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A Merry Heart
A Woman's World
A Word in Season
Acting Up
Cyber Walk
Faith Seekers
Golden Apples
Heaven Bound
Just Between Men
Ripe for the Harvest
Take it to Heart
Teen Truth
The Joy of Family
The Parents'
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The Rhythm of Life
The Treehouse
Through Their Eyes
'Tis the Season
We Are the Church
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Heíll Always Love Them
By Jamie Dale

Iíve always told my children that Jesus loves them very, very much and will always love them no matter what. I was always sure that my point had gotten through to them, but it wasnít until recently that I realized that the meaning of what I was saying hadnít gotten across to them the way I had intended it to.

One morning I was on the way to my sonís basketball game with my three children in the back seat, when I heard my oldest son lie to my younger son. Children arenít always truthful; Iíve come to accept that fact, but I still do my best to instill how wrong lying is each time I hear them utter a falsehood. I promptly told my son that lying was wrong and to tell his brother the truth.

To my surprise, he told me that it didnít matter. When I asked him why in the world he thought it didnít matter, he informed me (with a tone that said he thought I must be the biggest flake born) that Jesus would still love him no matter what he did.

At that very moment, I realized that all along Iíd been giving my children the right message in the wrong way, skewing the message entirely.

I struggled as I looked for a way to explain to my son that a gift of unconditional love needs to be appreciated, not abused. I gently told my son that just because Jesus will always love him, doesnít mean that he has a free license to behave badly. I did my best to explain that unless someone is sorry for bad behavior, that bad behavior wonít be forgiven.

Itís important to nurture our children and their relationships with Christ, but itís also important for us to remember that our children donít always see things the same way we do and that what we say isnít necessarily what they hear.

The story of what Jesus did for us is not a fairy tale, and itís important that we donít present it as one. While a world where weíre forgiven for everything we do without the need for repentance or remorse may be easy and convenient, thatís just not the reality of it. Itís true that Jesus will always love our children, but we need our children to understand that they must work towards being deserving of His love. The seeds of our childrenís faith are planted early. Itís important that we plant them properly Ė in truth and in faith.

Jamie Dale has been the author of literally hundreds of articles, including titles such as "The Difference Between Like and Love" and "To Know The Father's Love". As a mother of three little ones, she understands the struggles of Christ-centered parenting in today's world and tries to help others by incorporating humorous insights and thought-provoking questions into her writing. She has often stated that God is the only perfect parent, but we can all try to follow His lead. It's Jamieís goal to help parents remember this.
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