd: Well then you need to ask for forgiveness because if your spirit was wrong and you have you have brought sinful anger into this righteous process of discipline then you have muddied the waters with your sinful anger. Now I know some people say “Wait a minute I have righteous anger” and there is such a thing as righteous indignation but I think most of would have to acknowledge we feel toward our children is more often just the garden variety “I just can’t believe you’re doing this I’m not going to take this from you.” And if I’ve been unrightously angry towards my children and I have handled them roughly, my spirit has been one of anger I’ve reduced this to an interpersonal breakdown issue between the child and God.  See that’s a very important thing I want to keep the focus in discipline so it’s not just me coming to the child saying “You haven’t been listening to me all day you’re going to get in now I’m not going to put up with this who do you think you are I wasn’t born yesterday!” All of those kinds of things make it an interpersonal breakdown between me and the child.  Now I’ve pitted myself against the child, but see what I want to do I want to come to this child in a spirit that’s totally different than that. “Honey I love you I’m committed to you, you have put yourself in a place of danger because it won’t go well with you I want you long life out there, you have violated this circle.”  I’m pointing back to what I talked about yesterday Ephesians 6:1 God’s drawn a circle in which children are to live. “Children honor and obey you father and mother it will go well with you if you want to enjoy long life.” This is a great blessing for the child, so I want to talk to this child about that now I’m coming to them not with my teeth barred but Honey I come to you I love you and I’m committed to you. Now if  I have come to them with my teeth barred and I’ve come to them in personal indignation and I’ve sinned against them in my spirit and my manner I need to ask them for forgiveness. And I need to not blame the child I must say something like this “Honey please forgive me I was very angry and I should have gotten alone and prayed and asked the Lord to subdue by heart before I talked with you; and I was very angry with you there’s no excuse for me to be coming to you with that kind of anger.” Now you notice I’m not dealing I’m not saying I’m angry but you make me crazy.” Because that’s just saying “I’m angry but it’s your fault” I’m acknowledging my sin and I’m modeling for my child when I’m acknowledging my sin; now true honest confession of sin.

Sid:  Now do you ever tell your children or advise parent to tell their children mistakes that they’ve made?

Tedd: Personal mistakes in life?

Sid: Yes.

Tedd: I think that sometimes we can do that and we say “In this situation I acted very foolishly God is showing me that it was wrong and how wrong it was and I’ve turned from that and I don’t do that anymore.” I think it’s spiritually…I think that it’s fair for us to acknowledge to our children our own struggles with our hearts. I think that’s a very powerful way to come along side kids when my child’s struggling with selfishness I don’t have to be hypocritically distant from this child and believe that they’re so selfish and I can stand in solidarity with him. I understand how selfishness works in the human heart.  Daddy understands what’s it’s like to be selfish, I know what it’s like for myself first.  And there’s hope for people like you and daddy and it’s found in Christ and His grace and His ability to change us eternally.  I think that it’s positive for us to in those kinds of ways identify with our children and say “I’m in solidarity with you as a broken, fallen person who sins and fails and continually in need of forgiveness and grace because that’s how we live the Christian life.

Sid: You know the thing that I like about your book that I don’t like in most books that even Christian psychology books is that everything that you teach in this book you’re really zeroing in on the heart, let’s talk about some of these heart issues.

Tedd: Well one of the things that I teach in the book and I talk about in seminars when I’m teaching parents is that you know “It’s out of the overflow of the heart that the mouth speaks.” Now that sounds like an abstract concept if you think about it.  I’m talking about heart issues and just to interrupt myself for a minute and say this prophetically.  We don’t have to go beyond the world of God to understand people. We don’t have to psychology, we don’t have to go to all the top ideas of the culture the word of God is sufficient the word of God describes for us what the nature of human struggles are. And so I want to use Biblical terms and Biblical concepts. For example vengeance I mean what parent has not seen revenge behavature at your house. I mean “He hit me first.”  That’s a defense statement.

Sid: Oh let’s face it adults…it carries on into adulthood.

Tedd: Exactly and let’s see when instead of revenge we need to be trusting ourselves to God that’s what Paul says in Roman’s chapter 12.  “Don’t take room for revenge my friends leave rooms for God’s wrath, it’s my revenge I will repay sayeth the Lord.” The point is God will take care of justice I don’t have to take revenge. Or the fear of man the Bible says will prove to be a snare the fear of the Lord in contrast is the beginning of wisdom.

