Teach Your Children How To Suffer

One of the most challenging legacies to communicate to our children is how to model and share how God brings troubles in our lives to test our faith and build endurance and more joy. What an irony that is for someone who does not believe. Joy from trouble? Joy from pain? Children are prone to push back on that type of lesson unless they understand what Jesus is trying to teach us.

With the 500 year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, we look back at Martin Luther’s life with interest. In the 1500s, the Catholic Church sold indulgences to get a person or their relatives out of Purgatory. Martin was outraged that the church would sell grace. In his studies of the Bible he did not find Purgatory nor did he find any rationale for selling grace or any mention of it. But it was when he read in Ephesians 2: 8-9,


Salvation is by grace through faith alone, not as a result of good works, so that God alone gets the glory.”


that the scales from his eyes disappeared. It was this verse that brought clarity to his angst and questions. He had spent most of his time as a Monk humbly trying to please God and earn a place in heaven. He would confess his sins for hours daily. He could not see himself as anything but a horrid sinner in the face of a perfect God. This verse turned his head because now he understood why Jesus came to earth and why we as sinners do not have to earn our way to heaven. It was so simple.

He discovered that the Bible makes it quite clear; through faith we are saved, not works. We simply need to believe in Jesus as the substitute sacrifice for all our sins. But what about all the hardships and the troubles and the pain? How do we justify that and teach to our children that troubles and pain will actually help us grow as Christians and more importantly move closer in our relationship with Jesus? Why is that important and meaningful that we go through troubles with the right attitude? Martin soon learned the answer to that question.

Charles Sturgeon helps clarify,

“The Lord afflicts His servant to glorify Himself, for He is greatly glorified in the graces of His people, who are His own handiwork.” He further says, “we would never know the music of the harp if the strings were left untouched, nor enjoy the juice of the grape if it were not trodden in the winepress, nor discover the sweet perfume of the cinnamon if it were not pressed and beaten, nor feel the warmth of fire if the coals were not completely consumed.”

I think what Sturgeon is saying is that trials, if endured by turning to the Lord for comfort, are a means of producing character and right mindedness. What is right mindedness?

Let’s put what Luther discovered and what Sturgeon is telling us together and see if Jesus purpose in coming makes sense. One, Luther says it is only faith that saves you and gives you eternal life, immediately after death. Two, Sturgeon says that affliction, if endured with the grace of God, produces character.

Jesus said there are two commandments, “Love God with all your heart mind and soul and love your neighbor as yourself.” Let me see, you can only love God if you believe he loved you first and sacrificed His son to bring you an eternity of joy and love and fullness: faith. If you depend on Him through all trials and know He will bring comfort and peace and joy…. what will you then do? I believe you will stop concentrating on you but look to help others and give them the same comfort you have. I think that the reformation was an attempt to get back to what Jesus was teaching. I believe Martin Luther’s purpose was to help the common man understand that the Bible was the word of God not any church or religion. Jesus taught the Jews that the 800 rules that the Pharisee’s tried to intimidate the masses with could be distilled into two commandments.

Tell your children that the purpose of hardship is to force us to keep our focus on Jesus as the source of all meaning, purpose, comfort and joy. Complete utter dependence…now relax, it is not up to you. Let Jesus do the teaching. Just model what He said.




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This is a book about transforming your family legacy – both today and in generations to come.  It is for Christian families who want to eliminate estate and capital gains taxes, maintain their current lifestyle, pass on an appropriate inheritance to their heirs, maximize giving to worthy ministries, create healthier family relationships and leave a lasting legacy to impact God’s kingdom.

joe-sturnioloBy Joe Sturniolo
Christian Family Legacy and Wealth Planning
Joe believes that stronger families are the vehicle God uses to bring about significant impact for His Kingdom.

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