The worst thing in the world for a kid is a home that is centered around that kid's happiness.
The worst thing in the world for a kid is a home that's centered around the kid. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Ann Wilson. And I'm Dave Wilson, and you can find us at familylifetoday.com or on the Family Life app.
This is Family Life Today. So I sure have enjoyed the last couple days. I love having Scott Sauls in the studio.
Yeah, we get him for one more day. I know, Scott, you're going on a vacation pretty soon, but man, this has been rich discussion. I think our listeners are going to love this, and they're going to share this. So, Scott, welcome back to Family Life Today. Thank you, Dave, and good to be with you. So, Scott, we've been discussing for the last couple days your book, Beautiful People Don't Just Happen, where obviously you know this, but you wrote Beautiful People Happen over through adversity, through trial, through struggle, and yet, as we've said, we often try to hide that.
Where do we start? I mean, do we just admit out loud that we struggle, that we have sin? You know, we want to hide that, but is the best thing to do to start with an out-loud confession? What if we just all admitted that we're all addicts, that we're all in recovery, humble enough to acknowledge, like, maybe I'm not drunk on alcohol or high on cocaine, but I'm drunk on ambition, I'm high on gossip, I'm intoxicated with greed. We're all hooked on something. And the, you know, the stage is set for the Lord to say, hey, stick me right in the middle of the room and just start getting real.
Don't bleed on each other, right? Because we can easily start to kind of dramatize our stories to make ourselves the point instead of, like, the great thing about Paul with his whole, I'm the chief of sinners thing, like, that's a very dramatic statement, right? But he immediately says, now, look at Christ.
Look at His mercy. What I just told you is about that, not about me. It's not about my story.
It's not even about my recovery. It's about that. You know, His mercy and where His mercy can meet anyone because it would dare to meet somebody like me. Or somebody like David, you guys. Like, I think we're too soft on what David did when we say, oh, he was an adulterer. Well, yeah, he was.
But it also says in that story that when he saw Bathsheba bathing next door, the wife of one of his closest, most loyal friends, it says he saw her, he sent for her, and he took her. That's assault. That's abuse of power.
You know, this is the psalmist we're talking about. You know, like, it's all of it. And he takes the next step to have one of his best buddies murdered. And he does that. And then what happens? You know, Nathan comes, says, you're the man.
And I don't mean that in a good way. Like, you're the man in a way that nobody wants to be the man. And being the man is what made you this, you know, got you here because you forgot who you are. And yet look at how the David story unfolds, right? We get the 51st Psalm, which is like the confession of all confessions that we all now have at our disposal to use in our low place. And think about what Bathsheba must have gone through to forgive him because it says she marries him, has a kid with him, and eventually Solomon, whose name means peace, God gave him that name, born out of that situation. And then now we have David, the author of half of the Psalms. We have the genealogy of Jesus that says, oh, and there was David who had Solomon, not by Bathsheba, but by Uriah, the Hittite's wife. And then we have Jesus calling himself the son of David. How long would David last in the current climate we're in right now where everything is unforgivable? Everything is a reason for your erasure from the face of the earth if you slip once.
And I'm not saying like there are certain people that don't need to be removed from positions of authority, et cetera, for the protection of other people. But I think when we lose sight of how offensively vast and far reaching the grace of God is, we also forget that it can reach our deepest places that we're trying to hide. When Jesus says, the only thing that's going to heal that stuff is when you bring it into the light. So as you think about, like you just said, David, other heroes of the faith, you know, in Scripture, that we sort of downplay their sin and their struggle because I think we're almost embarrassed. Like they couldn't have been that bad, but they really are. And like you said, if any of that was known in our culture, they're done.
And Twitter and social media would shut them down quickly. Turn that toward our kids. If we're trying to raise children that are going to become beautiful people, we know that they're going to have to go through hardship.
They're going to make mistakes. As parents, because we're a marriage and family show, let's help our parents. Like we tend to bail them out. We tend to jump in when they make a mistake and rescue. And there are times we need to do that. You know, you're not going to let them ride their bike into the street because it's going to kill them.
But there's other situations where they make a mistake and we're not going to let any consequence happen to them because we're just going to bail them out. I'm just going to add, Dave, as a mom, I hate it when my kids feel regret, hurt, or fear. I want to protect them from all of those things. And yet, you've been stating, and we've been talking about your book, Beautiful People Don't Just Happen, we're saying, oh, that's like the greenhouse.
