The Heart of the Matter

Here’s an article my husband linked to a few days ago on his blog. He mentioned that it should be widely circulated, and since reading it myself, I heartily agree.

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13 thoughts on “The Heart of the Matter

  1. I appreciated this article reminding me not to feel I am superior to my fellow Christians for stupid things like whether or not they allow their children to watch a certain movie, or play with Barbies, or whatever the thing is that is not God’s law, but just my opinion.

    I also liked the reminder (that I have often heard from Mrs. Wilson as well) it is not enough to have external rules our children must follow, but that they would want to reject sin and love righteousness themselves.

    After reading over a bunch of the comments to the article though, I have a lot of reservations. It seems to appeal to, and is being used to justify, people like:

    someone who blames their parents for sinning sexually and other pagan practices, someone who threw away their virginity in rebellion against their parents and is still not repentant, several people who are sending their children to public school, someone who is so glad that their parents loved them “unconditionally” whether they decided to reject God or not, someone who encourages parents not to discipline so much as remind their kids that Jesus loves them “no matter what”,…you get the point.

    Why is this article getting this type of response from so many people who are clearly not interpreting it in a Biblical way?
    Perhaps this was not Mr. Bradley’s intentions, but I am left wondering if perhaps there is a more Biblical point that he missed and that would not have left so many people feeling justified for unBiblical behavior.

  2. Melissa,
    There will always be those who will lurch from one extreme to another, no matter how eloquent the writer/teacher. The Apostle Paul had to address those who misinterpreted the gospel of grace and thought we ought to sin up a storm so as to get more of it. I do not think Mr. Bradley was suggesting homeschoolers pop their kids into the government schools. The fact that we sometimes do the right thing wrong, is not an argument for doing the wrong thing wrong.

  3. I read this article a few days ago and I was blown away by the repentant demeanor of this man. But not just his repentance for himself or over his kids, but that this conviction led him to humble himself for the sake of others. That was a difficult confession to write and I am grateful this article is all over the internet in our circles right now. Not just for the content but the heart of it. We sin, and we need the eyes of one another. We need repentance, and we need each others forgiveness. Welcome to the Christian life.

  4. I did read it, and appreciated the author’s humility and candor. However, it seems like some of his presuppositions may be confused. His points were not necessarily bad ones at all, as there is some good wisdom in a large amount of what he wrote. But I don’t think his experiences were stemming from the isolated fact that he homeschooled his children: I think it was the parenting in general that was flawed. It is not the site of the school but the state of the heart that is the issue.
    It is reasonable to assume that he would have had the same harvest, even if he had sown his children into Christian day-school.

  5. What an enlightening article! He describes so accurately from his own experience things that I’ve observed in the Christian community, but until now have only been able to partially understand. His humility and willingness to share his failures goes hand in hand with his message. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Mrs. Wilson, thanks for sharing this article. I was also impressed by how humble and repentant the author was in admitting the mistakes he made in raising his children. Unfortunately, as a mother of 4 young children I also find myself judging parents of wayward young adults and trying to figure out what they did wrong so I can avoid it with my children. I have to repent of this every week and am struggling to control my thoughts.

    Please know that the things that you, Pastor Wilson, and Rachel have written on childrearing has been very helpful to me in teaching them to love the standard and not merely conform to it. I think that there has been a lack of standards in general society for so long that the pendulum has swung too far back towards authoritarian parenting among many people. Your family is a wonderful, balanced contrast to the rigid-discipline parenting teaching that is found among some Christians today.

  7. Thanks for posting the link to this article. I have 2 young boys and am grateful to be getting this encouragement early on. I reposted on my blog (

    It is sad that people can misinterpret the author’s intentions and I don’t think that he was making teenage rebellion permissible just because the parents had been overly sheltering, or controlling, or concerned with their appearance as Christian parents – I’m pretty sure he would agree that we each answer to God for our own decisions. I can definitely see how expecting law-abiding in a household instead of praying, training and encouraging a changed heart can make a difference. Thanks again!

  8. I’ve heard several people mention that this article perhaps shouldn’t have been addressed so explicitly to homeschoolers, but honestly I think homeschoolers are exactly the ones who most likely need to hear this. People who really feel strongly about these blinder on issues are the people who (in my opinion) are the least likely to send their kids out where “shocker!” people might talk about grace, accountability, non-bowdlerized literature, dating, (insert pet issue here). I was homeschooled for 12 years and identify strongly with many of the issues he raises. By God’s grace I made it out with at least some of my sanity and most of my faith intact, but it’s a rough life.

  9. There is an old Credenda article by Douglas Jones entitled “Nurturing Fat Souls”. It has been a light for me for many years to see the heart of the matter. I would recommend it to anyone. Perhaps Nancy could post a link to it. While there are certainly many homeschoolers like the ones you describe, Natalie, there are also many of us who are just trying to love our children and want to be a means of grace to them. By God’s grace,many homeschool mothers become so overwhelmed with the sheer volume of work that they soon give up their proud, pietistic daydreams and just want to hang in there with their kids long enough to give them a firm base on which to stand when they face the world on their own. We all sin in our parenting in some way, but as the article points out there are some blindsides to those of us that are seeking to be distinctively Christian. The remedy is to daily seek the cross in our parenting and to beseech the Lord to give us soft hearts, ready to repent and turn.

  10. I might be wrong, but I believe it was expressly written to homeschoolers because it was written for a homeschooling magazine by a homeschooling father. The fact that the principles may be applied to all Christian parents is perhaps why the Wilsons are re-posting it on their blogs??

  11. Christina, thank you so much for posting that link. I don’t think I could have found it so handily. I hope it will be as much of a blessing to others as it has been to me.

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