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

We think children are innocent yet we’re all born with a sin nature which causes us to be wayward from birth. 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.

Children growing up in stable, loving homes are naturally 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 opening to explain to a child that bad things are happening to them because they are unworthy, insignificant or useless. This leads to children acting upon these lies and they become unable to fulfil their potential. The early years are very formative and it’s not easy to unlearn early childhood patterns.

However, in God we have hope. Anything learnt can be unlearnt. Any lie which was 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.