Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward, spreading lies. Psalm 58:3

Are children born innocent? Parenting is about teaching your child to do the right thing. We never have to teach them to be disobedient or to tell lies. This comes naturally. We’re all born with a sin nature which causes us to be wayward from birth.

Children who grow up in a stable, loving home are protected from the influence of extremely bad behaviour and in this sense are ‘innocent.’ They are unaware of how cruel, self-serving and abusive people can be. Unfortunately, some children grow up in dysfunctional homes where they quickly learn to stand up for themselves and become self-focussed to protect themselves.

The devil makes the most of any opportunity to sow lies in the minds of children. Neglect, abuse and deprivation are all occasions where the devil has an opportunity to drop a lie into a child’s mind. The lie explains why bad things happen to them, and tells them they are unworthy, insignificant or useless. Children accept the lies and they become unable to fulfil their potential. A child’s early years are very formative. It’s not easy to unlearn early childhood patterns.

However, in God we have hope. Anything learnt can be unlearnt. Any lie accepted as truth can be renounced. Any argument, any pretension can be demolished. As Paul writes: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

This requires action on our part, “to take captive every thought,” to catch ourselves thinking lies, reject them, and replace them with the truth of God’s word.

Regardless of our upbringing, in God, we can finish well.

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