It could be the greenhouse for growth. Raising kids is not for the faint of heart. We felt desperate during every season. I mean, still, with our kids, they're both adult kids, and we still have our desperate moments, you know. Like, thank God they are in God's hands because if they were ultimately in our hands, I don't know if we would ever sleep.
And so we were a little bit against the grain, like not so radically so that nobody wanted to be their friends, you know. But like, your phone is done after dinner. We're going to have eye contact. I'm sorry because I know a lot of social media stuff happens.
You're just going to have to catch up, you know, during your 40-minute window tomorrow. And of course, it's like, you're the only parent as well, and we pick up the phone and we start calling. Are we the only parents? Like, no, but we're told we're the only parents too, you know. But being counterculture, being different is part of the call of what it means to be a Christian person as well as a Christian household, which means you've got to subject your kids to some stuff that feels uncomfortable, might even feel a little bit unpopular at times. So their happiness isn't your number one goal.
Can't be. Worst thing in the world for a kid is a home that is centered around that kid's happiness. The worst thing in the world for a kid is a home that's centered around the kid. A marriage-centered home is the very best thing for a kid. And it's the very best thing for a marriage.
It's the very best thing for everything in the home. You know, and of course, there are going to be single parents that are listening in that I hope don't feel wounded by that statement. And I guess you would say as well that the single parent has a marriage to Christ, right? Because we're the bride.
Christ is the groom. And even then, the kids can be like, it's Jesus in me, y'all. And he's the head of the household. And you can take it up with me if you want, but you really got to take it up with him about whatever the thing is that we're working through together as parents and kids.
But a couple has to be that way too. It's like, it's Jesus in us, kids. Like, we're under his authority, just like you're under ours. And because we believe that everything that he says is good and right and healthy and life-giving and will lead us on the pathway of making us whole, you might not like us for this. But in our house, we follow Jesus. In our house, we go to church every Sunday.
Even when you're friends, they don't anymore. Even your Christian friends, they don't anymore because their parents are following them to other places. And their parents are being discipled by their kids' boredom in church rather than saying, kids, look, this is part of what we do. Like, you'll make your kids study when they don't want to study.
You'll make your kids eat vegetables when they don't want to eat vegetables. Why won't you make them sit in the presence of the living God when they don't want to do that? I love that. We're going to sit in the presence of the living God.
Talk about compelling. I mean, the other piece, too, that makes it more credible, I think, in the eyes of our kids is to also lead in repentance. You know, don't just lead in teaching our kids what's the right path, but also lead in demonstrating to our kids what it looks like when we fall off the right path. Like, the worst thing, another bad thing for a kid is a perfect parent who never gets it wrong and never owns it. Like, some parents are like, oh, we've just screwed it up so much, like, I don't know how we could ever recover from being the hypocrites that we've been.
I'm like, the first step toward that is just admitting to your kids the hypocrites you've been. We wrote graduation letters to both of our daughters, and the letters began, I'm sorry and you're welcome. You know, like, that's a Christian home right there is, I'm sorry and you're welcome. You're welcome because we did the best we could, unfinished, frail, sinful, broken, misguided people that we can be sometimes, clueless parents that we definitely were in your case and still are in many ways, but we put the gospel in front of you.
We put you in the atmosphere where you could hear about Jesus, including the home, including the church, including, you know, certain friends that we had in our lives. You're welcome and we're so sorry. Here are the 17 reasons why we're sorry and you want to talk about it.
And our kids melted with that stuff. You know, like, you think, oh, they're like 18 now, about to go, they don't want to hear, they don't want to get all vulnerable. That's all they want.
That's all they want. Well, Scott, you've shared that you struggle with depression, anxiety. I'm assuming you've shared that with them, that you've shared openly about your own struggle.
And how was that perceived? It's warmth. I mean, it's received by your kids as a sign of strength that you're willing to talk about your weakness.
I mean, isn't it true? Like kids whose parents give off this demeanor of being super strong, they know intuitively that their parents are weak. It's that whole, like, Shakespeare line, you protest too much. Like, you act so strong and powerful, you must be really trying hard to compensate for something. Like, think of that image in the movie Shrek where Shrek and Donkey are looking up, you know, Lord Farquaad's tower. And Donkey's like, oh, wow, what an amazing, you know, man, this must be, you know, to live in a castle like this and to have all this power and everything. And Shrek's like, it must be compensating for something. Like, kids can see right through that.