Sid: Ted I imagine a lot of parents read this book to help their children end up having it help them.

Tedd: You know Sid that’s one of the things that parents say to me again and again and again parents will come to me or they’ll write to me or they’ll talk to me in a seminar and they’ll say “This book has changed my life and it’s given me a handle on talking to my kids but it’s changed my life.” You see we’re driven with heart stuff I mean some of those terms vengeance, pride, the love of self, of fear covetousness, envy, hatred, anxiety and fear. Paul talks in Philippians 4 about the contrast between anxiety and fear and knowing peace and contentment. And it’s those things in the heart that push and pull behavior and the things that I do and say that are wrong are driven by those heart attitudes.  And I can’t you know if I’m going to really really see lasting change I’ve got to deal with the root issues not just the fruit. There may be fruit that appears on the tree of my life that is unseeingly fruit but the root issues are these heart issues pride, self-love you know covetousness, envy, hatred, rebellion, jealousy these things in the heart are what produce bad behavior. Part of what we want to do with kids is that we want to teach that to children, we want to teach them that contents that’s part of the formative instruction that we do in teaching our children is giving them that understanding of how the heart works and then we want to appeal to that when our children are struggling.

Sid: Give me an example of someone with a heart issue.

Tedd: Alright I’ll give you a quick one we have a…years ago in our Christian School we had boys 4th grade boys that they happen to fight on the playground; I was asked to talk to the boys.  One boy come into my office and I said “Ethan tell me what you think is going on here.” I read these passages to him “By the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks and so forth, we know that this behavior is heart driven what do you think was the abundance of the heart for you in this fight?” Well this boy had been in a fight with another little lad in the classroom who was kind of the class outcast you know the class outcast and this boy had made a pass at being included in this little in crowd and the boy was most offended was this boy who I was speaking. He said to me this 9 year old he said “I think it was as we talked he said “I think it was pride.” Why pride? “I think I’m better than he is.”   “What else?”  “Love of self.”  “What do you mean?”  “I love me more than I love him.”   “What else?”  “Selfishness.”  This is a 9 year old Sid.

Sid: That is phenomenal, that’s wonderful.

Tedd:  Opened up you know we talked about these heart issues he was able to identify some of these things as things that were motivating him. And I said to him I said “Ethan this is why Jesus came; Jesus came because you and Mr. Tripp are people who are full of selfishness, we’re full of pride, we’re full of self love and Christ came to change us eternally and to make us people who truly love others from the heart.” And I said “I want to pray for you and pray that you would be able to love James from the heart.”  And I prayed for him and sent him back to class.  The teacher called me that night and said “What did you talk to these about today?” I told him about the conversation and he said “I saw Ethan reaching out to John the rest of the day.” Now you could give a threat, you could give an onerous assignment to a child that you know of.  “Okay you boys who were fighting on the playground you must write 100 times “I must overcome evil by doing good.”  And from Roman’s 7:12-17 and …. You can give some punishment and the child might learn his lesson he’ll come in the next day with writer’s cramp “I’ve learned my lesson Mr. Tripp I’ll never fight on the playground again.” Yeah don’t fight on the playground you’ll have write 100 dumb verses.

Sid: But the heart has not changed.

Tedd: The hearts never been touched.

Sid: Speaking of that there’s children that have been raised on a television show karate and defending yourself and most parents say “If someone starts a fight don’t run away crying just go and land the strongest blow.” What would you say about that?

Tedd: Well I’d say that that’s not Biblical counsel. The word of God says and I know that this is hard for parents and some people listening on the radio might drive off of the road when they hear this but the word of God says “We overcome evil by doing good,” we don’t overcome evil with evil. “Evil…when you respond to evil with evil you increase evil; you overcome evil with doing good.” Now let me say “I think it’s different for a state than it is for an individual because there is a proper sense in which the state and national defense may defend itself and may retaliate.”  But the individuals God’s word says “We overcome evil by doing good.” Let me give you an illustration.

Sid: It would take a real changed heart to do that.

Tedd: Well that’s exactly right see that’s the key, that’s the key because my child shall look to me and say “I can’t do this daddy.” And I’m going to say to him “Honey you are right you can’t do it but there’s grace and power and enablement in Jesus Christ.  I takes grace it doesn’t take grace to knock the bullies block off but it takes grace…

Sid: But I need grace because we’re running out of time right now…

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