Yeah, and they smell hypocrisy. Vulnerability is the greatest strength in the world. You know, people say, oh, the power for Jesus is his resurrection. Do you think it took less power for him to voluntarily die on the cross and resist the impulse to retaliate against those who are crucifying him? Resist the impulse not to pray?
Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do? Like, resist the impulse to go to the cross on the floor? Like, you think that took less power than rising from the dead?
Like, who can do that stuff? Yeah. I mean, were there any times that you remember as your kids were growing up where they were going through a struggle, a weakness? It could have been fear, regret, hurt, and your temptation was to come in and sort of solve it for them, but you had to step back and let them grow into beautiful people?
Well, yes and no. One instance, one of our kids did something they shouldn't have done, and we ratted them out to the person in charge as opposed to trying to protect them from consequences. And what was remarkable was that response to us was, I really respect you for doing that. I think the more we hover and try to keep the difficulty away, the more we set them up to really languish as adults. No better place than your home of origin, if it's a safe place of origin, to let your kids get knocked down but not knocked out, you know? No, I will tackle you on your bike if you're going toward a busy street. But if you're going to make a C or a D on your exam because you procrastinated, like, I'm not going to hover, you know?
Yeah, I'm not going to write the paper for you. That's right. And I think, you know, we've been tempted to do that. When you see your child going through all those three things, regret, hurt, or fear, there's a real tendency to just soften it even. And sometimes we need to, but a lot of times we need to step back, and it's a trusting God moment for us as parents to go, the goal here is a lot bigger than this situation or this circumstance. It's that they become a mature man and woman of God, and we're going to be a part of that by not stepping in and stopping it. We're going to let God's work have its final do, which is really what your book's all about, that they become a beautiful person. I think it's hard to do as a parent, though.
I think it's harder with adult kids than ever before because we're out of the picture, and I think I've had more sleepless nights with adult kids than toddlers or even teenagers, honestly. Because I'll wake up in the middle of the night thinking of something I've seen or something I'm worried about, I can't go back to sleep. And then I have to talk to Jesus about it and like, Lord, here's what I'm feeling, here's what I'm thinking, here's what I'm afraid of, and I have to surrender them continually. And remember, there's not a prayer that I have prayed for them that he hasn't heard and that he's not acting upon. It may not be my timing, it may not be the way I like it, but I can trust that he's hearing me and he loves them. But man, it's hard to let go, and it's hard to realize our prayers really do make a difference. Here's my last question in regards to parenting and developing beautiful people.
Do you have a parenting mistake that comes to your mind like, here's what you meant? With a question like that, where do you even start? Like one or five?
What's the first one you think of? Man, I'm going to say intensity, like taking a three and escalating it to a five because I'm scared. I'm impressed that it's a five. Or whatever, like five's the biggest number on the scale. Oh, I thought it was ten.
Taking a four and turning it to a ten. If they make a choice that is sometimes a step toward another choice that's a worse choice, like just kind of panicking and not letting God be their first father and entering in as a dictator instead of a coach. And that's not a mistake, that's many of the same mistakes made over the course of many years. I'm thankful our kids still love us in spite of those moments. But again, the one thing that we've always done is say I'm sorry.
I don't have memory of a time when either my wife or I hurt our kids that we didn't apologize. And if you ask me what's the best thing you've ever done as a parent, it's probably that. And expose our kids to the gospel. But that's part of how you expose your kids to the gospel is making yourself vulnerable and being willing to own that you're on the journey with them. That you haven't arrived and where you are is not their goal. Where Jesus is is your goal and theirs.
And in some ways, they're closer to that goal than we are, even at a very young age. That's humbling, right? And I'm guessing you would say, I think I would say, if you're listening and you feel like you've blown it with your child, you've got to regret because you haven't done a good job. You've hurt them. Maybe you're living in fear that the start over with your child would be apologize?
Start there? It's amazing how many decades of hard history can be erased by a genuine, I am so sorry, here's how I've hurt you in detail. As I understand it, if there's anything I'm missing, I want to hear your heart. It's painful, but I owe it to you and I'm indebted to the Lord to say, I'm sorry about this or that or these things. Will you forgive me? I'm putting myself in a vulnerable position with the child I raised. And I'm giving you all the power in this moment to release me and to release yourself, to release both of us from what I've done. It's amazing how a genuine five minutes of that can completely reset the trajectory of a 40-year-old relationship with your adult kid who's been holding things free. And that doesn't mean everything goes away.
That doesn't mean nobody needs therapy anymore or anything like that. I think maybe too, to even add, I don't even need you to respond right now. You might want to take a minute just to take a space because it's not about me getting your forgiveness. It's about me coming to you with a sorrowful, repentant heart. Or maybe even after Thanksgiving, say, here, I wrote some things down for you. I just take it, read it. It's my heart on a page.
You never want to talk about it. My door is open and I love you. That's a lot of wisdom, Anne, that you just gave there of invite them to go at their pace.
Yeah, give them some time. Scott, thanks. This has been rich. It's been awesome.
So, what do you think of Scott Sauls? Oh, it's so rich. It's so good. I got to tell you, I just love that guy. Did you see me crying the whole time?
What is that? You crying? Yeah, the tears are plopping on the table.
Yeah, I actually saw him. He's crying. He's crying. He's crying. He's crying. He's crying. He's crying. He's crying. He's crying. He's crying. He's crying. He's crying. He's crying. The tears are plopping on the table. He teared up too, and Scott's not super emotional, but why were you tearing up?
He and Dane Ortlund do the same thing. They're presenting the gospel just as a way of life, the foundation and the beauty of the gospel. And it's presented so beautifully, it just touches my soul, and it makes me weep out of the goodness and graciousness of Jesus. Yeah, and I was thinking, you know, we spent three days with Scott, and every minute of those three days, I felt like he was laying out truth that we can all live on. I mean, we applied what he was saying to parenting, to marriage.
It applies everywhere. I think it's because of what you said. It's foundational truth from scripture, but in the end, it's the gospel. It's the truth of Jesus just overwhelming us in our lives.
And I couldn't be more excited to let people hear these and to share it with others. And I mean, I sit here and think, I can't believe we get to do this. I'm thinking of the parents right now that even heard this ending about apologizing to your kids and the necessity of that, not only for our kids, but for ourselves, you know, to start new. Hopefully, there's going to be some reconciliation in some homes as a result. And, you know, even as I think about that, I just want to say thanks to the partners with Family Life that pray for us. I mean, I know some of you pray daily, and a lot of you don't know this, but many give financially to us. This doesn't happen without your financial gifts.
Thank you for allowing us to get this kind of content, not only into your lives, but into your neighbors' lives. And I would just say, if you're a listener and you've never jumped in either to pray for us or with us or to give financially, could I just say, I believe this is worth giving to. Don't take money away from your church, but— Become a part of our team. Be partners with us.
Yeah, be a partner and say, I don't want to just listen. I want to be a participant. I want to give, sacrificially, to help this ministry grow, and I want this to go into the homes all around me and around the world. You've been listening to Dave and Ann Wilson with Scott Sauls on Family Life Today.
You know, Scott's written a book called Beautiful People Don't Just Happen. We'll send you a copy as our thanks when you partner financially with us this week. You can go online to familylifetoday.com, or you can give us a call with your donation at 800-358-6329. Now, that could be a one-time gift or a recurring monthly gift, and giving sacrificially is something that we deeply appreciate, as Dave and Ann were talking about. Again, that number is 800, F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. You know, there's really no need to wait any longer to make a change for the better.
I know sometimes we feel like we need to wait in order for that to happen, but we shouldn't. Take a weekend with your spouse and learn about what the true meaning of your marriage is supposed to be. Family Life's Weekend to Remember Getaway is happening all over the country, and you can register this week only for the two of you to get the experience of this incredible event for over 40% off. If you want to find out more, head over to familylifetoday.com, scroll down to the Weekend to Remember link. You can register there and find out a ton more information about our Weekend to Remember Getaways. Again, that link is familylifetoday.com. Now, have you ever felt like you and your partner kind of just do life separately?
Maybe you're like roommates instead of spouses? Well, tomorrow, Dave and Ann are joined by Jason and Tori Benham to talk about valuable lessons they learned together while teaming up in CrossFit. That's going to be tomorrow. We hope you'll join us. On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
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